High energy density Li-ion batteries with nanocomposite cathodes

Period of Performance: 01/30/2003 - 07/30/2004

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanopowder Enterprises, Inc.
120 Centennial Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The energy density of Li-ion batteries can be enhanced by utilizing cathodes that have significantly higher energy density than that of state-of-the-art LiCoO2. The proposed program focuses on developing novel nanocomposites with a theoretical energy density of ~ 800 Wh/kg, which is more than 60% higher than that of the practical energy density of LiCoO2. Working in collaboration with a leading developer of Li-ion batteries in Phase I, we will demonstrate that it is possible to produce stable and high energy density nanocomposite cathodes. These cathodes will lead to economical, high energy density and long cycle life rechargeable Li-ion batteries at discharge rates acceptable in commercial Li-ion batteries. As part of Phase I work, the electrochemical properties of these nanocomposite cathodes will be evaluated in Li and Li-ion test cells with a liquid electrolyte. Additionally, prototype batteries, consisting of cathodes made of this novel nanocomposite powder, will be fabricated to address practical issues pertaining to the use of nanomaterials. In Phase II, test batteries will be fabricated and tested for performance, along with optimization and scaling of the powder synthesis process. The broader impact of the proposed program will be the availability of economical, high energy density secondary Li-ion batteries for several military and consumer applications. The cathode in Li-ion batteries is a very important constituent and accounts for a worldwide market of more than $250 million/year. Consequently, an economical, high energy density cathode has a major role to play as Li-ion batteries evolve in year to come.