24M unveils ‘dual electrolyte’ battery tech to unlock higher energy density

(Greentech Media, 20 Mar 2019) If commercialized, this design could produce lithium metal batteries that pack twice as much energy as what’s on the market today.

Battery materials startup 24M revealed Wednesday that it has developed a "dual electrolyte" architecture that could unlock significant gains in battery performance for electric vehicles.

The ongoing effort to improve lithium-ion batteries triggers a game of whack-a-mole, where upping one attribute, like energy density, can disrupt a different operating characteristic, like cycle life.

The dual electrolyte may avoid that fate, by allowing different electrolytes on the cathode and anode sides of the battery. That frees the designer from having to make one electrolyte work for both sides, so 24M can optimize each material independently.

“The moment you have the ability to separate, to choose the anolyte and catholyte, you have an opportunity to target very specific attributes,” said CFO Richard Chleboski.

Long-term, this could enable the elusive lithium metal battery, which packs far more energy in each cell than batteries on the market currently. That design suffers from dendrite formation on the anode side, which limits a battery’s useful life. Now, 24M could choose an anolyte to minimize dendrite formation, while picking a catholyte to handle higher voltages.

Other approaches, like solid-state batteries, are reportedly many years off from wide-scale commercialization. However, 24M says it would be able to drop its dual electrolyte design into its proprietary semi-solid electrolyte production lines.

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Greentech Media, 20 Mar 2019: 24M unveils ‘dual electrolyte’ battery tech to unlock higher energy density