Altair Nanotechnologies Details Power Features of Its Nano Titanate Battery; Nanomaterials Used to Deliver Power and Fast Charge Capability Also Increase Safety of Battery
In anticipation of Altairnano's delivery of its first NanoSafe battery pack for use in an electric vehicle in September, this is the final of four planned news releases identifying features of Altairnano NanoSafe batteries that may prove advantageous in the power rechargeable battery market. In the three previous releases, Altairnano detailed why its nano titanate battery technology delivers high battery safety, rapid recharge and long battery life. The combination of these features has the potential to make Altairnano's NanoSafe batteries ideal for power applications such as electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles.
How Does a Rechargeable Battery Work?
A battery consists of a positive electrode, a negative electrode, a porous separator that keeps the electrodes from touching, and an ionic electrolyte, which is the conducting medium for ions (charged particles) between the positive and the negative electrodes. When the battery is being charged, ions transfer from the positive to the negative electrodes via the electrolyte. On discharge these ions return to the positive electrode releasing energy in the process.
Existing Lithium Ion Batteries
Rechargeable lithium ion batteries currently use graphite for the negative electrode and typically lithium cobalt oxide for the positive electrode. The electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent which is flammable.
An important attribute of large format batteries is their ability to deliver power quickly. During charge, lithium ions deposit inside the graphite particles. However, the rate at which lithium ions can be removed during discharge - the useful power-producing cycle of a battery - is limited by the electro-chemical properties of the graphite and the size of the graphite particles. The electrochemical properties relate to the existence of a high resistance crust (call the Solid Electrolyte Interface or SEI) that impedes the removal of lithium - the first step in power production. Also, graphite's large particle size means that lithium atoms inside the particle must travel a long distance to escape. This further increases the impedance and reduces power.
So power is restricted by the ion removal capability in lithium ion batteries, resulting in power levels of the order of 1000 watts per kilogram (W/Kg). Also, power can be affected by external factors such as temperature. At low temperatures, the lithium ion removal rate is significantly less than at room temperature resulting in power delivery at these temperatures that is greatly reduced.
Given that power delivery is governed by fundamental properties of the materials the only option is to change the materials and chemistry of the battery.
The Altairnano NanoSafe(TM) Battery
Altairnano solved this problem by using an innovative approach to rechargeable battery chemistry by replacing graphite with a patented nano-titanate material as the negative electrode in its NanoSafe batteries. The outcome is that Altairnano's NanoSafe batteries deliver power per unit weight and unit volume several times that of conventional lithium ion batteries. Altairnano laboratory measurements indicate power density as high as 4000 W/Kg and over 5000W/litre. By using nano-titanate materials as the negative electrode material, the formation of an SEI is eliminated. In addition, the nano-titanate particles are up to 100 times smaller than a typical graphite particle thereby greatly reducing the distance a lithium atom must travel to be released from the particle. These properties also mean that even at very cold temperatures, a nano-titanate battery will produce high power.
The same technology also dramatically increases battery charge and discharge rates; rapid charge is important for next generation electric vehicles so they could be charged in a few minutes rather than hours as with current lithium ion technology. As has been indicated in previous releases the NanoSafe cell has demonstrated that surges of power can be delivered without risking thermal runaway or performance damage to the battery.
Altairnano will be demonstrating its NanoSafe battery technology at the California Air Resources Board Zero Emission Vehicles meeting in Sacramento, September 25th through 27th, 2006.
NanoSafe(TM) is a trademark of Altair Nanotechnologies Inc.
ABOUT ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.
Altairnano is an innovator and supplier of advanced ceramic nanomaterials. With a skilled team of scientists in its 100,000 square foot facilities who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have developed a unique portfolio of intellectual property and novel products. These researchers are complemented by a seasoned management team with substantial experience in commercializing innovative, disruptive technologies.
Altairnano focuses on nanotechnology applications to enable new high-growth markets. In alternative energy Altairnano is pioneering new battery materials and systems. The company is applying nanotechnology to the development of drug candidates for humans and animals, coatings materials for implants, and materials for dental applications. Its high performance nanomaterials have applications in paints, coatings, and the treatment of water and air. The Altairnano Hydrochloride Pigment process, the first new patented pigment process in 50 years, is an environmentally friendly method for manufacturing white pigment used in paints, paper and plastic. For additional information visit www.altairnano.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements as well as historical information. Forward-looking statements, which are included in accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, may involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the company's actual results and performance in future periods to be materially different from any future results or performance suggested by the forward-looking statements in this release. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the risk that NanoSafe batteries will perform differently in extended road tests or in actual usage than in laboratory tests and possibly exhibit charge and discharge rates and power characteristics that differ from those suggested by laboratory testing; that markets for potential products using NanoSafe batteries, many or which are small or non-existent, will not expand or come into existence as expected; that even if a significant market evolves, that competing products, with high energy density or strengths, will capture a dominant market position; and that even if NanoSafe batteries capture significant market position, production and overheard costs may exceed associated revenue. In addition, other risks are identified in the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-Q, as filed with the SEC. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements found herein to reflect any changes in company expectations or results or any change in events.