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Albemarle establishes battery materials innovation center to drive lithium-ion anode development

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 08:16 -- paul Crompton

Chemicals firm Albermarle aims to fully open its new innovation centre in North Carolina, US, by the end of this month.

The Battery Materials Innovation Centre (BMIC) will develop lithium metal anode technologies that increase a lithium-ion battery’s energy density.

The firm aims to do this by using advanced lithium metal rolling to achieve lithium foils 20 microns thin or thinner, and then demonstrate lithium foils as thin as 3 to 5 microns using technologies being developed.

BMIC will support Albemarle's lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth goals.

The plant will enable the synthesis of new materials, material properties characterisation and analysis, material scale-up capabilities, and material integration into battery cells for performance testing.

The facility includes a dry room with a multi-layer pouch-cell line that can create batteries to demonstrate aspects of battery performance and accelerate the transition of new products. 

Dr. Glen Merfeld, Albemarle Lithium’s chief technology officer, said: "The completion of the center provides us with realistic and relevant cell building capabilities to generate meaningful data for next-gen battery material design. 

"With this new resource, we will be equipped to optimise our lithium materials for a drop-in solution for customers that help them deliver high-performing cost-effective batteries for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market."

In a June 14 roundtable discussion hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, Dr. Merfeld stressed that advancements in lithium recovery and battery performance are critical to maximising the energy yield of every gram of active lithium material. 

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