CHAMPAIGN, Ill., June 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Electric vehicle battery pioneer Natrion today announced it has been selected as a finalist in the LG Energy Solution Battery Challenge 2022. This third iteration of the competition commenced in October of last year with 117 startups from 23 countries and various battery disciplines participating. As one of 10 selected finalists, the program noted in its release on June 20, Natrion “will receive prize money, have the opportunity to collaborate with LGES, and may be considered for future investment opportunities.”
“We’re deeply grateful and honored to advance and get recognition in this competition,” said Natrion co-founder and CEO Alex Kosyakov. “The opportunities that lie in potentially working together with an industry leader like LGES are boundless. This is something that can really accelerate Natrion’s path to commercialization.”
Natrion was selected as a finalist for its polymer-ceramic solid-state electrolyte material, called the Lithium Solid Ionic Composite (LISIC), as well as the company’s demonstration of high-performance solid-state lithium-metal battery (LMB) cells enabled by LISIC.
Solid-state LMBs hold great promise for electric vehicles (EVs) and other applications due to their high theoretical energy density and potential for improved safety. However, solid-state LMBs have proven difficult to manufacture at scale and this has hindered their commercial introduction.
Natrion’s LISIC-based solid-state separators are combined with the company’s M3 non-flammable, non-carbonate-based liquid wetting agent to produce robust and highly scalable electrolyte systems for constructing LMB cells possessing high cycle life and fire safety. Large established cell manufacturers can potentially rapidly transition to high-volume LMB cell production on existing Li-ion battery gigafactory floors with minimal process or machinery modifications by using LISIC and Natrion’s related products.
The company has successfully demonstrated its ability to create 12-layer pouch cells using a high-throughput, Z-folding technique borrowed from Li-ion – a first for solid-state batteries. Z-folding not only simplifies cell manufacturing and facilitates increased throughput and reduced production cost, but also makes cells less susceptible to short circuit and other failure mechanisms.
“LISIC is the same thickness and has the same mechanical properties as state-of-the-art polyolefin separators — except LISIC has intrinsic fast ion transport capability even without any liquid present,” added Kosyakov. “This is important, because we have the flexibility required for making tight Z-folds. The fact that we’ve produced 12-layer cells with Z-folding is yet another way we’re endeavoring to make our products easier to implement and more scalable. LISIC even has the winding radius that’s necessary for cylindrical cells. Anybody in the world making Li-ion cells right now can transition to solid-state and Li-metal battery production with LISIC and do it at low cost and high yield.”
Industry-Relevant Cycling Performance
Among other notable R&D milestones for the company, Natrion has recently shown LMB cell prototypes with stable charge/discharge cyclability under conditions that mimic real EV end use cases. Typically, solid-state LMB cells require elevated temperatures or excessive stack pressure to achieve industry-relevant charge/discharge performance. Fulfilling these requirements within an EV battery pack, though, is almost always nonviable. Natrion’s recent data points to LISIC-using LMBs being free from such constraints:
Applications Beyond EVs
As Natrion scales, the company plans to demonstrate larger and larger LMB cells using its component technologies. The company’s next goal is to demonstrate multi-layer pouch cells with specific energy density in excess of 450 Wh/kg. This will open the door to new high-value end use cases for LISIC-enabled LMBs, such as electric aviation, where high energy density and safety are critically important.
As part of the company’s recent initiatives in these new end applications, Natrion will be exhibiting at the Paris Air Show this week in the USA Partnership Pavilion’s Start-Me-Up Zone, hosted by Kallman Worldwide and the US Aerospace Industries Association. Visitors will be able to learn more about Natrion’s most recent progress in developing LMBs for electric aviation and other aerospace applications.
Natrion is a solid-state battery innovator producing fire-safe, high-performance and manufacturer-friendly components for an all-electric future. Founded in 2018 by founders Alex Kosyakov and Thomas Rouffiac, the company was a winner of the LG Energy Solution Battery Challenge 2022, a winner of the 2021 MassChallenge Boston, and a participant in Y Combinator S2019 and NYU Stern’s Endless Frontiers Lab. It has received over $3 million from investors including Mark Cuban, TechNexus Venture Collaborative, and Tamarack Global, as well as multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Defense. The company is headquartered in Binghamton, New York with operations in Champaign, Illinois.