US lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery manufacturer International Battery has entered into a collaboration and licence agreement with the Hydro-Québec electric utility to further develop water-based manufacturing processes for the production of Li-ion batteries.
Li-ion cells consist of a positive and negative electrode separated by an electrolyte solution. The electrodes consist of active materials, a binder and additives that enhance the electronic conductivity of the active materials.
Traditionally, Li-ion electrodes are made using a slurry-based process that uses large amounts of organic solvents to mix these components. However, the use of such organic solvents is undesirable because of the environmental impact and cost associated with their use.
At International Battery, the emphasis is on manufacturing Li-ion cells using a water-soluble binder-based process for both the cathode and the anode. The company believes that there are significant environmental advantages by using the process in the manufacture of Li-ion cells, as well as a reduction in manufacturing costs.
Hydro-Québec has a strong intellectual property (IP) in aqueous electrode technology and has been working on water-based manufacturing processes for Li-ion batteries since 1996. And since 2008, International Battery, in its plant in Allentown, has produced large-format prismatic Li-ion battery cells for a variety of applications using this method.
As part of the collaboration, the companies plan to expand water-based manufacturing processes for additional lithium chemistries.