Safety of manufactured nanomaterials

Parallel Session Six: Better Batteries Enabled by Nanoscale Innovation



Nanomaterial Approaches to Enhance Lithium Ion Batteries

Brian J. Landi, Assistant professor, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT),  United States

There is an ever growing demand for electrical energy storage to support mobile electronics, hybrid-electric/full electric vehicles, and utility scale grid management. Lithium ion has recently emerged as the premier rechargeable battery chemistry due to the increased energy density over other technologies. However, ongoing application demands necessitate higher energy densities to reduce battery mass and volume characteristics. Ongoing research efforts to expand conventional limits have focused on utilizing various carbonaceous and inorganic nanomaterials to increase battery capacity, cycle life, and charge-discharge rates.  Of these, some of the most promising developments have been made recently with carbon nanotubes and semiconductor alloys. This presentation will provide a discussion of conventional lithium ion batteries as a necessary framework to describe the potential use of nanomaterials in such an application. As an example case study, details regarding recent work in the NanoPower Research Labs at RIT to enhance lithium ion batteries by replacing the graphitic materials used in the anode with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) will be highlighted. CNTs are a candidate material for this application due to excellent conductivity (electrical and thermal), nanoscale porosity, and as a lithium ion storage material. The presentation outcome will be a summary of current uses of nanomaterials in batteries and a foreshadowing of the potential advantages from this development.

Understanding the Life-cycle Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology in Lithium-ion Batteries for Automobiles

Thomas P. Seager, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY, United States

Nanotechnology is one promising pathway for improving the performance of batteries for electric vehicles and other demanding applications. For example, incorporation of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) in Li-ion battery electrodes significantly enhances conductivity and allows increased energy density. Longer-term, SWCNT papers may entirely replace current anode materials, thereby enabling wider adoption of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. However, nanomaterials are generally environmentally intensive in their manufacture. Due to low material or process yields and characteristically high energy demands, nanomaterials may have disproportionately large environmental impacts in manufacture that offset gains in use. This presentation illustrates the advantage of a life-cycle perspective in comparison of nanotechnologies on an environmental basis and reports the upstream and process-level energy consumed in production of purified SWCNT papers at the laboratory scale. Some important policy implications are discussed.

Life -Cycle Assessment of Lithium-ion Batteries for use in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Understanding the Policies of Potential Benefits and Impacts

Kathy Hart, U.S. EPA, Design for the Environment Program

EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Program and the Office of Research and Development (ORD) have formed the Nanotechnologies in Lithium-ion Batteries Partnership NLBP) to conduct a screening-level life-cycle assessment (LCA) of current and future (e.g., single-walled carbon nanotubes [SWCNTs] as anodes) lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies, for use in hybrid and electric vehicles. The partnership may also compare the impacts of using Li-ion batteries with those of using lead-acid batteries, on a functional unit basis (i.e., impacts per kilometer). The goal of this non-regulatory, cooperative partnership is to promote nanotechnology innovations in advanced batteries that result in reduced overall environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership also aims to provide information to the advanced automotive battery industry to facilitate product improvements, by identifying which materials or processes within the products’ life cycles are likely to pose the greatest impacts or potential risks to public health or the environment.
Nanotechnology is one promising pathway for improving the performance of batteries used in electric vehicles. For example, incorporation of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) in battery electrodes significantly enhances conductivity and allows increased energy density. Longer-term, SWCNT papers could entirely replace current anode materials, enabling wider adoption of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. However, the manufacture of nano-structured materials uses significant amounts of energy, which can result in significant environmental impacts. This presentation illustrates the need for a life-cycle perspective in the development of nanotechnology applications that have potential environmental benefits.

Effects of CNTs for Lithium-Ion Batteries as Additives

Chiaki Sotowa, Showa Denko K.K., Japan

Lithium-Ion secondary Battery (LIB) is one of the promising batteries in the future. LIB possesses higher energy density than other batteries, and has been adopted cellular phone, mobile PC, power tool, camera, and so on. Now many engineer give huge attentions on LIB as energy source of BEV, HEV, Plug-in HEV and energy storage devices.
This presentation will show how VGCFTM (Vapor Grown Carbon Fiber) works for LIB as additives. VGCFTM has the diameter around 150 nm and a kind of CNT, and has been adopted for LIB as additives for more 10 years.
While charge and discharge cycle of LIB is going, the numbers of contact points between the particles of active material are getting lost and the capacity of battery is fading. VGCFTM exists like a bridge among the particles and keep the paths between the particles, so that the capacity of battery would be prolonged effectively.
In near future, solar and wind power generation systems must play more important role from the point of view on environmental issue, however such generation systems have some problems on stable energy supply. Batteries including LIB can storage and supply energy stably. Such combination of new energy generation systems and battery with long life time must give us comfortable life.
And BEV, HEV, Plug-in HEV have been developed by many auto motor companies. Battery must contribute zero and low emission vehicles. LIB is a candidate of such battery and plays an active role to resolve our global environmental issue.

