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Nano One Chief Technology Officer Dr Stephen Campbell has confirmed that the Canadian battery materials specialist has now developed a single crystal cathode for lithium ion batteries that he thinks will improve longevity by a staggering four times. This technology will be applicable to all of Nano One’s cathode materials. It is especially relevant for nickel manganese cobalt oxide.

Nano One said that the latest innovations were patent pending.

Based in Canada, Nano One (TSX:NANO, NDQ:NNOMF) has been creating a reputation as a pioneering company in the field of new battery materials technology, including lithium-ion battery cathodes. It was first covered by The Armchair Trader on 3 December. We have continued to follow it ever since. We like the fact that it sits on top of a heap of battery materials patents and is also backed by the Canadian government.

Nano One is strategically well-positioned at the centre of the quest by many major manufacturers for durable and reliable batteries to cater to the next generation of clean engine production.

Shares in Nano One have risen from a nadir of 81 cents on 16 March to hit a six month high of CAD 1.53 on 9 June. This was close to its 52 week high of CAD 1.69. Shares were trading at CAD 1.33 at the time of writing.

Increased durability critical for extending range of batteries

“Nano One has developed a single nanocrystal cathode material which provides protection against undersirable side reactions and the stresses of repeated charge and discharge cycling,” Dr Campbell said. “We are focused on optimizing this for NMC811 and I am pleased to present recent results that show how proactive coatings on a robust crystal structure can make cathode powders more durable and longer lasting.”

Nano One normalized capacity NMC811
Nano One half cell data (1C at 25C) shows capacity fade is 4x less for coated NMC811 (4% fade) than for uncoated NMC811 (17% fade)

Increased durability is critical in enabling extended range, faster charging and even million mile batteries for vehicles. Such breakthroughs are critical at a time when the motor vehicle industry is being pushed into finding alternative solutions for fossil fuel engines.

Why is this important for electric batteries?

Conventional cathodes consist of a dense cluster of crystalline particles (polycrystalline), made by first forming clusters of NMC precursors, then milling with lithium and firing in a kiln. Protective coatings can then be formed by adding coating materials and firing again. However, the clusters expand, contract, and break apart from repeated charging, which fractures the outer coating and leaves individual crystals within the clusters exposed to deleterious side reactions.

These polycrystalline particles can be transformed into large single crystals (monocrystalline) by prolonging the firing time in the kiln. The resulting powders are less prone to cracking but excessive time in the kiln damages the lithium nickel structures, adds prohibitive process cost and requires additional steps to apply protective coatings.

In contrast, Nano One’s patented One-Pot process combines all input components – lithium, metals, additives and coatings – in a single reaction to produce a precursor that, when dried and fired, forms quickly into a single crystal cathode material simultaneously with its protective coating.

Dr. Campbell added:

“By forming protective coatings on individual nanocrystals, Nano One eliminates process steps and is engineering new materials with enhanced durability for various applications including electric vehicles. These are positive results and we are optimizing the materials for third party evaluation on the path to commercializing this technology.”

Nano One coated single nanocrystal cathode
Nano One coated single nanocrystal cathode and conventional polycrystalline cathode particles

Nano One has already received substantial backing from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a multi-billion dollar clean tech GHG focused fund. We also know that leaders in the field of electric vehicles, like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), are seriously looking at how to builod a million mile battery. Tesla’s research corroborates Nano One’s technology road map for single crystal cathodes. Nano One has the means to make these materials at a fraction of the cost.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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