PPG recently announced it has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for research into the use of two versatile, high-output processes in the production of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery electrodes. The three-year, $2.2 million project – one of 13 selected through a DOE initiative focused on addressing engineering challenges for advanced battery materials and devices – will be conducted in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
The goal of the PPG project, titled “High-Energy and High-Power NMP-Free Designer Electrodes with Ultra-Thick Architectures Processed by Multilayer Slot-Die Coating and Electrophoretic Deposition,” is to achieve step-change improvements in production efficiency of Li-ion batteries used in automotive and commercial vehicle applications. Multilayer slot die coating and electrophoretic deposition (EPD) are highly scalable methods for applying uniform films onto a variety of substrates. PPG was the first company to commercialize cathodic EPD, an industry standard for protecting vehicle panels and components from corrosion.
As an additional benefit, the proposed processes would eliminate the use of the solvent N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) in producing the conductive-carbon slurry that forms cathodes for Li-ion batteries. According to a recent U.S. EPA draft risk evaluation, NMP poses an “unreasonable risk” to workers in certain conditions.
“This funding recognizes PPG’s contributions to innovative battery manufacturing processes and our potential to commercialize disruptive technologies that can help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles,” said Peter Votruba-Drzal, PPG director, global research and product development, automotive, industrial and mobility.
The project is being funded through a 50/50 cost share between PPG and DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The DOE funding is part of the department’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge to create and sustain global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports.