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Amionx has raised a spherical of funding to construct secure lithium-ion batteries. These are the sort that don’t blow up.
That’s a great factor as many people bear in mind tales of batteries exploding or catching fireplace through the years. And this know-how, dubbed SafeCore, got here from army roots the place the concept was to make batteries that didn’t explode when hit by a bullet.
That is nonetheless a difficulty, as GM introduced in September that it needed to recall each Chevy Bolt EV and EUV mannequin as a result of the faulty lithium-ion batteries had been in peril of catching fireplace.
Enhancing batteries is a long-term aim for tech innovators, however progress has been frightfully gradual. Nonetheless, it’s attention-grabbing to see Amionx emerge, in addition to new battery tech from nanotechnology agency Nanom, which says it could actually make batteries final 9 occasions longer.
I talked in regards to the tech with Amionx CEO Jenna King and chief working officer Invoice Davidson (a former Qualcomm advertising and marketing exec). Amionx’s patented SafeCore know-how acts like a circuit breaker to forestall explosions in lithium-ion batteries.
The way it works
Amionx provides a cloth layer in between two essential parts of the battery. It’s delicate to present, voltage, and temperature. The layer is utilized with very same coating machines they have already got within the manufacturing unit. When the temperate reaches a sure degree, the layer separates and cuts off the circulate of electrical energy. It’s like a fuse that isn’t resettable.
Carlsbad, California-based Amionx sees the marketplace for lithium-ion batteries as having three principal product classes: electrical autos, power storage, and client merchandise – particularly cell telephones, laptops and energy instruments. SafeCore know-how is relevant to all battery chemistries (together with stable state, and throughout smartphones, EVs, vape pens, family home equipment, and so on.) whereas nonetheless delivering nice battery efficiency.
The origins of the invention got here from a Division of Power grant and one other from the U.S. Military. The Military wanted a battery that might maintain a direct hit by a bullet, and that was as a result of troopers needed to carry heavy battery packs to energy issues like their night time imaginative and prescient goggles and their wi-fi communications. A few universities did a number of the early work — the College of California at San Diego and UC Merced.
“If SafeCore wasn’t in a battery [that got hit by a bullet], the soldier would have two minutes to get it off their physique earlier than it might go up in flames,” Davidson mentioned. “That was the delivery of the invention. The truth that it was an precise working product was what bought me.”
Amionx spun out of its father or mother firm American Lithium Power in late 2016. King was a former company lawyer and an investor in American Lithium Power, and she or he determined to hitch Amionx as its CEO as a result of she noticed the widespread business functions for it. And she or he was glad the corporate didn’t must construct its personal factories to make the batteries. American Lithium Power nonetheless makes batteries for the Military.
“We initially stopped to validate the know-how with a number of totally different functions,” King mentioned. “It definitely took time to validate it and make it work with a number of totally different chemistries.”
Al that prototyping took a whole lot of time.
The corporate didn’t disclose the precise quantity raised. The preliminary par t of the funding spherical got here from Qualcomm Ventures, an present investor, in addition to new buyers Hongkou Administration and Inherent Group. The first objective for the funds can be so as to add sources to speed up the switch of its patented SafeCore know-how to lithium-ion battery producers.
Apart from elevating cash, the corporate can also be discovering extra licensees who can take its know-how and make it in their very own factories and promote it below their very own names, for a price.
“Amionx has a easy, but elegant answer for serving to cut back the variety of fires and explosions in lithium-ion batteries,” mentioned Peter Zhou, managing associate of Hongkou, in a press release. “The corporate has demonstrated the effectiveness of SafeCore for electrical autos, client
electronics, and different functions, and SafeCore is definitely built-in into present manufacturing processes. We’re excited to see the know-how commercialized throughout end- markets and play an necessary position in guaranteeing confidence in battery security.”
SafeCore mentioned that integrating SafeCore’s tech right into a battery doesn’t improve its price, nor does it require a giant capital funding. It produces an extended lifetime for the battery and longer shelf life as nicely. It permits for the design of smaller and lighter batteries, and it’s relevant to different chemistries resembling nano-silicon and lithium steel in addition to stable state.
“It’s very elegant, however a quite simple answer,” Davidson mentioned. “We require no new processes or battery factories, so no change in course of, no capital bills, after which little or no if any improve to the invoice of supplies.”
The corporate just lately introduced Veken as a brand new battery producer, and it has licensed its SafeCore tech to licensees like Stanley Black & Decker. Amionx can’t identify its different licensees. The corporate has lower than 50 staff. Industrial merchandise are anticipated in 2022 and 2023.
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