Japanese battery startup 3DOM develops next-gen rechargeable batteries

Japanese battery startup 3DOM develops next-gen rechargeable batteries

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3DOM, a Japanese startup that emerged out of Tokyo Metropolitan University in 2014 has announced that it has developed next-generation rechargeable batteries than can be used in green shipping or simply put, vessels.

“There are two types of next-generation batteries: a second-generation lithium-ion battery that maintains the energy density while reducing the risk of ignition and improving reliability; and a third-generation lithium-metal battery that significantly increases the energy density. Second generation batteries are scheduled to start mass production next year,” 3DOM said in its official statement.

An uptake in rechargeable batteries has also brought with some priority issues for the battery industry, such as: improved reliability, lower cost, higher energy density, and longer life. Therefore, reducing the dangers of battery-related fire while maintaining high energy density has become increasingly important for battery manufacturers around the world, including 3DOM.

The company has a developed proprietary technology of separator that separates the battery's cathode and anode and is currently developing a highly reliable battery by using a substance called polyimide.

"The separator and the next-generation batteries that we develop will be a promising solution,” said Hiromichi Aoki, Executive Vice President of 3DOM. “Although the issue we have now is a high cost, we believe that we will achieve higher reliability and energy density that can readily offset such cost.”

According to the company, to achieve higher energy density for the use of battery pack, it tackles two approaches: Improvement of the energy density of the cells that are the basis of the battery, and improvement of cell occupancy rate in a battery pack (that decreases as a result of fire spreading preventive measures) by way of developing highly reliable battery.

3DOM’s next-generation batteries are the second to fourth generations of existing lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.

Wherein, second-generation Li-ion batteries maintains the energy density and cycle life while using a more heat-resistant material to improve reliability; the third-generation is a lithium-metal battery, using lithium metal for the anode, that significantly increases the energy density and decreases cost, and the fourth-generation is a solid electrolyte battery that allows significant improvements in energy density and life cycle and lower cost.

"All the next generation batteries under development can be used for vessels. The cruising range will increase dramatically from the third generation," Aoki added. 

The company claims that it has successfully developed the second and third generation of batteries. 3DOM claims the second-generation batteries will start mass production by next year and will be deployed for the industrial applications market. The prototype is already completed. It is a pouch cell of 30Ah class, and the company is considering applying it on the products of LAVLE, an affiliate in the U.S. that handles electrification of vessels.

Additionally, the third-generation batteries is a 400Wh/kg class lithium metal battery, and the company has started evaluation sample work for communications equipment and unmanned aerial vehicles. As for the fourth-generation batteries, 3DOM claims it has succeeded in developing a large sample cell.

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