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anode

Paper-waste shows potential for bringing sodium batteries to commercialisation

Thu, 09/02/2021 - 09:51 -- paul Crompton
Zhen Xu, a research postgraduate at the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering.

A team at Imperial College London have created a battery material they believe could enable the transition from lithium-ion to sodium-ion batteries. 

The scientists prepared lignin (a waste by-product of the paper industry)-derived carbon nanofibre to produce mats that serve as a protective “skeleton” to protect the cell’s metallic sodium anode.

The team from the Titirici Group in the Department of Chemical Engineering used coin cells in the tests with an energy density of around 384Wk/kg-1, which was based on the total active mass of the cathode and anode.

The plan is to next test the technique at pouch level with the goal of producing sodium batteries that can be used in EV or grid energy storage stations as flexible or structural energy storage devices.

The results were published in journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Lignin mats were produced using ‘electrospinning’, with the fibres then carbonised to produce numerous defects in the material structure that support an “even and stable” deposition of metallic sodium.

By combining metallic sodium with specially tailored lignin-based carbon, the team was able to retain and utilise the energy capacity benefits while the safety risks associated with a build-up of dendrite— which causes batteries to short-circuit— were reduced. 

Normally, a sodium metal anode can directly store sodium ions, but the dendrite formation would cause a short circuit of the batteries, said Zhen Xu, a research postgraduate at the Faculty of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering.

Co-author of the paper Xu told BEST: “Therefore, we need a skeleton to protect the sodium metal anode. Bulk sodium metals are pieces of normal sodium metal without any skeleton.

“In this study, the lignin-derived carbon nanofibre mats serve as a skeleton to protect the metallic sodium anode from the dendrite formation, so the metallic sodium is the active anode material to store sodium ions in fact. 

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time to use the lignin-derived carbon nanofibre mats to protect the sodium metal anode.” 

Xu added: “Our research shows the great potential for sodium-ion batteries to play a significant role in a sustainable energy future. Now we hope to work with industry to develop this technology on an industrial scale and explore new applications for sodium-ion batteries.”

Corresponding author of the paper, professor Magda Titirici, said: “It is exciting to see new opportunities for lignin utilisation in the battery sector and its potential to develop new sodium-based technologies, which could revolutionise the electric vehicle sector by creating high performance, safe and more sustainable batteries.”

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China's Lomon Billions to enter lithium-ion battery market with new material plants

Mon, 08/23/2021 - 12:09 -- paul Crompton

China materials firm Lomon Billions plans to enter the battery industry by building three lithium-ion cathode and anode material production facilities. 

The proposed plants in China will cover lithium iron phosphate and titanium dioxide production. 

A 200,000 tonnes-per-year (t/yr) facility for battery-grade iron phosphate will be built in Qinyang city, in the Henan province, over three phases: two 50,000 t/yr stages and a 100,000 t/yr stage.

Another 200,000 t/yr facility is proposed for Henan's Jiaozuo city to ensure feedstock supplies for the lithium iron phosphate project. 

Lomon Billions is planning to construct a 100,000 t/yr plant for artificial lithium-ion battery anode material in Jiaozuo developed in two phases, with 25,000 t/yr and 75,000 t/yr capacity respectively. 

It will also invest 700mn yuan ($108 million) to expand titanium dioxide production in Jiaozuo by 100,000 t/yr. Its total titanium dioxide capacity is 1 million t/yr. 

Details including the construction schedules and launch dates were undisclosed. 

China upping materials production

Chinese companies, including cobalt refinery Jinchuan Group and diversified new energy firm Ningbo Shanshan, have expanded their battery cathode and anode materials production capacity for power.

Jinchuan is on track to raise its production capacity for nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) precursors by 100,000 t/yr in China's Gansu province. 

Shanshan is projected to build a 200,000 t/yr production facility for anode material in China's Sichuan province. 

Domestic power battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has unveiled plans to increase its lithium-ion battery capacity by 137GWh/yr through five production projects in the next three years.

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Pilot plant pushes NEO closer to lithium-ion silicon anode material commercialisation

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 09:23 -- paul Crompton
me-metals schematic of silicon process

Canadian lithium-ion battery material firm NEO Battery Materials is on the verge of developing a first prototype of its silicon anode material.

NEO is in the scale-up phase of commercialisation following the successful integration of its silicon (Si) technology in commercial graphite anodes.

In phase one, NEO will provide graphite/Si mixture anode materials with different levels of Si content for controllable anode specific capacity. 

NEO reports it has achieved ~500 mAh/g, at a 70% capacity enhancement.

Spencer Huh, president and CEO of NEO, said: “The development of our prototype is part of our research to increase the specific capacity of our high silicon content anodes with graphite, and we are also onto a new strategic move into integrating NEO’s silicon with solid-state electrolytes. 

“We are in discussion with parties in the industry to explore and discover potential synergies and mutual benefit for NEO’s silicon anode technology.”

The firm has also announced the initiation of a pilot plant project where it intends to use in-house resources to design and test equipment that will use its single-step Si nanocoating process.

Sung Rock Hwang, chief operating officer and senior vice president of NEO, said the goal of the project was to establish a basic pilot-scale coating process design and to check the feasibility of NEO’s nanocoating technology for metallurgical-grade silicon.

He added: “Moreover, we are further focusing on a cost-effective separation method since it will capture the largest portion of energy consumption during our nanocoating pilot process. 

“The pilot plant project aims to prove the capacity of the Company to produce various sized Si materials ranging from ~50 nanometers to several micron-sized Si materials that are strategically important to conventional liquid-based Li-ion batteries and next generation all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs).”

