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Environmentally sustainable processing techniques applied to large scale electrode and cell component manufacturing for Li ion batteries (Batteries Partnership)

Industrial scale fabrication of Li-ion battery (LIB) porous electrodes imply casting of a slurry over a thin metallic current collector according to conventional coating procedures. This is the technology used also for advanced LIBs with high energy electrode materials and liquid electrolyte (Gen3a/b). The slurry to be coated is prepared by mixing the active material, conductive agent and binder in a solvent, typically N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). Since NMP is toxic in nature, an expensive recovery system should be placed to collect the evaporated NMP in the drying process.

Less expensive and environmentally friendly solvents, such as water are already employed for anode manufacturing, which eliminates the large capital cost of the solvent recovery system. Wet coating technologies can still be further optimised and benefit from reducing the solvent fraction, thus, reducing the energy demand of the drying step. Moreover, completely dry processing techniques could completely remove the need for energy consuming drying, hence reducing the CO2 footprint of the electrode fabrication process.

This may also apply for example to protective interface coatings for both advanced anode –e.g. lithium metal- and cathode – e.g. HV spinel materials. Also, there are other new concepts that can benefit from the implementation of dry manufacturing techniques such as 3D patterning of active electrode layers, or hydrophobic surface treatment of electrodes with next generation materials. The process should be scalable, safer, cheaper, cleaner and less energy consuming compared to state-of-the-art technologies. The proposed/developed processes are expected to address the notion of “Design to Manufacture”, which should reduce production cost and increase battery performance resulting in increased efficiency and better cycle life. As the manufacturing techniques may benefit from digitalization, and moreover be ready to be integrated in digitally-driven larger production lines, project proposals should address digitalization within their scope..It should also propose innovative technical solutions and/or standardized approaches to ensure workers and users safety, particularly in the field of handling new materials during processing – such as in the case of nano-materials. The challenge is proposed for Li-ion up to generation 3.

Focus is into manufacturing technology development, up to pilot-level proof of concept. Activities to be aligned/feeding into the specific machinery development topic – industrial machinery development is beyond the scope of this topic.

Projects are expected to be aligned with H2020 project LiPLANET initiative – The EU network of R&D Li cell manufacturing pilot lines.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership on ‘Towards a competitive European industrial battery value chain for stationary applications and e-mobility’.