Innovation That Matters

The process replaces the toxic solvents used in the process with water and a water-soluble binder | Photo source GRST

A battery manufacturing process cuts out the chemicals

Agriculture & Energy

A new process replaces the carbon and chemical waste involved in the manufacture of lithium batteries with water

Spotted: Electric vehicles are touted as the way forward in a clean, low-emission future for our planet. But EVs have a dirty secret – the batteries they use for power are largely manufactured in places that rely on coal for power. The increasing number of EVs on the road means more batteries, which in turn means more emissions from battery manufacturers. One solution to this conundrum could be provided by GRST’s new water-based battery manufacturing method. 

GRST (short for Green, Recyclable, Sustainable Technology) has developed a process for manufacturing and recycling lithium-ion batteries that replaces the toxic solvents used in the process with water and a water-soluble binder. While conventional battery manufacturing uses harmful organic solvents (such as NMP, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone), GRST’s WATMAR3 process replaces these with water.  

The company’s patented WATMAR3 technology also overcomes safety issues without compromising on performance. The technology has been certified for in electric vehicles, consumer electronics, mining products and marine products. The innovation won the Grand Prix at the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva and is now ready to begin mass production. 

The idea of a water-based battery was a natural outgrowth of work by GRST’s founders, Dr Bill Ho and Justin Hung. Ho has a PhD in electrochemistry and has spent more than 10 years working in battery technology, while Hung is an entrepreneur in chemical businesses that promote eco-friendly water-based chemicals. The pair told Springwise that they share a common view that the “world not only needs a better lithium-ion battery but a cleaner and safer battery made with toxic-free manufacturing. Equally important is being able to recycle the depleted batteries in a greener way to prevent further pollution to our planet.” 

Battery technology is growing by leaps and bounds, as the world moves to decarbonise. Now that EV vehicles have growing support, more and more innovators are moving to develop greener batteries as well. Recently, we have seen this tackled with developments such as a rechargeable cement-based battery and a graphene-based super-battery

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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