LG Chem has signed a license agreement with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory that will allow the company to use a patented composite cathode material developed at the laboratory to manufacture advanced lithium-ion batteries.
The Argonne-developed technology is claimed to result in a 50-100 per cent increase in battery energy-storage capacity over conventional cathode materials. Further, its unique lithium- and manganese-rich mixed-metal oxide combination extends the operating time between charges, increases its life and improves the inherent safety of lithium-ion cells.
The technology is in the battery cell that is powering General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The Volt has an EPA estimated range of 35 miles on a full charge.
LG Chem Michigan Incorporated (LGCMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, will manufacture Li-ion polymer battery cells for the Chevy Volt at a US Recovery Act-funded $303m (£195m) production facility under construction in Holland, Michigan. The plant will employ more than 400 people.
Argonne has developed and patented a sizable suite of Li-ion battery technologies with funding from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Funding for the earlier stages of research and development of this technology was provided by the DOE’s Office of Science.