Contour Energy Systems (Formerly CFX Battery) Moving Out of Stealth Mode

March 14, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Contour Energy Systems, a portable power company commercializing next-generation battery systems, announced that it is coming out of stealth mode to unveil what it describes as breakthrough advancements in new fluorine-based battery chemistries, nanomaterials science and manufacturing processes that will reshape portable power above and beyond competing lithium-ion systems. Formerly CFX Battery, the company is also announcing a name change and launch of its new web site.

A spinoff of the collaboration between CalTech and CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research, Contour Energy Systems is commercializing and licensing portions of its IP portfolio. Contour’s technology targets a wide range of portable power applications spanning the transportation, government and defense, medical, industrial, portable electronics and specialty application markets. Amassing a portfolio of over 60 patented and patent-pending technologies, the company is commercializing advanced primary and next-generation rechargeable battery systems in multiple form factors. According to the company, the battery cells and battery packs being designed with its technology will achieve unprecedented levels of performance with higher power and energy densities, extended service life, and uninterrupted operation under extreme temperature conditions.

In recognition of Contour Energy’s advancements in lithium carbon fluoride battery technology and nanomaterials science, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded the company two technology transfer contracts. With the first contract, NASA is engaging Contour Energy to develop high-energy primary batteries with advanced safety features capable of performing under a wide temperature range for manned space missions. To meet this goal, Contour Energy will characterize and establish the technological feasibility of a new Li/SF-CFx-based high capacity lithium primary battery that offers higher rate capabilities and enhanced safety characteristics compared to conventional Li/CFx primary systems.

Potential NASA commercial applications resulting from Contour Energy’s technology transfer contract include advanced primary lithium carbon fluoride battery systems that can be used for exploratory missions including power to support outposts, habitats, and science packages. The high specific energy will greatly reduce the mass of the batteries used onboard in long distance space missions.

The second NASA technology transfer contract engages Contour Energy to pursue the chemical conversion of micron-sized, nano-structured templates available from renewable resources into functional electrode materials. The objective is to establish that electrodes fabricated from these nanostructures are innovative materials providing improved electrochemical performance compared to traditional electrodes. By achieving this goal, Contour Energy will be positioned to address the significant increases in energy capacity, power capability and cycling stability necessary to meet the NASA requirements for advanced Li-ion battery technology. Key NASA applications that can take advantage of such innovative rechargeable cell chemistries and advanced electrode materials include power sources for Landers, Rovers and extravehicular activities.

Contour’s unique carbon fluoride battery chemistry will be applied initially to advanced primary batteries in coin cell, cylindrical, thin film and prismatic form factors. These battery systems will deliver superior price/performance across a wide range of diverse applications, including tire pressure monitoring systems, automated internal and external defibrillators, unmanned aerial vehicles, military radios, water and gas meters, bone growth stimulators, and more. A unique characteristic of Contour Energy’s carbon fluoride battery technology is a proprietary process for introducing fluorine into the nano-carbon material that provides a fundamentally different atomic structure than traditional carbon fluoride materials. This new structure, coupled with the use of new nanomaterials, affords significant advantages over all existing battery types, including substantial increases in energy and power densities, reliable operation under extreme conditions, an extended shelf life and avoidance of overheating, any of which can be optimized for specific applications.

Contour Energy’s carbon fluoride chemistry can be customized during key steps in the manufacturing process to alter the cathode’s physical structure at the atomic level. This Tunable Cathode™ also plays a pivotal role in providing customers with batteries featuring an optimal combination of higher energy and/or power densities, and discharge rates. This affords Contour Energy a significant competitive advantage because every application has unique operating needs that cannot be satisfied fully by off-the-shelf batteries.

"Our goal of ’reshaping portable power’ is right on track," said Joe Fisher, CEO of Contour Energy Systems. "We’ve assembled a formidable, world-class management and R&D team second to none with a substantial and fast-growing IP portfolio that will fundamentally change the price/performance characteristics of next generation primary and rechargeable batteries."