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New Renault-Nissan-Mitsubish venture fund to invest up to $1B over five years; 1st investment in Ionic Materials for solid-state electrolyte

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi launched Alliance Ventures, a new corporate venture capital fund that plans to invest up to $1 billion to support open innovation over the next five years. In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on new mobility, including vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence.

The first deal by Alliance Ventures will be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, a US-based company developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. The equity acquisition coincides with the execution of a joint-development agreement with the Alliance for the purpose of R&D cooperation.

Ionic, based in Massachusetts, is the developer of a pioneering solid polymer electrolyte that enables improved performance and cost effectiveness of high-energy density batteries for automotive and multiple other applications.

Ionic has demonstrated that its polymer electrolyte is compatible with chemistries that have much higher theoretical performance limits than the active materials used in current state-of-the-art batteries. Higher energy density chemistries can now be developed and brought to market effectively.

Ionic Materials’ electrolyte is a platform technology enabling the use of a wide range of electrode chemistries, including lithium metal anodes, sulfur cathodes, and more, resulting in much higher energy density and performance.

Key properties of Ionic Materials’ polymer include:

  • Up to 1.3 mS/cm at room temperature
  • Lithium transference number of 0.7
  • High voltage capability (5 volts)
  • Can accommodate high loadings in the cathode
  • High elastic modulus
  • Low cost precursors
  • Stable against Lithium
  • Conducts multiple ions



Yesterday, GCC reported about Fisker displaying a working solid-state battery at CES 2018. Today Alliance Ventures invests in Ionic Materials which has a polymer based electrolyte.
Solid State Batteries are a real game changer and many companies are investing, e.g. Dyson, Toyota, NGK, Samsung, etc.
Expect 500 Wh/kg and lower cost. The structure appears to be: a Lithium or Silicon Graphene Lithiated Anode, an LLZO or LLTO Ceramic with polymer backing, and a low or NO Cobalt metal oxide cathode.
Check out this recent research:
Dendrite-Free Li-Metal Battery Enabled by a Thin Asymmetric Solid Electrolyte with Engineered Layers, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (1), pp 82–85
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b10864;
NGK All-Solid-State Cell patent US20150037688 (reported in Reuters - "Bracing for EV shift, NGK Spark Plug ignites all solid-state battery quest");
There are many more references, however it does look like 2018 will tell us when to expect Solid State Batteries.



That will be a challenge.


Not really.
The CAM-7 Cathode from CAMX Power is LiNiO2-based (read It is already licensed by Johnson Matthey and BASF.
The Wolverton group at Northwestern (teaming with Argonne National Laboratory) has developed a rechargeable lithium-iron-oxide battery that can cycle more lithium ions than its common lithium-cobalt-oxide counterpart. Article: "Enabling the high capacity of lithium-rich anti-fluorite lithium iron oxide by simultaneous anionic and cationic redox", Nature Energy 2, 963–971 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0043-6.
Also, Samsung is looking at a 80-10-10 NCM Cathode.
Cobalt is the most expensive material based on % ,cost, and availability, so battery companies are minimizing its use.

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