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NSF Future Manufacturing Research Grant for high energy density Li-ion batteries

9/14/2020

This National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will support fundamental research to develop transformative manufacturing processes for reliable, energy dense, and easily recyclable next generation Lithium-ion batteries. The Illinois Materials Research Laboratory co-principal investigators Professors Paul Braun, Nenad Milkovic, Nicola Perry, and Pingfeng Wang, with co-principal investigator Prof. Marta Hatzell at Georgia Tech, have been awarded $3.25M over 5 years. The team will work with other collaborators, including Xerion Advanced Battery Corp., the Illinois NSF Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

As the focus of this research project, entitled “Holistic Design for Manufacturing and Recycling of High Energy Density Li-ion Battery Cells,” the team will utilize and optimize a new manufacturing paradigm, capitalizing on their novel electrodeposition/de-electroplating technologies to advance Lithium-ion battery manufacturing for enhanced performance, lifecycle sustainability, thermal management, and recyclability.

Lithium-ion batteries are emerging as the key energy storage technology for both the power grid and electric vehicles due to their high power and lightweight. However, these batteries are costly, difficult to recycle, and degrade over time. In addition, today’s Li-ion batteries are manufactured via slurry-based processes, which introduce complexity, cost, and other challenges into battery manufacturing and recycling.

This research will reduce the dependency of the United States on imported critical materials, greatly simplify battery manufacturing and recycling processes, and reduce the cost of Li-ion batteries – ultimately forming Li-ion batteries in a way to maximize their reliability and lifecycle sustainability. The novel manufacturing approach proposed by the team will enable battery fabrication and recycling processes, which result in both reduced waste and lower energy input compared to the current state-of-the-art. To promote future science in the field, the project will create new outreach projects and training courses for K-12 students and professionals, and transform the partner universities’ curricula in multidisciplinary areas related to Li-ion batteries, manufacturing engineering, thermal science, and system design.