Sila recently announced that it has raised $70 million to expand its new silicon-lithium battery technology from prototype to commercial scale. The company claims that its technology can increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 40%.
By optimizing existing materials, lithium-ion batteries have been able to achieve performance improvements of around 5% per year. The most straightforward way to increase battery capacity is to increase the amount of lithium ions stored in either electrode. To date, most of the improvement in battery life has been achieved through certain combinations of nickel, manganese and cobalt in the cathode. When these metals are bonded together, their crystal structure can store lithium ions more efficiently, and it is easier to move ions through the cathode to the anode than other materials. But the anodes are basically made of the same material - graphite.