At Group14 we believe the secret to unlocking the age of silicon for energy storage is the byproduct of marrying process innovation with material innovation. When working to develop our flagship products, we look at process design and the development of innovative materials with a focus on reliability, sustainability to address global issues, affordability, and scalability.
From the precursors we use to make our carbon scaffold to our method for infusing nano-sized silicon, our material innovation is driven by our imagination and willingness to try out countless great ideas, no matter how non-traditional they are. At Group14, creative problem solving is a part of our culture. Our success in developing state-of-the art silicon battery materials is a result of the creative and unconventional thinkers who make up our company.
Video Transcription: Group14 CTO, Rick Costantino
When I think about innovation at Group14, it goes all the way back to my childhood growing up in New Jersey. Thomas Edison was my scientific role model as a child and still is to this day. His amazing ability to invent with limited raw materials, perseverance, and not being afraid to fail. He once said, “to have a great idea, have a lot of them” and that’s really at heart in the Group14 culture.
For example, for us in developing SCC55 we went through quite a few permutations of how to combine carbon and silicon. We spent a lot of time in the lab and we sat down literally in meeting rooms, discussing, debating the data over many weeks, you know, talking about new product concepts.
We finally had that aha moment where we realized the key was to start with the carbon scaffold and create a porous structure that we can then create our ideal form of Silicon—that nano-sized and amorphous Silicon—inside the material. That allowed us to rapidly take that idea and then prove that out in performance in our customers’ shop, and we were able to do this by having a very, very robust supply chain.
Of course, in Edison’s day, he didn’t have much of a supply chain at work with. In fact, he said that the key to invention for him was to have a great imagination and a pile of junk. And luckily for us today at Group14, we have more than that pile of junk. We have this tremendous supply chain of partners that we’re working with very closely, and that’s allowed us to rapidly move from the lab to commercial product SCC55.
As excited as I am about that product and what it’s doing today for our customers and getting a tremendous boost in energy density, I’m also excited about the products we’re still inventing. We’re moving forward, we’re not stopping. And we have some fantastic new products that are going through the pipeline that I’m sure you’ll hear about pretty soon.
After all, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.