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Electrical energy concept illustration.

LIFT Building Energy Conversion Process for DoD

Aug. 9, 2023
The defense-industrial partnership is targeting 2025 for starting a pilot line to produce electrochemical separators for U.S. Dept. of Defense energy systems.

LIFT has initiated a plan to develop a pilot line to produce electrochemical separators for U.S. Dept. of Defense energy systems, targeting a 3Q 2025 start-up date for the installation in Detroit. Separators are critical components for electrochemical devices (i.e., batteries), for storing and converting energy. They are used to separate chemical reactants, conduct electric current, and reject waste heat from the devices.

The “Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow” (LIFT) program is a public-private partnership between the DoD and multiple industrial organizations and research institutions that was established in 2014 to foster research and development in manufacturing with practical applications for defense programs.

According to LIFT, the project is necessary because it is difficult and capital intensive to fabricate lightweight, high-quality, corrosion-resistant separators for energy devices in the power range needed by DoD, and they are currently unavailable from a U.S.-based manufacturer.

The separators project is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Manufacturing Science and Technology Program (MSTP.) Industrial and academic partners for the development were not announced by LIFT.

LIFT will design a production line and produce units for testing over the next two years before moving into full production. And LIFT will execute all manufacturing operations including engineering, materials procurement, and quality control.

Once full production is achieved, LIFT will assist in locating a permanent provider and home for the production line to continue operation.

“The benefits of this program to the DoD are threefold,” stated program manager Kevin Cronin. “It will secure the supply chain of a critical component of energy systems, it will lower costs, and it will create an enduring research tool for separators in general. All of these benefits lend to providing the warfighter the best technology we can get them.”

LIFT is operated by the Detroit-based American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII.) Its research activities cover materials, processes, systems, and talent, and its industrial partners include numerous defense sector manufacturers and their suppliers. Individual research projects have focused on additive manufacturing, forming, and joining.

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