In this month’s podcast we talk to Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One [TSX:NANO / FRA:LBMB / OTC:NNOMF].
This is a company The Armchair Trader has been following closely for more than a year. It is a specialist in battery materials technology, ultimately the development of proprietary manufacturing processes that can allow for the creation of cheaper, much longer lived, and sustainable batteries and processes.
Battery technology is an area of intense excitement at the moment, especially given the focus placed on it by auto manufacturers like Tesla. We have seen how EV stocks like Nikola Motor and NIO have attracted massive investor attention this year, but less publicity is given to companies like Nano One, and the work they are doing behind the scenes to make lithium-ion batteries longer lasting.
The company owns the patents for a range of processes and is working with several major international partners, among them Volkswagen and Pulead Industrial Technology Co. Blondal tells us on the podcast about progress Nano One is making in the area of patents and provides a few more tantalising clues about the identity of the firm’s latest strategic partner in Asia.
We also talk about Tesla Battery Day and the prospects for a million mile battery and how battery technology can reduce levels of degradation. The materials for these batteries are expensive and hard to make, but Blondal tells us we could conceivably see car batteries that will last beyond a decade. The durability of batteries is going to be critical for areas like taxi batteries or public transport.
Nano One has three different chemistries it is working on, including lithium ion phosphate. Another is nickel, manganese and cobalt batteries, discussed during Tesla Battery Day, and which can be ‘toughened up’ using Nano One processes, and Blondal discusses how the technology works. It is a recent breakthrough for the company, announced in June, but has huge implications for the manufacture of even smaller batteries. We also talk about the pursuit of cobalt-free battery technology and its importance in sustainable supply chains.
While there is plenty of talk in the investment community about the growth of alternative energy sources, one critical part of that growth is often ignored, namely the batteries that are going to be required to store energy efficiently and in a cost-effective format.
“Renewable energy, whether it is wind, solar and other types of clean energy requires a large battery pack to store energy for days when it is not windy or sunny, or to be deployed at night; it needs a battery that is…going to get fully used, namely fully charged and discharged on a day to day basis, and it needs to last 10, 20 years,” Blondal explains. “What you don’t want is a quarter of the battery unused every day, as it is a waste of money.”
Nano One is also working on eliminating some of the costly steps in the supply chain for the raw materials which go into the batteries needed to power electric vehicles. This means it can work on both ends of the supply chain, including with miners.
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