Over the next decade, AGC and Schlenk will work in close collaboration with GDI and provide technology, raw materials, know-how, and services required for the alliance to grow production of GDI’s 100% silicon anode to industrial scale with the goal of achieving 100 MWh in 2024, one GWh of anode production capacity in 2026 and 10GWh capacity in 2028.
Electrification across multiple sectors is creating increased global demand for Li-ion batteries that have higher energy density, faster charging, and are safe. Furthermore, in response to the risk of dependency on battery raw materials sourced in China, European Commission President von der Leyen has said “we are experiencing a global race for the supply and recycling of critical raw materials.”
The three-party alliance, led by GDI, aims to meet these needs by sourcing and manufacturing next-generation 100% silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries in Europe. GDI will accelerate the commercialization and scale up of this next generation anode by leveraging existing AGC and Schlenk manufacturing facilities and capabilities, talented teams, and over 250 years of combined business expertise. This demonstrates the synergy between GDI’s cutting edge silicon technology, and mature company operations at AGC and Schlenk, to bring the best aspects of startups and large enterprises into one team.
GDI’s proven, patented technology uses a unique 100% silicon anode design. It allows for an increase of more than 30% in energy density for advanced Li-ion batteries, and for safe and reliable fast charging from 10-75% in 15 minutes over 500 times to 80% State of Health. However, two additional aspects are needed to have technological and commercial success. Firstly, the expansion of the silicon during lithiation and need for great adhesion between the silicon and copper requires advanced high strength copper substrates. Schlenk is a global leader in ultra-thin high-performance metal foils and has recently launched its rolled High Tensile Alloy (HTA) copper foils that can achieve up to 100% higher tensile strengths compared with electrodeposited copper foils. Their experienced R&D team continues to optimize the chemistries further with GDI for ultimate adhesion, higher energy and superior lifetime of the silicon anode layer.
Secondly, the manufacturing has to be significantly scalable, cost efficient, and with high yields and utilization of precursors. AGC has recently launched its PlasmaMAXTM systems. They are state of the art and the industry-first PECVD solution for mass production of large area coating with superior quality, unparalleled uniformity control, and very high precursor utilization rates. These manufacturing lines are capable of millions of square meters of plasma coating per year at AGC facilities across Europe. As a result AGC is a global leader in coated glass with over 40% of the automotive and architectural glass market. In unison this will allow for massive scale, high performance, and excellent quality and durability.
The first manufacturing site is in Eindhoven, the Netherlands where the pilot production line will have annual capacity of >300kWh by the end of 2022. In the next phase, GDI and AGC are aiming to install a commercial scale line with 100MWh of annual capacity by Q2 2024 inside an ISO certified AGC factory, thus making GDI a world leader in production capacity of 100% silicon anodes. To maintain this market leadership the Alliance will scale to Gigawatt hours of roll-to-roll silicon copper anode production by 2026.
“I’m extremely excited about what this alliance will accomplish. By combining GDI’s 100% silicon anode technology with Schlenk’s leading high strength foil production, and AGC’s best in class production equipment, we can bring a vertically integrated anode to the EU battery market. I am humbled to work with two companies with over 100 years of business excellence each. Startups are seen as risky and have great difficulty figuring out how to scale new products and turn hype into reality. These two historically innovative stalwarts have years of know-how and expertise that we can leverage to position GDI as a global leader in 100% silicon anodes for Li-ion battery production” says Robert Anstey, the CEO and Founder of GDI.
“This alliance not only puts AGC at the forefront of growing and innovative industries, but also enables us to meet our sustainability and on-shoring commitments.” says Hugues Wiame, the General Manager of AGC Plasma Technology Solutions.
“We are delighted to be part of a strategic alliance which brings together the best manufacturers in Europe with innovative technology from the U.S. to address the needs of advanced and scaled Li-ion battery production in the EU for the EV and sustainability markets”, says Carsten Mohr, Executive Vice President of Schlenk Metal Foils.
The signing of the MoU took place at The Business Booster event, the annual international networking event run by EIT InnoEnergy, the innovation engine for sustainable energy supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, a body of the European Union (EU), that showcases 150+ sustainable energy technologies under one roof.