This work addresses the need for robust rechargeable batteries that can operate well over a wide temperature range. To this end, a number of electrolyte formulations have been developed that incorporate the use of electrolyte additives to improve the high-temperature resilience, low-temperature power capability, and life characteristics of methyl butyrate-based electrolyte solutions. These electrolyte additives include mono-fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC), lithium oxalate, vinylene carbonate (VC), and lithium bis(oxalato)borate (LiBOB), which have been shown to result in improved high-temperature resilience of all carbonate-based electrolytes.

Improved performance has been demonstrated of Li-ion cells with methyl butyrate-based electrolytes, including 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %); 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %) + 2% FEC; 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %) + 4% FEC; 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %) + lithium oxalate; 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %) + 2% VC; and 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MB (20:20:60 v/v %) + 0.10M LiBOB. These electrolytes have been shown to improve performance in MCMB-LiNiCoO2 and graphite-LiNi1/3Co1/3Mn1/3O2 experimental Li-ion cells.

A number of LiPF6-based mixed carbonate electrolyte formulations have been developed that contain ester co-solvents, which have been optimized for operation at low temperature, while still providing reasonable performance at high temperature. For example, a number of ester co-solvents were investigated, including methyl propionate (MP), ethyl propionate (EP), methyl butyrate (MB), ethyl butyrate (EB), propyl butyrate (PB), and butyl butyrate (BB) in multicomponent electrolytes of the following composition: 1.0M LiPF6 in ethylene carbonate (EC) + ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) + X (20:60:20 v/v %) [where X = ester co-solvent]. [“Optimized Car bon - ate and Ester-Based Li-Ion Electrolytes,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 4 (April 2008), p. 56.] Focusing upon improved rate capability at low temperatures (i.e., –20 to –40 ºC), this approach was optimized further, resulting in the development of 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+MP (20:20:60 v/v %) and 1.20M LiPF6 in EC+EMC+EB (20:20:60 v/v %), which were demonstrated to operate well over a wide temperature range in MCMBLiNiCoAlO2 and Li4Ti5O12-LiNiCoAlO2 prototype cells.

This work was done by Marshall C. Smart and Ratnakumar V. Bugga of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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