Lithium-Ion Battery Production

November 3, 2021

The key to fast, low-cost production of lighter, safer and higher energy density solid state batteries for electric vehicles.

A new manufacturing technique could enable solid-state lithium-ion automotive batteries to adopt non-flammable ceramic electrolytes using the same production processes as batteries made from conventional liquid electrolytes.

Fusion infiltration technology developed by materials science researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology uses electrolyte materials that can infiltrate porous but densely packed and thermally stable electrodes.

The one-step process produces high-density compounds based on pressureless, capillary infiltration of a solid molten electrolyte into porous bodies, including stacks of multilayer spacer electrodes.

“While the melting point of traditional solid-state electrolytes can range from 700 to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius, we operate at a much lower temperature range, depending on the composition of the electrolyte, approximately 200 to 300 degrees Celsius. “Explained Gleb Yushin, a professor in Georgia Tech’s College of Materials Sciences and Engineering.” At these lower temperatures, manufacturing is much faster and easier. Materials at low temperatures do not react. Standard electrode assemblies, including polymer glue or binder, can be stable under these conditions. ‘

New production

The new technique could allow the manufacture of large lithium-ion automotive batteries with 100% solid and non-flammable ceramic, rather than liquid electrolytes, using the same manufacturing processes as conventional liquid electrolyte batteries. Patent-pending manufacturing technology mimics the low-cost manufacturing of commercial lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolytes, but instead uses solid-state electrolytes with low melting points that melt and infiltrate dense electrodes . As a result, high-quality multilayer cells of any size or shape could be rapidly manufactured at scale using proven tools and processes developed and optimized over the past 30 years for Li-ion.

“Fusion filtration technology is the key advance. The lifespan and stability of lithium-ion batteries are highly dependent on operating conditions, especially temperature, “explained Georgia Tech graduate student Yiran Xiao.” If the batteries overheat for a long period of time They often begin to degrade prematurely, and overheated batteries can catch fire. This has meant that almost all electric vehicles (EVs) include sophisticated and quite expensive cooling systems. In contrast, solid-state batteries only need heaters, which are considerably less expensive than cooling systems.

Yushin and Xiao are encouraged by the potential of this manufacturing process to enable battery manufacturers to produce batteries that are lighter, safer and with higher energy density.

‘The melt filtration technology developed is compatible with a wide range of chemical materials, including so-called conversion electrodes. These materials have been shown to increase the energy density of car cells by more than 20% today and more than 100% in the future, ”says Kostiantyn Turcheniuk, co-author and researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and points out that higher density cells allow greater autonomy. Cells need high-capacity electrodes to make that leap in performance.

Georgia Tech’s technique is not yet ready for commercialization, but Yushin predicts that if a significant portion of the future EV market embraces solid-state batteries, “this is probably the only way to do it,” as it will allow manufacturers use their current production facilities and infrastructure.

“That is why we have focused on this project: it is one of the most commercially viable areas of innovation for our laboratory,” he says.

Savings in production costs

Prices for battery cells reached $ 100 per kilowatt hour for the first time in 2020. According to Yushin, they will have to fall below $ 70 per kilowatt hour before the market for consumer electric vehicles can open up for the first time. full. Innovation in batteries is essential for this to happen.

The Materials Science lab team is currently focused on developing other electrolytes that have lower melting points and higher conductivities using the same laboratory-proven technique.

Yushin anticipates that the advancement in the manufacture of this research equipment will open the doors to more innovations in this field.

“Many incredibly smart scientists focus on solving very difficult scientific problems, completely ignoring economic and technical practicality. They are studying and optimizing very high temperature electrolytes that are not only dramatically more expensive to use in cells, but are also up to five times heavier compared to liquid electrolytes, “he explained. “My goal is to push the research community to look outside of that chemical box.”

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
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