Skip to main content

A novel manufacturing method to bring solid-state thin-film batteries to mass market

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TheBatteries (A novel manufacturing method to bring solid-state thin-film batteries to mass market)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-03-31

The main reason why Li-ion batteries are nearing their full potential is the limitation of its key component—liquid electrolyte. On the contrary, novel thin-film batteries with solid electrolyte (solid-state batteries) have twice the energy density, better performance and are safer to use.
However, the complexity of their manufacturing has not allowed them to enter mainstream consumer applications. Current production technologies make larger thin-film batteries excessively expensive—the cost per m2 increases exponentially with the size of the battery making a state-of-the-art thin-film solid-state battery for a smartphone cost €100+. This limits their use to market niches where small size and high capacity is crucial, making excessive price acceptable (e.g. medical implants and other similar devices).

At The Batteries Sp. z o. o. we are developing new types of plasma evaporation vacuum manufacturing equipment that provides an engineering breakthrough over the iterative development of vacuum technology that has been taking place since 1980s. Our manufacturing process finally makes economies of scale work in thin-film solid-state batteries production and make it economically viable to produce advanced thin-film batteries for such mass market applications as smartphones, smartwatches, wearables & other devices.

Our novel production equipment enables 2 key economic benefits: reduced production costs & increased production rates. Combined they make mass production of thin-film batteries feasible and therefore reduce the market challenge of energy storage.
Moreover, our product will have a positive environmental impact as it is easier to recycle thin film batteries than conventional Li-Ion or Li-Pol batteries as well as higher performance characteristics will enable for lengthening the electronic devices lifetime resulting in less waste and energy savings.

Our ultimate objective is to industrialize a novel manufacturing process for thin-film solid-state batteries and reach the annual production capacity of 1 GWh/year.
During the feasibility study, we gained a deeper understanding of the target addressable market. As we deep dived into the targeted users and their needs, we found niche markets that have the most urgent needs with regards to batteries’ performance parameters. We also took into account the technology readiness for each segment application – smaller batteries are easier to be developed in the early stage of the R&D and production. This enabled us to estimate the total addressable market value at € 10.8 bn in 2025 and temporarily exclude initial analysis go-to-markets such as smartphones and drones.
Taking into account our value proposition, we carried out a comprehensive segment prioritization to determine key priorities for our commercialization.
We updated the competitive landscape and risk assessment with the mitigation plan.
At The Batteries, we have developed an innovative manufacturing concept, which solves the major challenge facing thin-film batteries production – significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing and make it economically viable to produce advanced thin-film batteries for large applications.
Our unique manufacturing concept includes the combination of deposition methods (not previously viewed as suitable for mass production) with innovative in-line equipment, which in combination allows to significantly increase the production rate and lower the cost of production.
The primary objective of The Batteries project is to achieve 2 major breakthroughs in the manufacturing of thin film batteries:
• Significantly reduce the cost of production and
• Significantly increase the productivity rate of the deposition equipment.
Both factors should lead to a possibility of manufacturing of high capacity and high energy density thin film batteries (TFB) with economically reasonable price.
While keeping the current materials, battery design and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD), as a proven technology for TFB, our technological concept is based on the combination of cost efficient and highly productive PVD technologies with innovative in-line equipment, which in combination allows to significantly increase deposition rate and lower the cost of production.

Within next stage (2019-2021) we will industrialize our technology at the pilot facility and begin early stage production and trial cases of thin-film batteries for selected customers. Once successful, we will use the results of the trial cases to raise funding for the 2 MWh/year mass production plant with consequent production growth to 8 MWh/year within two years.
Our plan, spanning from July 2019 to December 2021, has three major aims. The first one is finalizing research and first serial product development (January 2020 to February 2021) consisting of acquiring certifications, undergoing batteries tests with partners and future clients as well as setting up and rollout of full-fledged distribution. The next key task is mass production design (July 2019 to December 2020) targeted at the development of mass production approach and documentation enabling for further rollout of production within the last “Mass production piloting and upscale” (August 2020 to December 2021).

Thin film technology provides fundamental improvements to all parts of the battery: anode, electrolyte and cathode. And thus overcomes other technologies, that provide only minor improvements to rechargeable batteries, making TFB superior to traditional batteries.

With our proprietary manufacturing process economies of scale would work in TFB production and would disrupt the market of rechargeable batteries and trigger overall shift towards solid-state batteries.

It would have wide impact to the market and society. Thin film batteries not only have superior parameters, longevity and safety. It is easier to recycle thin film batteries than conventional Li-Ion or Li-Pol batteries and with extended longevity they would reduce the use of resources and waste.
Design of a Thin film battery - a stack of thin-film cells assembled together to form a battery
High quality crystal structure of a thin film battery cathode
Beyond the state of art - technology benchmarking
Advantages of the Thin film batteries design in comparison with conventional batteries