Lithium titanium oxide spinel anode system for high-power lithium-ion batteries

Award Year 

A team from Argonne National Laboratory developed and transferred a nanophased lithium titanium oxide (LTO) spinel anode system for use in high-power lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries suited for hybrid electric vehi-cle (HEV) applications. The recipient of the transfer was EnerDel, the lithium-ion battery subsidiary of Ener1, Inc., an energy storage company headquartered in New York City. The innovation includes the novel anode material, system design features that per-mit the anode material to work well with the (more) commercially available lithium manganese oxide spinel (LMO)-based cathode adopted byEnerDel, and a method for factory-scale manufacturing of the material.The technology transfer process began when the Argonne team convinced EnerDel management to abandon its former business plan in favor of one that centered on HEV battery development. Es-sential for the transfer was the Argonne team’s ability to meet EnerDel’s commercialization goals within the unprecedented time span of only one year. The com-mercial realities facing EnerDel when it decided to work with Ar-gonne were such that if it couldn’t commercialize a Li-ion HEV battery within two years, it might as well not bother because current market opportu-nities would evaporate as established HEV battery manufacturers would dominate the emerging marketplace with their own new Li-ion battery offerings. It was, therefore, absolutely essential for the transfer that the nominees and EnerDel produce a prototype battery within one year.EnerDel is now negotiating to license a port-folio of battery technologies from Argonne, based on the success of this transfer. The technologies include the LTO spinel an-ode system, a battery chemistry suitable for plug-in HEVs, high-conductivity battery electrolytes and electrolyte additives, and a chemistry for batteries to be used to store the energy received from solar and wind en-ergy technologies. The result of the technol-ogy transfer process is the only lithium-ion battery for HEVs that meets or exceeds all of the requirements of the United States Advanced Battery Consortium—a battery that is unquestionably the safest, among the most reliable, the lowest cost Li-ion battery on the market, and the only one manufac-tured by an American company.Argonne’s LTO spinel anode system has en-abled EnerDel to market highly reliable and extremely safe HEV batteries that are small-er in size and lighter in weight, provide more power and energy, and have a much longer life than the nickel-metal hydride batter-ies found in today’s HEVs. Use of the new batteries will encourage HEV sales by elim-inating the premium charged for these vehi-cles and by allowing consumers to receive an immediate return on their investment in terms of fuel cost savings, thus helping reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil while slashing harmful emissions at the same time. (less)