Nano One is a specialist in the technology of lithium-ion battery (LiB) cathodes, an emerging technology in the energy storage market.
Based in Canada and listed on the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange (TSX-V: NNO) and NASDAQ (NDQ: NNOMF), Nano One has positioned itself to benefit from global demand for more efficient, cleaner, lighter and safer batteries for cars, consumer electronics and grid storage, all which use LiB.
Manufacturers which make use of LiBs, wherever they are, will benefit from their improved power density versus the current generation of batteries, which has the potential to make the way in which we consume electricity much more efficient.
Fundamentally, this company is focused on the anticipated changes in the way the world makes batteries, the actual materials that will go into the batteries of the future, including those that will be used in the next generation of road transport.
Nano One owns patented technology in the nanomaterials space, specifically the microscopic powders that are used to store and release electricity within batteries. Batteries of all shapes and sizes use these powders, but there is more that can be done to make them more efficient.
Nano One is protected by approximately 15 international patents and an additional 30 plus patents pending that include the production and formation of coated single crystal particles that resist the cracking and the degradation that occur during battery assembly and repeated charging.
If the cost of sourcing and processing the materials needed for batteries can be reduced, while at the same time improving the overall performance of batteries in terms of their capacity and lifespan, then the world as a whole will become more energy efficient.
Why we like Nano One
Climate change is becoming a reality and Nano One has a strong mandate in Canada with $10M of non-dilutive support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a multi-billion dollar clean tech GHG focused fund. We are very conscious that climate change is now manifesting itself in various natural disasters around the world. The pressure from governments and voters for companies to roll out more environmentally sound technologies is building rapidly and Nano One is well positioned to leverage these important political mandates. The world WILL have to adapt to an economy which does not rely on fossil fuels.
Battery materials innovations are going to play a large role in this revolution as they are fundamental to improving the efficiency, performance, environmental impact and adoption of lithium ion batteries. As fossil fuels are phased out, the demand for cheaper and more effective batteries is going to go up.
Nano One has patents for its production processes, its cathode materials and also batteries using those materials. These production processes draw on low cost raw materials, fewer production steps, lower capital costs and no production of waste solvents.
Nano One’s process technology makes coated nanoscale single crystal cathode powders that are better protected from side reactions in the battery. This is squarely aimed at increasing range, warranty and safety for applications such as automotive batteries. The increased stability could also make it easier to thrift cobalt out of batteries.
Independently, Tesla researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada have recently shown that coated single crystal cathode materials can lead to million-mile electric vehicle batteries. We like how Tesla’s research corroborates Nano One’s technology roadmap for single crystal cathodes and we like that Nano One has a way of making these cutting-edge materials for a fraction of the cost. According to Nano One, excitement about these million-mile materials is generating a measurable increase of strategic level discussions with large automotive OEMs and chemical companies.
Nano One’s technology is being taken seriously. The company is already working in partnership with Volkswagen Group Research on more advanced battery materials. Volkswagen is planning to have 22 million electric vehicles on the road in 10 years and it will want to make sure that its next generation vehicles are as energy efficient as possible. The cost of production and the size of the batteries used in future vehicle production is going to be a critical factor.
While we like the implications for the massive roll out of electric cars that we are bound to see in the next decade, Nano One is also attracting interest from other industrial partners like Pulead, a major player in the Chinese cathode market where it has a 15% market share. Nano One and Pulead are working on the development of a next-generation plant in China using Nano One’s processing technology, which could provide materials for lithium ion batteries used for a wide range of industrial applications in electric buses, fleet vehicles, short range EVs, grid energy storage and lead acid replacement.
Nano One is also partnered with 400 year-old ceramics specialist Saint-Gobain to collaborate on the high temperature processing stage of making cathode materials. The aim is to make the kiln firing stage more efficient with improved quality.
An interview with Nano One CEO, Dan Blondal
Nano One’s processing technology simplifies the raw material supply chain, it reduces the cost of manufacturing cathode materials and it produces nanoscale powders that resist cracking and are protected from degradation mechanisms that cause batteries to fade from repeated charging. (think about how even mobile phone batteries degrade over time and eventually need to be replaced). By increasing durability and longevity of cathode powders, Nano One’s processes hold out the opportunity to make batteries and battery power stretch considerably further than they currently do. With more durable batteries, OEM’s could extend warranties and increased daily capacity and range.
What is also appealing here is that Nano One’s materials have application in conventional, advanced and solid state lithium ion batteries. This gives then considerable flexibility to shift with or, in fact, drive market trends. Solid state batteries are still powered by lithium ion cathode materials, albeit with specialised coatings that enable solid electrolytes to replace flammable liquid electrolytes. This will create even more powerful, longer lasting and lighter batteries that can operate and re-charge at lower temperatures. Such technology will be a game changer in terms of energy efficiency and resilience for all the many electronic devices that already populate our lives.
For example, many futurists are – rightly, we think – anticipating a bigger role for drones in modern living, at all levels of society. Better batteries will increase their energy efficiency and allow them to keep operating for much, much longer. Regardless of how amazing a device is, a better battery is what will keep it functioning more cheaply, more efficiently and for a longer time span.
Technology that can change everybody’s lives
Nano One is working on technology that can change the lives of everybody, in all walks of life. It has received the backing of the Canadian government, that funded it at an early stage. It has built strategic partnerships with major names in industrial and automotive manufacturing.
The drive to move the world away from a fossil-fuel burning, energy guzzling infrastructure is picking up speed every year, and technologies like the battery components that Nano One is developing are going to play a big role in that process. What is more, Nano One is available as a listed stock at a time when more and more pioneering technology is being researched by companies that remain privately held and are then acquired by larger firms.
It represents an opportunity for investors to acquire a piece of this story while it is still available.