Alpha-En has developed a scalable pre-lithiation strategy, leveraging its proprietary dual-compartment electrochemical cell for pre-lithiation of anode laminates such as porous graphite anodes.
Alpha-En deposits pure lithium metal into the anode matrix, in a single step, from a lithium carbonate feed stock. The alpha-En process for depositing pure lithium metal is quite unique and separates alpha-En’s pre-lithiation strategy from other commercial approaches that involve electrochemical and chemical pre-lithiation, or pre-lithiation with the help of additives.
Alpha-En technology could also enable the use of lower quality cathode materials, recovered by battery recycling, by adding lithium back into the system on the anode side.
Preliminary validation of the proposed pre-lithiation strategy demonstrates significantly improved cycling performance of the alpha-En pre-lithiated graphite anode over a baseline non-pre-lithiated graphite anode.
Lithium has a number of uses but one of the most valuable use is in low-weight, high energy-density batteries. Lithium and its compounds are becoming more important in large and small batteries, from powering EV to micro solid state batteries for implantable medical devices, wearable electronics and sensors.
Lithium is a soft metal, the lightest in the periodic table with a silvery white appearance. It has the highest electrochemical potential of all metals. These properties provide very high energy densities for long useful life in small and comparatively lightweight packages that is driving growth and demand. Lithium has the highest energy density of all potential battery materials, and the highest charge-to-weight ratio, which is desired for batteries in transportation applications, and consumer electronics.
Lithium is widely available on Earth, but is not found in its pure elemental metalic form. Rather, it is found in compounds. Producing pure lithium metal requires processing, and must be extremely pure to be useful in next-generation batteries, those beyond lithium-ion.