Nanoexa, a nanotechnology-based energy company, has delivered new lithium-ion cathode technology to Decktron, Nanoexa’s publicly traded subsidiary in Korea. Decktron, a manufacturing company, will apply the new technology to the development of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries.
To be used in combination with existing intellectual property from Argonne National Laboratory, the cathode technology is based on material with a unique nano-crystalline layered-layered composite structure. This cathode technology will give Decktron’s batteries the ability to deliver more than 3,000 W/kg, making Decktron’s lithium batteries among the best-performing on the market today, according to Nanoexa.
The cathode material developed at Argonne uses Li2MnO3•LiMO2 (M= Ni, Mn, Co). As described by Michael Thackeray at Argonne in 2006,
The strategy is to use the Li2MnO3 component to enhance the structural stability of a conventional layered LiMO2 electrode or a spinel LiM2O4 electrode and to activate part of the Li2MnO3 component (Li2O•MnO2) by removing Li2O at high potentials during the initial charge, thereby generating a high-capacity (240-250 mAh/g), manganese-based electrode. These materials are, therefore, of particular interest for ‘plug-in’ HEVs and pure EVs where high energy is a critically important factor. Most of our effort in FY2006 was focused on evaluating ‘layered-layered’ systems because they show the greatest promise of the two systems thus far.
In addition to the technology, Nanoexa’s intellectual property transfer to Decktron includes a description of low-cost, scaleable methods to manufacture positive electrode material in high volume.
In September 2006, Nanoexa and Decktron announced an agreement to commercialize next generation rechargeable lithium battery technologies from Argonne’s Battery Technology Department. The batteries are intended to offer increased power output, storage capacity, safety and lifetime and be utilized in high-rate applications such as hybrid/electric vehicles, power tools, and radio control devices. (Earlier post.)
As part of the FreedomCAR Partnership between the US Department of Energy (DOE) and US automobile manufacturers, we at Argonne have been conducting research and development to help industrial battery developers lower cost and increase the lifetime and inherent safety of high-power lithium batteries.
These new Argonne-developed technologies could help lithium-ion batteries enter the automotive market. Also, we believe that some of these technologies could lead to improved (longer life and inherently safer) batteries for consumer electronic applications.—Gary Henriksen, Manager of Argonne’s Battery Technology Department
Nanoexa’s core technology focus is the development of a computational modeling platform technology for the design and validation of new materials from the quantum level. The modeling allows a developer to screen new cathode, anode and electrolyte materials and select only those with promise, thereby presumably enabling synthesis of novel materials with higher capacity and better stability.
In addition to li-ion technology, Nanoexa is also working on solar photovoltaic materials.
Nanoexa, based in San Francisco, California, acquired a controlling interest in Decktron in 2006.