SoftBank, Enpower Verify High Energy Density Battery; Build Tech for Long Li-Ion Battery Life

SoftBank and US-based Enpower Greentech have successfully verified a high energy density (450+Wh/kg) lithium metal battery, and also developed core technologies that will extend the service life of lithium metal batteries.

March 15, 2021. By Manu Tayal

SoftBank and US-based Enpower Greentech have successfully verified a high energy density (450+Wh/kg) lithium metal battery, and also developed core technologies that will extend the service life of lithium metal batteries.

In March last year, both companies signed a joint research agreement for the development of lightweight, large capacity, and high specific energy density next generation batteries, with applications for IoT and cellular base stations.

Further, the core technologies developed thus far include an ultra-thin coating film (<10nm), which prevents dendrites from forming on the surface of lithium metal, and an electrolyte, which achieves both high voltage and high coulombic efficiency (charge-discharge efficiency).

In the future, both companies aim to apply the new technology to the 450Wh/kg cell to achieve an even longer battery life.

Enpower Greentech is a US startup company engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of next-generation batteries, including all-solid-state cells. It also has a research base in Japan. Since October 2017, the company has been collaborating on developing all-solid-state cell materials with a research team led by Prof. Goodenough.

Commenting on the development, Professor John Goodenough of the University of Texas at Austin and a Nobel laureate in chemistry, said “I am pleased to see the excellent work of the Enpower and SoftBank team on the development of advanced battery technologies and on applications that contribute to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). My research team is honored to contribute to this worthwhile effort from a fundamental materials science perspective, and I wish the Enpower and SoftBank team every success in this endeavor.”

SoftBank is currently undertaking a variety of initiatives aiming to narrow the digital divide, secure communication systems in the event of disasters, and reduce CO2 emissions. It believes that high-performance batteries will be essential in supporting the many technologies and devices that are necessary to tackle these challenges over the long term.

A 450Wh/kg battery, which is expected to be achieved using the material technologies jointly developed by SoftBank and Enpower, would have twice the energy density of lithium-ion batteries on the market today.

This battery will be applied not only to IoT devices and cellular base stations, but also to Sunglider, a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system designed for stratospheric communications (using High Altitude Platform Station, or HAPS, technology).

Meanwhile, the two companies said that they will continue to conduct various research activities into high-capacity next generation batteries to solve social issues through its business activities.

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