Scientists from the US federal research facility Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is partnering with solid-state lithium-ion battery electrolyte developer Ampcera to create a method for producing 3-D cathodes.
The partners will develop solvent-free Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing technologies for making 3D-structured lithium battery cathodes that will eventually be evaluated in real-world performance tests.
By eliminating the solvent, ultrafast laser processing allows large-scale battery manufacturing with higher production throughput, lower energy consumption and cost and could improve power and energy densities, claim the firms.
The project received $1.5 million from the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Originally developed for 3D printing of metal parts, LLNL is planning to use L-PBF manufacturing technology to thermally bind the cathode powder mixtures onto the aluminum current collector and generate 3D structures for faster charging and higher-energy-density batteries.
LLNL’s staff scientist and lead principal investigator of the project, Jianchao Ye, said: “The environmentally benign process allows for thick high-capacity 3D cathode structures to be processed, enabling lithium-ion batteries to reach the fast-charging goal of 80% charge in 15 minutes or less.”
Ampcera will provide state-of-the-art and highly engineered cathode powders to LLNL for L-PBF processing.
Hui Du, co-founder and CTO of Ampcera said that, after developing 3D-structured cathodes, the firms expect to expand the technology to anode design and further explore its application in all-solid-state lithium-metal batteries with even higher energy and power densities.