If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Electronic Materials

Spray-coated electrodes could create greener, cheaper batteries

By ditching toxic solvents, new dry-coating process could slash the cost and energy use of battery-manufacturing

by Prachi Patel, special to C&EN
May 25, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 17


a black electrode coating surrounds a cylindrical metal object.
Credit: Joule
A new dry spray-coating process allows researchers to make lithium-ion battery electrodes without the use of solvents, which should cut costs and energy use.

A new solvent-free manufacturing process could make batteries more sustainable and cut manufacturing costs by 15% and energy use by 47% (Joule 2023, DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2023.04.006). It could also be faster-charging than today’s electrodes.

Manufacturers make electrodes by coating metal foils with a slurry of a solvent and battery materials. Then they recover the solvent and dry the electrodes. The energy-intensive process uses ovens the length of a football field.

Alternatively, Yan Wang of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Heng Pan of Texas A&M University, and their colleagues spray a dry, powdery mix of electrode materials onto metal foils. An electric field at the sprayer’s tip applies a charge to the powder so it forms a uniform coating on the grounded metal substrate. The researchers then use pressure rollers to compact the material and form a dense electrode.

Other researchers have developed a dry-coating process that involves extruding electrode materials into freestanding, laminated films, Wang says. But the new spray process “is much more scalable and more similar to the wet-slurry technology used today.”

The team used commercial electrode materials: lithium-metal oxides for cathode, and graphite for anode. Because the new process should produce thicker electrodes, Wang says electric vehicle batteries could pack more energy and extend the driving range.

Ajay K. Prasad, a mechanical engineer at the University of Delaware, says that this electrostatic spraying process might be too slow for high-speed battery manufacturing, but given the energy and environmental benefits of solvent-free electrodes, new methods such as this one “are worthwhile to explore.”



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.