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Lishen orders four Li-ion electrode slurry production lines from Bühler; new process for continuous production

Lishen, a major Chinese Li-ion battery manufacturer, has ordered four electrode slurry production lines from Swiss-based Bühler, a contract worth almost US$10.5 million. The two companies have been collaborating on the development of a more efficient production process, which Lishen is now ordering.

The Chinese government is promoting the propagation of electrical vehicles on the basis of a number of targeted measures. To meet the requirements of this expected boom, battery manufacturers are currently ramping up capacities on a massive scale too.

One of the largest battery manufacturers in China is Lishen, which was set up in 1997. The company specializes in the development, production, and sale of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Lishen plans in the next few years to commission three new battery factories in China. Their combined annual capacity will amount to 40 GWh—more than the global production capacity for lithium-ion batteries in 2013 and sufficient for 700,000 average car batteries.

The processing of electrode materials has a direct impact on the efficiency, performance, and capacity of lithium-ion batteries. However, the methods used today for this purpose are unsuitable for handling the ever-larger production volumes.

In close partnership with Lishen, Bühler developed a novel process over the past few years which allows continuous production using a twin-screw extruder. Up to now, slurries were mixed batch by batch in large agitator vessels.

The new Bühler process enables a much more consistent quality to be achieved, takes up 60% less space, and reduces the process energy demand by 60%—thus slashing significantly the production cost of the batteries.

The Lishen investment equals a capacity sufficient for an hourly battery output for about 30 electric cars or 3200 e-bikes—for a whole year, this translates into almost 20 million e-bike batteries or more than 150,000 electric vehicle batteries.

Lishen and Bühler have already agreed to further expand their collaboration.


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