The Government of Canada is investing up to $1.9 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in Vancouver-based Nano One to support the development of advanced battery technology for electric vehicles. Nano One produces low-cost high-performance energy storage materials for batteries as well as a wide range of advanced nanostructured composite materials. The new technology will reduce the cost of the energy storage materials in electric vehicle batteries, resulting in batteries that are longer lasting, easier to charge and able to produce more energy.
The funding, made available through the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP), will support the development and production of electric vehicle battery material in Nano One’s pilot plant. The facility will simulate full-scale production of lithium-ion cathode materials and showcase Nano One’s patented processing technology.
Some of the more promising cathode materials being developed in labs around the world today are using processes with 50 to 100 steps and production cycles of 4-7 days. Nano One says that its technology can use lower grade raw materials and complete a production cycle in less than a day using a three-stage process with up to 75% fewer steps. There is less handling, lower cost capital equipment, no waste solvents, 90-95% yield, many fewer failure points, higher safety and flexibility to run different material formulations in a controlled and sealed environment.
As a result, Nano One says that its technology could reduce costs by up to 50% ($/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.
The pilot will demonstrate the cost, scalability, performance and novelty of Nano One’s technology and will enable Nano One significantly to enhance the production of lithium-ion cathode materials.
The pilot uses equipment common to industry and is designed with flexibility to demonstrate a variety of processing concepts and chemistries. This enables Nano One to adapt to market needs and produce a range of cathode materials, including lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, high voltage spinel and lithium iron phosphate.
The innovations lie in the three-stage aqueous process that enables a wider range of raw material inputs, eliminates manufacturing steps and provides high purity high performance materials. Nano One has been granted three patents covering process, materials and batteries and is actively developing other novel technologies to bolster its portfolio of intellectual property.
These funds are non-dilutive and non-repayable and add to funds previously announced. The support leverages existing plans to build and operate our Demonstration Pilot Plant. We remain on target to have the pilot built early in 2017 and our approach is already drawing the attention of multinational lithium ion battery stakeholders in the automotive supply chain. The funding selection process is competitive with extensive due diligence and we are honoured to have gained the confidence of ASIP and ISED. We look forward to their valuable support.—Nano One CEO Dan Blondal
ASIP was created as part of the Canadian Federal Government’s Economic Action Plan 2015. The program is providing up to $100 million over five years (2015-2020) to encourage Canadian automotive suppliers to develop new innovative products and processes that will make Canada more competitive on a global scale. The program will help research and development projects to become commercially viable by supporting product development and technology demonstration on a cost-shared basis with participating firms.