Dow Kokam, ORNL sign agreement to boost lithium ion battery performance

August 24, 2011, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dow Kokam and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working together to enhance the Michigan-based company's capabilities to develop and commercialize advanced lithium ion batteries.

The relationship, formalized today with the signing of an worth up to $5.5 million over six years, supplements Dow Kokam's overall research and development strategy by providing specialized technical and research management expertise to the company. Many of the specialized battery development capabilities that are part of this effort are exclusive to ORNL.

"Our with ORNL reinforces Dow Kokam's commitment to focus its R&D efforts directly on performance improving advancements that have rapid commercial utility for our customers and their end users, primarily in the highly demanding transportation, utility and defense markets," said Ravi Shanker, president and chief executive officer of Dow Kokam. "By augmenting our direct R&D capabilities and investments with access to the most state-of-the-art resources and expertise in the industry, Dow Kokam aims to set the new standard for advanced battery performance."

This agreement builds on a successful partnership stemming from a collaborative research and development agreement funded by the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Dow Kokam.

A team of a dozen ORNL researchers will provide support in the areas of electrochemical and microstructural analysis, in-line quality control process development, raw material characterization and processing battery components. Other aspects of the effort will focus on new technology evaluation and technical strategic advice designed to optimize Dow Kokam's materials and manufacturing processes. This work builds on a cooperative agreement that began in February 2010.

The project also aligns directly with goals outlined in the recent report titled "Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing." The report was prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the President's Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee.

A key recommendation of the 25-member panel was to "invest to overcome market failures, to ensure that new technologies and design methodologies are developed here, and that technology-based enterprises have their infrastructure to flourish." Through an Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, American businesses could collaborate through applied research programs to solve manufacturing problems.

The report is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pressroom/06242011.

Under terms of the agreement, any support furnished to Dow Kokam will be done by ORNL on a full-cost reimbursement basis.

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