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Technology Description

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New Dominion Enterprises Inc. (NDE) is seeking to commercialize a new inorganic electrolyte additive for lithium batteries that will stabilize organic lithium-ion battery electrolytes. Existing lithium-ion batteries are inherently unstable and are prone to fire or explosion. Several high-profile examples of damage caused by lithium-ion batteries include Samsung’s Note 7 mobile phone, Sony’s laptop batteries, and Boeings “cockpit smoke” from overheating batteries underneath the cockpit. NDE claims to solve these problems by using inorganic electrolyte additives to replace 25% of the organic materials and improve the thermal performance and chemical stability of the lithium battery electrolytes. Furthermore, the inorganic additive significantly increases the number of operational duty cycles compared to existing lithium battery technology.

Dr. Mason Harrup, one of NDE’s co-founders, developed the technology while he was at Idaho National Labs (INL). The company plans to license the additive to a large chemical manufacturer who already has the necessary production capabilities. The processed inorganic electrolyte will then be sold to battery manufacturers to replace a portion of organic electrolytes in the manufacturer’s batteries.

The technology has significant economic potential as it partially solves the key issues currently faced by lithium-ion battery producers. The primary usage for this technology will be commercial, but Department of Defense uses are also significant. IBIS World reports that the primary DOD applications for battery technology are transportation and communications equipment. There are challenges to commercialization including, securing the license to the technology from INL, securing funding for testing and the time requirements for a validation test of the technology. Despite these drawbacks, the potential of the technology to have a significant impact on the battery market makes it worth considering for the testing stage of commercialization.

Competitive Matrix

The technology has been successfully tested by Dr. Harrup and the process has been developed and refined so it is ready for both third-party testing as well as scaling to production levels.

Advantages
Disadvantages
Comparison to this innovation
NDE, (inorganic electrolyte additive):
Tesla (organic electrolyte batteries)
Samsung (organic electrolyte batteries)
Panasonic (organic electrolyte batteries)
Inorganic electrolyte that increases the stability of batteries as well as the number of duty cycles
Massive scale and production capacity coming online soon
Well known reputation for quality, currently producing Tesla’s batteries and will be running the gigafactory with its equipment
Economies of scale and production capability
Technology needs to be further tested and is not scaled up to production levels
Older technology and organic electrolyte that doesn’t have the stability or range potential of NDE
NDE claims to have superior performance and stability. NDE is a startup company with limited resources.
Organic electrolyte technology caused mobile phone fires that resulted in financial losses as well as a loss of trust in the market
NDE claims to have superior performance and stability. NDE is a startup company with limited resources.
Organic electrolyte technology that doesn’t have the stability or charge cycle potential of NDE
NDE claims to have superior performance and stability. NDE is a startup company with limited resources.
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