Tesla, new lithiation process for battery cells

A newly released patent from Tesla has teased what appears to be a step towards Elon Musk’s one-million-mile battery target, reports Teslarati. The patent describes a new lithiation process for battery cells, which has the potential to improve the quality of cells and possibly even save on costs.

Tesla has submitted a patent titled “Method for Synthesizing Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum Electrodes”. The document outlines a new electrode synthesizing method that could be used for battery cell production. The proposed application defines an efficient heating process for Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum (NCA) electrodes. According to the document, previous heating methods at times cause the formation of a lithium substrate known as L15AIO4, which is an impurity. Lowering the amount of lithium within a battery reduces the presence of the contamination, but also leads to “materials with inferior electrochemical properties.”

As noted in the patent, batteries would heat to a temperature high enough to allow for single crystal growth. The revised ratio of lithium to other metals would limit the formation of impurities during the first heating process. Then, the battery would be heated a second time at a temperature lower than the first heating cycle. Researchers involved in the patent noted that this process helped develop an impurity-free single crystal NCA that allowed battery cells to achieve over 4,000 charge cycles.

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