Award-Winning Technology Could Speed Adoption of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

ExxonMobil Chemical announced today that it has received a leading industry innovation award for its battery separator film technology.

The technology, pioneered by a team of ExxonMobil scientists led by Dr. Pat Brant, won the 2008 ICIS Chemical Business award for Best Product Innovation because it can significantly improve the power, capacity, stability and safety margins of lithium-ion batteries. These enhanced performance characteristics can enable the use of these smaller and more powerful batteries in next generation lower emission vehicles.

ExxonMobil Chemical produces the film at a plant in Nasu, Japan, and together with Japanese affiliate TonenGeneral, recently broke ground on a new plant in Gumi, South Korea, to meet growing demand for new and existing applications. Government officials were honored guests at a groundbreaking ceremony held October 9. Start-up is expected in 2009.

“ExxonMobil’s battery separator film is one of many technologies our company is working on to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions in the transportation sector,” said Steve Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “We are honored to be receiving this award for a product that is helping to usher in a new wave of more cost- and fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles.”

John Baker, global editor at ICIS and manager for the Awards, sponsored by Dow Corning, said ExxonMobil Chemical’s advances are important, as lithium-ion batteries are key to the development of hybrid and electric vehicles and other portable power uses, such as power tools and laptop computers.

“Many, if not all, of the entries this year had a common theme of sustainability and environmental improvement,” said Baker. “We hope that work being done by people like ExxonMobil’s Dr. Brant will prompt fresh thinking and renewed efforts for innovation across the industry.”

The film is not only innovative, it is also commercially available. ExxonMobil Chemical and TonenGeneral continue to work with leading battery manufacturers, including Electrovaya and EnerDel, to tailor films to meet the challenging design and performance needs for next generation vehicles.

“Highly advanced, precision materials are essential to the rapid progress we see in lithium-ion battery development. The separator films produced by ExxonMobil Chemical have performed exceptionally well under the highly demanding conditions required in this industry,” said EnerDel CEO Ulrik Grape. “Continued collaboration and innovation will improve performance, fuel efficiency and costs, and help get a new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles to market quickly.”

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