Until now, the energy storage field has had two options to try to drive down costs - build massive and complex factories to produce lithium-ion batteries in high volumes or pursue entirely new chemistries that may never move from the lab to the commercial floor. With the invention of the semisolid lithium-ion battery, 24M is aiming to present a third option - work with the world's preferred energy storage chemistry and unlock new opportunities for cost reductions through new cell design and manufacturing innovations.
"The lithium-ion battery is a brilliant, enabling technology, but its economics are flawed. It's prohibitively expensive; it's cumbersome and inefficient to make; and today's version is approaching the limits of its cost reductions," said Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, 24M's Chief Scientist. "24M has fixed the flaws. We've made the world's favorite battery better, fundamentally changing its cost curve by designing a more elegant and simpler cell and then making the batteries the right way – the way they should have been made from day one."
24M's cell design is made possible by the semisolid thick electrode – a material science innovation that originated in Dr. Chiang's lab at MIT. Conventional lithium-ion battery cells have a large fraction of inactive, non-charge carrying materials – supporting metals and plastics – that are layered, one-on-top of the other, within a cell's casing. Those inactive materials are expensive and wasteful. With the invention of the semisolid thick electrode, 24M eliminates more than 80% of the inactive materials and increases the active layer thickness over traditional lithium-ion by up to 5x. Using thick electrodes, the cell also stores more energy, bettering the performance of the battery as well as its cost.