Vorbeck Materials Corp., in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), will develop Li-ion battery electrodes using Vorbeck’s Vor-x functionalized graphene materials under a new cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA).

PNNL, in collaboration with Prof. Ilhan Aksay’s group at Princeton University, has demonstrated that small quantities of high-quality graphene can dramatically improve the power and cycling stability of Li-ion batteries, while maintaining high-energy storage capacities. (Earlier post.)

In Vor-x, the graphene layers are entirely disassociated. Due to their wrinkled morphology, the single sheets no longer aggregate back to the graphite structure, ensuring good dispersion and ease of handling while providing the performance advantages of graphene.

The unique surface chemistry and wrinkling in Vor-x means that the graphene sheets do not restack. Vor-x can be used in a variety of concentrations, adjusting suspension viscosity or powder handling properties. The surface chemistry of Vor-x can be altered to optimize conductivity in a given matrix or to emphasize mechanical reinforcement.

The new graphene-enhanced battery materials could enable electronic devices and power tools that recharge in minutes rather than hours or function as part of a hybrid battery system to extend the range of electric vehicles.

This advance can lead to batteries that both store large amounts of energy and recharge quickly—breaking traditional trade-offs in battery design between high-capacity and high-power/fast-recharge cells.

PNNL and Princeton’s pioneering work in the field of graphene-based battery electrodes, together with Vorbeck’s leading expertise in the production and application of high-quality graphene, will enable the rapid commercialization of this energy storage technology upon completion of the CRADA, the partners say.

Vorbeck is already working with materials distribution and supply company, Targray Technology International, to bring novel battery electrode materials to market.

Vorbeck Materials Corp. was established in 2006 to manufacture and develop applications using Vor-x, Vorbeck’s patented graphene material developed at Princeton University.

Vorbeck became the first company to successfully commercialize a graphene product in 2009 with the introduction of Vor-ink, a graphene-based conductive ink.