Stacking Up SSB Successes at Solidion

This week, Solidion Technology Inc. has unveiled its patent-protected bipolar electrode-to-pack (BEEP) technology, which enables simpler design and manufacture of solid-state batteries (SSBs). Rather than creating individual cells and modules, Solidion’s BEEP technology produces a high-voltage, high-capacity battery pack by stacking and connecting bipolar electrodes and solid electrolyte layers in series and in parallel.

The widespread commercialization of solid-state lithium batteries has been hindered by two major challenges: the high manufacturing costs and the limited space available in electric vehicles (EVs) to accommodate bulky battery systems. Current battery pack designs allocate much of this space to fire prevention measures, numerous connectors, and large volumes of protective housing materials.

Solidion’s BEEP platform technology addresses these challenges by streamlining design and reducing manufacturing complexity. As a result, battery weight, volume, and cost are significantly decreased. This is achieved through the BEEP technology’s utilization of a single casing and a reduced number of connectors, in contrast to the numerous housings and connectors found in current battery designs.

Fresh solutions from a new company

Solidion’s core business is manufacturing battery materials and components, as well as developing and producing next-generation batteries for energy storage systems and electric vehicles for ground, air, and sea transportation.

Headquartered in Dallas, TX, with production facilities in Dayton, OH, Solidion sees its mission as accelerating the transition of today’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing to solid-state production here in North America. The company went public on February 5 through a combination of its former incarnation, Honeycomb Battery Co., and Nubia Brand International Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

“We are uniquely positioned to provide a wide variety of synthetic and sustainable anode materials at scale,” Dr. Bor Jang, Solidion Chairman and Chief Science Officer recently told Battery Technology. This addresses two current and widely held battery industry positions: First, most of the world’s natural graphite is controlled by or located in China. Second, China is accelerating a government and industry effort to commercialize solid-state batteries.

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The company plans to function as a materials supplier and a solid-state battery manufacturer, offering advanced anode materials and three classes of solid-state batteries, including silicon-rich all-solid-state lithium-ion cells (Gen 1), anodeless lithium metal cells (Gen 2), and lithium-sulfur cells (Gen 3)—all featuring a process-friendly advanced polymer- or polymer/inorganic composite-based solid electrolyte.

One reason the emergence of Solidion is garnering interest is the massive weight of the company’s intellectual property (IP). Jang himself has more than 800 patents, including the world’s first patent application on graphene in 2002, later recognized by Popular Mechanics magazine as one of the “15 patents that changed the world.”

Second is the company’s strategy for a major North American presence for synthetic graphite and solid-state batteries. “We have a plan to break ground on a major southeast U.S. manufacturing facility later this year, slated to be completed by 2026,” he said. “We see our currently planned production of 10,000 metric tons per year of battery materials growing to 180,000 metric tons per year by 2030.”

Material breakthroughs now

Battery industry developments in synthetic graphite from biomass are ongoing, but Solidion’s chemistry and production development are reaching further. Leading the way is its GCA-Si, a graphene/silicon composite anode material that together with various solid-state and liquid electrolyte battery designs will result in a number of significant benefits:

  • Higher power density that could improve EV range by 20–40%

  • A simultaneous reduction in cell costs ($/kWh)

  • Compatibility with most binders

  • Avoids chemical-vapor deposition (CVD) production methods, greatly enhancing scalability by being able to adapt to existing battery production processes.

Solidion will also be providing graphene-enhanced silicon oxide anode materials it calls GCA-SiO. The company’s production process begins with SiOx powder, a cost-effective material derived by heating a mixture of Si particles and SiO2 (silica) particles. Both feedstock materials are abundant and economically advantageous.

We can convert liquid-electrolyte manufacturing lines to solid without changing facilities, equipment, or processes.”

Solidion takes this a step further by combining SiOx particles with graphene sheets, resulting in the creation of graphene-encapsulated SiOx particles. This helps provide excellent reversible capacity and cycle efficiency, the company says, ensuring optimal performance over multiple cycles.

Like recent coverage of “drop-in production,” Solidion’s solid-state batteries can be manufactured at scale using current lithium-ion cell production facilities; eliminating the massive investment and multi-year wait and enabling the fastest time-to-market for new solid-state battery designs.

“We can convert liquid-electrolyte manufacturing lines to solid without changing facilities, equipment, or processes,” Jang said. The results, he said, will be significantly extended EV range, improved battery safety, lower cost per KWh, and fastest time-to-market. Jang further indicated that Solidion has developed next-gen cathodes with potential to replace expensive nickel and cobalt with sulfur (S) and other more abundant elements.