Miljkovic will help transform Li-ion battery manufacturing


Materials Research Laboratory

A team of researchers, including Associate Professor Nenad Miljkovic from MechSE, has won a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop transformative manufacturing processes for reliable, energy dense, and easily recyclable next generation Lithium-ion batteries.

Nenad Miljkovic
Nenad Miljkovic

The Illinois Materials Research Laboratory co-principal investigators Professors Paul Braun, Milkovic, Nicola Perry, and Pingfeng Wang, with co-principal investigator Prof. Marta Hatzell at Georgia Tech, have been awarded the NSF Future Manufacturing Research Grant for $3.25M over five years. The team will work with other collaborators, including Xerion Advanced Battery Corp., the Illinois NSF Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS), and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

As the focus of this research project, entitled “Holistic Design for Manufacturing and Recycling of High Energy Density Li-ion Battery Cells,” the team will utilize and optimize a new manufacturing paradigm, capitalizing on their novel electrodeposition/de-electroplating technologies to advance Lithium-ion battery manufacturing for enhanced performance, lifecycle sustainability, thermal management, and recyclability.

Lithium-ion batteries are emerging as the key energy storage technology for both the power grid and electric vehicles due to their high power and light weight. However, these batteries are costly, difficult to recycle, and degrade over time. In addition, today’s Li-ion batteries are manufactured via slurry-based processes, which introduce complexity, cost, and other challenges into battery manufacturing and recycling. 

This research will reduce the dependency of the United States on imported critical materials, greatly simplify battery manufacturing and recycling processes, and reduce the cost of Li-ion batteries – ultimately forming Li-ion batteries in a way to maximize their reliability and lifecycle sustainability. The novel manufacturing approach proposed by the team will enable battery fabrication and recycling processes, which result in both reduced waste and lower energy input compared to the current state-of-the-art. To promote future science in the field, the project will create new outreach projects and training courses for K-12 students and professionals, and transform the partner universities’ curricula in multidisciplinary areas related to Li-ion batteries, manufacturing engineering, thermal science, and system design.