The well respected consumer electronics company Dyson has agreed to acquire the solid-state lithium-ion battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million, according to recent reports. Previous to this announcement, the British company had already agreed to invest $15 million into Sakti3.
The news founder and primary engineer of Dyson, James Dyson, spoke to USA Today recently, confirming the news. James Dyson also noted that his company was now planning to develop a new battery factory for the technology, and that the company would be utilizing the solid-state technology to improve the battery life of its products.
While the news is interesting, solid-state battery technologies still aren’t quite mature — it’s a bit of an open question how long it will take for Dyson to begin using the technology in its products.
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The acquisition, noted the report, will fuel speculation that Dyson possibly seek to become a supplier of electric-drivetrain technology. In August 2014, Sakti3 announced that it had produced a battery cell on fully scalable equipment with more than 1100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density.
Although solid-state cells can address some of the issues attendant to using Lithium metal anodes — especially safety and cycle performance — such solid state cells have been difficult to make, and have not been successfully produced in large scale, Sakti3 noted in one of its patent applications.
Sakti3 is developing a thin-film manufacturing process using physical vapor deposition to lay down a cathode barrier, cathode current collector, cathode, electrolyte, anode, anode current collector, and anode barrier over a substrate. As an example outlined in the patent application, Sakti3 describes using a lithium vanadium oxide cathode with a Lithium anode, the latter being overlaid with an anode barrier material of Li3PO4.
The CEO of Sakti3, Ann Marie Sastry, commented back in 2014 that: “Our target is to achieve mass production of cells at ~$100/kWh. Our key patents on the technology have been issued, we are up and running on larger tooling, and can now speed up processing. Our first market will be consumer electronics, and after that, we’ll move to other sectors.”
Worth noting here is that the German company Bosch recently purchased the solid-state battery startup Seeo.