Nano One’s Dan Blondal on the Umicore joint development agreement and scaling up the battery materials space


Tracy Weslosky chats with Nano One Materials Corp.‘s (TSX: NANO) Founder, CEO, and Director, Dan Blondal, to discuss their recent Joint Development Agreement with Umicore. Nano One and Umicore have entered into a joint development agreement to improve the throughput and cost of cathode manufacturing with the goal of making Umicore’s cathode materials using Nano One’s patented M2CAM® One-Pot process. Umicore is a massive company in the battery materials space, with €2.1 billion (turnover of €13.8 billion) in revenue in the first half of 2022, making this announcement exciting for the Nano One team.

Dan goes on to say, “We can’t get to terawatt hours of batteries and electric cars in everybody’s driveways unless we solve some of the big problems associated with the scale up of this industry.” The agreement leverages both parties’ technologies for cathode materials to drive down cost, complexity, and environmental footprint. Nano One shareholders can anticipate seeing impacts on the bottom line in years, as the project is measured in multiple phases with go/no-go milestones.

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About Nano One Materials Corp.

Nano One Materials Corp (Nano One) is a clean technology company with a patented, scalable and low carbon intensity industrial process for the low-cost production of high-performance lithium-ion battery cathode materials. It employs approximately 120 people at its innovation and commercialization hubs in British Columbia and Québec, including the only LFP plant and production team in North America. It has strategic collaborations and partnerships, that include Rio Tinto, BASF, Umicore, CBMM and various automotive OEMs.

Nano One’s technology is applicable to electric vehicles, energy storage, consumer electronics and next generation batteries in the global push for a zero-emission future. Its One-Pot process, its coated single crystal materials, and its Metal to Cathode Active Material (M2CAM®) technologies address fundamental performance needs and supply chain constraints; they also reduce equipment and raw material costs, operating expenses, and carbon intensity; and they eliminate a significant waste stream for a much-improved environmental footprint.

The company aims to pilot and demonstrate its technology as turn-key CAM production solutions for license, joint venture and independent production opportunities. This leverages Canadian talent, critical minerals, renewable energy, and a thriving ecosystem with access to large emerging markets in North America, Europe and the Indo-Pacific region. Nano One has received funding from the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia.

To learn more about Nano One Materials Corp., click here

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One response

  1. My69z Avatar

    One in five lithium-ion batteries ever produced contains Umicore technology.
    Umicore l Umicore Rechargeable Battery Materials | Umicore

    A Very interesting, Nano-One Patent application from May 2022, published 11/22:

    The present invention is related to the formation of an intermediate material which is formed after formation of a cathode material precursor and prior to calcining to form a cathode active material. More specifically, the present invention is related to a novel material which can be formed in high volume in a metal lined, preferably rotary, kiln thereby decreasing reliance on a high temperature kiln and ceramic kiln furniture used therein.

    Yet another problem associated with precursors, regardless of the origin, is the reliance on high temperature kilns and kiln furniture for use therein. Kiln furniture, such as saggers and the like, are typically manufactured from ceramic materials which must be replaced frequently. Ceramic is necessary, in part, because the typical process of cathode manufacture involves the use of lithium hydroxide as the lithium source. Lithium hydroxide melts early in the heating process and molten lithium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. The molten lithium hydroxide also eliminates the opportunity to use any type of rotary kiln since the molten lithium hydroxide coats and degrades the surface of the kiln. The process has therefore been limited to a stagnant heating process in relatively low volumes with ceramic saggers.

    The present invention provides for the formation of an intermediate material, which is formed between the precursor and calcined oxide, wherein the intermediate material can be formed in bulk, in contact with metal, and either isolated or transferred directly to a kiln for calcination. The present invention eliminates many of the problems associated with calcining a precursor to form an active cathode for use in a lithium ion battery.

    Listed under Examples:
    The precursor may be pre-fired in a rotary kiln with a high temperature steel tube to produce a homogeneous, free-flowing intermediate powder. The advantages are provided by the One-Pot process wherein the Li feedstock, such as Li2CO3 or LiOH, is converted to lithium oxalate prior to initial firing to form the intermediate material and this differs from conventional processes which present LiOH for firing. Lithium oxalate decomposes to lithium oxide or lithium carbonate at low temperatures whereas LiOH will generally melt at the pre-firing temperature and stick everything to the inner surface of the tube.

    The present invention provides significant advantages since lithium oxalate can be fired instead of lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide which allows for the use of rotary kilns or agitation methods wherein the kiln surface, which is in contact with the material being heated, can be metal instead of ceramic. This provides for a significant advantage with regards to efficiency and cost.

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