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Volkswagen’s PowerCo Uses Dry Coating to Achieve Sustainable and Affordable Batteries

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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PowerCo SE, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group in partnership with German printing machine specialist Koenig & Bauer AG, has developed a game-changing technology using a dry coating procedure for cell production. The new technology will significantly boost efficiency and sustainability in volume battery cell production.

Under the partnership, the firms will further develop and industrialize the Dry Coating procedure. The dry coating process enables the expensive production of electrodes without wet coating and drying afterward. 

The most energy-consuming step in cell manufacturing, as well as the use of chemical solvents, are no longer necessary with the new method. The technology is already being tested and improved by PowerCo in a trial line at one of its labs in Northern Germany. Koenig & Bauer, a printing expert, will create a device for commercial powder coating.

Using Dry Coating to Achieve Sustainable and Affordable Batteries

“Technologies like Dry Coating showcase PowerCo’s technological prowess. We have the necessary know-how and the right experts to take cell production to a new level and offer significant cost advantages to our customers. Our objective is to establish an industrial production of sustainable and affordable batteries, said Thomas Schmall, PowerCo SE’s Chairman.”

Battery Cell Production
Dry coating development at PowerCo laboratories | Image credit: Volkswagen AG

PowerCo predicts that the new technology will save hundreds of millions of Euros annually by having the capacity to save roughly 30% of energy and 15% of the necessary floor space. 

Frank Blome, CEO of PowerCo SE said: “What the solid-state cell is to the product, Dry Coating is to production – a real game changer. If scaled successfully, it will give us a unique position on the market and definite competitive advantages.”

Unveiling A New Batteries Game Changer

With the help of PowerCo’s dry coating process, it is possible to print-like directly onto the foil of the powdery fundamental components. As a result, two of the four process stages used to make electrodes are no longer necessary. The powder coating can be evenly and finely applied to the foil, creating a layer that is about the thickness of a hair. This enhances the battery’s capacity for quick charging while ensuring good spatial energy density and a long life cycle.

The new technology can potentially save a lot of money by reducing the need for floor space by 15%. Four parallel coating and drying lines can be saved for each building block of a standard Gigafactory with a manufacturing capacity of 20 GWh, or an area of 7.000 square meters. The outside length of the plant can be cut by roughly 100 meters as a result. The energy saved will be equal to what 40,000 private houses consume in a year if the energy-guzzling drying furnaces and suction systems are not used.

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