New Approach to Battery Manufacturing Could Halve Costs For Lithium Ion Batteries

- June 24th, 2015

Researchers at MIT and 24M have developed an advanced manufacturing approach for lithium ion batteries that could reduce costs, improve performance and make the batteries easier to recycle.

Researchers at MIT and 24M have developed an advanced manufacturing approach for lithium ion batteries that could reduce costs, improve performance and make the batteries easier to recycle.

As quoted in the press release:

The new process is based on a concept developed five years ago by Chiang and colleagues including W. Craig Carter, the POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. In this so-called “flow battery,” the electrodes are suspensions of tiny particles carried by a liquid and pumped through various compartments of the battery.

The new battery design is a hybrid between flow batteries and conventional solid ones: In this version, while the electrode material does not flow, it is composed of a similar semisolid, colloidal suspension of particles. Chiang and Carter refer to this as a “semisolid battery.”

Explaining how the process works, MIT’s article stated:

Instead of the standard method of applying liquid coatings to a roll of backing material, and then having to wait for that material to dry before it can move to the next manufacturing step, the new process keeps the electrode material in a liquid state and requires no drying stage at all. Using fewer, thicker electrodes, the system reduces the conventional battery architecture’s number of distinct layers, as well as the amount of nonfunctional material in the structure, by 80 percent.

Having the electrode in the form of tiny suspended particles instead of consolidated slabs greatly reduces the path length for charged particles as they move through the material — a property known as “tortuosity.” A less tortuous path makes it possible to use thicker electrodes, which, in turn, simplifies production and lowers cost.

Click here to read the full article from MIT.

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