shutterstock_175202078If you were given a choice of attending only one battery conference per year to keep up on the latest advances and trends in Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries for automotive, energy storage, and industrial applications, you might consider attending the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC). A team of our scientists recently attended AABC in the Motor City (Detroit, MI) to learn the latest on battery technology, analytical techniques, and participate in the oral / poster sessions. We were not disappointed!

The conference hosted speakers from major automakers, industrial equipment producers, energy storage developers, utility providers, battery-pack integrators, cell makers, material producers, scientific instrument manufacturers, and R&D institutes. The event drew approximately 500 attendees from 17 different countries that included business leaders, engineers, and chemists.

 

Lithium Ion Battery Symposiums: Technology and Applications

The conference is composed of two symposia (technology and applications), a poster session, and an exhibit hall. The technology symposium focuses on Li-ion batteries with both a chemistry and engineering track. The application symposium focuses on automotive battery technology, applications, and market trends. New for this year, the application symposium featured a track on advanced industrial and energy storage battery markets; likely reflecting companies like Tesla’s interest in entering this market with an energy storage system for home use.

Our interest was in the chemistry track. Presentations included advances in battery cell components (anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes), material characterization, and statistical modeling. A particularly intriguing session was on advances in computer modeling and simulation, which aimed to estimate battery degradation, time of development, and improved battery safety. Analysis was performed using statistical and multi-physics modeling. Modeling considered (cyclic) loading patterns, lapsed time (calendar or storage aging), and repeated charge and discharge cycles. Safety concerns considered violent failure (crash) scenarios using multi-physics models that factored-in chemical, thermal, and electrical design characteristics combined with operational and environmental conditions.

 

Degradation of Lithium Ion Batteries

Our participation in the oral and poster session was also on the topic of degradation analysis, albeit from a chemical analysis perspective. Our presentations were on the identification of non-targeted, unknown electrolyte degradation products from the aqueous anode extract of cycle and calendar aged Li-ion batteries. These included identification of phosphate containing components (link to poster note), Mn dissolution containing components (link to poster note) (still a work in progress), and a workflow approach combining chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify several classes of organic phosphorus and sulfur containing components (link to downloadable poster note).

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Identification was performed using a Thermo Scientific Dionex 2100 ion chromatography system with suppressed conductivity detection and an ion chromatography system coupled to a Thermo Scientific high resolution Q Exactive mass spectrometer. Also included were results from a spectroscopy battery solution for material characterization including battery test cells designed for use with the DXRxi Raman Imaging microscope.

 

Degradation Analysis of Li-Ion Batteries

Participation at AABC provided us with two valuable pieces of information. The first was validating a perceived interest in a chemical analysis approach for degradation analysis. Second was making the connection that chemical analysis may complement material characterization / statistical modeling in providing a more complete solution to understanding and improving battery performance and safety.

AABC is well organized and executed. The conference delivers equal portions of relevant content, insight to new trends, and networking opportunities. I recommend it for anyone interested in staying current in this fast growing market. Hope to see you at next year’s conference.

 

Learn more about chemical analysis techniques by visiting our Batteries and Capacitors web pages where you will find application notes, webinars, and more. The pages are constantly updated, so please check back often.

Contributing author: Molly Isermann, Vertical Marketing Manager, Chemical Analysis Division