Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, California, USA, is partnering with Ampcera Inc, headquartered in Milpitas, California, to develop Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing technologies for the creation of lithium battery cathodes. The project has been awarded $1.5 million from the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the US Department of Energy.
LLNL’s Jianchao Ye, staff scientist and the lead principal investigator of the project, is planning to use this PBF-LB Additive Manufacturing technology to thermally bind cathode powder mixtures onto an aluminium current collector in order to generate unique three-dimensional structures for faster charging and higher-energy-density batteries.
“The environmentally benign process allows for thick high-capacity 3D cathode structures to be processed, enabling lithium-ion batteries to reach the fast-charging goal of 80% charge in fifteen minutes or less,” Ye stated.
By eliminating the need for solvent, ultrafast laser processing is said to allow large-scale battery manufacturing with higher production throughput at lowered costs and energy consumption. It is also expected to improve power and energy densities.
Ampcera has a technology portfolio in high-performance solid-state electrolytes and electrode materials and will provide highly engineered cathode powders to LLNL for Additive Manufacturing. The partners intend to collaborate closely to build battery cells and evaluate their real-world performance.
“The partnership between LLNL and Ampcera will accelerate the development and commercialisation of the ultra-fast and low-cost [PBF-LB] Additive Manufacturing technology for high-performance lithium battery manufacturing,” stated Hui Du, co-founder and CTO of Ampcera. “After developing 3D-structured cathodes, we expect to expand the technology to anode design and also further explore its application in all-solid-state Li metal batteries with even higher energy and power densities.”