A123 Systems (AONE) today introduced Nanophosphate EXT(TM), a new lithium ion battery technology capable of operating at extreme temperatures without requiring thermal management. Nanophosphate EXT is designed to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for heating or cooling systems, which is expected to create sizeable new opportunities within the transportation and telecommunications markets, among others.
The Nanophosphate EXT cells will be produced next year and can be used longer and operate more efficiently in extremely high and low temperatures than competing lithium-ion packs.
David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, commented:
We believe Nanophosphate EXT is a game-changing breakthrough that overcomes one of the key limitations of lead acid, standard lithium ion and other advanced batteries. By delivering high power, energy and cycle life capabilities over a wider temperature range, we believe Nanophosphate EXT can reduce or even eliminate the need for costly thermal management systems, which we expect will dramatically enhance the business case for deploying A123’s lithium ion battery solutions for a significant number of applications. We continue to emphasize innovation with a commercial purpose, and we expect Nanophosphate EXT to strengthen our competitive position in existing target markets as well as create new opportunities for applications that previously were not possible to cost-effectively serve with lithium ion batteries.
A123 wants to boost demand for its batteries that are also used in utility grids, telecommunications systems and power tools after forecasting in a May regulatory filing several quarters of “significant” losses that raise “substantial doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” In March, the company said it would spend $55 million replacing batteries in Fisker Automotive Inc.’s plug-in Karma sedan, the result of flaws at its Livonia, Michigan, plant.
Dr. Yann Guezennec, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Ohio State University, said:
Based on our analysis, the performance of A123’s new Nanophosphate EXT at high temperatures is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from lead acid, lithium ion or any other battery technology. Nanophosphate EXT maintains impressive cycle life even at extreme high temperatures without sacrificing storage or energy capabilities, especially as compared with the competitive leading lithium ion technology that we used on our head-to-head testing. If our testing also validates the low-temperature power capabilities that A123’s data is showing, we believe Nanophosphate EXT could be a game-changing battery breakthrough for the electrification of transportation, including the emerging micro hybrid vehicle segment.
In addition, Nanophosphate EXT is expected to enable automakers to significantly reduce or completely eliminate active cooling systems in electric vehicle battery packs. A123 expects this to lower cost, reduce weight and improve reliability, providing automakers with a cost-effective solution that A123 believes will increases efficiency and minimize system complexity without sacrificing vehicle performance, battery life or driving range. Strategy consultancy Roland Berger forecasts that the global automotive lithium ion battery market will reach more than $9 billion by 2015.
For the telecommunications industry the Nanophosphate EXT supplements the advantages of A123’s lithium ion battery solutions for telecommunications backup, which are designed to replace the lead acid batteries deployed at new and existing global cell tower sites built off-grid or in regions with unstable power. These sites typically require diesel generators to support the batteries, and due to the lengthy charge time necessary for lead acid batteries, the generators are often forced to operate for extended periods. In contrast, A123’s solutions charge about six times more quickly than lead acid, which significantly reduces generator run time and lowers fuel costs by 30 percent or more. At cell towers in extreme temperature environments, Nanophosphate EXT further reduces operating and maintenance costs by minimizing or eliminating the need for air conditioning or heating. In higher-temperature climates, for example, the cost of installing and running the air conditioning necessary to properly cool the lead acid batteries can represent up to 50 percent of the total power consumed at each cell tower site. A123 believes that Nanophosphate EXT has the potential to significantly expand the global addressable market for its telecommunications backup solutions to more than $1.2 billion by 2016.
A123 has to compete on cost and quality with larger, more experienced battery makers, including Japan’s Panasonic Corp. (6752)’s Sanyo Electric, Hitachi Ltd. and GS Yuasa Corp. (6674) and South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. (051910) and Samsung Electronics Co., said Menahem Anderman, president of Total Battery Consulting Inc., in Oregon House, California.
Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, A123 Co-founder and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, commented:
From the introduction of our breakthrough Nanophosphate battery chemistry to our envelope-pushing work developing ultra high power batteries for Formula One racing to our introduction of megawatt-scale grid energy storage systems, A123 has been at the forefront of battery and energy storage innovation. Today we announce another milestone, and believe Nanophosphate EXT to be a significant breakthrough. Lithium ion has always had a number of significant advantages over lead acid and other advanced battery technology, but its performance limitations at extreme high and extreme low temperatures have prevented it from addressing a number of important applications. Nanophosphate EXT changes this dynamic, and highlights why we believe continued lithium ion battery R&D is critical for discovering next-generation breakthroughs that can fundamentally change how the world uses energy storage.
A123 Systems, Inc.
200 West Street
Waltham, MA 02451
Tel: (617) 778-5700
Fax: (617) 924-8910
A123 Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: AONE) develops and manufactures advanced lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems that deliver high power and energy density, long life, and excellent safety performance. The company’s game-changing technology enables customers to commercialize innovative products for the transportation, electric grid and commercial markets.