GM, LG Chem licensing Argonne Lab’s layered-layered composite cathode material for Li-ion batteries; substantial increase in energy capacity and safety
General Motors Co. and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have reached a non-exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to use Argonne’s patented composite cathode material for advanced lithium-ion batteries. Argonne also licensed the cathode technology to LG Chem for use in battery cells. The GM license is specific to GM vehicles; the LG license allows the battery maker to sell to other OEMs as well and provide cells for GM.
Argonne’s patented xLi2MnO3·(1-x)LiMO2 (M= Mn, Ni, Co) “layered-layered” structures (earlier post) integrate an electrochemically inactive Li2MnO3 component with an electrochemically active LiMO2 component to provide improved structural and electrochemical stability at high potentials. The unique combination of lithium- and manganese-rich mixed-metal oxides in this stable materials-design approach extends the operating time between charges and increase the calendar life of batteries; improves the inherent safety of lithium-ion cells; and allows charging at higher cell voltages, which leads to a substantially higher energy storage capacity compared to current materials. The cathode material enables a 50—100% increase in gravimetric energy storage capacity over conventional cathode material, according to Argonne.
The Argonne license will allow GM to continue to work on next-generation battery systems to reduce cost and improve performance. We still have work to do, and development and validation that remains to be done.
The roadmap to more capable batteries requires improvements in [cathodes, anodes and electrolytes]. We need developments in all three. This is the most capable cathode that we have seen out there from a lot of different corners. That is why we think it is critical that we get working with it now to get it on the road. It will take us some years. We want to get it on the road for the next generation of battery packs.—Jon Lauckner, President, GM Ventures
The cathode material licensed to GM is part of a large, diverse suite of Li-ion battery inventions and patents developed at Argonne with DOE funding. The agency also provided funding for early science research that helped develop this technology. Argonne has licensed its composite cathode technology to other companies including BASF and Toda Kyogo (earlier post).
LG Chem Michigan, Inc. (LGCMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, will manufacture Li-ion polymer battery cells for the Chevy Volt at a Recovery Act-funded $303-million production facility under construction in Holland, Mich.
Cathodes (ANL presentation by Dr. Michael Thackeray at 2010 Annual Merit Review DOE Vehicle Technologies Program)