Speeding innovation for industry
Increasing demand for safer batteries from the automotive and electronics market has directed manufacturers' attention to hybrid polymer systems, which are less volatile than their liquid equivalents. Liten, a CEA Tech institute, developed a new hybrid polymer technology based on fluorinated polymers developed specially for Solvay.
For the battery membrane, for example, the fluorinated polymer is solubilized, and then blended with a liquid electrolyte. It is then reticulated during coating, effectively trapping the electrolyte in a network of polymer chains. The technology is much safer than liquid electrolytes and operates within a similar temperature range. Initial tests on button batteries were encouraging; based on the results of these tests, the researchers made further improvements to the materials and scaled up the associated processes. Larger electrodes containing the electrolyte developed and a hybrid polymer membrane were then made using a roll-to-roll process in an anhydrous environment on the test production line.
The researchers then used the components to assemble several 500 mAh cells delivered to Solvay so that the company could present the new technology to battery manufacturers. At the same time, Liten is pursuing the research to further increase cell capacity.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.