Dow Kokam Unveils Global R&D Center for Prototype-to-Production Lithium-Ion Battery Technology

October 20, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Dow Kokam unveiled its state-of-the-art global research and development (R&D) center located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The world-class R&D center will enhance Dow Kokam’s ability to provide customers with energy storage solutions for transportation, stationary and defense applications and is designed to bring new materials and what the company describes as breakthrough innovation to market quicker than ever before. With expansive capabilities including material characterization, pilot production, cell testing and quality assurance, Dow Kokam’s Global R&D Center will bring next generation lithium-ion battery solutions to market faster, increase battery performance and reduce their overall cost. The new lab builds upon Dow Kokam existing pack development and prototyping capabilities in Le Bouchet, France.

"This lab is the cornerstone to Dow Kokam’s R&D strategy which includes in-house evaluation, testing and prototyping; prominent collaborations with national labs and universities; and major grant projects designed to deliver breakthrough innovation," said Ravi Shanker, President and CEO of Dow Kokam. "Dow Kokam is dedicated to commercializing new performance capabilities quickly, ensuring smooth transition from lab to full scale production, and identifying the next truly breakthrough technology designed to significantly advance the commercialization of advanced energy storage."

Dow Kokam’s global R&D center, the result of independent investment by the company, is one of the world’s most advanced battery laboratories – featuring a wet chemistry lab, process R&D lab, dry/clean room cell assembly center, cell testing site, and quality assurance lab. The R&D Center’s unique ability to rapidly develop commercial-sized prototypes enables the generation of real world data and ensures smooth transition from lab to full scale production. Every aspect of Dow Kokam’s global R&D center has been put in place to bring technical advantage to Dow Kokam customers quickly and cost effectively.

Dow Kokam’s R&D center features:

– Wet Chemistry Lab: The Wet Chemistry Lab can rapidly characterize a variety of raw materials and is designed to identify and qualify the best and most cost-effective materials available on the market. The wet chemistry lab will accelerate next generation lithium-ion battery technology, while at the same time reducing raw material costs.

– Process R&D Lab: The Process R&D Lab is capable of producing high quality commercial-sized prototype battery electrodes, beginning with mixing of slurry to final electrode punching, in a clean/dry room environment on production sized equipment.

– Dry-Room Pilot Cell Assembly: Co-located within the Dow Kokam Summit Battery Park’s battery cell production facility in a dry-room environment, this pilot lab is capable of cell assembly from electrode to final cell in 2 and 8 Ah sizes providing data enabling large format battery scale up and new cell designs.

– Cell Testing and Quality Assurance Labs: These labs enable some of the critical final steps in successful product development and feature a large capacity for testing and analyzing R&D prototypes, samples and actual finished product.

In addition to the Global R&D Center, the Summit Battery Park has the capacity to produce 33 MW hours of battery cells annually, and has commercial scale pack production and battery systems prototyping.

The Global R&D Center will enable Dow Kokam to extend its work with leading industry, government and technology institutions to drive breakthrough advancements in lithium-ion battery technology applications and performance. Dow Kokam is working on a U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop large format lithium-ion cells with energy and power density greater than 500 watt-hours per liter and 500 watts per liter – significant advancements for commercial lithium-ion battery capabilities. Dow Kokam is also partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) to collaborate on projects with highly specialized leadership from ORNL.

"The support from partners like the DOE and ORNL reinforces the strength of Dow Kokam’s R&D strategy focused on leading edge flexible energy storage solutions that meet the unique needs of a wide range of industries," said Joon Kim, Vice President of Technology at Dow Kokam. "The market is rapidly expanding, and the demand for advanced battery solutions is growing, our collaboration with the U.S. government and technology institutions is an essential complement to our in-house R&D capabilities."

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