March 26, 2004 – Atlanta, Georgia USA (March 26, 2004). nGimat today announced successful demonstration of its Combustion Chemical Vapor Condensation (CCVC) and NanoSpraySM processes for production of battery materials. nGimat, which uses a combustion-based process to produce ceramic and metal nanomaterials, is developing nanomaterial solutions for primary and secondary lithium battery applications. nGimat has recently completed an SBIR Phase I grant with the Missile Defense Agency in which it has developed nanomaterials for battery applications that yield an order of magnitude specific capacity increase.
There is significant commercial interest for lithium thionyl chloride batteries in powering medical devices, industrial instruments, deep hole drilling apparatus and other industrial applications. The lithium-oxyhalide battery chemistry has enormous potential to provide lightweight power to higher current applications. Rate capability improvements will have an immediate impact on portable electronic applications and other medium current consumer and industrial uses. Potential customers for nGimats technology include lithium primary battery OEMs. By nanoengineering the electrode, nGimat is forging the path to improved battery performance at lower costs. This approach promises both improved thick layers for active primary cell applications and mechanically robust, thin layers with improved porosity for reserve batteries. CCVC and NanoSpraySM processes are attractive because they can be used to attain optimum performance morphology while remaining a continuous high throughput process for production of cathode composite layers.
State of the art rate capability results have been observed using lithium titanate nanopowders produced by the NanoSpraySM process. The reversible capacity at 10C is as much as 50% of that seen at C/10 discharge-charge rates. nGimat has also produced LiCoO2 nanomaterials showing nanosized domains of the active material. These materials have specific surface areas ranging from 4-84 m2/g and exhibit crystalline features at low processing temperatures. Additionally, efforts to improve lithium thionyl chloride battery performance are currently underway by tailoring the cathode microstructure for NanoSpraySM-prepared carbon-Teflon composite cathodes. The initial battery results show that 0.008 thick active cathode coatings, prepared by nGimat, are 28 Ah/g C at a medium rate (continuous) discharge for active primary batteries, more than ten times the specific capacity observed at this rate with conventional cathodes used for this battery chemistry. The performance and manufacturing throughput enhancements obtained using the CCVC and the NanoSpraySM techniques for producing carbon-catalyst-Teflon lithium oxyhalide cathode composites are currently being optimized.