Group14 Technologies signs five major offtake agreements in boost to next-generation silicon anode production

News Analysis




Group14 Technologies signs five major offtake agreements in boost to next-generation silicon anode production

Group14 Technologies, a US-based silicon anode producer, announced on the 4th May the signing of five multi-year binding offtake agreements with three electric vehicle (EV) and two consumer electronic cell manufacturers across Europe, Asia and North America. These deals represent a combined contract value of over US$300M. 

Group14 is currently looking to ramp up mass production of its silicon-carbon composite anode material (trademarked SCC55) globally. As things stand, Group14 has been manufacturing SCC55 at the tonne scale since 2021 at Moses Lake, Washington, with its second facility targeting 4,000tpy (or 20GWh) from 2024. Outside of the US, Group14 has a joint venture (JV) with SK Inc in South Korea where it is targeting 2,000tpy using its modular manufacturing approach. These offtake deals therefore mark a crucial step along the timeline towards series manufacturing for next-generation anodes. With offtake commitments, Group14 can look towards the scale-up and qualification of its material for a wide range of applications, which would further demonstrate the technology’s applicability in the broader market.  

Silicon-based anodes are promised as viable alternatives for future anode capacity. Graphite-silicon oxide composite anodes are currently widespread in many lithium-ion batteries to boost capacity at the anode, but limitations exist with how much silicon can be added before the negative aspects of silicon start to take hold. During lithiation and delithiation, silicon expands and contracts by up to 300%. These volume fluctuations pulverise the anode active material (AAM) and result in greater solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) growth and capacity fade. These volume fluctuations are one of the major challenges facing silicon anode producers, as the cycle life of cells must be high for EV applications.  

Silicon oxide looks to reduce this effect through the formation of physical lithium silicate buffers, but at the expense of a reduced achievable capacity. Silicon-carbon composites, such as Group14’s technology, looks to approach this is a different way through a porous carbon matrix, which requires a system that is considerably more complex, both at the anode level and the manufacturing level. These complexities therefore bring additional costs to production, resulting in material that is best suited to the more premium end of the market initially.