A Forge Nano team member loads an in-house reactor at Forge Nano. (Photo: PR Newswire)

DENVER—Forge Nano and TexPower are collaborating under an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase I grant that awards the TexPower-Forge Nano team $206,500 to advance current state-of-the-art battery chemistries. The grant empowers the team to further enhance TexPower’s cobalt-free, nickel-based ultra-high energy cathode powders with Forge Nano’s low-cost materials modification nanotechnology, according to a release from Forge Nano.

Results from initial trials are reported to show >230 mAh/g, equating to a 25 percent increase in energy density and a 10 percent reduction in battery costs for electric vehicles over existing battery materials.

“The precision and versatility of Forge Nano’s advanced coating technologies are enhancing TexPower’s cobalt-free, ultra-high energy cathode powders,” said Evan Erickson, Ph.D., and CEO of TexPower, in the release. “We look forward to the improved performance and safety benefits atomic layer deposition will bring to our commercial materials. The TexPower-Forge Nano collaboration will help bring TexPower cathodes to the rapidly evolving EV market and beyond.”

Forge Nano is a developer of surface engineering and precision nano-coating technology that uses atomic layer deposition (ALD). The company’s proprietary technology and manufacturing processes are said to make angstrom-thick coatings affordable and commercially viable for a wide range of materials, applications, and industries.

TexPower was founded by Erickson, Wangda Li, Ph.D., and Professor Arumugam Manthiram from the battery research labs at the University of Texas at Austin, where they initially developed the cobalt-free, ultrahigh energy cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. This new class of cathode is said to leapfrog low-cobalt alternatives, enabling production of more affordable, higher energy, longer-life batteries supplied by a secure supply chain.

“We’re extremely impressed with TexPower’s cathode materials,” said Forge Nano CEO Paul Lichty, in the release. “We have tested over 50 cathode materials from global Fortune 500 companies and startups over the past few years, and TexPower’s energy density is second to none. We’re even more excited that our proprietary atomic layer deposition coatings will enable the required cycle life for these U.S.-made materials to enter commercial adoption in the near future.”

The SBIR award is entitled “Taming Ultra-high Energy Cathodes with Stabilizing Coatings: Harnessing Atomic Layer Deposition to Deploy High-Nickel, Cobalt-Free Cathodes in Electric Vehicles.” In this project, spearheaded by Dr. Ryan Pekarek, TexPower will aim to enhance the stability of its cobalt-free, ultra-high energy cathode materials by using the coatings deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD).

TexPower is casting a wide net, exploring several ALD coating chemistries to learn how TexPower’s new class of cathode materials interacts with coatings deposited by atomic layer deposition. When the project is completed, TexPower will identify a product line of ALD-coated cathode materials that it will scale and commercialize.

Early results from the collaboration are reported to show that ALD improves TexPower’s lifetime by 30 percent in full cells, while also reducing resistance by at least five times over the lifetime of the cell.

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