May 12, 2017
Xerion Advanced Battery Corp., in collaboration with teams from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Nanjing University, has developed a revolutionary new cathode material manufacturing technique called DirectPlate™. Batteries built using this electrode exhibit exceptional energy and power in conventional commodity designs, and this manufacturing technique is also compatible with emerging non-traditional designs. This work was recently published in Science Advances.
In a conventional electrode fabrication, cathode material powders, like LiCoO2, are synthesized at temperatures between 700-1000°C and made into slurries which also contain polymer binders and conductive additives. The slurries are cast onto metal foils, which are cut and assembled into batteries. Xerion prepares the very same tried-and-true materials directly on metal foils, using an electroplating technique at temperatures less than 300°C. This new method completely eliminates the need for any inactive additives, and therefore can result in high-energy, all-solid electrodes. The cathode can be more than 90% dense, and is compatible with both flat and 3D substrates. Directly electroplating of active materials on final current collectors also greatly simplifies the electrode fabrication procedure allowing high production throughput.
Xerion’s DirectPlate™ technology simultaneously improves battery energy and power by increasing the energy density of the cathode 30% or more by eliminating inactive components (e.g., binder, conductive additive) and reducing the electrode and contact resistances. An additional benefit of DirectPlate™ is that it offers a vast design space to engineer electrode morphology and minimize tortuosity, breaking the classical tradeoff between energy and power.
This new growth method also significantly broadens the scope of battery form factors and functionalities for emerging battery needs. Using this cathode, along with building high energy and power batteries Xerion has built highly flexible batteries, and wire-based batteries.
Xerion’s battery technology will address the energy and power issues facing current and emerging markets including consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and UAVs. Xerion has prototyped pouch cells with capacities up to several Ah. In tests, Xerion’s batteries lasted significantly longer and produced noticeably higher power than comparable commercial cells.
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