Ferroglobe (GSM) to pioneer battery-grade metallurgical silicon

Ferroglobe GSM has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Coreshell, a U.S.-based battery technology company, to produce the first battery-ready metallurgical silicon.

This innovative material will be used as an alternative to graphite in EV batteries and will aid in the development of low-cost, high-range EV batteries. This breakthrough will not only help the automotive sector overcome cost and range limitations since the introduction of electric vehicles but also accelerate its transition to clean energy.

Batteries comprise 30-40% of the total cost of electric cars. Using silicon in batteries will not only have cost advantages but given that it can store up to 10 times more energy in the anodes than graphite, it could potentially result in a 30% increase in driving range.

Coreshell’s proprietary battery technology features a unique nanomaterial electrode coating, which can be easily applied to the surface of the electrodes in lithiumion batteries during the manufacturing process. It prevents the rapid loss of life while still allowing lithium ions to pass through, and is currently the only proven solution to mitigate the degradation of micrometric silicon. Coreshell’s technology has proven to extend the capacity of these batteries by 30% or more, while reducing costs for automakers.

Ferroglobe’s proprietary metallurgical purification process to produce up to 99.995% silicon is cost-effective and does not use any chemical reagent, a key technology for producing affordable silicon active material. These innovations enable, for the first time, the development of lithiumion batteries with metallurgical silicon-dominant anodes.

According to both companies, battery-grade, micrometric silicon is the fastest way to decarbonize the mobility industry. Silicon stores 10 times the energy of graphite and is available in sufficient quantity and quality.

So far, no other player in the industry has been able to unlock the power of metallurgical silicon. Also, the high cost and scaling challenges of highly engineered or silane-based synthetic silicon anodes have prevented the industry to benefit from its true potential.

Combining Ferroglobe’s silicon and Coreshell’s technology, battery-grade metallurgical silicon can now be feasible and will help deliver low cost, long-range EV batteries.