AMO Roll-to-roll Advanced Materials Manufacturing Laboratory Consortium

C. Daniel, D. Wood, M. Ulsh, G. Krumdick, R. Prasher
National Renewable Energy Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: roll-to-roll manufacturing, advanced manufacturing


Modern variants of proven roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing technologies are needed for enabling widespread commercialization of 2D engineered materials for electrochemical energy storage and conversion, electrolytic hydrogen production, smart flexible sensors for building energy efficiency improvement, flexible displays such as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), membranes for water applications, and flexible photovoltaics. These applications have the potential to significantly impact U.S. manufacturing sector recovery, environmental security, energy security, and sustainable transportation adoption. The shape, size, and morphology of the materials, the chemistry of the formulation, the nature of slurries, their coating rate, the rate of drying etc. all play a role in determining the final coating architecture, quality, and performance. In addition, non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of the produced coatings for improving in-line quality control (QC) and identification of defects, prior to down-stream value added steps being performed, is of paramount importance. As an example, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cost targets for advanced energy storage and conversion applications will not be met without significant and timely advancements in R2R manufacturing. Current baseline technology cell costs in the Li-ion battery industry are about 2.5× the $100-125/kWh ultimate target of the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO). In order to reach the target performance of 500 Wh/kg, novel R2R processing technologies will be required. In response to these cross-cutting needs and to assist in reaching the low $/m2 costs of these critical energy related applications, the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) created a multi-laboratory and industry partnership, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with Eastman Kodak Business Park (Kodak) and Citrine Informatics (Citrine). The goal of this consortium is to enable advanced R2R manufacturing research and development to demonstrate a new materials-genomic approach to optimization of process parameters for finding transformational improvements in manufacturing technologies. This consortium creates a national team of experts and capabilities covering aspects from materials genome modeling and simulation through powder materials synthesis, slurry formulation and scale-up, pilot deposition and curing process development, non-destructive process evaluation, big data analytics and validation, to full scale production of rolled goods. During a one year seed effort, the labs successfully demonstrated their combined capabilities on the topic of Li-ion battery manufacturing. This project included tasks to identify specific particle sizes of NMC electrode material, prepare slurries and electrode coatings, determine the areal weights of the coatings, prepare coatings for matching anodes, make operational an XRF system and further develop a real-time porosity diagnostic for inline metrology studies, conduct x-ray tomography of cathode samples, conduct characterization studies of the coating materials, and conduct device testing for rate capability, AC impedance, and initial capacity fade. Additionally, the team developed models for droplet studies, drying of slurries, and porosity diagnostics of two or more layers of cathode materials. This presentation will provide an overview of the capabilities of this consortium as well as a summary of accomplishments from the seed project.