Tesla to reveal more about its new Gigafactory battery cell production at trade show in March

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Despite an announcement earlier this month and some information leaking from a subsequent investor event, not many details are currently known about Tesla’s new battery cell production at the Gigafactory.

We now learn that an upcoming event should reveal more information. Tesla’s Senior Director of Cell Supply Chain & Business Development, Kurt Kelty, and its battery cell research partner, Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, will both present at the upcoming International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in March.

Kelty is one of Tesla’s top battery scientists. In the 1990s, he was the founder and director of Panasonic U.S. battery R&D lab, which was an extension of the Japanese battery R&D lab. He worked for Panasonic’s battery division until 2006, when he joined Tesla to lead its battery technology effort. He has been the lead negotiator of all of Tesla’s multi-billion dollar battery cell supply agreements with Panasonic.

Now Senior Director of Cell Supply Chain & Business Development, he will give a keynote presentation about “Gigafactory Material Sourcing and Cell Production” at the seminar on March 22.

The presentation is described in the brochure (embedded below):

This presentation will examine the status on material sourcing and sustainable material sourcing for the Gigafactory. In addition, the production of cells for energy products manufactured at the Gigafactory including the Powerwall and Powerpack will be discussed.

Kelty will be followed by his colleague Jeff Dahn. Tesla and Jeff Dahn’s battery-research group at Dalhousie University started a new partnership last year that transitioned the group from their 20-year research agreement with 3M to a new association with Tesla under the newly formed ‘NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research’.

Dahn’s research focuses on increasing the energy density and lifetime of Li-ion batteries in order to drive down costs of Tesla’s automotive and grid energy storage products.

He works mostly with NMC Li-ion cells, Tesla’s preferred chemistry for battery cells, and his keynote address titled “Surprising Chemistry in Li-Ion Cells” will discuss how they could stop harmful reactions in those cells in order to increase their capacity:

It is important to increase the operating voltage of NMC Li-ion cells to obtain higher energy density. However, the electrolyte reacts with the positive electrode at high voltage. Using simple experiments involving only pouch bags, we show that the products of these reactions are extremely harmful to the positive electrode. This talk demonstrates how these harmful reactions at the positive electrode can be virtually stopped, leading to superb NMC Li-ion cells that can operate at high potential.

Dahn’s presentation will follow Kelty’s on March 22 at the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in Fort Lauderdale.

Here’s the brochure:

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