The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) is celebrating its first successful year of testing Germany’s ability to produce lithium-ion cells on an industrial scale.
In its first year the plant has processed 1,300 kilograms of active materials into slurries, coated 11 km of electrode sheets, and assembled more than 1,000 cells.
The plant can manufacture one automotive-grade, standard lithium-ion cell in PHEV 1 format fully at a rate of one per second.
German automakers currently buy the majority of their cells from Korean company LG Chem, SK Innovations, and Japanese firm Panasonic.
The ZSW plant and the news that Daimler has just broken ground on a $542million factory in Kamenz, Germany— the same city where its subsidiary Li-Tec ceased lithium-ion production in 2015— may show the battle may have been won by Asian firm, but the lithium-ion war is far from over.
ZSW board member Professor Werner Tillmetz, said: “We gained an enormous amount of experience in producing automotive lithium-ion cells during the pilot plant’s first year of operation, and are gaining valuable new experience every day; that is, extremely valuable experience needed to successfully establish commercial manufacturing capability.”
“The construction of a production facility for automotive battery cells presents a unique opportunity for Germany to sustain its value chain and ability to compete.
“Now it’s up to the industry and suppliers to set the gears in motion.”
The 3,000 square meter plant at ZSW received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the State of Baden-Württemberg.
The researchers tested lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC)/graphite to qualify manufacturing processes. Advanced materials that enable higher energy densities to extend vehicles’ range will be employed in newly launched projects.
Last year BEST mag reported how scientists at ZSW had developed a cobalt free cathode which increased the thermal stability of the cell in a charged state.
They claimed the lithium nickel manganese oxide used for the cathode provided more than 210 milliampere hours per gram (mAh g-1) storage capacity. More here.