Graphene-enhanced electrodes

This graphene-based technology takes advantage of the unique properties of graphene to enable the preparation of nanoscale composites to serve as advanced electrodes in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Our technology offers a technical route to accelerate the adoption rate of LIBs by minimizing their weight and maximizing their stability and charging rate.

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Volexion, Inc. is developing a unique nanomaterial-based coating system that provides a comprehensive solution to improve the lifetime and power performance of lithium-ion batteries, under both ambient and extreme temperature conditions. Volexion technology differentiates itself from other advanced coating technologies with its straightforward yet innovative and patented methodology, which can be seamlessly integrated into existing battery manufacturing processes and advance the commercialization of next-generation lithium-ion battery materials in the emerging markets from drones to electric vehicles.

There exists a continuous demand for improvement in stability, rate capability, and operating temperature range of LIBs. The environmental and societal impact of LIBs is a well-studied topic. In general, they provide the key enabling technology for electric vehicles, which will address the greenhouse gas issues associated with internal combustion engines. Furthermore, advances in LIBs for personal electrical tools, wearable devices, and grid energy storage systems will have broad implications for society.

Potential CO2 Reduction

Light-duty vehicle transportation is responsible for approximately 6,000 MtCO2e of emissions annually. Electric vehicles can reduce these emissions, and they cause between 28% and 72% of the emissions relative to an internal combustion engine vehicle. In practice, these emissions reductions will not be realized immediately due to the time required for wide adoption of new technologies. Volexion’s technology has the potential to accelerate this adoption of electric vehicles through improved battery performance and lower cost. If Volexion’s technology accelerates electric vehicle adoption by one year, compared to current predictions for electric vehicle adoption, the additional emissions reduced would average 65-125 MtCO2e per year over the next 30 years.

Competition

  • Other material suppliers for battery manufacturers

Potential markets

  • Battery material developers and cell manufacturers such as BASF, Tesla, Saft and XALT Energy, and also end-users with applications in:
    • High-altitude UAVs (i.e., drones), military and scientific equipment, and specialized personal electronics for cold climates
    • High-power applications such as power tools, e-bikes, and hybrid electric vehicles
    • Electric vehicles, mobile electronics, and stationary energy storage

Value proposition: Our technology represents an advance in the field by simultaneously addressing the various limitations of other advanced battery electrodes. In comparison with other nanoparticle-based approaches, we offer competitive advantages in enhanced active material loading and packing density, low-temperature performance, and high-power capability. These advantages lead to a unique energy storage solution with high performance and stability in extreme environmental conditions, where there is presently not a comprehensive and commercially viable technology. We also add value from our generalizable manufacturing process, which adopts a combination of a scalable graphene production and composite formulation methods that were developed in the Hersam Laboratory at Northwestern University.

Key innovation

Volexion technology presents innovations in (1) Material: unique graphene-based functional additive produced via patented technology with demonstrated commercial viability and minimal environmental impact; (2) Coating: conformal nanoscale protective barrier that inhibits deleterious interfacial reactions and concurrently provides higher chemical stability and lower cell impedance; (3) Manufacturing: wide versatility with both conventional and emerging lithium-ion battery materials with potential as a drop-in technology solution for existing battery manufacturing infrastructure.

R&D status of product

Lab-scale coin cell batteries utilizing our technology have been fabricated and tested, which have resulted in four pending/issued patents and one publication in a high-impact, peer-reviewed journal. Now our team is at a pivotal point where we need to demonstrate scalability of our technology, specifically with regard to translating our technology to commercially relevant cell prototypes.

Team overview

“Ted” Jung Woo Seo

B.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University, where he focused on the interdisciplinary fields of nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing.

Technology profile

Status:R&D
Primary industry:Energy storage
Category:Electrodes
Estimated annual revenue:NA
Employs:NA
Social challenge:Energy efficiency/Energy management
R&D commercial collaborator:NA

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