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First Product

First-Designed Product: Superior Battery Electrolytes

NSI's nanostructural self-assembly system will be exploited to produce solid-phase battery electrolytes for conducting cations (positively charged protons and metal ions) between the electrodes within batteries.  All batteries rely upon cation conduction [see Note 1 for technical explanation], and this electrolyte has the potential to be used in all commercial batteries in production today.  We are most interested in acid-gel and lithium-ion batteries due to the low mass of protons and lithium ions and the commercial prevalence of such batteries in the battery market.

The functional superiority of the electrolyte will be provided by sulfonate groups in immediate proximity to each other, thus eliminating the losses from "ion hopping" in standard batteries [see Note #2 for explanation].  This not an incremental improvement, but rather a revolutionary improvement in battery functionality.  (Please also request the PowerPoint presentation about NSI electrolytes.)

Sulfonate groups are negatively charged, which is why they are well suited to "conduct" positive ions [see Note #3].

There are three different geometries that can be manufactured:
    1) a linear "string" or "stack" of sulfonyl groups,
    2) a planar "field" or "carpet" of sulfonyl groups, and
    3) a tubular "pipe" or "pore" of sulfonyl groups.  See Note #4 for strategic differences.]

Each of these nanostructured electrolytes will provide an uninterrupted ion-migration path for the positively-charged ions that provide the "internal current" within batteries.  The ions will lose less energy, create less waste heat, and move more quickly and in greater numbers.  This is anticipated to
    1) increase energy density (energy per weight and volume of battery),
    2) increase power density (faster charging, faster discharging),
    3) enhance energy efficiency (more power out compared to power in),
    4) extend battery lifespan (number of charge-discharge cycles), and
    5) improve battery safety.

During Phase 1, the earliest nanostructured polysulfonate polymers will be electrochemically tested for ion conductivity (and resistance) with protons, lithium ions, and all other cations in commercial batteries deemed of economic significance. This data will
    1) validate the ion-conductivity design,
    2) facilitate quantitative prediction of battery efficiencies enabled by these electrolytes,
    3) focus the developmental effort for optimizing batteries of greatest economic impact, and
    4) focus the early marketing effort on specific companies that will be ideal customers or partners.

During Phase-1 and Phase-2 development, energy products will be the primary focus of NSI.  When deemed appropriate, this battery line will be spun off into its own venture, with sufficient money and resources to advance its goals independently, with NSI's continued support in IP and expertise capacities.  With a narrow focus on the battery industry, this spin-off will be optimized for acquisition by a major player in the battery market, ideally with multiple players competing for this acquisition.  NSI will then turn its focus towards advancing other applications into business lines for a repeat of this formula for targeted acquisition.

Revenue will derive from licensing fees, royalties, R&D contracts and consulting services.

Note #1:  The internal cation current (within the battery) is equivalent to the external electrical current produced by the battery. In other words, there is a one-to-one relationship between negatively charged electrons delivered to perform work and the positive charges on protons or metal ions that migrate from electrode to electrode within the battery. [Return to main text.]

Note #2:  Each ion "hop" within a battery causes loss of energy (i.e., resistance) which decreases energy density (by resistance losses), decreases power density (by heat-limitations on battery performance), shortens battery lifespan (hot batteries age more quickly), and compromises battery safety (hot batteries are more likely to short-out, burn or explode). Charge repulsion between sulfonate (or phosphonate) groups in polymer electrolytes normally causes sulfonyl groups in existing-art polysulfonate polymers to distribute themselves evenly throughout the polymer volume. This mandates ion hopping. To overcome this, intercalating agents (e.g., iron phosphate nanocrystals) are mixed into lithium-ion battery electrolytes to provide "islands" to shorten the hopping distances. But these intercalating agents are also randomly distributed, and so this is only an incremental improvement. NSC's vector-directional polymer design places sulfonates immediately adjacent to each other (0.35 nm center-to-center separations, < 0.1 nm surface-to-surface separations), which is predicted to reduce hopping to its theoretical minimum. [Return to main text.]

Note #3:  Sulfonate groups are also chemically stable and strongly acidic. The high acidity (analogous to sulfonic acids) means that sulfonate groups have minimal bonding or "stickiness" to protons, and low bonding or stickiness to lithium, transition metal ions (vanadium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, zinc), heavy metals (mercury, lead), and rare earth metals (e.g., cerium). Sulfonate and phosphonate groups are the perfect first-choice for ion conductivity, being the anions of choice for the state-of-the-art commercial electrolyte polymers (e.g., Nafion). [Return to main text.]

Note #4:  We anticipate that geometry 1 is the easiest to get into testing and to scale for testing, geometry 2 will be the least expensive to manufacture in very large quantities (for automotive batteries, and chromatography), and geometry 3 will be the most sophisticated structure of greatest interest to nanotechnology research and development departments, academic researchers, super-acid catalyst producers, and lab-on-a-chip manufacturers. [Return to main text.]

Subpages (1): First Proof of Product