Graphene-enhanced electrodes

This graphene-based technology takes advantage of the unique properties of graphene to enable the preparation of nanoscale composites to serve as advanced electrodes in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Our technology offers a technical route to accelerate the adoption rate of LIBs by minimizing their weight and maximizing their stability and charging rate.

Critical need for this technology

There exists a continuous demand for improvement in stability, rate capability, and operating temperature range of LIBs. The environmental and societal impact of LIBs is a well-studied topic. In general, they provide the key enabling technology for electric vehicles, which will address the greenhouse gas issues associated with internal combustion engines. Furthermore, advances in LIBs for personal electrical tools, wearable devices, and grid energy storage systems will have broad implications for society.

Competition

  • Other material suppliers for battery manufacturers

 

Potential markets

  • Battery manufacturers such as Saft, Toshiba, and BYD, with applications in:
    • High-altitude UAVs (i.e., drones), military and scientific equipment, and specialized personal electronics for cold climates
    • High-power applications such as power tools, e-bikes, and hybrid electric vehicles
    • Electric vehicles, mobile electronics, and stationary energy storage

Value proposition: Our technology represents an advance in the field by simultaneously addressing the various limitations of other advanced battery electrodes. In comparison with other nanoparticle-based approaches, we offer competitive advantages in enhanced active material loading and packing density, low-temperature performance, and high-power capability. These advantages lead to a unique energy storage solution with high performance and stability in extreme environmental conditions, where there is presently not a comprehensive and commercially viable technology. We also add value from our generalizable manufacturing process, which adopts a combination of a scalable graphene composite formulation method and a particle size-separation scheme that were developed in the Hersam Laboratory. Furthermore, our active materials include widely available lithium manganese oxide and lithium titanium oxide, which afford compatibility with other industry-relevant systems for blended structures.

 

Key innovation

Our technology offers a comprehensive solution by utilizing a nanostructured composite of active material and conductive additive, which concurrently stabilizes the surface of the electrochemically active nanoparticles and facilitates efficient charge transfer while eliminating the need for inactive components such as binders. Furthermore, our liquid-phase manufacturing process offers generalizability and scalability that can be applied to a wide range of industrially relevant cathode and anode active materials.

 

R&D status of product

Lab-scale coin cell batteries utilizing our technology have been fabricated and tested, which have resulted in four pending/issued patents and one publication in a high-impact, peer-reviewed journal. Now our team is at a pivotal point where we need to demonstrate scalability of our technology, specifically with regard to translating our technology to commercially relevant cell prototypes.

 

Team overview

“Ted” Jung Woo Seo [add link to corresponding “Innovator” webpage when ready]

B.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University, where he focused on the interdisciplinary fields of nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing.

 

Technology profile

Status:R&D
Primary industry:Energy storage
Category:Electrodes
Estimated annual revenue:NA
Employs:NA
Social challenge:Energy efficiency/Energy management
R&D commercial collaborator:NA