US-based advanced battery materials leader, Ionic Mineral Technologies (Ionic MT) offers drop-in nano-silicon (Ionisil) solutions to boost power capacity and enhance the charging speed for lithium-ion batteries.
Enabling sustainable and efficient transportation solutions, Ionisil provides a breakthrough technology that enables battery cell manufacturers to achieve higher energy densities and faster charging times than previously possible. Talking about the market scenario and development of advanced anode materials in lithium-ion battery, Aishwarya from EV Mechanica had a brief talk with Andre Zeitoun, CEO of Ionic MT.
- Availability of raw materials decides the fate of any emerging business. Being a supplier of advanced anode materials, tell us about your key offerings in EV domain?
That is 100% correct and we feel that this point is one of the key competitive advantages of Ionic MT. We are the only vertically integrated producer of nano-silicon, which is derived from our own world class halloysite deposit in Utah, U.S.A. This, coupled with our proprietary continuous process, enables our customers to feel that they can rely on a consistent product without the concern of supply disruptions or pricing volatility.
- Working in enhancing the performance and efficiency of electric vehicles, mention the test procedures Ionic MT’s products go through before the launch?
We have a rigorous quality control standard. Each run of material first goes through XRD, XRF, BET surface area, particle size analysis and bulk density testing to ensure that the specification of our product is consistent with each run.
After that, we make batteries and put them through several cycles to ensure that the material exhibits the same capacity, stability and performance that is expected. Only after this testing is complete, do we feel comfortable dispatching samples to our customers.
- Key challenges the company faced while developing advanced materials for lithium-based batteries.
The key challenges we face are quite common to everyone in the silicon anode battery space. The challenge is to make a material with a balance of high capacity and high initial coulombic efficiency (ICE) that is very stable over many hundreds of cycles during fast charging. That has been a big objective of the industry and we are proud that our team has been able to deliver a solution in a short period of time.
- As world’s leading producer of drop-in nano-silicon anode powders, what makes Ionic MT’s Generation 1 Ionisil nano-silicon product for battery makers different?
The big differentiator is that we are making 100% nano-silicon powder that is a true drop in full or partial substitution of graphite. Most of our competitors are making silicon carbon composites with much lower capacity, that when blended with graphite by the cell manufacturers, does not deliver the same increase in performance as our 100% Si drop in solution provides.
- Mention your strategy for expansion and what’s your take on sustainability and carbon neutrality?
We currently have a 36,000 ft2 manufacturing facility under construction that will be complete in September this year. This new facility will give us the ability to be in production with 2,000 metric tons per year of nano-silicon starting Q1 2024 and then we plan to scale into 20,000-30,000 tons in 2025. Our process runs on a combination of electricity and natural gas. As our carbon emissions are significantly low in our process and because we utilize a very low temperature reduction process, we believe we have the lowest CO2/ton of Si produced in the industry.
- Any upcoming projects or research Ionic MT is currently working on?
We have many active development projects in place with potential end use customers and are always working on optimizing the properties of our material to address the needs of our customers.