A new collaboration has been announced between Porous Power Technologies, LLC, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Porous Power has paired its separator material with a new manufacturing technique that will enable companies to produce dozens of batteries in the same time it currently takes to produce a single cell.
"This dramatically alters the cost equation and paves the way for mass production of more affordable lithium-ion car batteries," explains Tim Feaver, Porous Power’s CEO. "This project with Oak Ridge will accelerate the development of the patent-pending SYMMETRIX® production process and confirm the safest, most cost-effective materials to use in these batteries."
As the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, ORNL selected this project, in part, because it answers all four of the key technology barriers cited in the DOE Vehicle Technologies Program 2008 Annual Progress Report: cost, performance, abuse tolerance and battery life.
"The auto industry is looking for an entirely new way to produce high-performance lithium-ion cells with superb safety characteristics and a much lower cost than today’s batteries," says ORNL scientist David L. Wood, III, Ph.D.
Porous Power’s SYMMETRIX production process eliminates one of the most expensive battery components, free-standing separator membranes, by coating SYMMETRIX separator film directly on to electrodes. In addition to reducing overall battery cost, this film can, according to the company: extend the life and high-power capacity of lithium-ion batteries; minimize heat generation in batteries so more energy is available for application use, which enables the batteries to operate at a safer, cooler temperature; and allow batteries to charge 50% faster than equivalent batteries with traditional separators.