Better Batteries

Nano One believes that cost-effective production of nanostructured cathode materials can address pent-up global demand for better batteries.

Nano One believes that cost-effective production of nanostructured cathode materials can address pent-up global demand for better batteries. It is a $2-3 billion market and cathode materials are found in the lithium ion batteries that power consumer electronics, electric vehicles and industrial storage.

Lithium ion batteries have two electrodes, the anode and the cathode, that transmit lithium ions through an electrolyte with a porous membrane to separate the electrodes. The electrodes are thin foils coated with powdered materials that store and release ions during energy charge and power delivery. The anode material is most commonly made of graphite, while the cathode is of lithium and a matrix of other metals that can include cobalt, manganese, nickel, aluminum or iron in the form of oxides, phosphates, silicates and others.

The Challenge

Cathode powders have great potential to change battery performance and also account for a quarter of the cost of a typical battery cell. The challenge with any advanced material is to boost performance and reduce cost. For batteries, this means reducing the cost of raw materials and processing while boosting capacity, charge and cycling.

Battery Graph

Some of the more promising cathode materials being developed in labs around the world are using processes with 50 to 100 steps and production cycles of 4-7 days. Nano One’s technology can use lower grade raw materials and complete a production cycle in less than a day using a three stage process with up to 75% fewer steps. There is less handling, lower cost capital equipment, no waste solvents, 90-95% yield, many fewer failure points, higher safety and flexibility to run different material formulations in a controlled and sealed environment.

The Upshot

Nano One’s technology could reduce costs by up to 50% ($/kWh) delivering robustly structured cathode materials that last 2-3 times longer, store more energy and deliver more power. For electric vehicles, this could translate into fewer battery cells, less weight, less cost extended range, longer lifetime or better warranties. For consumer electronics, this could mean greater storage, faster charging or more power.