Powerco, the Volkswagen Group battery company, has announced the introduction of a new cell manufacturing method that will increase the efficiency and sustainability of the entire process: the so-called dry coating process, the industrialization of which could lead to a reduction in 30% energy consumption.
Currently, the materials used to make electrodes (cathode and anode) are mixed with additives and liquid solvents to form a paste, then covered with copper or aluminum foil, dried, and calendered. The dry coating process, however, allows the powder base materials to be calendered directly onto the film.
As a result, it is no longer necessary to coat the electrodes wet and dry them afterward, which avoids the use of chemical solvents. Another advantage of this advance is that it reduces the manufacturing space required in battery plants by up to 15%. The powder coating is applied thinly and evenly, ensuring good energy density, long life, and better fast charging capabilities.
The results during the first internal tests have been promising, which is why PowerCo will continue to develop this novel process in partnership with the German printing machinery specialist Koenig & Bauer. To achieve their goals, both companies have signed a joint development agreement. The partners will create a roll press for large-scale electrode powder coating.
Volkswagen will use this innovative method in its next battery gigafactories
“Technologies such as dry coating demonstrate PowerCo’s technological capabilities. We have the necessary know-how and the right experts to take cell production to a new level and offer significant cost advantages to our customers. Our goal is to establish sustainable and affordable industrial battery production,” says Thomas Schmall, Head of Technology Volkswagen Group and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of PowerCo.
Frank Blome, CEO of PowerCo, emphasizes the industrial importance of this technological breakthrough: “What the solid-state cell is to product, the dry coating is to production – a real game changer. If developed successfully, it will give us a unique position in the market and definite competitive advantages.” Volkswagen has confirmed that this production method will be used at the Salzgitter, Valencia, and St. Thomas plants.