Battery Funding, Research Updates, More: Sept 2022

September 23, 2022 | The month has been full of battery industry news from The Battery Show and beyond. Updates this month include funding for electric vehicle battery manufacturing and battery safety, plant optimization for greenfield battery sites, progress toward sustainable gigafactories, and more. 

Sylvatex secured Series A funding of $8.4 million to reduce costs and accelerate the development of electric vehicle battery manufacturing. Catalus Capital served as the lead investor, along with Amplify Capital and How Women Invest, and others to support commercializing and scaling its technology. Sylvatex has announced a new production method that delivers premium EV-grade CAM at dramatically lower costs and allows for a broader material input supply base to enable demand growth. The company’s simpler and more sustainable approach to CAM production is expected to enable a 25% reduction in CAM cost, a 40% reduction in plant capital requirements, and up to an 80% reduction in energy usage. Press release.

ABB has unveiled its new Plant Optimization Methodology for battery manufacturing and presented how greenfield battery sites can jumpstart global operations. With major automakers committing more than $500 billion toward electric vehicle production, and many planning to exclusively offer e-vehicles by 2035, there has been a huge growth in demand for lithium-ion batteries. However, battery manufacturers are struggling to keep pace while ensuring their production remains profitable, efficient, and safe without sacrificing quality. ABB’s modular, repeatable methodology uniquely combines electrification, instrumentation, control and digital (EICD) technology, the ABB Ability Adaptive Execution project execution approach and ongoing operational support into a single source solution to deliver an agile offering that enables new plants to achieve fastest time to market. Press release.

Iontra, a Denver-based battery performance and safety technology company, has closed its $38M Series B Financing led by Volta Energy Technologies with participation from Flag Group and other investors. Iontra has been in stealth mode for nearly a decade and is partnered with various top-tier OEMs to commercialize its breakthrough technology that will replace incumbent CC/CV charging and significantly reduce the development time of new batteries and battery-powered products. Iontra expects to have its battery technology in commercial products by 2024 with a steep ramp of adoption across multiple market segments to follow. Iontra will initially commercialize its product for use in power tools, smartphones, and drones, and expects to quickly develop its product for larger-scale battery systems found in EVs, DC fast chargers, grid storage, and other industrial applications. Iontra’s technology is agnostic to battery cell chemistry and design, ensuring applicability to a wide range of battery products within, and beyond, existing lithium-ion technologies. Press release.

Sensata Technologies has debuted a new Battery Management System (BMS), the Lithium Balance n3-BMS, for high voltage applications. The Lithium Balance n3-BMS will be available in early 2023 and is designed for applications with power up to 1000 volts/2000 amps, especially for battery makers and manufacturers of electric trucks, buses, and other heavy commercial vehicles. The unique layered software structure of the n3-BMS provides customers with the option to customize the battery management system with their own code and algorithms without impacting the ASIL C certification. The BMS software architecture consists of a “Base Software Layer” (BSW) and an “External Software Layer” (ESW) which are connected by an open API link layer. Since all the safety-critical functionalities of the BMS are in the BSW layer of the software, developers are free to implement their own software code and algorithms in the ESW without any risk to the ISO 26262 certification of the system.

GIGAGREEN, a project financed by the European Union (EU) under the Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon Europe willing to develop sustainable and safe battery cell manufacturing processes, has launched. For 48 months, GIGAGREEN, formed by 16 partners from 8 different European countries, will work to achieve the sustainable giga-factory of the future, positioning Europe at the forefront of the global market in the Li-ion battery value chain, key for the next generation of electric vehicles. The project proposes a structured research plan to develop and scale up novel electrode and cell component manufacturing processes that follow a Design to Manufacture (DtM) approach to attain the intended goals. GIGAGREEN hopes to bring a tipping point for the EU cell manufacturing industry. Press release in the launch of GIGAGREEN.

Working with Fermata Energy, a vehicle-to-grid services provider, Nissan has approved the first ever bi-directional charger for use with the Nissan LEAF in the U.S. With Nissan’s approval, along with its UL 9741 certification for bi-directional charging systems, the Fermata Energy FE-15 charger has passed key requirements from Nissan, and has been verified to be compatible with the Nissan LEAF. Usage of the approved charger will also not impact the LEAF’s battery warranty. Bi-directional charging technology means not only charging the Nissan LEAF, but also sending energy stored in the vehicle battery back to the building or the grid. Ideal for companies with fleet vehicles, the Fermata Energy Demand Charge Management application, along with the FE-15 charger, continuously monitors a building’s electrical loads, and may draw on the Nissan LEAF’s energy to provide power to the building during more expensive high-demand periods. In states with utility demand response programs, bi-directional-enabled Nissan LEAF vehicles (MY2013 and later) are able to safely send energy stored in the battery to the grid during peak energy demand times, such as in summer months. Press release.

IONETIC has launched a state-of-the-art EV battery pack design platform, which can cut the development cost and time for automotive manufacturers bringing a new electric vehicle to market. Producing a high-performance and safe battery pack solution has traditionally been expensive and time-consuming for many automotive companies. IONETIC overcomes these problems by offering an efficient blend of cost and customization to help accelerate battery pack development. Its state-of-the-art software-based platform can boost energy density by 30% and increase utilization of pack volume by up to 120%, compared to existing off-the-shelf solutions. Press release.