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| 3 minutes read

The next frontier in battery technologies

This week I had the pleasure to spend several hours with a fantastic start-up who are disrupting the battery industry with their world class testing and modelling software. Their SaaS solution provides leading materials companies, battery cell & pack manufacturers, automotive & e-mobility, and ESS customers with unique data to help optimise their battery design. 

While exploring their Labs with the Co-Founder (the inner geek in me was loving it!) one consistent theme kept coming up in discussion. 

How do you keep up with such a rapidly evolving battery landscape? 

It feels like each month a new battery type is launched or nex-gen breakthrough innovation is announced, and therefore it's a challenge to keep track of such disruption (especially when a lot of the claims out there are not actually tangible).

It got me thinking of some of the key trends I am expecting to see in the future. 

1️⃣ LFP expanding to LMFP

Lithium Iron Phosphate has become a popular cell type in the current battery landscape, especially since Tesla introduced LFP cells into their Model 3. LFP is a robust choice with high cycle stability, increased safety (less thermal runway risk), and easier and lower cost production. We've seen a surge in new LFP Gigafactory announcements in the US and in Europe recently. 

The drawback with LFP has always been the lower energy density compared to other cells like NMC. Tesla, as ever, are leading the way forward with plans to upgrade LFP with manganese to LMFP. This is expected to significantly boost energy density and lead to up to 10% range increase.

Once Tesla moves, we can expect a further market shift in this direction.

2️⃣ Silicon Anodes

Currently, almost all batteries have graphite anodes. It is a proven material that has helped the battery sector scale massively. However, graphite is heavy and can slow the speed of charge, and supplies are dominated by China.

Therefore, silicon is now being tipped to play a huge role in future anode mixes. It can help to significantly boost energy density and charging speeds (C-rate), and encouraging work is being done to reduce swelling and remove toxic materials from their production. 

Last year I had the chance to tour the pilot site of a Si-anode scale-up (are you sensing a theme here?) who are using proven industrial production techniques to produce mass scale thin silicon material making it perfect for existing battery manufacturing processes!

We've already seen the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT use silicon-based anode batteries and you can expect to see this become widespread as we enter the second half of the decade.

3️⃣ Sodium Batteries

Of course, lithium batteries are dominant when it comes to current EV and ESS usage. However, as electrification is expected to surge, the demand for lithium will grow and grow. We've already seen supply chain challenges this past few years, so imagine how things will look in 3, 5, 10 years time... 

Therefore, different chemistries like Sodium are becoming viable battery alternatives. Sodium is readily available, much lower cost than lithium, and offers high safety and durability. Of course, the challenge remains as to whether sodium can offer the performance levels of lithium, for EV applications, but I've seen first hand some wonderful scale-ups working on sodium batteries for low-mid range vehicles and stationary ESS, where it offers huge promise! 

It's not just at scale-up level though - we're already seeing the likes of BYD produce a small EV with sodium-ion cells this year and the world's largest cell manufacturer CATL producing sodium-ion cells, so you'd be foolish to bet against this technology having a big future!


I love reading about the new technological breakthroughs being developed and I'm very lucky to work with some of the amazing companies making this happen. What I love the most is how many collaborations we're seeing across the battery ecosystem - whether its start-up to start-up or start-ups and large industrial / OEMs joining forces to make innovation a reality. 

It is also refreshing to see how new regulations for domestic production and materials supply are coming into force in the UK and USA, as we loosen the grip from Chinese supply. This will allow more innovation to flourish and it certainly fills me with optimism that batteries will succeed in cleaning up transportation and industry. 

Fast forward another 5 years and who knows what technology we'll be seeing then!

Traction batteries’ properties in electric cars are continuously improving. Evolution instead of revolution – that is the reality of traction batteries. Most of the time, there is an increase in range, but the charging speed often goes up as well. Everything is heading in the right direction, yet some questions remain unanswered.


trends, batteries, energy storage