Koura is charging into a cleaner, greener, electrifed future
Dr. Martin Winter and his team have researched fluorinated electrolyte compounds for batteries for more than 25 years, looking into the development of new materials, components and cell designs for lithium-ion and metal batteries as well as supercapacitors. Since founding the MEET Battery Research Center at Germany’s University of Münster, Winter has worked with a team of over 300 scientists and alongside numerous global partners in the battery and energy storage spaces. One such partner is Koura, with whom Winter and his colleagues have collaborated through E-Lyte Innovations, an electrolyte manufacturer originating from MEET and specializing in advanced applications.
Fluorinated electrolyte compounds have been of particular interest to Winter and others in the battery community as they offer superior electrochemical stability when paired with high-voltage cathode material—in other words, they are essential compounds on the path to better, safer and longer-life batteries with applications in portable electronics and more. Winter and his colleagues have been examining how fluorinated electrolyte components can be adapted to be less flammable or even non-flammable, offer anode protection for longevity and to increase wettability for better conduction.
Beyond the outcome of creating better lithium-ion batteries for phones, laptops and smart appliances, adjustments to electrolyte formulations can accelerate the “EV-olution”. While lithium-ion battery chemistry was not originally developed to power electric vehicles, it is being adapted now to those ends. For stable operation in a variety of extreme temperature conditions, the replacement of non-fluorinated electrolyte salts, solvents and additives with fluorinated ones can make for less viscosity and resistance in low temperatures, which have historically resulted in reduced power.
“Considering that fluorine has specific properties that non-fluorinated compounds do not have when it comes to optimal electrolyte performance, fluorine salt production needs to be managed by a party with long-standing fluorine expertise for high-performing reproduction in local markets.” In addition, replacing non-fluorinated solvents with fluorinated solvents in the electrolyte chemistry can make a complete difference to what we have today as batteries to power EVs.”
These step-by-step improvements can mean addressing present battery performance issues and range anxiety around EVs. They can extend into advancing battery chemistries that can power fuel-cell vehicles, robotic and automation technologies, medical wearables and sensors for health monitoring and even grid-scale energy storage technologies. There’s potential too to make these components readily available in local markets as well as environmentally responsible: a greenfield idea.
Powering a Future of Possibilities
Koura is a long-standing global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of fluoroproducts that advance lives, whether through developing sustainable medical propellants that power 75% of the world’s metered-dose inhalers, pioneering a range of low global warming potential refrigerants or enhancing lithium-ion battery electrolytes to result in people and planet-friendly formulations.
Today, the Koura team is working closely with its customers and manufacturers to develop customized fluorinated battery electrolytes and materials that offer improved safety, performance and environmental outcomes, with upcoming commercial launches slated for this year. In addition, Koura was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with the Argonne National Lab (ANL) to develop improved production processes for fluorinated battery substances with higher voltage stability, low flammability and next-generation silicon conductivity at industrial scale.