Enhanced-Lifespan Saggars for Battery Material Production Scale Up (SAGGAR-LIFE)

Lead Participant: Johnson Matthey Plc

Abstract

"A saggar is a ceramic container to enclose or protect product during the firing process within a furnace. Saggar lifespan is a very important economic factor for the competitiveness and growth of battery material production, not only because durability of the saggar increases the amount of battery material you can make per saggar, but also reduces waste generation, and the costs of logistics and transportation of new and waste saggars.

Most common commercial saggars are composed of varying ratios of materials such as alumina and silica. Such materials can be susceptible to chemical attack and corrosion from the battery materials they are designed to hold. With a rapidly growing market for battery material production there is an opportunity to develop saggars that have favourable compatibility for battery materials to enhance the saggar lifespan, enabling re-use of the saggars for multiple production cycles of battery material. Increasing the number of saggar cycles significantly reduces the saggar volumes required, thereby reducing operating cost (OpEx), capital costs (for example by reducing warehousing), and the environmental impact of disposing contaminated saggars when they have reached end-of life.

This project will develop, screen and benchmark commercially competitive saggars with novel compositions and microstructures to substantially increase saggar lifespan, thereby offering a sourcing route for scalable saggars for long-term commercial-scale production of battery materials. Ideal ceramic material properties are high melting point, wear resistance, chemical stability, appropriate thermal conductivity and deformation resistance at elevated temperature. Along with careful consideration of appropriate raw material particle size and porosity to avoid microstructural defects (e.g. microcracks, agglomerates, porosity) which have an impact in the mechanical and chemical resistance of the ceramic materials during the battery material manufacturing process.

This supply-chain consortium of UK manufacturers brings together Johnson Matthey's scientific expertise in battery material production, Vulcan's excellence in saggar development and manufacture, and Lucideon's longstanding experience in developing testing programmes and standards. It will put the consortium members, and the UK, in a strong competitive position with a cost optimised process, both using and enhancing the respective members' areas of expertise."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Johnson Matthey Plc, LONDON £959,197 £ 479,599
 

Participant

Lucideon Limited, Stoke-on-Trent £224,741 £ 134,845
Vulcan Refractories Limited, Stoke-On-Trent £81,314 £ 56,920

Publications

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