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Posted: August 4, 2010
DuPont Launches Energain Separators for High-Performance Lithium Ion Batteries
(Nanowerk News) To reduce the use of fossil fuels and meet the growing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, DuPont has introduced the first nanofiber-based polymeric battery separator that boosts the performance and safety of lithium ion batteries.
DuPont™ Energain™ battery separators can increase power 15–30%, increase battery life by up to 20% and improve battery safety by providing stability at high temperatures. With more battery power, drivers can travel farther on a single charge and accelerate more quickly and safely. For automobile and battery manufacturers, more battery power can reduce the number of batteries typically required in today's hybrid and electric vehicles.
While the initial uses for the separator are in hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, the technology also will be targeted for batteries in renewable energy, grid applications and specialty consumer applications, including laptops, cell phones and power tools. Other products made using DuPont's proprietary nanofiber technology will target a broad range of liquid filtration applications for the biopharmaceutical, microelectronics, and food and beverage industries, offering superior retention, filter life and flow resistance.
DuPont has begun construction on a facility in Chesterfield County, Va. (U.S.), to manufacture product for development and commercial sale. The new facility is expected to start up in the first quarter of 2011 and will initially be able to provide enough material to supply up to 20% of today's hybrid and electric vehicle needs.
"This launch and our investment in a new production facility are important steps in our strategy to expand DuPont's role in energy storage," said Tom Powell, president – DuPont Protection Technologies (DPT). "What sets DuPont apart is integrated science and proven results for better, safer and more sustainable performance. DuPont™ Energain™ is a breakthrough platform technology. We expect to translate the improvements we've seen in automotive battery applications to deliver equal or better battery performance in specialty consumer electronics where reliable, faster and longer-lasting battery power is essential."
DuPont estimates that by 2015 the market for high-performance lithium ion batteries alone will total more than $7 billion annually, primarily for electric vehicle applications and some photovoltaics and grid storage.
Typical hybrid vehicles contain between 50 and 70 batteries; plug-in electric vehicles with range-extending motors have 80 to more than 200 batteries; and fully electric vehicles carry 150 or more. Within each battery, the separator is a sheet positioned between the two electrodes. It functions as a barrier that prevents the electrodes from touching and shorting while letting lithium ions pass back and forth to allow the charge and discharge of the battery.