Friday, January 7, 2011

Argonne Licenses Battery Tech to Korea's LG for Chevy Volt

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and LG Chem, Ltd. reached a licensing agreement to make and use Argonne's patented cathode material technology in lithium-ion battery cells. The technology is in the battery cell that is powering General Motors Company's Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Argonne claims that its battery technology offers the longest-lasting energy available in the smallest, lightest package: a 50—100 percent increase in energy storage capacity over conventional cathode material. Further, its unique lithium- and manganese-rich mixed-metal oxide combination extends the operating time between charges, increases the calendar life and improves the inherent safety of lithium-ion cells.

LG Chem Michigan, Inc. (LGCMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, will manufacture Li-ion polymer battery cells for the Chevy Volt at a Recovery Act-funded $303 million production facility under construction in Holland, Mich. The plant will employ more than 400 people.

Argonne has developed and patented a sizable suite of Li-ion battery technologies with funding from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Funding for the earlier stages of research and development of this technology was provided by DOE’s Office of Science.

LG Chem, Ltd. is Korea’s largest chemical and rechargeable battery maker in terms of both size and performance. LG Chem Michigan, Inc. (LGCMI) is a wholly-owned North American subsidiary of LG Chem. The company was established in 2010 to manufacture Lithium-ion battery cells at the $303 million production facility in Holland, Mich., that was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

One of Argonne’s patents in this area (7,790,308) issued in September 2010, describes an activated electrode for a non-aqueous electrochemical cell, having as a precursor a lithium metal oxide.

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