Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., having newly developed its porous aluminum “Aluminum-Celmet,” has set up a small-scale production line at Osaka Works (1-1-3 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka) to accelerate development efforts toward mass production of the new material.
Aluminum-Celmet can be used to improve the capacity of lithium-ion secondary batteries and capacitors. The positive electrode current collector in a conventional lithium-ion secondary battery is made from aluminum foil, while the negative electrode current collector is made from copper foil. Replacing the aluminum foil with Aluminum-Celmet increases the amount of positive active material per unit area. Sumitomo Electric’s trial calculations indicate that in the case of automotive onboard battery packs, such replacement will increase battery capacity 1.5 to 3 times. Alternatively, with no change in capacity, battery volume can be reduced to one-third to two-thirds. These changes afford such benefits as reduced footprint of home-use storage batteries for power generated by solar and other natural sources, as well as by fuel cells.
In conventional capacitors, both positive and negative current collectors are made from aluminum foil. Use of Aluminum-Celmet instead improves the capacity and reduces the footprint, as with lithium-ion batteries.
Celmet’s features include high porosity (up to 98%), considerably higher than other porous metals, such as nonwoven metal fabric and foam metal; it also features a three-dimensional mesh-like structure that forms interconnected, open and spherical pores. Moreover, it is easy to process the porous metal into various shapes by cutting and stamping.
These features lead to favorable filling, retaining and current-collecting performance, when used with an active material.
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