Peter Donaldson gives his round-up of the products on display at this show, where the focus was on tackling thermal issues
This year’s Battery Show North America and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, held in Novi in Michigan, had if anything an even greater emphasis on battery safety than usual, with many innovations aimed at stopping a thermal runaway in its tracks, as well as on thermal management. (This is an excerpt. See this link for the full article.)
Wildcat Discovery Technologies showcased its high-throughput r&d platform, which is modelled on drug discovery techniques used by the pharmaceuticals industry and is designed to accelerate battery innovation through projects with automotive OEMs and cell manufacturers to test new chemistries. The company is also using the platform to develop its own active materials.
“We’re able to do many experiments in parallel and get results quite fast,” Jim Voeffray explained. “Over the last 15 years, the company has automated the testing of multiple slight variations on different chemical recipes at the same time, typically incorporated into small pouch cells and mounted in test towers.
“Now we have updated our strategy to where we’re going to enter the market as a battery materials supplier focused on cathode materials.”
The first materials the company will offer will be LFP formulations, followed by lithium manganese iron phosphate. The latter promises better performance in terms of energy density and power density, with comparable cycle life and costs to LFP cathode chemistries.
The plan is then to follow these with a proprietary cathode material based on disordered rock salt, a high-energy material without the nickel or cobalt capable of competing with high-nickel NMCs, and capable of serving as a drop-in replacement for an NMC cathode in any cell.
“We’ve been working on disordered rock salt for the past 7 years and now we can see a path to commercialisation,” Voeffray said. “We’re probably a year away from having something customers can sample.
“Essentially it’s a high-energy density material with a good safety profile – better than NMC – and all the materials in it are low-cost and abundant,” he added. “The challenge at this point is cycle life, but we’re hoping to improve that up to 1000 cycles so we can use it in automotive applications.”
(See this link for the full article.)