The world's biggest manufacturer of spark plugs for gasoline engines, NGK Spark Plug Co, has started developing solid-state batteries.
NGK Spark Plug Co., like many other Japanese parts makers, is preparing a life raft for its business in case of decreasing demand for spark plugs and oxygen sensors.
NGK's goal is to develop new types of cells that would offer better energy density, more power and competitive pricing from the 2020s on. Developments started some five years ago.
Takio Kojima, senior general manager of engineering and R&D at NGK Spark Plug, told Reuters in an interview:
“We realized that it was inevitable that the industry would at some point shift from the internal combustion engine to battery EVs, and that ultimately this could make our spark plug and oxygen sensor businesses obsolete,”.
“Our expertise is in advanced ceramics, and so we have decided to pursue all solid-state batteries.”
About the cell chemistry:
"Toyota is developing batteries with sulfide-based solid electrolytes, which offer high conductivity and are relatively flexible but can release toxic hydrogen sulfide when exposed to moisture.
NGK Spark Plug is betting on a different technology with an oxide-based chemistry using ceramics which is highly stable at extreme temperatures, but has less conductivity. In addition, brittle ceramics can be difficult to process.
Japan’s TDK Corp has developed small, ceramic, all solid-state batteries for use mainly in wearable devices like personal fitness monitors, while Murata Manufacturing Co is developing similar products.
But NGK Spark Plug has bigger plans, developing a larger format necessary for cars."