Thursday, September 7, 2017

ALD Enabled Battery Materials, Methods and Products IP Roll-up by Forge Nano

Forge Nano is pleased to announce the completion of its Intellectual Property roll-up initiative for Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) enabled battery materials, methods of manufacturing, and products.

Through a series of patent filings, acquisitions, and licenses, Forge Nano is pleased to offer its customers and partners a comprehensive IP portfolio to incorporate the benefits of ALD surface modification coatings into battery products for enhanced safety, lifetime and end-use performance. Forge Nano is currently accepting licensing offers for this portfolio, with the anticipation of closing on a first round of field-limited agreements by the end of 2017. 

The cornerstone of Forge Nano’s ALD-enabled battery materials IP protects lithium-containing cathode and anode materials with coatings of up to two nanometers in thickness (US 9,570,734):

Claim 1: An electrode comprising a plurality of particles having a diameter of maximally 60 μm, wherein the particles are coated with a protective layer having a uniform thickness of about 2 nm or less, wherein the protective layer of the particles is obtained by atomic layer deposition, and wherein the particles are lithium-containing particles.

The second layer of protection comes in the form of systems and processes to manufacture the coatings. Fixed bed and fluidized bed reactors have been used to produce ALD-coated powders since the 1970’s (references available upon request). The first use of a fluidized bed reactor to demonstrate the critical thickness of an ALD coating of two nanometers or less for battery materials was carried out by our collaborators at TU Delft in the Netherlands (from which Forge Nano acquired US 8,993,051 and its entire patent family). In addition to batch systems, Forge Nano’s foundational semi-continuous ALD system and process (US 9,284,643 and US 9,546,769) have been found to be the most cost-effective way to manufacture ALD-enabled (PICOSHIELD®) battery materials. Additionally, Forge Nano has exclusively licensed a fully continuous moving bed manufacturing system and process from Argonne National Laboratory (US 9,598,769), which is useful to some customers and partners that have expressed an interest in exploring ALD processes that operate at or above atmospheric pressure for throughput considerations (US 9,705,125). Manufacturing systems that enable R&D and low-cost manufacturing of ALD-enabled battery materials are currently available under Forge Nano’s equipment sale and licensing model. Forge Nano has recently commissioned its 1,000 Metric Ton per year system for producing ALD-enabled battery materials at a cost-competitive price with other surface modification approaches. Forge Nano will begin delivering materials under several supply contracts beginning in 2018.

Finally, additional layers of protection are available for next generation ALD coatings to add additional functional benefits, such as ionically-conductive coatings thicker than two nanometers to further increase lifetime and safety, which are particularly useful for high energy density Nickel-rich and high voltage materials (US 9,570,748). Forge Nano has also exclusively licensed technologies for pre-lithiating and/or boosting the starting lithium inventory in a cell using ALD to further enable higher rate (e.g. fast charging) capability (WO2009084966), allow for an increased incorporation of silicon in anodes (WO2006071126), and above all, protect the batteries that are produced using any of these materials or processes (US 8,735,003 and US 9,570,734). Forge Nano also has many additional relevant issued and pending patents, software packages and trade secrets that can provide value to Forge Nano-managed manufacturing operations located at customer’s facilities.

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