Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed and tested a new concept for simultaneous coating and drying of two-layered electrodes. Drying times can be reduced to less than 20 seconds—one half to one third of the usual production time—without capacity losses.
The institute continues to focus its research on coating and subsequent drying of electrodes, which it says represent the majority of battery production costs. Standard electrode drying times are up to one minute, and production speeds are one hundred meters per minute and more, which requires long drying lines. This is difficult and expensive to achieve when electrodes have a high coating weight. The new concept is based on the idea of using different active materials for the layers and applying them simultaneously. One layer is responsible for adhesion, another for specific capacity. This layer structure enables manufacturing at a very high drying rate, resulting in shorter drying times.
The group is now working on ways to develop the simultaneous concept to industrial scale. For this purpose, it is testing purely convective drying with high-performance nozzles and laser drying modules. The next step will be testing other materials and optimizing the electrodes of sodium-ion batteries.
“Our work shows that in principle, we can manage all process steps needed to produce batteries more rapidly at lower cost in the future without affecting quality,” said KIT Professor Wilhelm Schabel. “Our research demonstrates that it may be possible in principle to increase battery production speed by two hundred to three hundred percent.”