Japan's "all-resin battery" joins new generation battery research and development competition

The "all-resin battery" that uses resin instead of metal as a battery component to avoid fire is expected to be mass-produced as early as the fall of 2021. According to "Nihon Keizai Shimbun" reported on February 14, Japan's Sanyo Chemical Industry and start-ups from Keio University are actively researching and developing. This will catch up with all-solid-state and air batteries that are currently leading the next generation of battery development competition. In the case of lithium-ion batteries for automotive and other expanding applications, the development of new-generation products is becoming more and more fierce.

Sanyo Chemical will be funded by APB, a battery start-up company. APB was founded by Yan Jiangying, a special professor at the Graduate School of Keio University in Japan. He once led the development of a lithium-ion battery for pure electric vehicles (EV) "Learning Wind" at Nissan. The development of an "all-resin battery" that fundamentally prevents a fire accident by eliminating metal in the battery structure was also proposed by him.

Sanyo Chemical Co., Ltd. holds the production technology of office laminating machine toner and paper diaper materials, and will rely on this technology to produce gelatinous resin as the base material of all-resin battery. The company has partnered with chemical manufacturers and production equipment manufacturers to establish a production method for all-resin batteries and has begun to supply prototypes in the direction of mass production.

The all-resin battery is wrapped with an electrode material such as lithium from a gel-like resin containing an electrolytic solution, and serves as a positive electrode and a negative electrode of the battery. It is characterized by no fire even when it is fully charged, whether it is drilling or cutting. Production costs are expected to be less than 12 yen per watt hour, which is lower than 15-20 yen for conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries, which are widely used at present, were developed by Yoshino Akira of Asahi Kasei, Japan, and Sony was commercialized in 1991. The competition for a new generation of batteries has recently become more intense, because the performance improvement of traditional products has reached its limit. For example, on a mobile device, it is impossible to eliminate a fire accident caused by a battery. In addition, in order to allow pure electric vehicles and drones to travel for a long time, it is difficult to meet the requirements of traditional batteries alone.

Since the battery is the key to technological innovation in various products, it will itself be a huge market. According to the calculation of the Fuji economy of the survey company, the market size of large batteries used only for automobiles and the like will exceed 15 trillion yen by 2030, and the material market for large batteries will exceed 7 trillion yen. If a new generation of high-performance batteries is available, this market is likely to expand further.

The next-generation battery that is currently the most popular is the “all-solid battery.” TDK began mass production in the world in 2018 using the ceramic type, and Toyota Motor and Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. are also vigorously developing. However, most of the views believe that the formal popularity will be around 2030. Sodium-ion batteries are also receiving much attention. The French startup Dragon has announced that it will be commercialized. Sumitomo Chemical and Nippon Electric Glass are dedicated to materials research.

Japanese companies have encountered a fierce attack by Chinese and Korean companies in the lithium-ion battery market. If you can get ahead in the development of a new generation of batteries, it will become a chance for Japanese companies to make a comeback.

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