Anaphite is a chemistry company developing CNT enhanced cathode powders that can be used to produce dry coated electrodes for low-cost, high-performance Li-ion batteries. Anaphite believes this technology can enable no-compromise sustainable transportation for everyone by allowing dry-coated Li-ion battery electrodes to achieve electrochemical performance parity with wet coating.
Anaphite’s proprietary compositing process enables the incorporation of advanced carbons into existing Li-ion battery cathode active materials, such as NMC and LFP. After developing the proof of concept in a small R&D lab with fume cupboards, the company expanded with a scale-up facility in 2022.
Anaphite has the capability to produce and tests cells containing their enhanced cathode materials in-house, using industry standard equipment. As the formulations including high nickel cathode active materials that Anaphite develop are moisture sensitive, Anaphite appointed Angstrom Technology to build a dry room within the new scale-up facility. To disregard any effects of moisture affecting materials, Anaphite needed an ultra-low dewpoint air supply that could be driven down to minus 75°Cdp, with a target return of at least minus 40°Cdp measured at the point of air return.
Angstrom partners with industry partners DRYAIR to deliver complete dry room systems with energy-efficient HVAC systems. The new LDP design used for Anaphite's dry room was developed with Desiccant Technologies Group. The series represents one of the most energy-efficient systems on the market. The design is available up to 50,000 m³/h in airflow and, due to its compact design, can be delivered in a single "plug and play" piece, reducing installation time and risk onsite.
The 39.15m² dry room has two distinct zones: a main area and a combined airlock and gowning area. The airlock acts as a buffer and minimises the effects of door usage by preventing uncontrolled air from infiltrating the main area. Pressure cascades and a specially designed shroud located at the exit point to create a curtain of dry air further help to reduce moisture transfer during door opening.
Angstrom completed CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) airflow analysis on the dry room area. This ensured even distribution of horizontal airflow across the entire process. Analysis was performed prior to construction allowing the design team to replicate conditions and ensure compliance within construction phase.
The envelope is an integral part of the dehumidification system. The fully sealed panel system combined with fully welded stainless steel has an ultra-low air leakage rate. With an overall infiltration target of 0.02m3/h.m at 50Pa, in accordance with BS EN 14509, to insulate the dry room and protect it from moisture ingress.
For consistent surface resistivity, doors have the same surface finish as the rest of the building envelope.
Cleanliness wasn’t an initial requirement, but a classified level of cleanliness protects Anaphite’s materials and scientific processes. And so, Angstrom incorporated HEPA filtration to deliver ISO 14644-1 Class 7 compliant air within the main area.
The main requirement for the dry room was the target dew point and the size, but Anaphite also needed the dry room to be modular. As a start-up, demands, and requirements can soon change, so a modular and relocatable design gives Anaphite the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen changes. The dehumidifier unit, amongst other elements of the project build, is movable, satisfying the need for modularity.
Energy-conscious dry rooms
Anaphite's main requirement for the project was achieving the target dewpoint, but they also stipulated they needed to quickly drive the dry room down to specification from a dormant state. Angstrom gave Anaphite the option of three different desiccant systems. After reviewing the performance and energy consumption, Anaphite chose the DT-LDP5 multi-rotor system as it provided an energy reduction of over 33% less when compared to the traditional single-rotor design. During the commissioning phase, the system achieved the requirements with a supply dewpoint of minus 80Cdp recorded during full load tests.
Achieving the low dewpoints required for the advanced materials used in the battery industry is energy-demanding. Anaphite is on a mission to help power the sustainable energy revolution, so controlling energy consumption is an important target for the business. Being able to bring the dry room down to class in 15 minutes means that they can keep it in shutdown when not in use and only power it up when needed. Saving on energy usage aligns with Anaphite's green credentials and saves money on running costs, which is important for any early-stage company.
The dry room build was part of a wider building fit-out plan. As different subcontractors were working alongside each other, Angstrom had limited space for the installation. Despite this challenge, Angstrom built the envelope system in just three days. The site team employed excellent communication and project management to ensure that they completed the build within the expected timeframe and that the build quality matched the high-spec of the design. The dry room was furnished with 11 Sealwise tables for workbenches, and to house two fume cabinets.
Angstrom commissioned and validated the dry room before completing the handover to Anaphite. Angstrom devised a comprehensive three-year support package to protect Anaphite against unexpected expenditures.
"We are delighted with the dry room solution provided by Angstrom Technology for our scale-up facility at Anaphite. Angstrom met our requirements and exceeded our expectations with its expertise and innovative approach. With the dual rotor system, we can quickly reach our target dewpoint in less than 15 minutes. Angstrom’s expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to our goals have proven invaluable in our journey to revolutionise the battery industry." Dr. Charlie Hall. Project and Operations Manager, Anaphite Ltd.