Israeli lithium-ion battery company StoreDot is to send its extreme fast charging (XFC) battery technology for electric vehicles (EVs) to the International Space Station in 2022 for two weeks of rigorous testing in zero gravity conditions.
StoreDot is seeking to develop one of the world’s fastest charging batteries, unveiling in January engineering samples of its first-generation 5-minute charge battery which the company claims prove the commercial viability of its extreme fast charging battery technology.
The company, backed by a 2019 investment from oil & gas supermajor BP, announced on Wednesday an important next step for its plans to bring to market its 5-minute charge batteries, revealing that it’s XFC technology would be heading to the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2022.
StoreDot, in partnership with the Israeli Electric Company (IEC), have been approved by NASA to conduct the first ever space-based research and development program into new battery materials.
Its XFC battery technology will head into space as part of the Israel Space Agency and The Ramon Foundation’s pioneering RAKIA mission.
Results from the research are expected to pave the way for a new generation of advanced lithium-ion batteries and accelerate the time to market for StoreDot’s 5-minute charge battery by bringing energy density and cycle life into line with the requirements of electric vehicle (EV) original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“We are incredibly proud to join forces with the IEC, The Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency on this historic mission,” said StoreDot’s Dr Doron Myersdorf. “StoreDot remains steadfast on pushing the boundaries of battery materials research and development and this project marks the next exciting stage in that journey.
“This will be the first time XFC has been tested in the zero gravity conditions of space and we believe the results could be absolutely game-changing. Not only in terms of advancing XFC technology, but also, potentially, by opening up entirely new avenues in materials research that will have implications that extend far beyond the battery industry.”
The experiments to be conducted on board the International Space Station will be specially devised to test coin cells of StoreDot’s silicon-dominant anode XFC battery which will undergo hundreds of charge and discharge cycles, with the results collected by a computer contained within the enclosed unit.
Once the experiment returns to Earth, StoreDot scientists will be able to analyse the data and examine the battery itself, allowing them to note any physical or chemical changes that may have taken place during the experiment.
The results of the experiments will hopefully provide StoreDot scientists with new insights into the chemical reactions that cause silicon to expand during the fast-charging process – enabled in the experiment by the zero gravity conditions, which will help to identify irregularities in the silicon surface of the anode.
Findings from the space-based research will in turn be incorporated into the first engineering samples of StoreDot’s silicon-dominant anode XFC battery for EVs, which the company expects will be available for testing by the end of 2022.