24M is one of many MIT spin-offs started by serial inventor and entrepreneur Yet-Ming Chiang. (Another is Sublime Systems, which has pioneered the use of low carbon cement that dramatically reduces the carbon emissions associated with concrete.) In a press release dated October 24, 2023, the company announced it would unveil its new 24M Electrode To Pack system at the Japan Mobility Show that began October 26.
The description offered by the company sounds pretty revolutionary. “The 24M Electrode To Pack (ETOP) system is a streamlined battery pack system that features electrodes packaged directly into the battery pack, removing the need for individual cells and modules.”
24M Electrode To Pack System Advantages
Prior to 24M ETOP™, cell manufacturers, automotive OEMs, and energy storage integrators built battery packs and modules from individual cells. However, current lithium-ion battery cells have a large fraction of inactive, non-charge carrying materials — supporting metals and plastics — within a cell’s casing. These inactive materials reduce module and energy density and add unnecessary expense and waste. Enabled by the 24M Unit Cell design, the 24M ETOP™ technology eliminates unnecessary cell materials within the battery pack and allows manufacturers to achieve the highest energy density available at the pack level while cutting costs, according to the press release.
“24M ETOP™ will be a game-changer for electric mobility and energy storage systems because it delivers unmatched energy density,” said Naoki Ota, 24M President and CEO. “This innovative new battery technology is enabled by our Unit Cell technology and is reflective of what’s yet to come from 24M. We are moving beyond our core technology — the 24M SemiSolid™ manufacturing platform — into a company with a revolutionary technology set that will deliver truly transformative solutions for a better energy future. 24M ETOP™ will be a game changer for electric mobility and energy storage systems because it delivers unmatched energy density.” [Nowhere in the press release does the company actually offer any technical details.]
24M Electrode To Pack Features
The 24M ETOP™ system delivers dramatic improvements in several key areas:
- Performance — Achieve electrode (not cell) packing efficiencies of over 70%, the highest pack-level volume utilization efficiency available.
- Cost — In addition to its streamlined process and decreased materials usage, it enables unit electrodes to be connected in a combination of series and parallel — an industry first. By eliminating additional connection components, it also further reduces the overall pack cost.
- Range and Cycle Life — Higher packing efficiencies and energy density provide benefits for both EV and ESS applications, boosting range and capacity.
- Safety — The 24M SemiSolid™ Electrode and Unit Cell technology continues to provide unmatched safety when subjected to mechanical abuse.
- Pack Design Flexibility — The 24M Unit Cell can be connected in series, parallel and a combination of series and parallel directly within a pack, enabling configurations that are no longer bound or limited by individual cell voltage (V) and capacity (Ah).
24M answers the world’s need for affordable energy storage, the company says, by offering a revolutionary battery manufacturing and product design platform, technology set, and process enabled by the 24M SemiSolid and Unit Cell manufacturing platform.
By re-inventing today’s battery manufacturing methods and product design, 24M solves the critical, decades old challenge associated with the world’s preferred energy storage products and technologies — reducing their high cost while improving their performance, safety and recyclability. Founded and led by some of the battery industry’s foremost inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs, 24M is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
24M & Freyr Collaboration
24M is the successor to A123, one of the early leaders in lithium-ion battery technology. According to Business Wire, 24M took a big step towards commercializing its semi-solid technology when it announced a licensing agreement with Norway’s Freyr in January, 2021. Freyr will produce 24M battery cells in its battery factory in Mo i Rana for use in automotive, maritime applications, and energy storage. That factory will have an annual capacity of 45 GWh — not huge, but not inconsequential either.
On its website, Freyr says,”Our business plan leverages a phased development approach utilizing deep partnership-based strategies, including in-licensing of next-generation technologies and joint venture partnerships of proven OEM platforms. This dual technology strategy enables responsive industrial scaling of battery cell capacity in our modularized and flexible production facilities. [We] committed to being a competent and reliable R&D partner driving continuous business process innovation through collaboration.”
Volkswagen Group took a 25% stake in 24M in 2022. The strategic partnership secures the manufacturer access to 24M SemiSolid technology for its next-gen lithium-ion batteries. Besides Volkswagen and Freyr, 24M counts Kyocera, Itochu, GPSC, and Fujifilm among its clients and partners. In 2019, Kyocera began commercial production and sales of its Enerezza home energy storage product using the 24M SemiSolid and Unit Cell technology.
The company says proudly that it is solving the grand challenges for a better energy future by revolutionizing the lithium-ion cell manufacturing process and platform. “We provide a simpler, more reliable, safer manufacturing process that accelerates production while lowering the costs of existing and next-generation cell technology for electric mobility, aerospace, stationary power, and lead-acid replacement opportunities.”
We have often said the batteries that will power the future of clean energy and clean transportation have not been invented yet. The battery in an electric car today will be a relic destined for the Smithsonian Institute by the time the next decade rolls around. Costs will fall while energy density rises, giving the electric cars and trucks of the future more range and more power, but at lower cost.
The first gasoline engines were crude affairs. It has taken over 100 years of development to make them into the durable and efficient marvels they are today. The same technological advances will happen with batteries as well.
I am not a scientist, nor have I ever played one on TV, but the description of the new 24M ETOP system, which will permit connecting batteries in series, in parallel, or both, sounds to my uneducated ear like a giant step forward, one that may be akin to the transformation that happened in electronics when the transistor first appeared in consumer products.
Is that too dramatic? Possibly, but then again, maybe not. There are dozens of claims about revolutionary battery breakthroughs that pour into the CleanTechnica newsroom on a daily basis. Some of them are vaporware; some sound good on paper but never make it out of the laboratory and into commercial production. This announcement from 24M has the feel of an actual breakthrough, one that will lead the realms of electric transportation and energy storage in a whole new direction.
Should we mark today as a turning point in battery technology? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
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