Quebec — Innovative silicon solutions provider HPQ Silicon Resources Inc. (“HPQ” or the “Company”); is pleased to announce that, in addition to manufacturing samples of porous Silicon nanopowders of different sizes (2 nm to 1 µm) and pore structures (Microporous (<5nm), Mesoporous (5nm – 50nm) or Macroporous (>50nm)), HPQ Silicon R&D consortium member Apollon Solar of France has also commenced evaluation of different carbon encapsulating processes for Silicon nanopowders.
As part of this HPQ – led effort, Apollon has delivered the first batch of carbon-coated nano silicon powders to Professor Lionel Roué team at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) for evaluation.
Other batches of silicon materials (coated and non-coated) are being prepared and will be sent to the INRS for evaluations over the coming weeks.
ACCELERATING R&D ON NANO SILICON POWDERS CARBON COATING
Apollon proposed that in addition to carbon-coating their porous Silicon nanopowders they could use commercially available but expensive (US$ 22,500 per Kg)1 nano silicon powders to evaluate the efficiency of different carbon coating processes. Using powders with the same characteristic as the powders to be produced by HPQ NANO PUREVAP™ NANO SILICON REACTOR should reduce our R&D timeline and give us valuable insight moving forward.
“Producing carbon-coated nano silicon powders for testing this early in the process is another demonstration of the depth and flexibility of HPQ’s R&D consortium. HPQ is committed to staying at the forefront of Silicon for batteries R&D. This latest effort is part of our plan to produce products for renewable energy storage participants and electric vehicle manufacturers who continue to search for cost-effective ways of increasing the Silicon contained in their batteries,” said Bernard Tourillon, President and CEO HPQ Silicon. “Silicon’s potential to meet energy storage demand is undeniable, generating massive investments, and serious industry interest. We are very confident that demand for the Silicon materials we will produce, with our low-cost scalable processes, will be high demand by batteries and EV manufacturers in this renewable energy revolution.”
SILICON POTENTIAL FOR BATTERY ANODE MATERIAL BECOMES MAINSTREAM
Tesla’s latest battery day presentation confirmed that the future of battery anodes will include Silicon. Tesla’s “…plans on removing graphite from the anode …”2, points to the need for innovative silicon solutions which HPQ is focused on, to make Silicon-based anodes technically and economically feasible for the production of more efficient rechargeable Li-batteries.
Presently, Silicon is used in a blended form with graphite and typically only represents around 5% by wt, which explains the limited performance improvements achieved to date. The primary hurdle to increasing Silicon anode content in Li-ion batteries is the mitigation of Silicon swelling and cracking during the lithiation phase3 in order to achieve a cycling stability comparable to graphite.
Ongoing R&D indicates that the two most promising avenues for resolving these issues are:
1. Nano sizing Silicon powders to eliminate cracking during the lithiation phase.
2. Encapsulating the Silicon in order to improve its swelling and cracking characteristics.
HPQ is in the forefront of addressing these issues with the PUREVAP™ NSiR process and our ongoing work on porous silicon nanopowders and carbon coating nano silicon.
1) Price paid by Apollon
2) NBCFM September 23, 2020 Research Flash
3) The incorporation of lithium into an electrode in a lithium-ion battery [LINK]