Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché says it has achieved a breakthrough in the safety of its lithium-ion batteries without compromising cell performance. By adding a special additive to the composition of the electrolyte formula, the company says the risk of a thermal event has been reduced by almost 80 per cent.
This performance has been confirmed by the external testing laboratory Intertek Germany in a series of industry-standard nail penetration tests with Leclanché’s 60 Ah cell. Leclanché says that despite the piercing of the test cells with the resulting internal short circuit, they showed a much lower fire risk than identical cells without flame retardant additives. The new cells are expected to be available for production from the first quarter of 2023.
Leclanché battery cells are manufactured using a proprietary production process in Willstätt, Germany. For the production of the electrolyte, the company uses a water-based process instead of organic solvents such as NMP. This leads to a significantly lower environmental impact and lower CO2 emissions. Leclanché says the process has proven itself in commercial production over the past ten years.
According to Leclanché, the cells are to be of great importance to users in the rail, truck and bus markets given companies’ concerns about the risk of fire on board vehicles. The company points to costly recalls and service interruptions. “Our breakthrough should encourage manufacturers waiting on the side-lines for next generation solid-state batteries to move forward with their advanced fleet vehicle designs today – safe lithium-ion batteries have arrived and Leclanché has them,” says Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché.
Pierre Blanc, Leclanché’s Chief Technology Officer, adds, “Most efforts, until now, adversely impact the performance or longevity of cells. Leclanché has been able to develop a high performance and high energy density lithium-ion cell exhibiting high safety characteristics without any negative impact on performance or longevity. As technological advancements continue to be developed, this is a crucial improvement in state of the art cell technology, that does not require breakthrough technology that could still be several years away from commercial availability”
In June last year, Leclanché announced it was developing a new generation of lithium-ion modules for energy-intensive e-transport applications on road, rail and water, while inaugurating a new production line for large-scale module manufacturing in Switzerland.
In December 2021, the Swiss company spun off its electric mobility business. The new wholly-owned Swiss company called Leclanché E-Mobility S.A. was established on 16 December 2021. Leclanché says it intends to merge this company with a US-listed SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company).
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