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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: 240710
Amount: $1,009,354.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 14a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001795
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-08-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-08-26
Small Business Information
25 Commerce Way Suite 1
North Andover, MA 01845-1002
United States
DUNS: 080991660
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Kamal Hadidi
 (978) 258-1645
Business Contact
 Judy Lee
Phone: (978) 258-1645
Research Institution

For electric vehicles to be widely adopted as a common mode of transportation, the price of the battery packs must be reduced to $125 per kilowatt hour. Prices are currently around $200 per kilowatt our. One path to reduced cost per kilowatt hour is by reducing cathode cost and improving their energy density. Cathode materials account for up to 25% of the battery pack cost. Cost reductions can be achieved by reducing raw material costs, reducing production costs, and increasing specific capacity of cathode materials with nickel rich materials. Cathode materials will be manufactured with a single-step continuous microwave-generated plasma materials processing technology (UniMeltâ„¢) The processing technique processes each precursor droplet within the same thermal path and thermal history, leading to tight control of phase purity, size and size distribution, and performance of the product for cost effective manufacture of commercially relevant quantities of cathodes for electric vehicle batteries. Phase I work successfully met the defined objectives to validate the feasibility and versatility of UniMelt as a low-cost high-performance production method capable of producing commercially viable materials for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles. Traditional and high energy Ni-rich cathode materials were produced using the UniMelt process, and their electrochemical performance was verified. The proposed Phase II work is aimed to reduce battery cost per kilowatt hour by: (i) demonstrating process scale-up, (ii) validating the proposed cost-models, (iii) strengthening US-based cathode end-user relationships/collaborations aimed at continuing this work beyond the Phase II timeline and into commercial production. For this Phase II project, the cathode materials of focus are high nickel content materials which are the current and upcoming industry standard rechargeable lithium batteries. Lower cost batteries help enable further adoption of sustainable technologies such as electric vehicles and grid energy storage where the purchase price per item is strongly related to the battery prices. Success of the proposed work will help reduce the overall usage of fossil fuels throughout the US and world.

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

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