Nanostructures & Zero-Emission Advanced Battery Manufacturing for Zero-Emission Electric Vehicles

Gitanjali DasGupta, Electrovaya, Canada

Electrovaya has >150 patents on its nanostructured Lithium Ion SuperPolymer® battery technology. This is a platform technology that evolves with component improvements, which typically utilize a high degree of nanomaterials. As a North American manufacturer without Far East subcontract manufacturing, Electrovaya faced two critical challenges that have since become core competitive advantages. Firstly, it focused at an early stage on large-format, prismatic cells rather than the conventional small-format, cylindrical cells. As a result, its technology is well suited for automotive and grid applications. Secondly, it had to develop a unique zero-emission battery manufacturing process. As a result, its negligible environmental footprint benefits its community, its clients and its financials. Thus, initial financial and regulatory barriers have in turn become sustainable benefits enabled by nanotechnology.


End of life Issues with batteries: Industrial and consumer recover and reuse/ Materials management for batteries

Shane Thompson, Vice President, Kinsbursky Brothers and Toxco,  United States

Batteries: Markets and Definitions

This presentation will give an overview of the battery product market. An understanding of the battery product market is important to understand the ‘recycling potential’ of the batteries as they reach their end of useful life. This segment of the battery market will enable one to better understand the collection and processes used to gather and recycle batteries. Whenever you have a general discussion on battery collection and batter recycling, understanding the particular product segment that a battery is in, will inevitably determine its ability to be successfully collected and, subsequently, recycled. Additionally, by understanding the relevant battery market segments, you can understand how the issues discussed below effect the collection schemes, recycling systems and the batteries ultimate disposition. For the purpose of this presentation the speaker acknowledges that the industrial and commercial Pb battery industry has a long standing and well defined history of collection and recycling and, as such, I will not go into great detail on this battery market segment with the exception of briefly discussing its relevance in the Kinsbursky –Toxco business model.  Rechargeable batteries, which contain both regulated materials as well commodity resources, are the best example of our extractive process and will be the focus of the presentation.

Collection: Regulation and Economics as Key Drivers.

The two key factors that affect battery recycling are: regulatory and economic considerations. The regulatory issues focus on the end of life management of those batteries which contain EPA regulated metals; Pb, Cd and Hg and /or exhibit other characteristics of hazardous waste flammability etc… In addition to the Federal focus, some states have expanded on the Federal regulations. California, for example, regulates nickel and zinc as hazardous substances and batteries, in particular, have been the focus of more local regulatory focus. California Assembly Bill 1125, and New York City Local Law 97 of 2005 are examples of regulation designed to encourage the recycling of consumer rechargeable batteries. The economic considerations with spent batteries center around the extraction of any renewable natural resources; nickel, cobalt, and lead, among others, found in the battery and the associated cost with collecting ,transporting and, ultimately, processing the battery to access the resources contained in the spent battery. This presentation will discuss how both of these factors contribute to the overall collections of spent batteries and as they change they are continuing to have an impact in collections and recycling efforts today and will continue to have a similar impact in the future.


This presentation will give an explanation of the Kinsbursky-Toxco approach to battery recycling and will include an overview of battery collections, issues with packaging and transportation of the spent batteries, as well as a detailed overview of the current process technology and improvement of this process technology to meet the future recycling needs of the battery industry, specifically addressing the issues of future battery compositions and the overall increasing quantity of batteries. This presentation will provide information on Kinsbursky-Toxco’s application for funds from the DOE to build an advanced battery (Li Ion) recycling plant.  This plant will take the novel approach that instead of merely recycling out the commodities and mitigating harmful substances, the process equipment and methodology are designed to extract and process the battery constituents in order to create high purity battery grade materials instead of a modified scrap material. This type of processing would truly close the loop.

Conclusion: How will new materials affect an old system?

A discussion on the ability to integrate batteries containing nano materials into the existing collection and recycling infrastructure. As nanomaterials are emerging as a potential source of higher energy density in batteries, we are examining their presence in the market and the possible effect that their presence would have in the extraction process.  Extractive metallurgy has been and most likely will continue to be the process; a defined methodology that can be adapted and/or modified to target specific elements and could apply to CNF, CFT and/or other nanomaterials (Silicon based nano wires etc.). Specifically we are evaluating the possibility of being able to capture and reuse some of these nanomaterials, or how would we put in modifications to collection and recycling process to safely handle and mitigate the effects of the nanomaterials.


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