There is an ongoing boom in the materials supply chain industry to supply the Electrical Vehicle (EV) manufacturers with battery materials. There are a number of concerns in the supply of the actual materials (e.g. lithium, cobalt and graphite). The technological aspects are also still broad, however it seems very likely that ALD will play a role for some of the technologies for producing future lithium batteries that we will use in basically all devices ranging from communication (smart phones) and for transportation (cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes etc.).
Alumina ALD Coating on LiCoO2 cathode particles showing a clear improvment in battery cyclability. The ALD coated material (red) shows improved capacity retention compared to uncoated (black). (ALD Nano)
ALD Nano in Boulder Colorado is the pioneer in this technology area and has recently announced scaling up their technology to run high volume of powder (3000 kg/day). They have developed a Spatial vibrationg technology refered to as Continious Vibrating Reactor - CVR.
The scientific, process development and engineering teams at ALD Nano have spent considerable resources over the past few years rapidly developing this first-of-its-kind technology from research scale, bench-top to the current commercial-scale systems. A continuous vibrating reactor, or CVR, provides ALD coating capacity of more than three tons per day and 1,200 tons per year of particle materials. These techniques gained from equipment development open up new pathways for ALD Nano's growth. The CVR is a spatial ALD reactor system and can also be utilized for MLD techniques, run at atmospheric or pressurized conditions, and fitted with various features such as plasma. [LINK]
It seems to me that their technology is mature for high volume manufacturing of powder materials and that they "simply" by scaling the number and/or the size of plants can supply the know how and hardware for full scale production for any big player in the battery materials supply chain.
ALD Nano was recently highlighted by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and here is the information given by their CEO, Wayne Simmons:
Battery Breakthrough Company Feature: ALD NanoSolutionsCCIA [LINK] : We asked several companies “What are the critical changes in the battery industry landscape that will have a strategic impact on your success?” This week, we’re highlighting ALD NanoSolutions.
Wayne Simmons, CEO
Lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and distributed energy storage, along with new versions of lead acid batteries for vehicle start-stop fuel efficiency strategies, are driving today’s growth in the battery energy storage market. Longer term, grid-scale batteries will generate a large impact too. Overall, the dramatic changes and expansion of the battery industry are creating huge new materials markets. Every major chemical and advanced materials company in the world is attracted to this opportunity. However, for new devices like EVs to take meaningful market share, the materials for electrodes, electrolytes, and other battery components need to be engineered at the nanometer, or even atomic, scale. It is this demand for engineering new materials that improve energy storage, safety, and power management metrics, combined with the desired cost stack of inputs to the final battery price, that has a big impact on ALD Nano’s business. The key for us to succeed is to enable the new battery materials with atomic layer deposition technologies that not only solve various technical challenges to reach performance metrics, but can also scale at very low cost.
About ALD NanoSolutions ALD NanoSolutions (ALD Nano) is creating cost-effective advanced materials through its unique portfolio of atomic layer deposition technologies to transform industries.