SBIR Phase I: Novel Apparatus for Producing High-Purity Lithium Metal

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1046620
Agency Tracking Number: 1046620
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solitcitation Year: 2010
Solitcitation Topic Code: BC
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
The Electrosynthesis Company, Inc.
72 Ward Road, Lancaster, NY, 14086-9779
Duns: 092464064
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Peter Symons
 (716) 684-0513
Business Contact
 Peter Symons
Title: PhD
Phone: (716) 684-0513
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will determine feasibility of using new technology to produce high purity lithium metal. The existing energy-intensive production method operates at 460C, has changed little in over 100 years and requires over 35 kWh/kg of lithium metal. The purity of the product is very dependent on the feed material with high purity lithium produced via a further high-temperature distillation step. A current trend returning to using lithium metal to produce high energy batteries will increase demand for high-purity lithium. If successful, the proposed novel electrolyzer will produce higher quality lithium metal at lower processing temperatures and power consumption. This project will test and select suitable components for the electolyzer and demonstrate their use for high purity lithium production. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are a production method capable of producing large quantities of high-purity battery-grade lithium metal. The requirement for energy storage for transportation and utility applications has generated a large amount of research into high energy density batteries of which protected or sealed lithium metal batteries are being developed. The move to lithium metal batteries will greatly improve the viability and cost effectiveness of a range of energy based technologies, and will have a direct impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Current lithium metal production methods would not be able to meet these demands which would impede installation of these batteries. Furthermore the current process would not be able to produce the required purity of product without energy intensive distillations.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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