NaoneXa and Decktron have entered into a definitive agreement with Argonne National Laboratory to develop and transfer into commercial use next-generation rechargeable lithium battery technologies from Argonne's Battery Technology Department.
Lithium batteries are the most popular rechargeable battery for consumer electronics, as a result of their success in these applications, lithium batteries are now used in other applications such as electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, power tools and specialty battery applications which typically rely upon less efficient NiCD (nickel cadmium) or NiMH (nickel metal hydride) technologies. Lithium batteries are 20-50% lighter than either NiCD or NiMH and can provide greater energy and power per unit of volume and weight.
Analysts predict that by 2010 automakers will annually sell more than 3 million hybrid cars around the world, generating battery sales of over $3 billion. Lithium batteries already represent a global market of $6 billion, growing at 10-15% per year.
NanoeXa has developed a variety of synthesis routes to manufacture nanomaterials for wide range of applications.The synthesis techniques are ideally suited for lithium ion battery applications. Novel cathode and anode materials with controlled nanostructures can be produced by their methods. The electrode materials produced by our process have shown high stability resulting in lithium batteries with improved safety, long term cyclibility and storage characteristics. Composite-structure is promising battery electrode for consumer electronics and electric vehicles.
There is a need for new lower-cost, more stable cathode materials to replace LiCoO2. Through its agreement with Argonne, NanoeXa has obtained acess to a new class of electrode structures in which a layered component such as Li2MnO3 is intergrown with either another layered component (e.g., LiMn0.5Ni0.5O2 or LiMn0.33Ni0.33Co0.33O2 ), or with a spinel component, e.g., Li4Mn5O12). These manganese-rich composite electrode structures are electrochemically activated by charging to a potential >4.6 V in a lithium cell. They can deliver almost twice the practical capacity of LiCoO2 and they are more stable in non-aqueous electrolytes at elevated temperatures. The data bode well for the development of the next generation of high-energy high-power lithium-ion batteries.
Argonne National Laboratory has been granted two U.S. patents (U.S. Pat. 6,677,082 and U.S. Pat. 6,680,143) on new "composite-structure" electrode materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Electrode compositions of this type are receiving worldwide attention. Such electrodes offer superior cost and safety features over state-of-the-art LiCoO2 electrodes that power conventional lithium-ion batteries. Moreover, they demonstrate outstanding cycling stability and can be charged and discharged at high rates, making them excellent candidates to replace LiCoO2 for consumer electronic applications and hybrid electric vehicles. In Argonne's patented technology, the electrodes are defined as having composite xLi2M′O3·(1-x)LiMO2 structures in which an electrochemically inactive Li2M¢O3 component is integrated with an electrochemically active LiMO2 component to provide improved structural and electrochemical stability. The preferred M′ ions are manganese, titanium and zirconium, whereas the preferred M ions are manganese and nickel, which can be used in combination with other metals such as cobalt. For example, the composite electrod. 0.10Li2MnO3·0.90LiMn0.26Ni0.37Co0.37O2, which can also be represented in conventional layered notation as Li[Li0.0475Mn0.3175Ni0.3175Co0.3175]O2, shows outstanding electrochemical properties. The structural compatibility between the two components, both of which have layered configurations, allows integration to occur at the atomic level.
During charge and discharge of a lithium-ion cell, Li+ ions are electrochemically removed from and reinserted into the LiMO2 component, respectively, as shown schematically in a compositional phase diagram of a Li2M′O3 - LiMO2 - MO2 - Li2MO2 electrode system. An additional advantage of using electrode structures with manganese and nickel ions in the LiMO2 component is that these structures can accommodate additional lithium; they form layered Li2MO2 structures without compromising the reversibility of the reaction, thereby providing additional capacity to the electrode. The Li2M′O3 component not only provides structural stability but also ensures, with its high lithium content, that the lithium layers in the composite electrodes are not contaminated by small amounts of transition metal ions, such as Ni2+ ions. Additional patents are pending on this technology.
In 2006, NanoeXa acquired a controlling interest in Decktron, a publicly traded company, headquartered in South Korea, focused on delivering next generation lithium batteries that deliver exceptional performance and safety levels. Decktron, through its subsidiary, has been supplying many leaders in consumer electronics with a variety of high performance lithium polymer batteries. With many customers in Asia, they have already established themselves as a major player in the lithium battery market for a number of applications.
The battery manufacturing operation is equipped with modern, high throughput and scalable production facilities in Asia. NanoeXa is creating innovative technologies in house that will serve as the cornerstone of next generation lithium battery products.
Argonne Awarded Lithium Battery Technology Patents, Argonne National Laboratories, Chemical Engineering Division