Showa Denko Materials

News Release

February 22, 2018
Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd.

Capital Subscription to Ionic Materials, Inc., a Developer and Manufacturer of Solid Electrolytes for Solid-State Batteries

Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Hisashi Maruyama; hereinafter “Hitachi Chemical”) announces that the company has taken a stake in Ionic Materials, Inc. (Head Office: Massachusetts, USA; CEO and Founder: Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.; hereinafter “Ionic Materials”), a developer and manufacturer of solid electrolytes, which are one of the key materials used for all-solid-state batteries with the aim of promoting joint research and development by the two companies. This investment is aimed at utilizing Ionic Materialsí solid electrolyte technologies in promoting the research of next-generation materials with an eye to developing anode materials*1 for solid-state batteries in the future.

*1
Materials for batteries' anodes

Diagram: Image of a conventional lithium-ion battery (left) and solid-state battery (right)
Diagram: Image of a conventional lithium-ion battery (left) and solid-state battery (right)

Today, various battery manufacturers and automakers are undertaking the development of solid-state batteries. Solid-state batteries containing solid electrolytes are expected to become the next-generation battery realizing greater energy density*2 than conventional lithium-ion batteries using liquid electrolyte.

*2
Energy amount possible to store per unit weight.

Most solid electrolytes being developed can be divided into inorganic and resin-derived types. While inorganic electrolytes' high ion conductivity*3 is believed to effectively improve the fast charging/discharging of batteries, resin electrolytes feature greater flexibility and adhesiveness to electrodes compared with inorganic materials. This means more lithium ions moving between the electrodes, enabling the charging/discharging of a greater amount of energy. Ionic Materials, which has agreed to Hitachi Chemical's capital investment, is engaged in the development and manufacturing of resin-derived solid electrolytes. Improving their low ion conductivity compared with inorganic materials used to be a challenge, but Ionic Materials has achieved an equivalent level of ion conductivity as conventional liquid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries. This achievement was the key factor behind Hitachi Chemical's decision to invest in Ionic Materials with the aim of promoting joint research and development by the two companies. This investment is aimed at utilizing Ionic Materials' solid electrolyte technologies in promoting the research of next-generation materials with an eye to developing anode materials for solid-state batteries in the future.

*3
Values that indicate the rapidness of ion movement. Larger values represent rapid ion movement in electrolytes, leading to quicker charge/discharge.

Hitachi Chemical will continue to accelerate its research, development and commercialization of new products through “co-creation” with external resources.

<Overview of Ionic Materials>

  • Company name: Ionic Materials, Inc.
  • Head office: Massachusetts, USA
  • Foundation: 2011
  • CEO and Founder: Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.