Back in April, the Argonne National Laboratory and Hanyang University in South Korea announced that their teamwork has resulted in a new cathode material that can provide high-energy and extend the life of lithium batteries. They said then that the new material as potentially playing an important role in future plug-in hybrid vehicles. Now BASF has announced that it has obtained a license to produce batteries based on the new cathode in a plant in Ohio.
In an ANL news release, Khalil Amine, manager of the advanced battery technology group at Argonne and the project’s co-principal investigator, said, “The new high-energy material that we developed makes up a new class of oxide materials in which the composition of each particle is changing from the bulk to the outer layer. Typically most oxide cathodes have a uniform composition throughout each particle, and offer low capacity and high surface reactivity with the electrolyte.”
He continued, “The basic idea behind our novel approach is to design a particle that has a very high-energy composition at the bulk and an outer layer composition that is very stable against any reactivity with electrolyte. Those two design features will be able to improve significantly the life and safety of lithium battery materials while offering very high-energy characteristics for possible use in PHEVs.”
Regarding the electrical performance of the cathode, Yank-Kook Sun, co-principle investigator and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Hanyang University, said, “We are able to charge the material to 4.3 and 4.4 volts and attain a very high capacity of more than 210 milliampere hours per gram, with good power capability. Conventional cathodes have a capacity of 140 to160 mAh/g.”
The DOE Office of Vehicles Technologies funded this research. The research is described in the paper, “High-energy cathode materials for long-life and safe lithium batteries,” and is available on the Nature Materials website.
BASF recently said it had reached an agreement with ANL to mass produce and sell advance lithium-ion batteries based on the lab’s technology.
“BASF is excited to begin this partnership with Argonne National Laboratory as we look to advance the lithium-ion battery market in North America,” said Joseph Breunig, BASF Corporation President of Market and Business Development, in a June 3 news release. “The aim of our application development team in Beachwood, Ohio, along with our funding proposal to DOE for a world class facility in Elyria, Ohio is to make lithium-ion battery use realistic, affordable and widely available.”
The company said it believes the facility will be the largest cathode material production facility in North America.
Eric Isaacs, director of ANL, praised the deal and said, “The transfer of Argonne-developed battery technology to BASF provides a stellar example of why DOE invests taxpayer dollars into scientific research and development. When federally funded R&D is commercialized, it enhances our economic competitiveness, energy security and quality of life through innovations in science and technology.”