Novonix awarded $3.47m grant by Canadian government to advance flagship battery projects

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Novonix ASX NVX Canadian government grant advance flagship battery projects National Research Council of Canada NRCC

Battery materials and technology company Novonix (ASX: NVX) has received up to $3.47 million in research and development funding and advisory services as part of an initiative by the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC).

The grant was awarded to the company’s Battery Technology Solutions (BTS) division under the government’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

The BTS division is working on the development of battery materials which enable simplified and improved performance, along with environmentally-sustainable manufacturing processes needed for the North American battery ecosystem.

Flagship projects

The grant will be used to advance two flagship battery projects currently in development.

The first project is an all-dry, zero-waste cathode materials development and pilot line commissioned in July with a capacity of 10 tonnes per annum.

The line’s first product was a mid-nickel grade of single-crystal cathode material produced using Novonix’s all-dry, zero-waste synthesis technology and was reported to match the performance of leading cathode materials from existing suppliers in full-cell testing.

Novonix will use the pilot line to further demonstrate the manufacturability of its long-life cathode materials and technology (including high-nickel and cobalt-free materials), along with their performance in industrial-format lithium-ion cells.

Lithium-ion lifespan

The second project being funded by the NRCC is a new technology to predict the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries.

It will be supported by Novonix’s recent collaboration with US-based software-as-a-service company SandboxAQ, which specialises in combining artificial intelligence (AI) with quantum analysis (AQ) to address some of the world’s most challenging problems.

Novonix is developing a data and analytics product offering which employs SandboxAQ’s expertise and can pair effectively with its own battery testing equipment and services.

UHPC equipment

Novonix said it was implementing advanced analysis techniques, anomaly detection tools, and machine-learning to create accurate lifetime predictions using its ultra-high precision coulometry (UHPC) testing equipment and data.

UHPC systems were introduced to the market by Novonix founder Dr Chris Burns as fully-functional battery cyclers which allow users to test electrochemical processes within cells rapidly and in various form-factors, with industry-leading precision and accuracy.

Honoured and grateful

Dr Burns said his company was “honoured and grateful” for the IRAP funding.

“Lithium-ion battery tailwinds have accelerated quickly on the back of public policy support, increasing private sector investment and strong electric vehicle demand,” he said.

“We expect this trend to grow, underscoring the increasing need for our materials technologies and advanced battery testing expertise which support cleaner, high-performance materials.”

Dr Burns said successful development of the two battery projects would place Novonix in a “unique position” to serve the nickel-based cathode material market.

Industry experts believe the market will require over 3mtpa by 2030, representing an opportunity worth over $100 billion.