Dutch startup E-magy claims to be able to increase the energy efficiency of batteries by replacing graphite with a silicon material it's developed, which also manages to avoid some of the pitfalls of conventional silicon. E-magy now sells this developed material to battery manufacturers.
The firm has managed to raise €15m from Hydro, an industrial company; Invest-NL, the Dutch government's financing arm; and Dutch impact funds Shift Invest and Rubio Impact Ventures. The company also successfully secured €5.5m through a subsidy from the Dutch national growth fund program. The lithium-ion battery comprises two parts: the cathode and the anode. When the battery charges, lithium ions flow from the cathode to the anode - and vice versa when energy discharges from the battery.
“We focus on the anode,” says E-magy CEO and founder Casper Peeters, “which today is typically made of graphite.”
However, graphite has a relatively low capacity for absorbing lithium ions, despite being the standard in the industry. This is the problem.
“You need a lot of it to absorb the lithium ions. What is known in the industry is that, if you replace the graphite with silicon, you can store more lithium ions. So that means more energy in the battery,”
- he continues.
The tech developed by E-magy may solve the issue of sillicon swelling. It has developed a version of silicon with microscopic porous particles, which will remove the swelling issue. E-magy is seeing tremendous interest from Asia and increasingly from Europe too. Their focus now is to increase their production facilities in the Netherlands to meet new demand.