ORNL partnerships target innovations in battery manufacturing, cell prototyping

As the result of recent funding awards from the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is collaborating with five new industry partners to accelerate innovations for high energy-density, low-cost, safer and long-lived batteries that support fast charging.

The collaborations bring together ORNL’s multidisciplinary expertise in battery manufacturing and cell prototyping with industry partners who want to resolve specific challenges and accelerate their nascent ideas to the marketplace.

The research will rely on the unique facilities of the DOE Battery Manufacturing Facility (BMF) at ORNL, one of the nation’s largest open-access research and development center for batteries, giving scientists and industry partners the ability to analyze every aspect of production from raw materials and electrode dispersion preparation to finished product and performance testing. Its instruments give researchers the tools to study battery materials from the atomic level size up to 7Ah pouch cells.

“At the BMF, we have the ability to integrate battery components into a complete system and analyze how well they will work together and how they can be improved,” said Ilias Belharouak, who heads the Electrification Section at ORNL.

The new projects are funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office and Vehicle Technologies Office. They include:

    “Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Low Cost and Safer Lithium-Ion Batteries,” with Arkema, of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The project aims to develop, fabricate, and manufacture low-cost and safer lithium-ion batteries using a water-based poly vinylidene fluoride binder and composite in-situ separator.

    “Reducing the Cost and Energy of Lithium-ion Battery Manufacturing using High Throughput Atomic Layer Deposition Processes,” with Forge Nano, Inc., of Louisville, Colorado. This project aims to develop an in-line atomic layer deposition process for lithium-ion battery electrodes and separator. The project will enable lithium-ion batteries with extended cycle life, higher power energy, improved safety features and higher throughputs.

    “High Throughput Solvent-free Manufacturing of Battery Electrodes,” with Navitas Systems of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The project aims to develop and extend the dry electrode fabrication process to lithium-ion battery anode and cathode manufacturing. It will enable significant cost reduction in manufacturing without sacrificing energy density and cycle life.

    “Multilayer Electrode with Metalized Polymer Current Collector for High-Energy Lithium-Ion Batteries with Extreme-Fast-Charging Capability,” with Soteria Battery Innovation Group of South Carolina. This project aims to develop novel electrode architecture and electrode component to reduce the weight and volume of lithium-ion batteries. It will deliver lithium-ion batteries with extreme fast charging capability while maintaining high energy density and safety features.

    “High-Energy and High-Power NMP-Free Designer Electrodes with Ultra-Thick Architectures Processed by Multilayer Slot-Die Coating and Electrophoretic Deposition,” with PPG Industries of Pennsylvania. This project aims to develop an optimal electrode architecture and NMP solvent-free processing for low-cost, high energy and high power density lithium-ion batteries. Outcomes include establishing active material ingredients morphology and alignment, and developing an efficient electrode manufacturing process.

“Through these DOE funding awards, ORNL is working closely with industry to de-risk, scale-up and accelerate new battery technologies to the market for real-world impact,” Belharouak said.

Source: ORNL, by Stephanie G Seay

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Published April 20, 2021