A team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a solvent-free process for making lithium-ion battery electrodes that are more environmentally friendly, cheaper and faster to charge than current market electrodes, an advance that could improve the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, the paper reported today. The findings are in the journal Joule.
In order to meet the market demand and increase the charging speed, the electrode manufacturing of traditional materials usually uses flammable, toxic and expensive solvents, which increases the production time and cost.
The solvent-free manufacturing process can produce electrodes that can be charged to 78% capacity within 20 minutes, eliminating the need for solvents, pastes and long production times.
Wang Yan, a professor at WPI’s Department of Mechanical and Material engineering, said the new process could scale up and reduce electrode manufacturing costs by at least 15 percent, while also producing electrodes that charge faster.
Commercial lithium-ion battery electrodes are typically made by mixing active materials, conductive additives, polymers and organic solvents into a paste that is pasted onto a metal substrate, dried in an oven and then cut into pieces for use in the battery, with the solvent recovered by distillation.
By contrast, the new process involves mixing charged dry powders together so that they stick when sprayed onto a metal substrate, and then the dry-coated electrode is heated and compressed with a roller. Skipping the traditional drying and solvent recovery process could reduce energy use in battery manufacturing by an estimated 47 percent, the team reports.
This is a pretty explosive invention in battery terms.
The cost and time saved will largely save the expenditure budget of battery enterprises and improve the battery technology research and development faster.
The battery field has been paying more attention to technology. For electrode technology, the progress of material represents a qualitative improvement in the field of daily use, and improving the sense of battery use is a thing that can greatly enhance the sense of experience. Take charging speed for example, which is a very important indicator in our daily life.
The introduction of this technology may not be as prominent as the technological improvement, but the impact on human life must be very great.