Unique Battery Development Facility Now Open for Business at PNNL
Mark Gross, Project Manager, explains the operation of the cell sealing system during a July 2015 workshop.
Batteries power the technology behind our modern lives, and in many ways a better battery drives better technology. To further advancements in battery research, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently completed a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art battery manufacturing and testing facility. The new $1.85-million facility is the only publicly available "pouch cell" manufacturing and testing facility on the West Coast.
Until last month, battery developments at PNNL were tested using small, coin-sized battery cells. While cost-effective, the small format limited researchers' ability to identify battery materials and designs that would transfer well to commercial application. Too often, a promising design would work well in coin cells, only to falter when scaled to larger sizes.
To solve the issue and propel battery research, PNNL invested in an array of specialized equipment. The resulting facility is capable of producing larger "pouch cell" batteries – about the size of a business card – the size typically found in mobile phones.
The new facility, combined with PNNL's expertise and resources in battery materials makes PNNL a unique research facility where in a matter of days, new battery materials can be developed, tested, and produced.
Non-PNNL researchers are welcome to use the new facility to make and test new battery designs and materials. The facility is currently being used to test lithium-sulfur, lithium-metal, lithium-ion-sulfur, sodium-ion and magnesium batteries.
In a July workshop, more than 50 representatives from universities and corporations visited the facility to learn about its capabilities and PNNL's latest advancements in battery technology.