In August 2021, NEO Battery Materials, a Vancouver-based company focused on lithium-ion battery materials for electric vehicle and energy storage applications (earlier post), announced the strategic decision to upscale its originally planned pilot plant to a semi-commercial scale facility, effectively increasing production capacity 12-fold from 10 tons to 120 tons per year.
With the final site approval, NEO has now additionally doubled the initial target annual silicon anode production capacity to 240 tons on the same mass-production lines and has consequently renamed the semi-commercial plant into a commercial-scale plant facility to accommodate for industry capacity standards.
The full-fledged facility, after installing the maximum number of mass-production lines through expansion, will have the capacity to manufacture 2,000 tons of its proprietary silicon anode materials NBMSiDE per year.
The commercial-scale expansion can be attributed to a more lean and optimized manufacturing method with cost efficiencies to be realized through converting into a continuous process compared to a batch process.
NEO’s patented technology utilizes an ion-conductive elastomer nanocoating layer for silicon anodes. The technology effectively scatters the stress from the Si anode, compensating the mechanical stress during long-term cycling.
” three types of products, NBMSiDE-P100, NBMSiDE-P200, and NBMSiDE-C100 are manufactured through NEO’s proprietary nanocoating technology and are based on metallurgical-grade silicon with purities of at least 99.95%. NEO’s products have all achieved an initial coulombic efficiency (ICE) greater than 86%, and high specific capacity (>2500 mAh/g).
In addition, an ICE of 92% or higher can be attained when NEO’s silicon is mixed with existing graphite anodes. NEO’s technology significantly improves the life span and cycling stability compared to conventional metallurgical silicon-based particles.
With a 5% loading of NEO’s silicon into the anode material of the lithium-ion battery, which implies a 19-to-1 ratio between graphite and silicon, the initial capacity of the commercial plant will be able to supply to 160,000 electric vehicles.
Moreover, NEO has initiated the architecture and design process of the plant and has currently received proposals from multiple architect offices in South Korea. The company, concurrently, has been negotiating with a third-party for the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) contract to both facilitate and accelerate the commercialization process as a turn-key basis.