SiFAB material could provide faster charges, longer battery life for electric vehicles and portable electronics, manufacturer says
NEW CARLISLE, Ind., and BUFFALO, N.Y.—After more than 75 years of experience in fiber-based technology and manufacturing, Unifrax is taking a first step into developing silicon fiber for the lithium-ion battery manufacturing market. Unifrax reported that it is planning to build a large-scale manufacturing line to produce its silicon fiber anode material, SiFAB, at the company’s north central Indiana facility. The new line could add up to 74 new jobs by the end of 2023, the company said in a release.
SiFAB is a proprietary silicon anode battery technology that is said to enable significantly greater energy density in lithium-ion battery systems than prevailing technologies. It is currently in advanced testing and has shown promising performance in multiple battery systems, according to the release.
Unifrax (www.sifab.com), headquartered in Buffalo, develops and manufactures high-performance specialty materials used in applications like high-temperature industrial insulation, electric vehicles, energy storage, filtration, and fire protection. The company said that it designs its products to save energy, reduce pollution, and improve safety for people, buildings, and equipment.
The anode technology has successfully been tested with incremental Si loadings of greater than 40 percent. Along with greater energy density, SiFAB is expected to provide faster charges and longer battery life for applications that include electric vehicles, portable electronics, power tools, energy grid storage, and aerospace, Unifrax said in the release.
According to Unifrax, its existing manufacturing plant and infrastructure in New Carlisle positions the company to meet customer demand and develop SiFAB at scale. The Indiana plant will be the first to begin building SiFAB long-term manufacturing capacity. The new line is slated to create up to 20 new jobs by the end 2022, with additional growth anticipated by the end of 2023, the company said.
John Dandolph, president and CEO of Unifrax, called SiFAB a transformational material that enhances the company’s electric vehicle and battery portfolio and can be used in existing manufacturing processes.
“Our track record and proven ability to develop new and unique technologies will help transform the battery industry with SiFAB,” Dandolph said in the release. “The ability to leverage our existing facility and add new infrastructure to support SiFAB manufacturing in New Carlisle will significantly accelerate the timeline for supplying this critical material to our partners.
“We designed SiFAB from its inception to be manufactured at large scale so that we could supply all market segments (EVs, consumer electronics, power tools, and renewable storage), utilize our existing global manufacturing footprint, and deliver a product that has a high degree of quality and consistency,” said Chad Cannan, senior vice president of research and development for Unifrax, in the release.