Nexeon and Panasonic: A partnership driving the next generation of battery performance

Nexeon, a leader in silicon anode technology, partners with Panasonic to enhance EV battery performance. The collaboration promises increased vehicle range and reduced charging time.

24 July 2023

Dashboard of an electric vehicle showing the battery gauge fully charged.

In the not-too-distant future, batteries containing Nexeon’s unique anode materials will have the capacity both to transform consumers’ experience of personal electronic devices, wearables, and electronic vehicles and to deliver grid-scale storage infrastructure for renewable energy systems. Clearly, consumers and businesses will value these product enhancements, but more importantly, this technology has the capacity to make a very significant impact on the battle to reduce carbon emissions and limit the impact of human-generated climate change.

Nexeon is committed to developing and manufacturing world-class battery materials that make this hope a reality. Here’s what you need to know about this groundbreaking company and what sets it apart.

Why Nexeon?

Nexeon is paving the way as a global leader in the development of next-generation silicon-based anode materials that will significantly enhance battery performance.

The world of battery technology is inherently complex. High-performance batteries must be compatible with all sorts of different devices and environments, from wearables through the differing demands of EVs to grid-scale storage systems, and Nexeon’s sustainably manufactured materials are appropriate for all these applications.

But what’s so great about silicon?

Silicon has ten times higher specific capacity than graphite and so is capable of holding more energy in a given mass. Put simply, this means that batteries using silicon rather than graphite in their anodes have much higher energy density delivering significantly improved performance and more flexible form factors.

But while silicon has these inherent energy density advantages over graphite, it is a challenging material to work with. These challenges arise from the significant expansion and contraction of silicon materials when battery cells are charged and discharged. Importantly, Nexeon has successfully overcome all these hurdles with the development of its NSP1 and NSP2 flagship materials, making silicon anodes a viable and transformative battery technology solution at scale.

NSP2

NSP2 is a proprietary anode structure that benefits from the full specific capacity of silicon, making for a suitable replacement for graphite. Characteristically homogenous, NSP2 has the following impressive properties:

  • Silicon-based composite powder designed for silicon dominant anodes with very high capacity
  • Unique internal expansion mitigation particle design enables an extremely long cycle life
  • Silicon-rich core delivers high Li capacity
  • Low surface area gives high cycling efficiency
  • ‘Drop-in’ micron-sized powder fully compatible with industry-standard processing methods
  • Cathode agnostic

NSP1

NSP1 replaces a smaller percentage of the graphite while leveraging the higher specific capacity of silicon. Silicon continues to expand within the structure but doesn’t degrade the cell, thus improving cycle life.

Nexeon’s Technology Explored

Nexeon’s technology is backed by over 15 years of research and over 170 patents, with more than 70 additional patents pending. Its battery materials are compatible with all lithium-ion battery cells, binders and cathodes and with existing manufacturing processes. It has two R&D centres in the United Kingdom and Japan and has recently set up an office in South Korea.

Nexeon’s materials have been tested extensively across the industry by battery manufacturers and their customers in all sorts of extreme environments and have delivered outstanding results when compared to existing technologies deployed across the industry.

Not sure how this translates? NSP2 is the best material tested by a number of automotive OEMs in terms of energy density and cycle life. The material also passes a very demanding 15-minute automotive fast charge test, and because of its low expansion characteristics, has been shown to perform in solid-state cell designs. This is just a tiny snapshot of how this innovative technology can transform the future of battery performance.

Founded by Industry Leading Experts

The Nexeon team is made up of individuals with extensive experience working within leading industrial companies, including the world’s largest silicon product manufacturer and start-ups in the chemical, life sciences and cleantech industries. Led by Dr Scott Brown, Chief Executive Officer and David Lamb, Chief Financial Officer, this is an impressive team with the skills and experience necessary to lead this business as it transitions from a research and development-focused enterprise to a scaled, fully commercial business.

Nexeon also has a highly experienced board of directors with ties to J.P. Morgan, Sumitomo Chemical, Dow Chemical, Morgan Advanced Materials, and other domain-relevant businesses across the chemical and engineering industries.

With offices and R&D centres in Oxford, UK, Yokohama, Japan, and South Korea, Nexeon is well-placed to work with the world’s leading battery manufacturers, all of which are based in Asia.

Breaking news: Nexeon and Pansonic Partnership

In a significant development that underscores Nexeon's industry-leading position, the company has recently announced a long-term supply agreement with Panasonic, a global giant in the battery industry. This partnership marks the first significant use of Nexeon’s energy-dense silicon anode materials in commercially supplied lithium-ion cells for electric vehicles (EVs).

Nexeon's advanced silicon-based anode material, which can increase the energy density of lithium-ion cells by up to 50%, will be integrated into Panasonic's lithium-ion cells starting from 2025. This breakthrough redefines the limits of energy density and heralds a new era of enhanced battery performance.

The next-generation 'drop-in' material allows Panasonic to use a much higher percentage of silicon in lithium-ion cell anodes compared to first-generation materials such as Silicon-oxide, without requiring critical changes to the cell manufacturing process or significant capital investment.

This partnership not only validates Nexeon's innovative technology but also promises to address key consumer concerns related to EVs, such as range anxiety and charging time. By increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, EV owners can look forward to increased vehicle range and reduced charging time. Additionally, the technology will enable automotive manufacturers to realize impactful cost savings on their EV battery pack systems.

"The partnership with Panasonic is a testament to the progress we have made with our battery material technology," said Scott Brown, CEO of Nexeon. "Our Silicon Anode material will bring dramatically improved vehicle range and charging speeds for EVs, helping to address drivers’ concerns and accelerate the transition to cleaner forms of mobility."

This collaboration is a significant step towards Nexeon's goal of accelerating the adoption of sustainable and more efficient battery technology to drive positive change on a global scale throughout the battery value chain.

The Future of Nexeon

Nexeon is transitioning from a business focused on improving and developing its technology to one now focused on commercialising it. The development phase has been long and hard and has been characterised by the need to overcome many significant challenges. The process of development never really ceases in a technology-led business, and Nexeon is already working on the next iteration of technological development in this space, solid-state batteries.

But the principal obsession of the business is now commercialising its existing product portfolio. This has again been a challenging process and has involved testing its technology in the hands of many potential customers in many different devices and developing the most cost-efficient and sustainable way to manufacture the materials. These considerable challenges are the ones that the business has successfully overcome. The next phase is to secure significant orders from battery manufacturing customers and to create the physical infrastructure to deliver those orders in the most cost-effective locations with guaranteed access to raw materials at the best possible price.

In the not-too-distant future, batteries containing Nexeon’s unique anode materials will have the capacity both to transform consumers’ experience of personal electronic devices, wearables, and electronic vehicles and to deliver grid-scale storage infrastructure for renewable energy systems. Clearly, consumers and businesses will value these product enhancements, but more importantly, this technology has the capacity to make a very significant impact on the battle to reduce carbon emissions and limit the impact of human-generated climate change.

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