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Researchers find cheaper, safer way to produce li-ion battieries

13 November 2012

Researchers at Aalto University, Finland have developed a method for producing lithium batteries that is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than previously used methods.

Photo courtesy of Aalto University
Photo courtesy of Aalto University

This new process has succeeded in replacing the harmful methylpyrrolidone (NMP) solvent - traditionally used in the manufacturing of electrodes - with water. Removing this harmful solvent from the production process makes the production of batteries simpler and safer for employees.

Moreover, production costs can be reduced by as much as 5 percent, some of the saving coming from the reduced cost of transporting and recycling harmful chemicals and the lower risk of exposure to employees.

A prerequisite for giving up the harmful solvent used in batteries was changing the binding agent to a water-soluble one. Finding the new binding agent, acrylic S020, was difficult because it not only had to be water-soluble but also chemically, electrochemically and mechanically ideal for this purpose.

Recently, Finnish Aalto University has achieved many significant results in battery research. Earlier this year, researchers found a way to significantly improve the durability of lithium-ion batteries by covering the electrodes of lithium iron phosphate batteries with extremely thin protective layers, and by increasing the potential of lithium iron phosphate used as a positive electrode by doping.

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