DuPont Technology at the Forefront of Next-gen Lithium-ion Batteries
As electric vehicles become more prevalent, scientists and engineers are working on new battery designs to increase the range of these vehicles, while reducing the dependence on scarce metals such as copper and aluminum.
Recently, DuPont Electronics & Industrial (E&I) partnered with Steinerfilm, which produces high-performance metallized dielectric films, and Polaris Battery Labs—all part of the Soteria Battery Innovation Group (BIG)—to develop a next-generation battery for electric vehicles.
The result was a new Lithium-ion battery with 26 percent higher energy density which also uses 80 percent less copper and aluminum than comparable batteries made with traditional materials. The improved energy density of these batteries will increase the range of electric vehicles, make electric aviation more feasible, and improve portable electronics. More significantly, this new battery technology can reduce the dependence on copper and aluminum that are needed for the other parts of electric vehicles. With copper consumption in electric vehicles predicted to increase to 4 million tons annually by 2040, this could save millions of tons of copper.
The conventional metal-foil current collectors used in batteries were replaced by thermally stable, high strength DuPont™ Kapton® polyimide film that was metallized by Steinerfilm to have 500 nanometers of copper or 1000 nanometers of aluminum on each side. The copper current collectors were only 5 microns thick, and the aluminum current collectors were only 6 microns thick, making them the lightest, thinnest current collectors for lithium-ion batteries available, and using only 17 percent of the aluminum and copper found in typical batteries. Polaris Battery Labs combined these in a traditional format to produce a battery with over 26 percent higher energy density than the batteries made side-by-side with traditional aluminum and copper foils.
This significant technical advancement required the expertise of all three companies. All three are members of the Soteria Battery Innovation Group consortium, which promotes industry collaboration for advanced battery and safety technology. The consortium now has over 110 members including NASA, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Motorola, Lenovo, DuPont, Applied Materials, and others.
“DuPont is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life,” said David Reichert, Global Business Development Leader for DuPont Electronics & Industrial. “We work closely with customers, academia, and institutions providing solutions, products, and technical services to enable next-generation technologies. The collaboration with the Soteria consortium enabled the team to take commercially available DuPont™ Kapton® film and build a higher energy density lithium-ion battery with less metal consumption. It is also another example of how DuPont technology helps advance sustainability goals in a number of industries and applications.”
The achievement of helping develop a new Lithium-ion battery is one example of how DuPont technology is helping to solve issues facing the automotive industry’s future growth. As the next generation of automobiles require innovative solutions for high-voltage electrification, 5G signal integrity for navigation and autonomous driving and thermal management, DuPont is playing a key role in addressing these challenges. In the next edition of Insights, our quarterly newsletter, we’ll take a deeper dive into the technologies, solutions and partnerships DuPont is driving to enable the automotive industry’s continued growth.
To learn more about Kapton® polyimide films, go to DuPont™ Kapton® polyimide films