The manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries takes place in ultra-low humidity dry rooms. This can range from from small R&D labs, all the way through to large scale mass production facilities.
Changing Lithium-Ion Battery Technology
Like many things in the modern world, lithium battery technology is changing all the time, and in quite dramatic ways. New materials and chemical reactions are being tested every day, so companies can reduce costs and fulfil growing demand. But to be done efficiently and safely, these tests must be done in specially designed, ultra-low humidity dry rooms. This is primarily because of the chemical reactions that can happen if they aren’t.
Whenever you’re working with chemicals the environment you work in must be very carefully considered. With batteries, you have chemical components like lithium-ion, lithium iron phosphate, graphene and more. This means you need a stable environment with less than 1% humidity, as these chemicals are highly sensitive to moisture.
Here’s where it gets scientific. A reaction between lithium-ion and water is exothermic, which means it generates heat, and produces a substance called lithium hydroxide, along with hydrogen. The heat from that reaction can, if left unchecked, potentially lead to burning or an explosion. In order to minimize this risk manufacturers need to minimize the water content in the air at all times, maintaining an ultra-low humidity environment.
On top of the safety concerns, keeping air moisture levels low is necessary to help achieve high levels of product yield, better quality control, energy efficiency, cycle life and even end storage capacity for every batter produced in the plant. In short, it might be the single most important element in creating a manufacturing space for lithium batteries.
Dry Room Applications
When we look at this kind of installation known as a ‘dry room’. The applications are much wider than just lithium batteries – all it takes is a unique angle. With the advent of consumer electronics, electric vehicles, solar power and grid storage applications, there is a huge variety of battery production processes, each using a unique chemical process and needing its own environmental controls.
This means that other things can factor in to deciding what the dehumidification capacity for a dry room. The dehumidification system must be custom designed with enough drying capacity to be able to maintain the dry room at the specified condition. Most battery manufacturers require that a room’s humidity/average moisture level be maintained as low as -40°C dew point (0.5% Relative Humidity at 72°F) and sometimes even lower. Some of the factors that need to be taken into account include:
- Dry room size
- Type of chemistry and process
- Moisture infiltration
- Personnel activity within the room
- Airlocks for material and personnel movement
And that’s just the beginning. All of that means that it is very difficult to find a single solution that can address all of these issues, falls within budget and is reliable enough to stand up to the rigorous safety standards required by the industry.
At Humidity Solutions we love a challenge like this. Because we produce bespoke solutions, we can design a dehumidification system that can address every single one of your concerns without having to buy multiple systems from multiple places. Instead, we are your one stop shop for dehumidification and environmental control, ensuring you have the perfect environment for lithium and other kinds of battery manufacturing. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.