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USABC awards $919,000 Li-ion active material coating technology assessment contract to Physical Sciences; EV requirements

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR), and a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, has awarded a $919,000 contract to Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) for an active material coating technology assessment.

The contract award, which includes a 50% cost share, funds an 18-month project that began last year. The program will evaluate PSI cells against electric vehicle requirements to determine whether its active material coating technology improves cell level energy density and lowers cell cost.

PSI developed a novel high active (HA) material-coating technology under a PSI internal research and development (IRAD) program. This rapid, low cost coating technology increases the electrical and ionic conductivity at the surface of the anode and cathode active materials used in state-of-the-art and next-generation lithium-ion cells. PSI says that the HA coating enables:

  • Increased active material content to 98-99% from commercial standards of 92-95%, while also eliminating the need for high surface area carbons.

  • Reduction in the binder content.

  • Increased electrode density, allowing for increased rate performance at a given loading.

  • Reduction in the amount of electrode processing solvent, drying times and overall production cost.

  • Stable high voltage performance, thereby increasing the achievable cell level energy density.

These performance advantages enable the HA coating technology to increase the performance of lithium-ion cells while simultaneously lowering the manufacturing cost, according to PSI.

USABC is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles. In support of its mission, USABC has developed mid- and long-term goals to guide its projects and measure its progress.

The technology assessment contract award with PSI is part of USABC’s broad battery technology research and development program. Programs like this are critical to advancing the technology needed to meet both near- and long-term goals that will enable broader scale vehicle electrification.

—Steve Zimmer, executive director of USCAR

Founded in 1992, USCAR is the collaborative automotive technology company for FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. The goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development. All USCAR Member companies have joined in becoming signatories of the Responsible Raw Materials Initiative (RRMI, now part of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, RMI) Declaration of Support.


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