CPI touts benefits of large-cell Li-ion batteries

  • 17-Mar-2010 08:45 EDT
3.9.10 - 2 LG battery cells.JPG
Life of the LG Chem/CPI cells is improved thanks to the use of manganese-based cathode chemistry.

Compact Power Inc. (CPI), the North American subsidiary of LG Chem, will talk about the latest news from the company and its involvement with lithium-ion battery technology in booth #536 at the SAE 2010 World Congress April 13-15 in Detroit.

Since it was established in 2000, CPI has been involved in the design, development, and manufacture of low-weight, high-energy, high-power batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles. Designed solely for such vehicle applications, the batteries contain large-format cells, which CPI believes are superior in design and performance to the small-format cells that are used for consumer products such as laptop computers.

CPI cites a number of benefits of large-format cells, including safer chemistry (without compromises in performance or life). Specifically, LG Chem/CPI uses manganese-based cathode chemistry with additives to improve the calendar life of the cells under high-temperature conditions.

Large-format cells also offer special high-temperature separators (the membranes between the electrodes), which, in LG Chem/CPI's, are mechanically and thermally superior to commonly used separators in Li-ion cells, according to the company. This property enables the cells to withstand abuse situations such as internal shorts and overcharges without undergoing thermal runaways.

The cells have a laminated package that is designed to be more forgiving than a metal can type under abuse conditions and that does not lead to explosions.

LG Chem has confirmed it is to build a US$300 million Li-ion battery cell plant in Holland, MI, to meet expected future demand for the product, as the number of electric vehicles under development continues to increase. The new 650,000-ft2 production facility will create an estimated 400 jobs within CPI. Development will be partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, as it falls within the Recovery Act Award for Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.

“LG Chem’s selection of Holland to house the company's battery cell facility was a balanced decision based on the city's excellent infrastructure and proven, quality workforce,” said Jae Ham, Senior Vice President, LG Chem. “LG Chem was impressed with Hollands’ outstanding determination and sincere effort and commitment to be at the forefront of the new green energy economy, which will result in Michigan becoming the leader in the electric vehicle industry.”

When the plant is fully operational in 2012, the main purpose will be the production of cells for General MotorsChevrolet Volt electric vehicle. The plant will be operated by CPI, and at its peak will produce enough cells for 200,000 vehicle battery packs. The plant will join the company's three existing manufacturing locations for Li-ion cells, two of which are in Korea, the other in China.

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