Dr. Mike Kuan-Yu Shen

Mike Kuan-Yu Shen received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University. He joined Washington University in St. Louis and LACER in 2012. Mike also is one of the Taiwanese scholars in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at WashU.

Energy is one of the major challenges of the 21st century, notably including power generation and storage issues. Developing state-of-the-art materials would facilitate the implementation of renewable energy sources, as well as significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. A low-cost, robust synthesis process with high reproducibility is required for the production of nanostructured lithium-ion battery cathode materials. Lithium-ion batteries are considered an attractive power source for portable devices, electric and hybrid electric vehicles and large renewable power facilities. xLi2MnO3*(1-x)Li(Ni?1/3Mn1/3Co1/3)O2 (x= 0 to 1) composite materials with layered structures have received attention as high-capacity, low-cost and safe cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries.

The conventional synthesis method for these materials is co-precipitation, which has challenges associated with scale up. Therefore a spray pyrolysis synthesis was developed by this group as a scalable, low-cost production method. Due to the formation mechanism of the particles, the product contains hollow spheres, which cause low bulk density. LACER and X-Tend Energy, LLC have been developing a scaled-up spray pyrolysis process for the synthesis of non-hollow, solid lithium transition metal oxide materials. The method at present is capable of producing high-quality battery materials at close to 50 gram/hour scale. High-energy layered xLi2MnO3*(1-x)Li(Ni?1/3Mn1/3Co1/3)O2 (x=0 to 1) material is producing materials with high tap (> 1.0 gcm-3) density. Studies on the particle formation of spray pyrolysis are also underway. A drop-on-demand (DOD) ink-jet microdispenser is used and allows us to observe the droplet to particle process through single droplets. The results will lead to a better understanding of hollow spheres formation and a further increase in the bulk density.