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Single Step and Continuous Synthesis of Advanced Lithium Ion Positive Electrode Material Powders using UniMelt Microwave Plasma Process

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0017795
Agency Tracking Number: 229845
Amount: $154,426.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 14a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001619
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-06-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-03-11
Small Business Information
25 Commerce Way Suite 1
Andover, MA 01845-1002
United States
DUNS: 079636795
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kamal Hadidi
 (978) 258-1645
 khadidi@amastan.com
Business Contact
 Judy Lee
Phone: (978) 258-1645
Email: jlee@amastan.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

The fundamental functional components within lithium ion batteries are the anode, cathode, and electrolyte. Currently, cathode material dictates battery performance and is the most expensive of the three, accounting for up to 25% of the battery pack cost. Reducing the cost of the cathode material represents a significant decrease in the cost of the battery. Cathode cost is determined mostly by raw material and production costs. The goal of the proposed project is to reduce (i) the production cost of cathode materials and (ii) the environmental footprint associated with cathode material production while maintaining high- performance. For this Phase I project, we will focus on NMC 532, which is the current industry standard for state of the art automotive batteries. We expect the underlying technology we develop in this program to be broadly applicable to all transition metal oxide cathodes, and may also result in more viable pathways to the next generation cathode materials – the so-called ni- rich NMC’s. We will accomplish our goal using Amastan’s UniMelt™ single-step continuous microwave- generated plasma materials processing technology. Unlike conventional incumbent cathode material manufacturing techniques requiring many processing steps and producing environmentally unfriendly chemical byproducts, adding to cost, the proposed process is carried out in a continuous single step without process byproduct. The UniMelt process uses solution precursor mixed at the molecular level as feedstock. The solution precursor is used to produce uniform diameter droplets that are injected into a uniform temperature electrodeless plasma column of up to 4” in diameter, where they undergo chemical reactions. This offers each precursor droplet the same thermal path and thermal history, leading to tight control of phase purity, size and size distribution of the product. The preliminary technical results of this phase will guide us to perform comprehensive cost analysis of the final cathode material production at commercial scale.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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