South 8 Technologies, Inc., the developer of a novel liquefied gas electrolyte product—LiGas(earlier post)—recently expanded its manufacturing facility, corporate offices and team of experts as interest grows in LiGas.
The new 12,500 square feet facility allows for team expansion and for the construction of a small pilot production line where South 8 plans to fill lithium-ion batteries with its LiGas electrolyte. The new pilot production line will demonstrate LiGas’ scalability and will be able to fulfill low volume orders for cylindrical (18650, 2170) sample cells for delivery to tier 1 automotive and cell manufacturing groups evaluating safer LiGas as a replacement for conventional but hazardous liquid electrolyte for their electrochemical energy storage devices.
LiGas is also being evaluated for applications that have historically been unsuitable for lithium-ion batteries due to extreme temperatures.
South 8 is the first company to develop liquefied gas electrolyte technology as a safer, higher performance alternative to standard liquid electrolytes. The liquefied gas material is simple to incorporate into existing cell production processes, utilizes materials which are all currently manufactured globally at scale, and offers simple recyclability at the end of life.
The LiGas electrolyte improves safety, increases energy density, achieves all-weather performance, enables fast-charge capability and reduces costs while also being compatible with existing lithium-ion cell production or Gigafactory manufacturing processes and supply chains.
Conventional liquid electrolytes are a catalyst for thermal runaway which can trigger violent venting, smoke and fire. By contrast, non-toxic LiGas safely and quickly vents from the cell when triggered, allowing the cell to shut down safely without thermal runaway or heat propagation to neighboring cells.
The LiGas electrolyte also provides expanded functions in extreme environments. It continues to perform exceptionally, sustaining conductivity at both low and high temperatures ranging from -60 to +60 degrees Celsius, which has been performance validated by leading customers. This advancement opens opportunities spanning the spectrum from consumer, commercial and industrial electric vehicles to defense systems such as a connected battlefield, unmanned vehicles and subzero power to all-weather energy applications for grid storage and power backup to marine sea monitoring, electric boats, submarines and more.
Originally developed via research at University of California, San Diego by cofounders CEO Cyrus Rustomji, Ph.D., and Chief Technology Officer Jungwoo Lee, Ph.D., South 8’s liquefied gas electrolyte represents a new category of lithium-ion battery component that has drawn the interest of leading tier 1 lithium-ion cell and automotive manufacturers, as well as the US Department of Defense.
The venture-backed cleantech company’s Series A round of $12 million was led by Anzu Partners with participation from LG Ventures, Shell Ventures, Foothill Ventures, and Taiyo Nippon Sanso.