Solid Polymer Electrolyte to enable Rechargeable Li-ion and Alkaline Batteries

April 01, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Current batteries are manufactured with an expensive and flammable liquid electrolyte and use costly active materials. By replacing the liquid system with Ionic Materials’ solid plastic polymer material, solid-state batteries that are safe, cheaper and operational at room temperature become possible for the first time.

The special properties of Ionic Materials’ polymer electrolyte allow the use of high-energy materials and support lithium-ion cells with low- or even no- cobalt in their cathodes. Further advancements made possible by Ionic Materials’ polymer will support very inexpensive rechargeable alkaline batteries as well.

Through Ionic Materials’ invention of a novel solid polymer electrolyte material that conducts ions at room temperature, the company believes it is on the verge of revolutionizing battery technology. A truly solid state battery is now possible.

Significant improvements in battery safety, performance and cost are achievable with ionic conductivities that exceed those of traditional liquid systems over a wide range of temperatures.

Ionic cell continues to function safely after bending and cutting with scissors.

Ionic Materials recently secured $65 million in a Series C financing round from a leading group of financial and strategic investors. The strategic investors include companies from the battery manufacturing, consumer electronic and electric vehicle ecosystem who will be working with the company to speed the development of its solid polymer electrolyte battery material.

These funds will fuel Ionic Materials’ accelerated growth, support its hiring plans and help the company meet the significant market demand for its novel polymer electrolyte.

“We are thrilled to have the ongoing support of venture capitalists, strategic investors and prominent individuals to solve a major energy problem: enabling safe, high-performance and cost-effective batteries for use across consumer electronics, electric transportation and grid storage,” said Mike Zimmerman, founder and CEO of Ionic Materials.

“This funding round will allow us to add to our talented technical staff while continuing to engage and partner with companies interested in developing tomorrow’s solid-state battery technology today,” added Zimmerman.

“The Ionic Materials polymer is truly groundbreaking. It’s no surprise that so many of the leading companies in the battery industry and their key customers are working to incorporate the Ionic Materials polymer in their next-generation products,” said Bill Joy, who has been a personal investor in all the rounds of financing and was a founding member of the Ionic Materials Board of Directors.

“The many innovations in electrochemistry that the polymer unlocks will change the future of renewable energy. Products from our partners using Ionic Materials’ technology will lead the charge to safely power everyday products with eco-friendly, high-capacity batteries,” Joy observed.

Conductivity comparison of various electrolytes (click on image to enlarge)

Ionic Materials will provide its polymer to the battery industry as an advanced materials supplier. Through this approach, it will reach the broadest market segments and establish a complete ecosystem of cell manufacturers serving the consumer electronic, electric vehicle and energy storage markets.

“Ionic Materials has created a new composition of matter that will be fundamental to the transformation of the battery as we know it. Over my 30-year career working in energy storage, Ionic Materials’ polymer stands out as a breakthrough innovation that is a critical element to the next generation of batteries,” said Jan van Dokkum, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Chairman of the Ionic Materials Board of Directors.

“Numerous energy storage start-ups have made progress in the past, but the industry will be transformed by a novel material like Ionic Materials’ polymer which can replace liquid electrolytes with a solid alternative and help the industry get past the safety, cost and performance challenges it faces,” concluded van Dokkum.