Low-Cost High Power Anode Material for Automotive Lithium-Ion Batteries

Period of Performance: 07/31/2017 - 07/30/2019

$1MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Saratoga Energy Reseach Partners
820 Heinz Avenue Array
Berkeley, CA 94720
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

A breakthrough electrolysis process to manufacture graphite from carbon dioxide has been developed. Graphite is the primary active anode component used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and constitutes 10-14% of the total cell cost. The graphite produced could offer a 70% cost saving compared to commercial incumbents. In addition, the company’s graphite features another very important characteristic: it enables fast charging of lithium-ion batteries – up to three times faster than standard anodes. Thus, as the project succeeds, it will provide two essential contributions that are fully aligned with the mission of the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office: contributing to reducing the cost of batteries for electric vehicles and dramatically improving charging performance. During Phase I, the company improved the performance of its graphite anode material by optimizing synthesis conditions and demonstrated long-term cycling stability on small full-cells. In Phase II of this SBIR project, three objectives will be met. The first objective is to further refine the graphite production process to maximize material performance. The second objective is to demonstrate fast charging capabilities and long-term cycling stability on larger, 2 Ah lithium-ion full cells. The third objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of this process at a small pilot scale, paving the way for further customer sampling and qualification, as well as providing necessary process data for a demonstration-scale plant design. Lower cost and improved battery charging will contribute to greater customer acceptance of electric vehicles, helping the deployment of clean energy technologies. As an added benefit, this graphite could be made from waste carbon dioxide and, if produced from renewable electricity, would have a negligible carbon footprint.