Innovators in 3D architecture leverage strategic relationships with tech leaders for low-cost solar-grade silicon wafer production of a new, improved Li-ion battery.
Addressing the need for battery innovation to keep pace with the demands of modern mobile devices, Enovix is in the pilot-production phase of a new 3D Silicon™ Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery. The modern Enovix platform frees lithium-ion battery design, materials, production, and performance from the constraints of outdated, conventional battery construction. Patented 3D cell architecture improves spatial efficiency to increase energy density, allows for a 100% silicon anode and improves safety by reducing the danger from thermal runaway. Established photolithography and solar-grade silicon wafer processes using standard solar-cell fabrication equipment achieve high-volume, low-cost battery production.
In order to better serve the needs of future customers and to sustain long-term enterprise value, Enovix has developed and exclusively owns all of its intellectual property, and intends to build and control its production operations. Enovix has submitted over 50 patent applications to date, and has been awarded 22 patents since 2012, covering multiple, fundamental aspects of silicon anode and 3D lithium-ion battery design and production. Since 2014, Enovix has conducted round-the-clock pilot production at its headquarters in Fremont, CA, and plans to scale operations for high-volume production near Manila in the Philippines.
Testing of prototype 3D silicon lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells has measured an increase in energy density of 1.5 to 3 times that of conventional Li-ion batteries, depending on cell size and thickness. And because the Enovix battery platform enables better utilization of electrode materials and continual improvement in spatial efficiency, Enovix projects that its batteries will deliver an ongoing 16% average annual increase in energy density—over 3 times the historical 5% annual increase from a conventional Li-ion battery. This will provide improved battery performance for years to come, with an initial focus on ultrathin wearable devices and eventually to include smartphones, tablets, notebooks and automobiles.
“The lithium-ion battery is the engine that drives today’s global mobile information and communications market, but conventional batteries cannot keep pace with increasingly power hungry demands,” said Enovix CEO Harrold Rust, who co-founded Enovix in 2007 along with other innovators in 3D architecture, advanced battery technology and high-volume production. “The Enovix platform fully utilizes advancements in reliable, low-cost wafer production to transform battery performance just as ICs have for computing, LEDs for lighting and flat-panel LCDs for video displays.”
Enovix benefits from strategic relationships with industry leaders Intel, Qualcomm Incorporated and Cypress Semiconductor. “The Enovix mission to improve battery performance complements Intel’s focus on the development and production of low-power chips,” said Steven C. Megli, Vice President of the Strategic Decisions Group at Intel Corp. “We believe our investment in Enovix will contribute to continued innovation and improved performance of mobile and IOT devices.”
“Improved battery performance is not only critical for consumers, but also essential for designers to continue creating innovative mobile device features and capabilities. Enovix is solving the problem with a modern approach. In addition to our investment in the company, Qualcomm is able to provide Enovix with key insights into the mobile ecosystem and help them successfully integrate with mobile chipsets and devices,” said Quinn Li, Head of Qualcomm Ventures.
Through its relationship with Cypress (and its former subsidiary, SunPower), Enovix leverages substantial investments made in photovoltaic solar-cell supply chains, equipment technology and process knowledge for its own battery production. In addition, Enovix has adopted the Cypress/SunPower methodology for process development, scale-up and quality control in order to ensure its production ramp proceeds expediently with the highest quality and lowest risk. Enovix expects to reach commercial production volumes in 2017.