Production of Silicon Particles for High-Capacity Anode Material Yielding Outstanding Production Capacity

Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Center and Right Foyers (Moon Palace Resort)
H. F. Andersen, J. P. Mæhlen, H. Klette (Institute for Energy Technology), A. Ulvestad (University of Oslo, Institute for Energy Technology), W. Filtvedt, M. Kirkengen, T. T. Mongstad (Institute for Energy Technology), P. J. S. Vie (Institute for Energy Research), and A. Holt (Institute for Energy Technology)
Silicon is proven to have a great potential as an anode material in lithium-ion batteries due to its high theoretical electrochemical capacity. The standard, commercial graphite anode has a theoretical capacity of less than 400 mAh/g, whereas the silicon anode can potentially deliver a tenfold capacity as a result of multiple Li-ion incorporation in the structure. However, silicon anodes deteriorate quickly during cyclic charging and discharging, rendering them useless in only a few cycles. This has been attributed to stresses induced by the large volume change of the material during cycling. The methods explored in order to overcome these problems such as using lithography, advanced nanotechnology, incorporation of silicon in carbon nanotubes or similar methods are too slow and too expensive for commercial use.  

This work presents results from using a silane-based decomposition reactor in order to produce silicon particles with a suitable nanostructure for use in lithium-ion battery anodes. The silane gas is decomposed in a controlled environment at a temperature of 500-600 °C. The current pilot reactor has demonstrated production of up to 350 g/hour in an easily up-scalable lab version. Particles of diameter ranging from 50 nm and up to 500 nm have been produced with relatively narrow size distribution. This method may produce both amorphous and crystalline particles and the surface of the particles can be terminated by hydrogen or other elements if desired.

The silicon particles were mixed with an organic binder in an aqueous slurry and coated on a Cu-foil, The electrochemical performance was tested with CR-2032 coin cells. In the course of the presented work studies of cyclic voltammetry, cycling stability (Figure 1), voltage profiles and electrochemical impedance were performed. Besides electrochemical methods, SEM (Figure 2), XRD, ICP-MS and particle size distribution measurements were implemented. The silicon particles achieved a high capacity, relatively good stability, as well as a high yield and production capacity. Further developments on the silicon particles, such as doping of Si and in-line surface coating, are feasible.