US based Polystor Corporation (Livermore, CA) has been awarded a grant by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Commerce Department’s Technology Administration, to develop a slim, lightweight, rechargeable, lithium-ion polymer gel battery.
The aim to is develop a device with twice the energy capacity of current technology that will not need costly external safety circuitry in the cell pack.
As handheld computers, cell phones, and other data and control devices become lighter, more economical, and widespread, more powerful, lighter and affordable batteries are needed.
Therefore, one challenge to the battery industry is to meet the needs of these power-hungry wireless and handheld devices, while meeting the demands for increased cell safety. Although lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries promise high energy capacity, the need for an external electronic safety circuit increases the cost of a Li-ion cell in comparison to other rechargeable battery technologies.
With technical support from subcontractors including the Li-ion battery group at Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, IL), Entek International (Lebanon, OR), and the Center for Electrochemical Sciences and Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL), the company seeks to develop new, inherently safe anodes and mixed oxide cathodes to increase energy density; and advanced separators and ‘smart’ chemistry that can shut down the cell safely.
Successful achievement of PolyStor’s goals will enable it to manufacture the next generation of safe, ultralight batteries for the handheld rechargeable battery market. PolyStor hopes to maintain a lead in the market against its giant foreign rivals, resulting in US leadership in the rechargeable battery market.
If successful, the project will result in the first rechargeable Li-ion battery with performance matching that of a primary lithium battery. ATP support will accelerate the development of this leapfrog technology by two to three years.
The company web site is at www.polystor.com