UC San Diego spinout South 8 Technologies nets $12M for tech to boost lithium batteries

South 8 Technologies, a UC San Diego spinout that has formulated a novel way to raise voltage and boost basic safety in lithium batteries, said Tuesday that it has elevated $12 million in a very first round of enterprise money funding.

The 15-employee organization will use the money to get extra prototype cells with its Liquefied Gasoline Electrolyte — or LiGas — know-how into the arms of outfits performing on electric powered autos, all-temperature grid storage, aerospace and defense goods and renewable electrical power.

“With the battery and auto industries positioning big bets on a rather slim established of probable breakthrough innovations, we are giving a genuinely one of a kind and considerably extra simple alternative technological know-how to stakeholders and customers who want a safer and higher undertaking lithium battery alternative than is at the moment obtainable,” reported Cyrus Rustomji, a Ph.D. and main govt/co-founder of the company.

South 8 sprang out of a college investigation challenge to improve lithium battery general performance in incredibly cold temperatures. The process experts found out, nonetheless, is effective across all temperatures and likely could enable greater voltage cells, stay away from thermal runaway, cut down prices and motivate recycling, in accordance to the organization.

South 8 essential creation replaces the liquid electrolyte in lithium batteries — generally a lithium salt resolution — with gases that liquify beneath pressure. Rustomji likens the technologies to how propane is effective in backyard barbecues.

At space temperature and regular tension, propane is a fuel. “But you can liquify it less than a reasonable total of tension and retail store it in a tank below your barbecue,” he explained. “That is primarily what we are accomplishing — not with propane but with other gaseous elements that we learned materialize to function pretty perfectly inside a battery device.”

Anzu Companions led the funding round, with participation from LG Technology Ventures, Shell Ventures, Foothill Ventures and Taiyo Nippon Sanso Company.

Initiatives to strengthen performance and safety for lithium-ion batteries has been underway for decades, with a great deal of failures. Scientists have experimented with to crack the code by experimenting with all four significant lithium-ion battery components — cathode, anode, separator and electrolytes.

“The bottleneck for all this chemistry enhancement is the electrolyte, the blood of the battery because it touches everything,” mentioned Jungwoo Lee, Ph.D., co-founder and chief know-how officer of South 8.

These days, the excitement about battery enhancement centers on solid resources replacing liquid chemistries. But going to solids would require battery makers to revamp their existing production processes, said Lee.

In distinction, South 8 thinks it can plug its LiGas engineering into present battery assembly lines with minimal disruption.

“We are the 1st and only 1 to say what about gases?” stated Lee. “Lithium battery production has been about for 30 a long time. These funds expenditures have been designed. It is unreasonable to talk to people to toss it out.”

The corporation declined to detect what gases are applied in its proprietary LiGas know-how. But it promises that they are non-poisonous and greatly deployed in industrial generation.

“As we continue to see development in electrification of transportation and renewables uptake, there is a crucial aim on safety and general performance in sophisticated battery systems,” mentioned Jimmy Kan, a principal at Anzu Associates. “With LiGas, South 8 has demonstrated a technological know-how that eventually breaks the tradeoffs that the market has had to make for many years, enabling lithium-ion battery producers and automotive companies to access increased-executing, inherently protected batteries without having compromising on electrode components assortment or manufacturability.”