Recent efforts to address climate change and develop a clean-energy economy in the United States have focused on the electrification of the transportation sector. Sustainable battery manufacturing has become a critical part of these efforts, and current manufacturing practices face challenges relating to environmental impact, advancing electrode structure, and high manufacturing costs. Conventional wet-slurry-based roll-to-roll (R2R) processes involves the use of a hazardous solvent (e.g., n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)), solvent evaporation and recovery process, and generates a significant amount of waste (e.g., unused slurry). Also, conventional R2R manufacturing does not currently meet the increasing demand for more complex and customized 3D electrode designs.
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel eco-friendly battery electrode fabrication technique. This technique includes two steps, including a solvent-free, gravity-assisted powder bed deposition with 3D engineered porosity on metal current collectors and thermally-assisted power bed compression and lamination. Internal microstructure of the electrodes can be engineered compositionally and structurally by manipulating powder supply using the powder dispenser. The 3D patterns in electrodes created by this process electrodes could potentially boost battery performance beyond what is achievable with conventional 2D structured electrodes. This process is completely dry, and only requires essential electrode materials (active material, carbon, and binder) with practical weight fraction (>90 wt.% active). Solvent-free and easy-to-collect unused powder feature of this process can enable zero-waste manufacturing of battery electrodes.
- Rechargeable battery technology
Benefits and Advantages
- Significantly lower manufacturing costs compared to conventional wet-slurry-based electrode fabrication process (eliminates toxic solvents and energy-intensive slurry drying process)
- Enhanced energy density (eliminates polymer binders from electrodes)
- Allows for the collection and reuse of unused powder
- Can develop compositionally or morphologically complex battery electrode designs in 3D, which cannot be achieved by conventional manufacturing techniques