Toshiba To Strengthen SCiB Battery Unit: Upgraded Chemistry Coming

DEC 28 2018 BY MARK KANE 9

SCiB batteries are more than 10 years on the market since launch in March 2008

Toshiba announced that the SCiB rechargeable battery business will be transferred from Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation (TISS) directly to Toshiba by absorption-type company splits. As a result, it will become an independent business unit within Toshiba.

The Japanese company sees growing demand for SCiB and a bright future for such batteries, especially since upgraded TNO chemistry is in the works. The latest move will make SCiB unit more independent and further fast growth.

“The reorganization advances the strategy of the Toshiba Next Plan, announced on November 8, which positions the battery business as a new growth business, and the building solutions business as one of the Group’s focus business domains. The new organization will allow better utilization of Toshiba Group’s resources and will promote faster decision making and accelerated growth.”

Toshiba already decided to expand production capacity of SCiB in Japan, as well as establish a joint venture with Suzuki and Denso in India. The third automotive path of growth is a collaboration with Johnson Controls Power Solutions, probably to replace lead-acid batteries with SCiB.

“On its transfer from TISS, the battery business will form an independent business unit within Toshiba, with Masayasu Toyohara Toshiba’s Corporate Executive Vice President. Positioning the business as an independent operation will remove layers of management and allow for more rapid decision making. TISS will continue to handle business operations related to using the SCiB™ as a storage battery system in sectors including rail transport, defense and power transmission substations.

Toshiba has manufactured and sold SCiB™, the lithium-ion rechargeable battery that features high security, long life, low-temperature operation and rapid charging since March 2008. Its versatility has found broad application in hybrid electric vehicles, automated guided vehicles and energy storage systems for rolling stock. Now, by fully utilizing its technologies and development resources, Toshiba is advancing the development of higher energy density batteries with titanium niobium oxide anodes, for use in electric vehicles.

Demand for SCiB™ is growing fast, and Toshiba is expanding production capacity through capital investment and alliances. In Japan, the company will construct a new production facility in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, and reinforce the current manufacturing facility, Kashiwazaki Operations in Niigata prefecture. Separately, in 2017, Toshiba, Suzuki Motor Corporation and Denso Corporation agreed to establish a joint venture company to produce automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India, and Toshiba will also collaborate with Johnson Controls Power Solutions in the U.S.

Moving forward, and drawing on management expertise and know-how in mass production cultivated over the years, Toshiba will proactively channel resources into expanding the battery business. The company’s own wide ranging businesses allow promotion of opportunities beyond TISS’s scope of operations, with a focus on growth markets where SCiB™’s characteristics can be used to the full. By promoting expansion of business opportunities Toshiba aims for sales of 400 billion yen in 2030.”

Categories: Battery Tech

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9 Comments on "Toshiba To Strengthen SCiB Battery Unit: Upgraded Chemistry Coming"

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SCiBs are amazing. Unfortunately their energy density is too low for long-range BEVs, even with the improved chemistry. I hope they find a large enough market to create scale and drive costs down, though. Competition is good.

Yeah, at 100Wh/kg(cell level energy density), a Tesla would be lucky to get 125 miles of range. I hope the new SCiB chemistry is a huge improvement. Especially since, LiFePO4 pouch cells can achieve higher energy density(I found a 3.2v 20Ah LiFePO4 pouch cell with 125Wh/kg density). Now with those cells, a Tesla would get 240 miles of range.

That IMO would be a sweet spot, 240 miles of range, 2000 cycles to 80%, no risk of thermal runaway, and a less complex BMS.

Trucks and buses can use these, lots of cycles and quick charging.

Lot of talk about SCIBs fast charging, but it has not made any inroads in EVs.
Is Toshiba really interested in EV business.

SCiBs cost too much, weigh too much and take up too much space for long range BEVs.

The old LTO SCiBs are 70-80 Wh/kg vs. 270 Wh/kg for typical BEV cells these days. I’ve not seen a spec yet for the upcoming TNO SCiBs, but they claim to double volumetric energy density so I’ll guess ~150 Wh/kg. If SCiB needs less thermal control and structural protection the pack level disadvantage might not be as bad, but you’re still looking at ~150 kg extra for a Model 3 LR-sized pack.

Fast charging is terrific, but the 15,000 cycle life is overkill. That’s 3 million miles for a 200 mile BEV. You need high cycle life applications, preferably multiple full charges per day, to justify the extra cost.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Static, high cycle application make sense, but needs to be cheaper.

15,000 cycle life would be great for stationary applications, such as grid balancing, home energy batteries and the like. Without taking into account the calendar life of the battery, with 1 cycle per day, 15000 cycles means the battery is good for 41 years. Also, energy density doesn’t really matter for stationary applications. Of course, I still think flywheels would be a better idea than batteries for grid-scale storage(but only for smoothing out wind power, solar on partly-cloudy days, and TV-pickup demand response.)

Start to make cars of stainless steel, and a 35 year limited guarantee 😊.
Start to make quality products again, made to last.
TISS. . Means pee in Norwegian.

Those LTO and now the new TNO chemistry is allowing a relative small battery pack in commuter buses which can be fast recharged every round-trip circle at their end-station or even every second bus stop via inductive chargers. And a cycle life of 40,000 is able to withstand this hourly fast charges.
The setback: weight/volume density is very poor and Titanium cost is just sky high, now added in TNO also Niobium which is a ‘rare earth’ which drives up the price even more.