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Lithium Ion Battery Material

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Background

Powder Processing & Technology, LLC was presented with a new and innovative battery material that could potentially revolutionize the rechargeable battery market. This new material did not present the usual potential to overheat and catch fire if charging were done too rapidly or the battery case damaged. The customer had manufactured small quantities in the lab but was unable to scale up to prototype production quantities that would permit them to get batteries into the real world for testing.

PPT saw the problem needed to be addressed in two steps. First, produce the battery material in small innovative materials center quantities to verify we had the capability to duplicate the technology. Second, to manufacture the innovative material in prototype production quantities that would permit the customer to manufacture cells and ultimately batteries for evaluation by some of their major customers.

Solution

Per the above, the first goal was to manufacture the material in small quantities of several kg to duplicate at the PPT facility what the customer had developed.

This involved getting from the customer the exact raw materials used in their location, and verifying that these could be purchased ultimately in large production quantities. Once done, we decided on a lab process that was thought to be able to be scaled up to prototype production quantities using equipment available at PPT. The process involved blending the raw materials, specialized grinding of the raw materials, inert atmosphere firing of the raw materials, and a final grind of the finished product to the customers required size.

After several iterations, PPT was successful in the lab scale duplication.

Now the challenge was to produce prototype production quantities on the order of several hundred kg per week of the quality needed to meet their short term battery requirements. In addition PPT was required to test the battery material using test methods that were new to PPT.

The customer transferred appropriate test equipment to PPT and trained our technical staff to do the needed electrochemical testing.

From the knowledge learned during pilot scale manufacturing, PPT was able to readily transfer the manufacturing to larger sized equipment capable of producing the prototype production quantities. After a couple of iterations the quality was realized and PPT was routinely producing the quality and quantity that the customer needed to qualify this material in the marketplace.

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