Brazilian niobium producer CBMM (Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração) has acquired 20% of US-based start-up Battery Streak (BSI) to drive development of fast charging lithium-ion batteries.
The investment will allow BSI to ramp up production of its patented mesoporous (pore size 2-50nm) pseudocapacitive material technology, which uses nanostructured niobium oxide as the anode in lithium-ion batteries.
The technology allows the firm to produce electrodes that, like a capacitor, store charge on the material surface.
This brings the electrolyte and electrode material close together so that, when energy is released, there is no chemical phase change and virtually no heat is produced.
The firm avoids efficiency-drop in a battery by preventing fast-charging side effects, such as electrolyte breakdown and metal ion dissolution, resulting in less heat generated while charging.
The technology results in very fast charging, with most devices going from empty to 80% charge in 10 minutes, while also remaining cool to the touch.
Matt Lai, Battery Streak’s technology development manager, said: “While everyone wants a faster-charging battery, from a safety standpoint the heat generated while charging is just as important.
"Battery Streak testing consistently shows that the company’s batteries charge between 80.6°F (27°C) and 91°F (33°C), well below temperatures that could generate enough heat to cause batteries to catch fire.”
The high coulombic efficiency of the battery leads to longer lifetimes with capacity retention greater than 90% after 3,000 cycles.
Rodrigo Amado, CBMM’s strategy and new businesses manager, said: “We are working intensely with large partners to offer to the market, mainly for the automotive sector, batteries with unique characteristics, such as ultra-fast recharging, in less than 10 minutes, greater stability and safety.”