SES scores exclusive supply deal for separators by ENTEK
Battery developer SES and ENTEK Membranes have announced an exclusive supply agreement for battery separator materials for SES’s recently unveiled hybrid lithium metal battery cell Apollo. The company is currently looking to scale up as it expects to supply GM and Hyundai-Kia in future.
Both SES (formerly SolidEnergy Systems) and ENTEK stress their innovative approaches for the deal at hand. Both also run offices in the US yet said they were sharing “a vision that is not limited by geography.” SES is headquartered in Boston, with operations in Singapore and Seoul. The MIT Spin-off recently announced plans for a production facility in Shanghai and crucially expects deals with General Motors and Hyundai-Kia. Both carmakers double as investors and customers expecting samples of the cells in 2022.
Scaling up is thus crucial, as Yongkyu Son, SES’ Chief Technology Officer, stated. “Scaling production is always a concern when you bring a new product to market, and the supply agreement with Entek Membranes helps us reduce supply chain issues while ensuring superior cycle life in our Lithium-Metal batteries.” He added, SES was “well-positioned to fully commercialize its next-generation hybrid Li-Metal battery technology and build Giga-scale battery production.”
Said “hybrid battery” – so-called because it combines solid and liquid components – runs under the name Appollo and was only unveiled this November. The idea, however, goes back to 2016 when the team was still at MIT and working on a lithium metal battery in which the anode is replaced by an extremely thin lithium foil, which could significantly increase the energy density to up to 500 Wh/kg. Fast-forward to Apollo, and the latest generation of this Li-metal battery claims an energy density of 417 Wh/kg or 935 Wh/L at a weight of 0.982 kilograms and 107 Ah capacity – at room temperature. SES also claimed at the time, said performance had been verified by two independent third-party testing facilities and several automakers.
Formerly known as SolidEnergy Systems, SES first announced in the summer that it would go public on the US stock exchange by merging with Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition. The transaction yet awaits completion. In addition to General Motors and Hyundai-Kia, SES also named Geely, SAIC, LG and Foxconn as potential investors.
ENTEK is headquartered in Lebanon, Oregon, with additional facilities in the United Kingdom, Japan, Indonesia and China. The company has been in the business of microporous polyethene battery separators for 35 years.
None of the companies has stated the scope of the deal, i.e. production capacity or value of the expected transactions.