U.S. Army Awards South 8 Technologies $550,000 to Increase Battery Safety for Soldiers
Cleantech San Diego member South 8 Technologies, developers of a novel liquefied gas electrolyte (LiGas®) for the next generation of safe and high-performance lithium-ion batteries, and NanoGraf, an advanced battery materials company and enabler of the world’s most energy-dense lithium-ion 18650 cell, have received a joint $550,000 award from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) to pair NanoGraf’s 3.8 Ah 18650 cell with South 8’s electrolyte for cold temperature and safety testing.
Soldiers carry upwards of 25 pounds of batteries during missions, and sometimes need to have backups as some batteries perform poorly in harsh weather conditions or after being physically damaged.
The DoD award will fund a six-month project to make sure batteries with NanoGraf and South 8’s technology reduce or eliminate catastrophic failure when exposed to extreme temperatures or nail penetration, in accordance with MIL-PRF-32383 188.8.131.52 (Military Performance Specification). Successful completion of the testing will validate the extreme cold temperature performance of the cell and maintain existing capacity and cycle life, allowing the cell to operate down to -60 degrees, and up to +60 celsius and pass the safety test. NanoGraf’s M38 18650 cell can currently operate down to -30 celsius.
Currently Li-ion cells are plagued by poor low temperature capacity and experience thermal runaway at high temperatures or when crushed/punctured. Combining NanoGraf and South8 technologies has the potential to alleviate both conditions, yielding a cell with few drawbacks in terms of performance or safety.
“We’re thrilled about this recent grant, as it provides even more performance differentiation for our Department of Defense customer,” said Dr. Francis Wang, CEO of NanoGraf. “Adding the safety and cold temperature test with South 8 further extends NanoGraf’s performance profile from other commercial cells.”
This funding comes on the heels of some major milestones for both NanoGraf and South 8. In March of 2023, NanoGraf announced an oversubscribed Series B funding round of $65 million. In November of 2022, the company was awarded a $10 million contract from the U.S. Government to develop the first advanced silicon anode manufacturing facility in the Midwest. In January of 2023, South 8 was awarded $3.15 million by the Department of Energy to participate in its American Low-Carbon Living (EVs4ALL) program.
“We are excited for the opportunity to work with NanoGraf towards a commercial cell that combines our two differentiating technologies into one powerful product,” said Cyrus Rustomji, CEO and co-founder of South 8 Technologies. “The Department of Defense and NanoGraf are incredible partners, and we’re thrilled to be working towards enhancing soldier capabilities across critical missions in increasingly more difficult climates.