Today, Idemitsu Kosan Co (Idemitsu) and Toyota Motor Corporation declared a partnership to collaborate on developing solid electrolyte mass production technology. Their joint efforts will focus on enhancing productivity and establishing a supply chain with the aim of achieving large-scale production of all-solid-state batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Through their partnership, the two leading companies in areas like material development for all-solid-state batteries aim to commercialize them by 2027-28, subsequently moving to large-scale production. Idemitsu has been delving into the research and development of core technologies for these batteries since 2001, while Toyota embarked on this journey in 2006.
Their joint efforts centre around sulfide solid electrolytes, which are considered a key material to enhance the capacity and output of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). These electrolytes are known for their malleability and ability to bond with other materials, making them ideal for battery-scale battery production.
Both firms have formed a dedicated task force with numerous members to set the stage for large-scale manufacturing. Their collaboration will unfold in stages:
Phase 1: Improve sulfide solid electrolytes and plan for an expansive pilot facility. Both Idemitsu and Toyota, capitalizing on mutual feedback and technical support, will strive to refine sulfide solid electrolytes, keeping a keen eye on quality, affordability, and timeliness. The intention is to demonstrate the mass production of these electrolytes at an Idemitsu pilot facility.
Phase 2: Scale-up with an expansive pilot facility. Idemitsu will champion the manufacturing of sulfide solid electrolytes by building and initializing a large pilot facility, from which mass production methodologies will be derived. Concurrently, Toyota will develop all-solid-state batteries using these electrolytes and the BEVs that will house them, aiming for a market introduction of such BEVs by 2027-28.
Phase 3: Contemplate future large-scale production. Drawing insights from Phase 2, both companies will ponder the full-blown mass production and market introduction prospects.
Additionally, Idemitsu is advancing the production methods of lithium sulfide, a pivotal material for solid electrolytes, crafted from by-products produced during petroleum refinement. This endeavour will streamline mass production technology for sulfide solid electrolytes and ensure a consistent supply chain. The company is also upscaling its smaller pilot facility, as revealed in June 2023, and has blueprints for a larger facility, unveiled in April 2022. These efforts will bolster the commercialization of all-solid-state batteries by 2027-28.
Harnessing Idemitsu’s expertise in material manufacturing and Toyota’s prowess in battery formulation and integration gleaned from BEV research, the two companies aspire to mass-produce solid electrolytes and all-solid-state batteries for global consumption. Their trans-industrial teamwork is poised to further global carbon neutrality and set a new technological precedent in Japan.