Boulder Ionics Raises $4.3 Million for Novel, High Throughput Production of Ionic Liquids

April 30, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Boulder Ionics Corp. announced the completion of a $4.3 million Series A financing. The over-subscribed financing round was led by Pangaea Ventures, and joined by new investors 9th Street Investments, CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund, and JSR Corporation as well as existing investors including Protonic Capital. The investor funds complement the company’s grant awards totaling almost $1 M from the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Navy (USN). Boulder Ionics has developed a novel, high-throughput, low-cost synthesis platform for producing ionic liquid electrolytes for use in advanced energy storage devices.

Ionic liquids (room-temperature molten salts) are a relatively new class of materials that show tremendous promise for electrolytes in energy storage applications. Ionic liquids are safer and higher-performance replacements for the flammable organic solvents currently used in devices such as lithium-ion batteries. Batteries using ionic liquid electrolytes can be non-flammable, are stable at higher temperatures and can operate at higher voltages (increasing energy density and lowering cost). Although there is extensive worldwide interest in the energy storage market, commercial use has been limited due to lack of supply and high cost. Boulder Ionics will be the first U.S. manufacturer targeting production of ionic liquids in industrial volumes.

"Boulder Ionics’ novel, high-throughput production process allows us to manufacture ionic liquids at high purity and low cost, finally addressing the key bottleneck in moving these novel materials into the marketplace," said Boulder Ionics’ CEO Dr. Jerry Martin. "With the financial backing and industry expertise of our investor base, we have the resources to increase our production capacity and advance our product development pipeline. Over the next two years, we and our partners will demonstrate ionic liquid based electrolytes in a range of devices from ultracapacitors and lithium-ion batteries to metal-air batteries."

"Over the last decade, we have witnessed a global race to improve the performance, safety and cost of electrical energy storage," said Andrew Haughian of Pangaea Ventures. "Looking at various technology roadmaps for the next decade, it is clear that safer, higher performance electrolyte materials will be urgently needed. The Boulder Ionics’ team has developed a breakthrough manufacturing technology and unique ionic liquids product portfolio that promises to meet the cost requirements of this market. We are excited to support the further development and realization of the huge commercial potential of these materials in the marketplace."

Boulder Ionics will use this round of funding to further protect the company’s intellectual property, expand their team, and build a pilot production facility for electrochemical-grade ionic liquids.

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