US company Forge Nano has announced plans to step up deployment of a proprietary coating technology that it says improves “the longevity, safety and cost” of lithium-ion batteries.
The Colorado-based firm, which said it maintains the world’s largest manufacturing capacity for Atomic Layer Deposition-enabled (ALD) materials, has commissioned a 300-ton per year light commercial production plant – set to come online early next year – to increase its coating capacity “ten-fold”.
Forge said the coating process “can used to upgrade many materials, such as powders utilised in energy storage applications” including Li-ion batteries, fuel cells and Ultracapacitors. “ALD allows for coating thicknesses down to Angstroms – 1/100,000th the thickness of a human hair.”
“Such control allows for the application of coatings that are thick enough to eliminate unwanted reactions that cause degradation within energy storage systems or moisture-sensitive materials, yet thin enough to not adversely affect desirable material properties,” Forge said. “ALD coatings are by far the most compelling coating solution for eliminating capacity fade and enabling higher overall performance and safety in batteries.”
While ALD has long-existed as a process, Forge said the technology has “remained a lab-scale process utilised primarily by academics” because of the lack of “manufacturing innovation” – until now. The company said it has “developed, patented and successfully demonstrated a high-throughput process for applying ALD, which reduces the overall cost of energy storage devices while improving their performance and safety”.
“Forge Nano’s coatings can increase cathode material lifetimes more than 250% while enabling higher capacity nickel-rich battery chemistries,” the company said.
Meanwhile, Forge said on 7 July it had entered into an exclusive licence agreement with the US Argonne National Laboratory to commercialise Argonne’s patented system and method for continuous ALD.