THORNTON, Colo., April 18, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Forge Nano, leaders in atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology and equipment, are poised to clean up the electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing process. The Colorado-based company's proprietary technology not only offers a cleaner manufacturing process, but has also been shown to improve battery performance and longevity.
"Many consumers assume that an electric vehicle is inherently 'green', but that is more of a vision at this time and not necessarily the case as EVs still require energy and finite resources such as fossil fuels, for manufacturing," says Dr. James Trevey, CTO of Forge Nano. "This is especially true of EV batteries."
One industry-standard practice that Forge Nano has identified could benefit from their ALD technology is a process called pitch coating. This process is employed by graphite producers in order to make the substance robust enough to last in a battery. Without a coating, the graphite quickly succumbs to unwanted side-reactions with the battery's liquid electrolyte and the battery dies. The first cost-effective coating technology developed for graphite was pitch coating and thus it remains the technology used today by most graphite producers, despite its long list of significant inadequacies.
The pitch coating process involves taking pitch made from coal or petroleum, dissolving in a solution, adding in the graphite powder, drying and carbonizing the mixture at high temperatures before finally returning it to powder form that is suitable for use in battery manufacturing. The pitch coating process emits toxic and carcinogenic compounds, is the most expensive step in making a graphite anode powder, is a complicated multi-step process that results in inconsistent coatings, consumes a large amount of energy to reach the required high temperature of 1,000ºC, and makes the graphite itself very difficult to recycle.
Forge Nano's proprietary ALD technology and ALD equipment has been developed specifically for the coating of graphite and other powders and particles. Their one-step, continuous process can replace carbon pitch with a high-purity, low-cost, gas-phase process leading to a 50%-70% cost reduction with 100% reproducibility. This process also provides a 70% smaller environmental footprint, and has been validated by Forge's Nano's Fortune 500 and junior mining customers across research, pilot, and commercial systems with electrochemical testing in commercial battery cells sized over 40Ah in capacity.
"In addition to the dramatic benefits to the battery manufacturing process, we have documented significant improvements to the energy density, charge times, longevity, and safety of batteries that use our ALD coatings," Trevey explains. "What's more is this process has been shown to improve the second life or recyclability of the battery materials. So while the process is cleaner than the industry standard, the batteries that use graphite coated with our technology actually perform better, last longer, are safer, and can more easily be reused in the future."
Find out more about Forge Nano's proprietary atomic layer deposition (ALD) processes and equipment visit ForgeNano.com.
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Source: Forge Nano Inc.