24M bags $3.2 million US Federal funding to develop Sodium-metal EV batteries
US battery tech firm 24M Technologies has been selected to receive $3.2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding is part of the ARPA-E Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living (EVs4ALL) program, which seeks to develop more affordable, convenient, efficient and resilient EV batteries.
"We are pleased to be chosen for this initiative and help strengthen the domestic supply chain for advanced batteries that power electric vehicles," said Naoki Ota, president and CEO of 24M. "The demand for lower-cost, higher-capacity batteries is greater than ever before. The current processes to manufacture lithium-ion batteries are approaching performance and cost limits and require an innovative manufacturing platform that improves performance while reducing costs", he added.
The company has said that it will partner with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to use its versatile 'SemiSolid' manufacturing platform to develop low-cost, fast-charging sodium metal batteries with good low-temperature performance for EVs.
Interestingly, the 24M cell design will incorporate an ultra-thick 'SemiSolid' cathode made up of advanced cobalt-free, nickel-free sodium cathode active material. Further, an advanced wide-temperature, fast-charging electrolyte developed using machine learning and automated high-throughput screening technology will also be integrated into the cell design, along with a sodium super-ionic conductor.
"As the U.S. Department of Energy looks to expand domestic adoption of electric vehicles, sodium metal batteries can play an important role in ensuring low costs for all consumers," said Dr. JunZheng Chen, director of advanced R&D at 24M. "This funding will help us develop, manufacture and deliver these batteries at scale."
The ultra-thick SemiSolid electrode architecture has been commercially demonstrated with exceptionally high energy density using lithium-ion chemistry.
Leveraging the 24M chemistry-agnostic SemiSolid manufacturing platform and modular approach to battery cell design, the team will apply this to sodium chemistry, paving the way for fast-charging, high energy density and low-cost batteries ideal for the EVs4ALL program, according to the company's press statement.