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South 8 demonstrates LiGas liquefied gas electrolyte with LNMO cathodes

South 8 Technologies, the developer of LiGas, liquefied gas electrolyte for advanced lithium-ion batteries (earlier post), has demonstrated high performance on cobalt-free, low nickel, and high-energy battery cells designed for next generation electric vehicles (EV). LiGas is a blend of non-toxic, non-corrosive gases that liquefies under pressure, enabling several safety and performance benefits.

This work is supported by funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through the EVs for American Low-carbon Living (EVs4ALL) program. (Earlier post.) An automotive OEM is South 8’s partner in this project.

The goal of the EVs4ALL program is to develop a reliable, inexpensive battery that can charge fast, and provide improved performance and range retention in cold weather compared to state-of-the-art commercial options. One program outcome is to grow EV market share by developing next-generation battery technologies that significantly improve electric vehicle affordability, convenience, reliability, and safety.

In the first six months of the three-year effort, South 8 demonstrated world-class performance on 18650 lithium-ion batteries. Specifically, LiGas electrolyte demonstrated full compatibility with a 4.6V commercial LNMO cathode. Energy retention at -20°C (-4°F) was measured at 96%. This compares to less than 5% retention for standard liquid LNMO electrolyte at the same temperature. Further LiGas electrolyte testing demonstrated 87% energy retention at -40°C (-40°F).

LNMO is a future cathode material, promising the safety of LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and energy of NMC (nickel manganese cobalt). The challenge has been the electrolyte: conventional solutions break down at LNMO’s high voltage. LiGas does not. LiGas gives excellent low temperature performance and greatly reduces thermal propagation. As we continue our collaboration with ARPA-E and our automotive partner we aim to meet additional program requirements including fast charge and longevity.

—Cyrus Rustomji, Chief Science Officer of South 8

San Diego-based South 8 has been granted 24 patents across seven countries and jurisdictions. South 8 investors include Anzu Partners, LG Technology Ventures, Shell Ventures, Foothill Ventures, Taiyo Nippon Sanso and Lockheed Martin Ventures.


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