INTERVIEW WITH Dr. JASMIN SMAJIC, Cell design and development engineer at ABEE

What will be the environmental impact of the cell design in terms of materials used? What is the manufacturing process of pouch cells?

Battery technology plays a vital role in our lives, but its environmental impact cannot be ignored. Traditional battery manufacturing methods often involve the use of harmful materials that have negative environmental impact, such as fluorinated binders using toxic solvents. However, in NEXTCELL, we are committed to providing innovative and sustainable battery solutions. Our solvent-less approach means that we can manufacture batteries without the use of toxic solvents, significantly reducing our environmental impact.

Plus, we don’t use cobalt in our cathodes, which is known to have negative impacts on water consumption and pollution. Instead, we use lithium nickel manganese oxide cathodes, which also offer higher energy density.

We also prioritize safety, and our unique gellified approach significantly reduces the occurrence of catastrophic failures that may produce toxic smokes harmful for the environment. Finally, our commitment to sustainability is not just limited to our production process. We also follow a cradle-to-grave approach, which means we take recycling into consideration right from the initial stages of making our batteries. With these advances in technology, we can achieve both superior battery performance and environmental sustainability.

In addition, Batteries come in different shapes and sizes, but three formats reign supreme: cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch cells. In NEXTCELL, we are producing both pouch and cylindrical cells to showcase the versatility of our chemistry.

Creating battery cells is a complicated process that involves multiple steps: preparing electrodes, assembling cells, sealing them, and conditioning to ensure optimal performance. Pouch cells are unique because of their thin, flat and flexible enclosure design, which requires a slightly different approach to manufacturing. While cylindrical cells have excellent mechanical stability and lend themselves to automated manufacturing, pouch cells require a more delicate approach. For example, the electrodes and separators in pouch cells are stacked one on top of each other instead of rolled, and the casing is soft and heat-sealed rather than welded.