The company’s directors, scientific advisors, and engineers are in the process of working on the conceptual design of the pilot plant, which marks the first step towards realising wide-scale production. 

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Materials firm plans lithium-ion battery material plant in US

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 11:59 -- paul Crompton
Specialty materials firm Unifrax plans today to build its first large-scale SiFAB

Specialty materials firm Unifrax plans today to build its first large-scale SiFAB (silicon fiber anode material) manufacturing line in the US.

The New York-headquartered manufacturer plans to build the facility in the state of Indiana by the end of 2023.

It is the first time Unifrax has taken a step into developing silicon fiber for the lithium-ion battery manufacturing market. 

SiFAB is being tested in multiple battery systems, with Unifrax expecting results to show the material delivers faster charges and longer battery life for applications including electric vehicles, and energy grid storage.

The Indiana plant will be the first to begin building SiFAB long-term manufacturing capacity. 

John Dandolph, Unifrax president and CEO, said the ability to leverage their existing facility and add new infrastructure to support manufacturing would “significantly accelerate” the timeline for supplying to material to its partners.

Chad Cannan, senior vice president R&D, said: “We designed SiFAB from its inception to be manufactured at large scale so that we could supply all market segments (EV’s, consumer electronics, power tools, and renewable storage), utilise our existing global manufacturing footprint, and deliver a product that has a high degree of quality and consistency.”

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Morrow Batteries’ ramps up plans for European lithium-ion gigafactory

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:21 -- paul Crompton
Battery materials firm Vianode, a subsidiary of Elkam, will supply anode materials for Morrow Batteries’ lithium-ion gigafactory.

Battery materials firm Vianode, a subsidiary of Elkam, will supply anode materials for Morrow Batteries’ lithium-ion gigafactory.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the firms covers the development and qualification of the large-scale supply of anode materials.

Morrow plans to build a 42GWh lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Eyde Energy Park in Arendal municipality, Norway.

Vianode intends to supply the anode materials from its planned large-scale battery graphite plant at Herøya Industrial Park, Norway.

As part of the agreement, the companies will jointly develop tailored anode materials suited for Morrow lithium-ion cells, including both synthetic graphite and silicon-containing anode materials. 

Vianode has received NOK10 million ($1.1 million) in financial support from Norwegian government enterprise Enova to fund the initial planning of its materials plant. 

Vianode is aiming for a final investment decision this year to allow construction to begin before the end of 2021. 

Moving forward

On 4 June, Morrow and Siemens announced they would collaborate on sustainable digitalisation and automation of the gigafactory’s battery cell production value chain and the commercialisation of “low-cost products”.

Three days earlier, Morrow signed a letter of intent for support on automation, electrification, and digitisation of its planned facilities with ABB.

In addition, the companies intend to collaborate on a common go-to-market approach, with highly developed battery solutions as well as energy storage systems.

Last month, Morrow formalised the decision to build the 42GWH plant in Eyde Energy Park in Arendal municipality in the south of the country when it gained approval by Arendal City Council.

Morrow is due to start producing battery cells for electric vehicles starting in late 2024. 

All four modules will be completed in 2026.

Last month, Morrow appointed Juergen Lind as executive vice president (EVP) of Industrialization and Business Development. 

The former head of battery development at Audi will lead the build-up of Morrow's Industrialization Center (MIC) and drive “customer-centric battery cell development”.

Juergen will take up his post in August.

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ABB and Talga sign MoU to build Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery anode plant

Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:34 -- paul Crompton

Australian battery anode company Talga Group and Switzerland technology firm ABB are set to develop and construct a lithium-ion battery anode production facility in Sweden.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the firms will see Talga’s Vittangi Anode Project built in northern Sweden. 

Talga managing director Mark Thompson said the firms plan to build Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery anode production facility for more sustainable batteries.

The anode refinery is expected to begin production in 2023. 

Under the MoU, ABB will supply a suite of production control and process solutions for Talga’s integrated lithium-ion battery anode operations. 

In addition, the companies will work with its partners to provide engineering support for the Vittangi Anode Project Definitive Feasibility Study, due for completion March 2021, with the intent to execute binding agreements for construction and operations in future. 

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Dutch firm produce 100% silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:26 -- paul Crompton

LeydenJar Technologies is ready to start producing new lithium-ion anode that can be made from 100% silicon while offering higher energy density.

The spinout from the Dutch applied research institute TNO, claims its breakthrough technology offers batteries with an energy density of 1350 Wh/L for more than 100 cycles at a C/2 rate. 

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Sion Power’s prototype lithium-metal cell shows EV market promise

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 13:08 -- paul Crompton

Lithium-metal battery developer Sion Power has announced promising results from its demonstration cell that uses a metallic lithium anode and nickel-rich commercial cathode material.

The US firm tested the 1.8Ah prototype cell which it is developing for electric vehicle applications requiring high energy density, increased cycle life, and fast charging capability.

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Carbon recovery trials puts EcoGraf a step closer to entering the lithium-ion battery supply chain

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:59 -- paul Crompton

Australian battery materials firm Ecograf has announced it can recover 99% of the carbon from used battery feedstock following trials of its lithium-ion anode recycling process.

The firm’s proprietary graphite purification technology was trialled on recycled lithium-ion battery material, which included anode material consisting of natural and synthetic graphite and silicon. =

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Tier-1 lithium-ion anode maker requests bigger sample after positive test results

Wed, 03/11/2020 - 13:48 -- paul Crompton

Australian minerals firm Blackearth Minerals has received positive feedback from a Tier-1 lithium-ion battery anode maker on its graphite concentrate mined in Southern Madagascar.

China firm BTR New Energy Materials undertook an in-house test-work program to evaluate the concentrate for suitability as an anode material.

 

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