Albemarle sets up battery materials centre in North Carolina
Albemarle Corporation, s specialty chemicals company, is opening the company's Battery Materials Innovation Center (BMIC) located at its Kings Mountain, North Carolina, site.
The BMIC is expected to be fully operational in July 2021 and will support Albemarle's lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth platforms. The company says that the centre has been equipped to enable synthesis of new materials, material properties characterisation and analysis, material scale-up capabilities, and material integration into battery cells for performance testing. The facility includes a dry room with a multi-layer pouch cell line that can create cell-phone sized batteries to demonstrate critical aspects of battery performance and accelerate transition of new products to customers. The lab will also develop lithium metal anode technologies that will increase battery energy density by utilising advanced lithium metal rolling to achieve lithium foils 20 microns thin – about one-fifth the average thickness of a human hair – or thinner. The team plans to demonstrate lithium foils as thin as 3 to 5 microns using new technologies currently being developed. "The completion of the Battery Materials Innovation Center provides us with realistic and relevant cell building capabilities to generate meaningful data for next-gen battery material design," says Dr. Glen Merfeld, Albemarle Lithium Chief Technology Officer in a press release. "With this new resource, we will be equipped to optimize our lithium materials for a drop-in solution for customers that help them deliver high-performing cost-effective batteries for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market."