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New binder/solvent system from Argonne, FMC facilitates use of stabilized Li metal powder in Li-ion electrodes; lower cost, higher energy density

1 June 2014

As part of a four-year DOE-funded project, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, working with FMC Corporation, have developed a novel polymer binder and solvent system facilitating the use of FMC’s unique Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder (SLMP) as a performance-enhancing additive in Li-ion battery electrodes.

SLMP-based materials can enable commercialization of batteries with simplified formation process, lower irreversible capacity losses (leading to higher energy densities) and allow for a wider range of cathode materials—e.g., non-lithium-providing materials—to be utilized for transportation applications. Argonne has patents pending on the polymer binder and solvent technologies, as well as a new activation method.

Members of the Argonne team, with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, report in a new paper in the Journal of Power Sources on the positive performance impact of applying SLMP in a graphite anode as a prelithiation method. Among the findings were:

  • First cycle capacity loss of SLMP prelithiated cell was largely reduced and the corresponding first cycle Coulombic efficiency was significantly improved.

  • The graphite/NMC cell with SLMP prelithiation but without any standard cell formation process showed better cycle performance than that of none SLMP containing cell with standard formation process.

  • Prelithiation of graphite electrode with SLMP promoted stable solid electrolyte interface (SEI) formation on the surface of graphite anode.

  • Manufacturing cost for cell formation can be significantly reduced with additional of SLMP.

This new prelithiation method also implies that the promising future of application of SLMP in other higher energy density anodes such as Si and Sn, which are currently unlikely used in commercial lithium-ion batteries because of the large first cycle irreversible capacity loss.

—Wang et al. (2014)

Non-stabilized lithium powder is unstable when exposed to air, and needs to be handled in an argon-filled glove box. FMC’s SLMP particles—with a metallic lithium content of at least 98%—are coated with a protective layer to stabilize the lithium. As a result, the stabilized lithium is safe to handle in the dry room environment, and can be transported by air or sea (non- pyrophoric by DOT test).

However, SLMP is not compatible with conventional binder and solvent slurry materials. The novel polymer binder and solvent system, developed by a team led by Argonne chemist John Zhang, demonstrated excellent compatibility with SLMP, thus enabling SLMP for slurry processing.

The innovative new polymer binder/solvent system allows the SLMP to be evenly distributed in the electrode, enabling optimum use of each lithium particle in the SLMP material. Argonne researchers also developed new methods to activate the SLMP. Compression of the electrode laminates is typically employed to activate SLMP particles. The battery manufacturing cost can be greatly reduced due to the simplified SLMP activation method developed by Argonne.

SLMP enables the use of new anode materials with both large reversible and irreversible capacities, FMC notes, such as silicon and tin composites. Further, the cathode choice would no longer be limited to lithium-providing materials—i.e., a much wider selections of non-lithium-providing materials that are more overcharge tolerant, lower in cost, and with larger capacities are enabled, such as FeF3, BiF3, and MnO2.

SLMP-derived ultra-thin lithium metal anodes could also be beneficial to the development of beyond lithium-ion systems due to the surface coatings that might reduce reactivity and porous topology that might mitigate dendrite growth and thus improve safety.

FMC recently awarded Zhang and his colleagues—Khalil Amine, Shengwen Yuan, Zheng Xue and Jung-Je Woo—its Scientific Achievement Award for their significant research and development efforts.

This project is part of the Integrated Laboratories and Industry Research Program, which is supported by the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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Comments

"with a metallic lithium content of at least 98%"

Amazing how a battery (any)article bragging about "New binder/solvent system .. lower cost, higher energy density"(something better) -

manage to avoid ANY numbers or percentages about lower cost and higher energy density(quantifying if it is actually 'something better').

Yes, what would be the potential end product specs?

Could it be close to 5-5-5 batteries or 1.5-1.5-1.5 units

Kelly...yep.

I've been saying it on here for YEARS AND YEARS: Either list the actual numbers or you're full of it. If they had ACTUAL, good numbers, they'd be crowing them from the highest mountain top.

Either tell us the energy density, power density, cycles, safety, temp ranges, etc or shut up because you don't have anything.

Even if only 1 or 2 of the specs are good and the rest are bad, that's ok because it will still have uses in some applications. But at least give real numbers and not this crap about "better than standard Lithium Ion" or "20 times faster" or "double the capacity" or whatever BS statement your marketing guys came up with.

It's only annoying at this point.

HarveyD, DaveD, .. glad that others also see the important of NUMBERS in ~scientific articles - and GCC is one of the BETTER sites.

I follow http://cleantechnica.com/ and sometimes think they should just blog pictures of cheerleaders in tee shirts with images of: batteries, wind turbines, solar cells, .. as appropriate .. for all the actual numbers/product specs provided in the articles.

Atta boy (girl) Kelley. That's as on-target a description of that site as I could come up with myself. What Europropagandists, who can't master the stylistics of prose in English, or quality journalism.

Yes, I'm not criticizing GCC here, because they do a good job of reporting numbers if they exist.

I'm talking about the companies themselves. I guess they're targeting what we call "dumb money" in the investment community but with all the info available on the internet, it's easy to verify claims these days so I don't see why the companies bother with these silly "rah rah" marketing releases anymore.
Waste of digital trees.

Guys:
You can find additional info here. Argonne is usually pretty good about their reporting:

http://congresses.icmab.es/iba2013/images/files/Wednesday/Morning/Marina%20Yakovleva.pdf

These batteries will never be good at anything except powering portable electronics for a few minutes. Even a costly portable computer is just good for 2 hours. A car like the leaf is good to run for an hour and a half approx. This is not serious, nobody want a bev because of low range, long recharge. Stop these subsidized researchs programs, the never will improve batteries.

Begin a hydrogen infrastructure instead, it gonna be a success contrary to bev that it's a proven failure.

Lad,

Thanks for posting that PDF, lots of great info in there.

Everyone else, the reason there aren't specific capacity numbers (which everyone loves to start dreaming of the possibilities with) is this is an actual material science advance. Basically they are saying utilizing Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder (SLMP) instead of Lithium foil or other forms of Lithium in batteries enhances many aspects of existing chemistry's (such as LiCoO2) and enables/improves some advances chemistry's such as Si Composites. Read the PDF and look at some of the examples, this is a hard release with info from dozens of partner labs.

The reality is there are hundred of battery labs all over the world analyzing battery materials at a molecular level utilizing computing tools and imaging technologies that never existed before the last few decades. If you really think we aren't going to see fundamentally different battery capabilities within the next 5-10 years then prepare to be surprised. You are making a bet against market forces and manufacturing improvements that rarely ever pays off.


Oh and Gor.. Go away troll.

Lad, thanks for the link. Very helpful.

Wiredsim, good points. It's just easy to get cynical after you see so many bogus press releases over the years...usually by companies trying to get some investor to dump money into their brilliant schemes.

Of course, this being a national lab...that's not the case anyway.

Oh, and gor is no a troll. He really believes in H2 and has held steady in that view for many years. He's not very realistic, in my opinion, but he's actually not trolling :)

Thx Lad, http://congresses.icmab.es/iba2013/images/files/Wednesday/Morning/Marina%20Yakovleva.pdf was my next guess - though March 13th, 2013
IBA2013, Barcelona
seems dated..

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