Advanced Membrane Systems (AMS) released details of its UltraLith-HP separator product at the 2010 Power Sources Conference as well as plans to open a 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant for the product this summer in a joint venture with Biax Laboratories.
The new venture, called UltraLith LLC, plans to ship products to battery manufacturers in August. The facility will represent the first new battery separator manufacturing company in the USA in decades; it will also be the world’s only plant to offer battery separator technology that meets all of the lithium battery capability targets in planned Electric Drive Vehicle (EDV) applications, the company asserted.
UltraLith-HP is a non-shutdown polyolefin separator engineered for high power, high density lithium batteries (LIBs), for applications such as electric drive vehicles (EDVs). Compared to other LIB separators, UltraLith-HP offers a combination of these advantages, according to the company:
- Better performance, up to 70% porosity; up to 5x longer cycle life; fast wettability and improved ion conductivity.
- Improved safety, a special formulation for robust, high melt integrity performance with an enhanced ability to mitigate short circuit or thermal runaway conditions should they occur.
- Lower costs, due to a proprietary ingredient that eliminates the added expense of external coating applications and the risk of those coatings peeling off; and that eliminates the need for expensive, multi-layer products.
- Interchangeability—i.e., UltraLith-HP can replace existing separator material in any lithium chemistry and run on the same equipment that LIB manufacturers currently use.
To speed the new product to market, AMS has entered into a joint venture with Biax Laboratories to open up a dedicated manufacturing facility in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, operating under the name UltraLith LLC. Both UltraLith-HP and UltraLith-SD—a shutdown separator for consumer applications—will be manufactured on site. UltraLith LLC is the first new lithium-ion battery separator company in the US in decades.Advanced Membrane Systems has been involved in research and development of separator and materials technology since 2000. With the demand for EDV separator material expected to rapidly exceed several hundred million square meters in five years, coupled with lithium separator material for consumer applications seeing double digit growth in China, AMS intends to deliver volume quantities of leading separator products for LIB manufacturers worldwide.