ExxonMobil Chemical and ExxonMobil's Japanese affiliate, Tonen Chemical have developed a thin film separator for use in lithium-ion batteries, that would enable production of batteries like those found in cell phones and laptops, to power cars and trucks. These new film technologies are expected to significantly enhance the power, safety and reliability of lithium-ion batteries, thereby helping speed the adoption of these smaller and lighter batteries into the next wave of lower-emission vehicles.
This weekend, at the 23rd Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition (EVS-23) in Anaheim, Calif., Exxon Mobil will unveil a super-thin plastic sheeting the company says can improve the power, safety and reliability of lithium-ion batteries for use in automobiles.
Separator film is an integral part of battery system design and critical to overall performance. ExxonMobil Chemical’s new technology platform builds on twenty years experience in lithium-ion battery separators, applying advanced polymer and process technologies with flexibility to tailor products to battery manufacturer requirements.
Exxon Mobil considers the film a breakthrough because it allows battery makers to build smaller and cheaper battery systems — removing key obstacles that have kept automakers from building hybrid and electric vehicles on a wide scale. Porosity is one of the key parameters in building higher performance separators and Tonen has developed a prototype film with a 51% porosity compared to 37% in current production batteries while maintaining the same strength and thermal integrity.
Exxon Mobil developed its film with Japanese affiliate Tonen Chemical (see this earlier press release that discloses that Tonen has been manufacturing films for small Li-ion batteries since 1991). Invented in research labs at Exxon Mobil's Baytown complex, the film is the first to squeeze multiple layers of plastic into a single white sheet the width (thickness?) of a human hair.
Tonen and Exxon are exploring the possibility of building a new production facility for the new generation of films in Gumi, Korea.
Material for this post is based on an article in The Houston Chronicle and various ExxonMobil publications.