EESA Success Stories
Scale-Up R&D Bridges Gap between Laboratory and Battery Industry
The gap between small-scale laboratory research and high-volume manufacturing, known as "scale-up," is one the most significant hurdles in transitioning new battery materials and technologies to the market. Scale-up R&D involves taking a laboratory-developed process and modifying it to enable economical commercial-scale production.
Scaling up chemistry is not a simple linear process. When a laboratory process is modified for high-volume production, factors like time, temperature, concentration and mixing velocity can all change.
Initial discovery amounts of battery materials are small compared to the kilo-scale amounts needed for validation of new battery technologies. Argonne’s scale-up research is enabling the development of manufacturing processes for producing advanced battery materials in sufficient quantity for industrial testing.
Argonne established its Advanced Battery Materials Synthesis and Manufacturing R&D Program and is building the Materials Engineering Facility to focus specifically on the scale-up of promising, new battery materials. By developing effective scale-up processes and proving that larger batches of materials work as intended, Argonne hopes to make bench-scale innovations more attractive to battery manufacturers.
Earlier this year, Argonne researchers completed the program’s first successful scale-up with the development of an improved, scalable process for the synthesis of a redox shuttle, a chemical mechanism used to keep lithium-ion batteries from overcharging. The research team continues work to develop scale-up processes for additional electrolyte materials including solvents and passivation additives.
"Processes used to make materials in the lab are typically not suitable for large-scale production,” said Gregory Krumdick, principal systems engineer at Argonne. “Our program will be the link to connect the bench-scale research with the battery manufacturing industry,"
- Poster: Scale-Up R&D Bridges Gap between Laboratory and Battery Industry (pdf)