South 8 Technologies, a developer of electrolyte formulations for next-generation lithium batteries, has raised $12 million in Series A financing, led by Anzu Partners with participation from LG Technology Ventures, Shell Ventures, Foothill Ventures, and Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC). South 8 will leverage the funding to accelerate the commercialization of its patented Liquefied Gas Electrolyte (LiGas) technology for high-performance batteries for electric vehicle, grid storage, aerospace, and defense applications.
South 8’s LiGas electrolyte technology offers a novel approach to next-generation lithium batteries and addresses the shortcomings of existing liquid electrolytes and solid-state batteries that are still under development.
Unlike common battery electrolytes that are liquid at room temperature, or solid-state electrolytes, South 8’s non-toxic LiGas technology uses solvents that are normally gaseous at standard pressure and room temperature but may be liquefied under pressure and used as an electrolyte within the cell.
Key features of LiGas electrolytes include:
- Increased Safety: While conventional liquid electrolytes are a catalyst for thermal runway, the LiGas electrolyte can safely and rapidly vent from a cell after physical or electrical abuse, allowing the cell to fail safely without the risk of thermal runaway or thermal propagation.
- High Energy: The intrinsically high chemical stability and high conductivity of the LiGas electrolyte allow the use of the highest energy materials available, packing more energy into a cell.
- Wide Operating Temperature: The low freezing points of the LiGas electrolyte enable lithium batteries to perform in the most extreme climates at temperatures as low -60 °C and up to +60°C.
- Material Compatibility: All conventional cathode, anode, and separator materials are compatible with the LiGas electrolyte, allowing for simple integration into today’s Gigafactories.
- Reduced Cost: LiGas electrolytes utilize established manufacturing techniques while considerably increasing factory utilization, enabling lower $/kWh for electric vehicle and energy storage system applications.
- Recyclability: The LiGas electrolyte can enable widespread adoption of battery recycling by removing the high-cost barrier of battery transportation to recycling centers at the end of life.
With these benefits, South 8’s LiGas electrolytes can address a new class of batteries for emerging market applications such as electric vehicles, all-weather grid storage, defense, renewable energy, aerospace, and more, the company says.
With the battery and auto industries placing big bets on a relatively narrow set of potential breakthrough innovations, we are offering a truly unique and much more practical alternative technology to stakeholders and customers who need a safer and higher performing lithium battery solution than is currently available.—Cyrus Rustomji, Ph.D., CEO of South 8 Technologies
South 8’s technology can power new market applications by solving traditional challenges around safety, manufacturability and more that has limited battery technologies for decades. By removing the threat of thermal runaway reactions or thermal propagation, South 8’s technology significantly increases Li-ion safety and offers high compatibility with today’s most common electrode materials and manufacturing techniques. These new capabilities provide access to an increased number of applications across relevant industries previously hindered by Li-ion performance and safety.—Robert McIntyre, Managing Director at LG Technology Ventures