EnerDel, a subsidiary of Ener1,Inc (OTC BB: ENEI.OB) in which Delphi holds a minority interest, has announced that it has installed its first mass production line for lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery electrodes at the company's Indiana facility. EnerDel is developing a Li-ion battery solution that they claim will improve the performance, fuel efficiency and cost of Hybrid Electric Vehicles. EnerDel expects to succeed at being the first company to cost-competitively mass-produce a Li-ion battery in the United States. With this capability EnerDel can now demonstrate its production approach and expertise to automotive companies and OEMs, as well as begin their required qualification process to mass produce batteries for their future HEV models.
EnerDel is now testing manufactured prototypes of battery cells and related manufacturing equipment.
The new production line is capable of producing the electrode equivalent of 5,000 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) batteries (25KW) per month. EnerDel's production line includes two Hirano Tecseed Coaters, because, from a quality control standpoint, it is vital to have two coating lines to allow the coating of anodes and cathodes separately to avoid any contamination.
Their products offer high rates of power output, high energy capacity and long life. Proprietary nanothechology-derived cathode materials enable it primary and rechargeable cells to have high energy density. They use a Manganese Spinel annode, a hard carbon Lithium-titanate cathode, and a stack configuration. They claim that their battery is safer than competing Li-ion technologies, without any further explanation.
NanoEner, Inc., another subsidiary Ener1, has developed the proprietary technology for the production of nanostructured, thin-film coatings on the electrodes. The company’s proprietary process, called Vapor Deposition Solidification™ (VDS), offers the advantages of traditional vacuum technologies in controlling film structure at the atomic or “nano” level while providing for higher efficiencies (rates) of evaporation and deposition. The company’s technology is used for the production of nanostructured thin-film coatings for high charge/discharge rate battery electrodes.
Ener1 also owns 49% of Enerstruct, a Japanese lithium battery technology company in which Ener1’s strategic investor ITOCHU owns 51%. Enerstrut has contributed significantly to the development of the annode and cathode. ITOCHU Corporation is EnerDel's ally in their lithium-ion R&D program through its contribution of Japanese scientists and engineers with proven hands-on experience developing and mass manufacturing batteries for the world's major lithium-ion battery manufacturers.
In June EnerDel was awarded a phase one contract by the U.S. Advanced Battery Corporation, a group for collaborative research among DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp, that will accelerate development of the Company's new lithium-ion (li-ion) battery. The contract calls for EnerDel to produce a new Li-Ion battery based on advanced battery materials and low-cost production technologies. EnerDel expects that a successful outcome of Phase 1 will lead to a Phase 2, which would include establishing volume manufacturing of the technology.
I am suprised by the number of companies developing Li-ion batteries. EnerDel wasflying below my radar until this announcement of the installation of the production line for annodes came out. They appear to be among the leaders in being able to produce batteries in the near term.