Ionic Materials is a leader in development of advanced polymer electrolytes for solid-state batteries. Ionic’s innovative technology makes batteries inherently safer, thereby accelerating adoption of higher performance but more volatile chemistries in mass-market applications such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and grid storage. Ionic does not intend to become a cell manufacturer, but rather is positioning itself to be a world-class supplier of advanced battery materials. As such, the company has secured multiple joint development agreements with major cell manufacturers and OEMs in the automotive and consumer electronics industries. Ionic is seeking additional development and commercialization partnerships with key players in the cell manufacturing value chain. The team is also seeking to engage end users that put a premium on system safety such as military and aerospace customers. Ionic Materials was founded in 2011 and currently has 70 employees, including 28 senior technical staff with expertise in polymer manufacturing and material science, at its R&D and pilot manufacturing facility in Woburn, Massachusetts. CEO and Founder Mike Zimmerman, Ph.D., has an extensive background in bringing innovative polymers and manufacturing methods to market. The technology team is supported by leading experts from academia and industry.
Ionic Materials’ polymer electrolyte represents a major breakthrough in battery technology. By enabling the creation of batteries that are safer, cheaper, and higher performance than the current state of the art, Ionic’s polymer electrolyte shatters the traditional battery design paradigm, under which safety, cost, and performance must generally be traded off against one another. Ionic is developing its polymer electrolyte to be a drop-in solution to make existing Li-ion batteries safer and lower cost, and as an enabling technology for next-generation, energy-dense Li metal batteries. Ionic’s proprietary material addresses fundamental limitations of previous polymer electrolytes, including poor high-voltage stability and low ionic conductivity, while enabling significant manufacturing benefits (e.g., stable under oxygen, processable into thin films, ductile) over glassy and ceramic solid electrolytes. Importantly, Ionic’s polymer electrolyte presents an opportunity to revolutionize battery manufacturing by eliminating costly and time-intensive steps in cell fabrication including electrode drying, toxic solvent trapping/scrubbing, and electrolyte filling. Ionic and its cell manufacturing partners have achieved critical performance and safety milestones in 15 Ah Li-ion prototype cells, demonstrating that the polymer has the potential to be an enabling technology for safe solid-state batteries. Ionic has also achieved key performance milestones for Li metal cells under the ARPA-E IONICS program and was awarded a second phase and additional funds to further optimize polymer-based components for use in prototype Li metal devices. For the SCALEUP effort, Ionic Materials is proposing to build on foundational advancements achieved under the IONICS program to scale polymer electrolyte manufacturing, and to develop innovative high-throughput manufacturing methods to integrate the polymer electrolyte into safe, solid-state Li-ion and Li metal batteries. Key project deliverables are design and validation of high-volume polymer electrolyte powder manufacturing unit operations, third-party validation of Li-ion cells fabricated on production-intent equipment, and automated assembly of safe, large-format Li metal battery prototypes that meet entry market application specifications.
Ionic Materials is interested in engaging with corporate strategic investors and automotive OEMs interested in a highly differentiated energy storage system for their platform. Ionic is also interested in engaging with large stationary storage end users, such as utilities and corporate and military facilities managers, interested in Li-ion systems with enhanced safety performance. Partners with complimentary technologies that currently serve as material suppliers to battery manufacturers are also of interest.
Joe Manser, PhD
Technical Program Manager