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GM to develop EV battery separators with $200M U.S. DOE grant

Credit: General Motors

General Motors will develop electric vehicle battery separators with manufacturer Microvast in a joint partnership that will yield a new separator plant in the United States. The project is being funded by a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing initiative.

GM will contribute its separator and coating technology to the partnership with Microvast, yielding a new separator technology to improve EV battery longevity.

The goal of the partnership is to “improve EV safety, charging and battery life” through the development of a new separator, GM said. The work will be effective and compatible with all types of lithium-ion battery cells, including graphite, silicon, and lithium-metal anodes and nickel-rich, cobalt-free, lithium iron phosphate-type and high-voltage cathodes, GM added.

“This collaboration with Microvast supports our ongoing efforts to develop a North American-focused EV supply chain and help put everyone in an EV,” GM’s Chief Technology Officer and VP of R&D, Kent Helfrich, said. “It will also provide us with pioneering separator technology that can be used in future Ultium batteries and most importantly, supports our continuing commitment to safety.”

Battery separators sit between a battery’s anode and cathode and keep the electrodes apart to prevent short circuits while still allowing ionic charges to travel through to complete the passage of current.

Microvast’s unique wet-process technology is different from competitors, as it has a patented polyaramid separator that is capable of handling temperatures as high as 300 Celsius. Traditional separators can only handle temperatures of between 135 and 165 Celsius. The increase temperature resistance improves overall safety and stability in EVs, but is also highly effective in other applications as well.

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GM to develop EV battery separators with $200M U.S. DOE grant
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