Damian Breen, Explores US Companies Vying With China for the Future of the Battery Market

Martinez, CA, 15th June 2023, ZEX PR WIRE, The world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer, China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL),  recently made headlines by announcing a new condensed battery with double the energy output of equivalent-sized lithium-ion cells. 

CATL’s new battery relies on condensed electrolytes, ultra-high energy density cathode materials, innovative anode materials and separators. While technical details are scarce, CATL claims that these batteries are suitable for both automotive and aviation applications. 

The battery’s high energy density could potentially power a Tesla Model S for up to 1,000 miles on a single charge, making it a significant development for electric vehicles and even aircraft. This breakthrough has sparked competition with three California-based companies that aim to challenge China’s lithium-ion dominance. 

Lyten Inc., Amprius Technologies, and QuantumScape are making groundbreaking advancements in lithium battery chemistry that promise to revolutionize transportation. Their ultimate objective is to create cheaper, lighter, faster-charging, more energy-dense, and longer-lasting batteries. 

Lyten Inc. (San Jose, CA)

Lyten is developing technology that eliminates the need for cobalt and nickel cathodes in lithium batteries. Their Lytcell EV battery uses a sulfur cathode and lithium anode, which makes it lighter and more energy-dense than current lithium cells. 

This company’s battery chemistry, featuring 3D graphine as a stabilizing structure, addresses the challenges associated with sulfur cathodes. The company aims to achieve energy densities of 600 Watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) by the end of the decade. 

This will enable the electrification of all transportation, including aircraft. Moreover, Lyten’s batteries can potentially produce 65% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional lithium batteries.

In 2022, Lyten secured funding through the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) program. This financial support saw Lyten’s production facility in San Jose expand from an initial area of 55,000 square feet to a substantial 145,000 square feet.

On May 25, 2023, Lyten made an additional announcement regarding investment from Stellantis Ventures, a Dutch firm. 

This fresh injection of funds will enable the company to explore applications of its 3D graphene technology in sectors beyond transportation. Furthermore, Lyten plans to make more exciting announcements later this year.

Amprius Technologies (Fremont, CA)

Amprius has introduced a silicon anode battery with an energy density of 500 Wh/kg, capable of revealing CATL’s battery in aerospace applications. By using silicon nanowires, the company overcomes the expansion and delamination issues typically associated with silicon anodes.

These batteries offer faster charging, lighter weight, and can operate in a wide range of temperatures. However, Amprius’s batteries require a custom chemical vapor deposition process for anode production and still rely on conventional cathode construction, including precious metals.

QuantumScape (San Jose, CA)

QuantumScape has revolutionized battery design that replaces liquid electrolytes and traditional graphite anodes with a solid ceramic separator and an in-situ-formed lithium metal anode. Their solid-state battery technology promises safer, more energy-dense, and faster-charging batteries. 

QuantumScape’s product is cathode agnostic, allowing for the use of non-precious metals thus reducing the battery’s environmental impact. The company has garnered significant investments from prominent entities such as Volkswagen and has delivered prototype solid-state batteries to its automotive customers for testing.

Conclusion

These California companies are leveraging domestic supply chains, cleaner electricity for manufacturing, and alternative materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution associated with battery production. With significant investments from the US government, as well as partnerships with automakers, these companies are on track to deliver revolutionary battery solutions.

About Damian Breen

Damian Breen is the founder of Environmental Communications Strategies and former Deputy Executive Officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. He has nearly three decades of professional experience spanning wastewater management, air quality, technology, regulatory affairs, and government sectors.

For more information about Damian Breen and  Environmental Communication Strategies, please visit www.ecs-ca.com.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Funds Pulse journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.