The Elements of Innovation Discovered

DOE funding toward X-BATT recycling tech

Part of greater DOE program, Semplastics awarded $200K Metal Tech News – June 8, 2022

Semplastics, parent company of X-MAT and X-BATT, was awarded over $200,000 by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop novel high-capacity composite anodes for the upcycling of spent graphite from end-of-life-lithium batteries.

This funding comes just a week after Semplastics announced that it had received a U.S. patent for electrode fabrication technology that dramatically increases the storage capacity of graphite recovered from recycled batteries.

"Battery recycling is the only option," said Semplastics President and CEO Bill Easter. "The demand and production of EVs is growing, the minerals needed for battery production are diminishing and proven difficult for the U.S. to get their hands on – so we developed technology to solve this by re-using what we have."

After spending the better part of two decades supplying precision plastic engineered components to a broad range of industries, Semplastics expanded with its X-MAT research, focusing on the recycling, reuse, and rediscovery of the vast stockpiles of coal waste accumulated from the old-world energy consumption.

The solution; coal core composite. A lightweight (1.69 grams per cubic centimeter), high temperature (range between negative 150 to 1,100 degrees Celsius) operation, thermally stable (low coefficient of thermal expansion), and remarkably green, as it consumes waste rather than creates it.

Growing into its own with successful coal composite products, Semplastics further expanded into the recycling and upcycling of lithium-ion batteries, using a process that reinvigorates spent graphite in battery anodes.

In addition to the patent, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced Semplastics as part of 259 DOE grants totaling $53 million to 210 small businesses in 38 states. The awards include projects relating to particle accelerator and fusion technology, applied nanoscience, quantum information applications, and dark matter research, along with a wide range of other efforts.

"Supporting small businesses will ensure we are tapping into all of America's talent to develop clean energy technologies that will help us tackle the climate crisis," said Steve Binkley, acting director of DOE's Office of Science. "DOE's investments will enable these economic engines to optimize and commercialize their breakthroughs, while developing the next generation of science leaders and ensuring U.S. scientific and economic competitiveness that will benefit all Americans."

It is projected that each year, the demand for lithium-ion batteries is expected to grow by at least 25%, resulting in 14 times growth by 2030. X-BATT hopes to curb some of the demand by giving already made batteries a much-needed rejuvenation to get them back in the game and into new electric vehicles.

After receiving the necessary patents, showing the viability of its technology, X-BATT will continue to ramp up its capabilities and eventually scale its technology up, providing another supply stream in the looming challenge a green economy exhibits.

You can read the patent announcement at X-BATT granted battery recycling patent in the June 1, 2022, edition of Metal Tech News.


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