Ilika, pioneers of Solid State Battery (SSB) technology for electric vehicles, has started a six-month economic feasibility study with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to understand what is required to create a dedicated 100 MWh SSB manufacturing line within the UKBIC facilities.
Ilika’s Brendan McCarthy holding a Goliath solid state battery for electric vehicles. Photo credit UKBIC
The Ilika-led collaborative project is supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) through its Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) which aims to clarify the way forward for industrialisation of solid state batteries in the UK.
The project follows the recent successful APC-funded SOLSTICE project between Ilika and Comau, part of Stellantis, which concluded that there were no barriers to scaling-up Ilika’s Goliath solid state battery technology for electric vehicles and delivered a plant design for a megascale manufacturing facility. The project with the UK battery manufacturing development facility will now look at the cost implications of placing a megascale solid state battery line at UKBIC to enable Ilika’s Goliath electric vehicle batteries to be manufactured at scale.
If feasible, and in the best interests of UKBIC and Ilika, this line would support Ilika’s OEM customers’ validation and testing programmes, and would follow Ilika’s current plan to scale its pre-pilot line production capacity from 50 kWh per year to 2 MWh per year to meet current commitments.
Solid state batteries are seen as likely successors of lithium-ion batteries which are presently used in electric vehicles, with the market for SSB technologies for automotive and other applications expected to grow significantly in the future.
Ilika’s Goliath SSB technology is a unique solid state pouch cell, based on a solid oxide electrolyte and silicon anode. Being fully solid state, the batteries do not contain the liquid electrolyte present in lithium-ion batteries, leading to potential improvements in terms of power and energy both at cell and pack level, through simplified packaging, battery management and cooling systems.
Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC said: “We’re really interested to see the outcomes of Ilika’s feasibility study. To fully decarbonise the automotive sector we have to transition the EV supply chain at scale and pace and this study will explore opportunities for the UK to rapidly grow manufacturing in some of the most globally advanced and in-demand vehicle technologies, which in turn will lead to highly-skilled jobs and green growth.”
Jeff Pratt, UKBIC’s Managing Director, commented: “This feasibility study with Ilika has the potential to lead to a dedicated solid state line being built at UKBIC. With demand for electrification increasing, it’s important that there are a wide range of technologies available, for now, the mid-term and the long-term future. We’re excited to find out what the future holds for solid state batteries, a potentially game changing battery technology for the UK.”
Graeme Purdy, Ilika CEO, stated: "This project represents the next logical step in Ilika’s scale-up plans for its Goliath technology, building on important work in our earlier programmes. Ilika and UKBIC entered into a Framework Agreement at the end of 2020 on the basis that when the time was right, we would assess the feasibility of placing an Ilika megascale Solid State Battery line at the UKBIC facility, utilising the expertise and existing equipment alongside the bespoke solid state battery equipment identified in the SOLSTICE programme. The time is now right: the scale up of Ilika’s manufacturing capability for Goliath solid state batteries has gained strong momentum as we accelerate towards delivering the batteries to the automotive markets."