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Title: Innovative manufacturing and materials for low cost lithium ion batteries

This project demonstrated entirely new manufacturing process options for lithium ion batteries with major potential for improved cost and performance. These new manufacturing approaches are based on the use of the new electrode-coated separators instead of the conventional electrode-coated metal current collector foils. The key enabler to making these electrode-coated separators is a new and unique all-ceramic separator with no conventional porous plastic separator present. A simple, low cost, and high speed manufacturing process of a single coating of a ceramic pigment and polymer binder onto a re-usable release film, followed by a subsequent delamination of the all-ceramic separator and any layers coated over it, such as electrodes and metal current collectors, was utilized. A suitable all-ceramic separator was developed that demonstrated the following required features needed for making electrode-coated separators: (1) no pores greater than 100 nanometer (nm) in diameter to prevent any penetration of the electrode pigments into the separator; (2) no shrinkage of the separator when heated to the high oven heats needed for drying of the electrode layer; and (3) no significant compression of the separator layer by the high pressure calendering step needed to densify the electrodes by about 30%. In addition, this nanoporous all-ceramicmore » separator can be very thin at 8 microns thick for increased energy density, while providing all of the performance features provided by the current ceramic-coated plastic separators used in vehicle batteries: improved safety, longer cycle life, and stability to operate at voltages up to 5.0 V in order to obtain even more energy density. The thin all-ceramic separator provides a cost savings of at least 50% for the separator component and by itself meets the overall goal of this project to reduce the cell inactive component cost by at least 20%. The all-ceramic separator also enables further cost savings by its excellent heat stability with no shrinkage at up to 220oC. This allows vacuum drying of the dry cell just before filling with the electrolyte and thereby can reduce the size of the cell assembly dry room by 50%. Once the electrode-coated separator is produced, there are many different approaches for adding the metal current collector layers and making and connecting the tabs of the cells. These approaches include: (1) laminating the electrode side of the electrode-coated separator to both sides of a metal current collector; and (2) making a full coated electrode stack by coating or depositing a current collector layer on the electrode side and then coating a second electrode layer onto the current collector. Further cost savings are available from using lower cost and/or thinner and lighter current collectors and from using a separator coating manufacturing process at widths of 1.5 meters (m) or more and at high production line speeds of up to 125 meters per minute (mpm), both of which are well above the conventional coating widths and line speeds presently used in manufacturing electrodes for lithium ion batteries.« less
  1. Optodot Corporation, Woburn, MA (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Optodot Corporation, Woburn, MA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States