LiFePO4 Cathode Material Designed for Use in Lithium-Ion Batteries with Application to Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
72170S03-I One of the factors limiting the rapid development of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles (EV/HEV) is the cost and performance of batteries. Lithium-ion battery technology represents the state-of-the-art for portable electronics, but in order to meet the demands of EV/HEV, further development is required, especially in the area of cathode materials. LiMn2O4 and LiFePO4 are candidate cathode materials for these applications in that they have suitably low cost. However, demonstrations to date show that LiMn2O4 suffers from Mn dissolution into the electrolyte and possesses low capacity, both of which limit its use for EV/HEV. LiFePO4 has sufficiently high energy density but low conductivity, which limits high power capabilities. This project will develop a LiFePO4 cathode material that will allow lithium-ion technology to meet the demands of the EV/HEV application. The approach combines molecular modeling, materials synthesis, and electrode fabrication. The molecular modeling will identify chemical dopants that, when synthesized under appropriate conditions, will lead to improved material conductivity. By carefully controlling the synthesis parameters, particle size and morphology will be optimized. The synthesized materials then will be formulated into electrodes and tested in lithium-ion battery systems. Phase I will demonstrate that a LiFePO4-based material can have a power capability similar to the current industry standard (LiCoO2), which will permit the LiFePO4 material to be commercialized into lithium-ion batteries. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: The LiFePO4 technology has the potential to advance EV/HEV development efforts and hasten the widespread use of EV/HEV, thereby decreasing U.S. dependency on petroleum imports and improving the environment through reduced automobile emissions. LiFePO4 can also serve as an environmentally friendly replacement of the LiCoO2 material, which is too costly for todayÂ¿s HEV lithium-ion battery applications.
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