Featured image: Galilei Institute
Battery is the hottest topic on the eve of Tesla Battery Day. During 2019-2020, the company issued a number of patents, which indicate significant progress in achieving the company's goal. But besides the fundamental changes in the methods and systems of the production of batteries, there are some common things that are important and can help Tesla achieve its goals.
For example, graphite plays an important role in the battery, it is the main active anode component in lithium-ion batteries and makes up 10-14% of its total cost. But its mining and preparation needs to be improved, because these processes still leave a carbon footprint.
In the interest of global carbon management, this footprint should be as small as possible. Graphite is a form of pure carbon chemically identical to diamonds but with different structural characteristics. Therefore, scientists began to develop synthetic graphite and achieved considerable success in this.
Gali/Twitter from HyperChange/YouTube, had an interview with Novonix COO and Co-Founder, Dr. Chris Burns, to delve deeper into the topic Synthetic Graphite For Next Generation EV Batteries. According to him, Tesla battery researcher Jeff Dahn has been touting Novonix's new dry particle microgranulation (DPMG) breakthrough as having huge potential. Panasonic/Sanyo (who supplies Tesla's batteries) and Samsung are already partnered with Novonix and working to commercialize the PureGraphite.
On May 15, Novonix announced that it had made a breakthrough by finding a new way to produce lithium-ion batteries. It has filed a patent for synthesising lithium-ion battery electrode materials in a “completely waste-free process”.
Novonix hopes its research and consequent patent application will advance its PureGgraphite (synthetic graphite) manufacturing process and create a competitive advantage over other battery manufacturers.
“This method for particle synthesis shows great promise in making both anode and cathode materials,” said Novonix’s managing director Philip St Baker.
“DPMG provides an incredible opportunity to improve upon graphite manufacturing processes with higher yield, lower cost and improved particle performance and we are excited about deploying this technology to continue to further enhance the competitive advantage of our PUREgraphite manufacturing process,” Mr St Baker said.
In addition to creating graphite particles with no waste, DPMG can also be used to synthesise cathode materials such as lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt (NMC) through a dry process with no wastewater or materials.
The rationale behind pushing further development is to create higher yield, lower cost, better performance, but, equally importantly, to reduce the environmental impact of production and to make project development less cost prohibitive.
Burns says his company's goal is to create stable graphite that can support a very long battery life.
Also, the production of synthetic graphite in the U.S. can have a positive impact on the supply chain, which now largely depends on China and Asian region. Due to the tensions between China and the U.S., this aspect plays an important role.