A team of Korean scientists succeeded in developing silicon oxide nano powder, which is a cathode material for lithium ion batteries which can double the capacities of electric car batteries. Accordingly, the new material will double electric vehicles’ travel distances. When the material are mass-produced starting next January, electric vehicles powered by this material will be able to run 500km on one charge.
The research team led by Dr. Jang Bo-yoon of the Korea Institute of Energy Research announced on March 7 that they succeeded in developing the technology and know-how on silicon oxide nano powder, which is a cathode material for lithium ion batteries based on nanotechnology.
Silicon oxide nano powder made using this technique includes silicon that is highly reactive with lithium. When applied to a lithium ion battery, the powder can quadruple energy capacities compared to current graphite anode materials. "Materials that determine the performances of lithium-ion batteries are divided into anodes and cathodes. We have developed a new anode material," said Dr. Jang. "We can double the capacities of lithium-ion batteries with the new material."
In particular, based on only low-cost silicon raw materials of about two to three US dollars per kilogram and the use of an induction melting apparatus, the silicon oxide nano powder is expected to reduce production cost 30% to 50% compared to Japanese silicon oxide nano powder, the only commercialized product in the world.
The researchers are engaging in research and development for product production and sales together with a company that received the technology. Based on this, the company will mass-produce the product as early as January next year and supply them to battery manufacturers including Tesla around the world.
Meanwhile, the world lithium secondary battery market is expected to reach US$ 18.54 billion in 2013, with an annual average growth rate of 18.49%. This year the market is projected to hit US$43.3 billion this year.