From smartphones and household appliances through laptops and electric vehicles, the world we live in is becoming increasingly dependent on high performance batteries, and their advanced charging capabilities. Now, an Israeli startup called Addionics looks to upgrade the batteries we know today - and unlike other industry solutions - it’s not a change in the battery’s chemistry, but rather its physics.
Improving the physics of batteries
Unlike the potassium-ion batteries, which are attempting to replace the highly popular lithium-ion batteries, Addionics is looking to improve on the physical structure of today’s batteries. “The new architecture allows us to enhance the battery’s capacity and reduce charging times in half. Beyond these upgrades, we improve battery life and safety, while keeping production costs competitive - the most important parameter,” says CEO and co-founder Dr. Moshiel Biton in a chat with Geektime.
Addionics are looking deep into the future, not one where only some devices and vehicles are powered by batteries, but rather at one where smartphones, appliances, and all vehicles are powered by batteries; creating a massive increase in demand, which the company aims to meet with its optimal shaped battery vision.
Dr. Biton notes that despite the battery sector stepping up its performance over recent years, the improvements have mostly been focused on the battery’s chemistry, and really haven’t advanced the industry all that much. Addionics develops 3D structured electrodes that look to provide an upgrade to battery performance. The electric current collectors are small metal sheets, similar to the aluminium foil found in almost every kitchen, which are layered with the battery’s chemistries (active materials), determining the battery’s electric capacity. On the other hand, the Israeli startup’s electrodes act as a “sponge”, meaning more of those active materials can be “squeezed” in, to increase battery energy density, capacity, and lifecycle.
The company’s electrodes also help reduce internal resistance in the battery, enabling higher currents at no damage to structure. The company notes that this technology can equip electric vehicles with more “juice” and stronger performance. The battery’s structural change helps reduce internal heating, minimizing the chance of another exploding Samsung Note battery occurrence.
Professors turned co-founders
The idea for the new battery came during CEO, Dr. Biton’s, doctoral studies in London, in collaboration with two of his supervising professors - Dr. Farid Tariq and Dr. Vladimir Yufit - serving as both CSO and CTO, respectively. The trio researched a phenomenon happening in battery combustion, just like with the Note-7 cases, as a result of the formation of Dendrites - branched extensions that can short circuit the system, or eventually lead to combustion. With the help of specialized equipment the three researchers were the first to understand that those same Dendrites could be used to their advantage, to create a more efficient battery.
Addionics is not a lonely engine powering the battery sector. More than a few public companies and dozens of up-and-coming startups cover the battery space. So naturally, we wondered what makes the Israeli company’s solution different from the rest?
CTO and co-founder, Vladimir Yufit, told us that there are other companies operating in the sphere that provide better batteries based on advanced engineering solutions. However, he notes that “their production costs are extremely high, easily covered by military contracts, but out of reach for the private automotive, electronics and energy companies.” The CTO states that Addionics are taking battery engineering “to the next generation and at market prices - the result of true innovation.”
The company currently counts 3 key partnerships with multinational companies, which focus on implementing different chemistries in Addionics’ batteries. The startup has also raised $8 million to date, with nearly $4.5 million coming from Next Gear Ventures, Rothschild backed Merchant Banking, and additional investors. Addionics employs a team of 15, split between London and Tel Aviv.