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STTR Phase I: Scalable Integration of Graphene-Enhanced Coatings for High-Energy Lithium-Ion Battery Cathodes

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1913417
Agency Tracking Number: 1913417
Amount: $224,927.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: MN
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-06-30
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 081249101
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jung Woo Seo
 (847) 533-2414
Business Contact
 Jung Woo Seo
Phone: (847) 533-2414
Research Institution
 Northwestern University
 Mark Hersam
1801 Maple Ave. 2nd Floor, Suite 2410
Evanston, IL 60201
United States

 Nonprofit college or university

The broader impact/commercial potential of this STTR Phase I project is the commercialization of next-generation lithium-ion battery materials and their integration into the current battery manufacturing infrastructure. Specifically, the development of drop-in functionality and roll-to-roll processing pathways for advanced coating technology will demonstrate its potential for facile integration with existing commercial battery production lines. The graphene-based coating innovation also has the potential to accelerate the market adoption rate of novel, high-performance lithium-ion battery materials and advance the current trajectory for energy storage capabilities to meet increasingly rigorous societal demands for electrification (e.g., electric vehicles). In addition, the successful commercialization of this graphene-based technology for a high-value application such as lithium-ion batteries will further validate the commercial potential of graphene and invigorate its growing market. Finally, since the current list of major battery manufacturers is dominated by non-U.S. companies, this proposal presents a clear opportunity for emerging domestic technology to enhance technical competitiveness of the U.S. in the green energy sector through the development of novel energy storage solutions and advanced manufacturing innovations. This STTR Phase I Project proposes research activities that will demonstrate how graphene-based coating technologies can advance to yield powders of emerging cathode materials in large scale with uniform conformal coatings that maximize their performance. The resulting innovation will be a unique nanomaterial-based additive that can be seamlessly integrated into existing manufacturing processes and facilitate commercialization of next-generation lithium-ion batteries in emerging applications from drones to electric vehicles. This development effort concurrently explores the scalability and applicability of the graphene-based coatings as a protective additive solution to address key technical issues facing experimental battery active materials, which have significantly higher theoretical energy density than state-of-the-art but suffer from chemical instability, high cell impedance, and poor packing density issues. The overarching goals of the proposed research activities are to develop: (1) a scalable production approach for a library of novel cathode nanoparticles for high energy density and maximized rate capability; (2) a scalable production method of applying uniform conformal graphene-based coatings on cathode nanoparticles; (3) an optimized slurry and electrode formulation for the nanostructured cathode particles from the combined efforts of objectives (1) and (2), which will guide cell fabrication efforts toward industry-format battery prototypes. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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