US startup unveils non-flammable batteries for EVs, storage


From pv magazine USA

Alsym Energy has emerged from stealth mode to introduce a battery storage solution that will provide the performance of lithium-ion batteries at a fraction of the cost, and without the inherent risk of fire. While we know that the cathode is primarily manganese oxide, the anode is a different metal oxide, and the electrolyte is water-based, the company has not yet disclosed the exact battery chemistry. It has indicated, however, that the battery uses no lithium, cobalt or nickel to avoid the problems associated with material supply and cost.

The company said it expects the batteries to cost less than half of current lithium-based batteries. An added benefit is that the batteries are easier to recycle because of the use of non-toxic materials.

“We’re seeing global competition to bring new batteries to market. Most companies are focused primarily on performance and put little thought into also making their batteries safer and more cost-effective – especially for the developing world where consumers are more price-sensitive,” said Nitin Nohria, PhD, chairman of Alsym Energy’s board of business advisors and former Dean of the Harvard Business School. “The team at Alsym Energy is working to ensure that their batteries not only meet performance expectations at reduced cost, but also avoid most of the supply chain challenges associated with lithium-based technologies.”

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Founded in 2015, Alsym raised $32 million to date from investors including Helios Climate Ventures. The company’s team of scientists and product developers, based in Massachusetts, is currently developing a 500 kWh prototype manufacturing facility. Alsym said its batteries can be manufactured in existing lithium-ion battery factories with little to no retrofitting required and without the need for expensive dry rooms, fire locks, and solvent recovery systems.

Alsym has partnered with an automaker based in India in a joint effort to develop the batteries for EVs. The automaker is expected to contract with Alsym to supply a minimum of 3 GWh of battery systems annually, providing that key performance levels are being met. Alsym said it is in discussion with marine shipping and electric two-wheeler companies to develop similar partnerships.

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