Innolith’s R&D team has amassed unrivalled breadth and depth of knowledge on inorganic electrolyte systems, with the core team focusing on this area for 20 years. Innolith has a large and growing portfolio of know-how and intellectual property on applying inorganic electrolytes to rechargeable batteries.
Innolith uses a highly structured approach to R&D that has enabled fundamental discoveries to be made and breakthrough solutions to be delivered. Innolith research is focused on determining the underlying properties of materials to understand their behaviour in an inorganic environment. Its deep science approach led to the breakthrough discovery of a safe, stable electrolyte system.
Inorganic electrolyte not only removes the fire risk present in conventional li-ion batteries. The same organic solvents responsible for flammability risk are also responsible for a range of unwanted side-reactions and technical limits with conventional li-ion batteries. Eliminating these has allowed Innolith to build power batteries with unprecedented cycle life and energy throughput.
Innolith has extended the electrolyte capabilities to enable high energy batteries, with a new version which is stable to over 5V. The new high voltage, high energy electrolyte has demonstrated unprecedented stability with NMC type cathodes, opening up a new era of non-flammable high energy batteries.
This stability of the second generation of inorganic electrolyte allows standard metal-oxide cathodes to be operated at higher voltages and higher capacities, thereby removing the technical limit on energy density presented by conventional organic electrolyte.
Innolith was created at the beginning of 2018 as a Swiss company based in Basel, Switzerland.
During March and April of 2018, Innolith AG was successful in bidding for specific assets of Alevo, a former Swiss battery company that had gone into bankruptcy administration in August 2017. In a process overseen by independent insolvency administrators as part of the Swiss and German Courts of Administration, Innolith won tenders where it competed against other bidders to purchase the intellectual property and R&D assets of Alevo.
The purchase of Alevo assets meant that the new company was also able to save the jobs of the scientists and engineers based at Alevo’s R&D facility in Bruchsal, Germany; the bankruptcy of the battery company Alevo had left the 53 employees facing redundancy with only a three-month support arrangement from the German Ministry of Labour to pay salaries.
The acquisition provided Innolith with a talented R&D team that enabled the company to initiate a successful battery development programme looking for the next generation of Li-ion technology.
The Innolith research focussed on overcoming the two major issues with the current generation of Li-ion technology: first, the diminishing return of trying to increase the energy density of traditional Li-ion batteries that is required to make EVs more affordable and to give them greater range; second ,that traditional Li-ion batteries are highly flammable and this generates both consumer concern and extra costs to render them safe.
By early 2019, Innolith scientists had discovered a completely new electrolyte. This new electrolyte was unrelated to the intellectual property it had acquired from Alevo and had the potential to overcome the energy density limitations of traditional Li-ion. The new electrolyte maintained the non-flammability while opening up development routes to higher energy densities for Li-ion technology.
The Innolith R&D further refined and perfected the electrolyte and electrode combination during the following two years and in December 2020 the company completed the 1st stage of development of its new technology. This included successfully building and testing sample cells that have 310 Wh/kg specific energy density. The cells, designed to the 21700 cylindrical format that is gaining share of use in electrical vehicles, are based on NMC and graphite electrodes using the Innolith proprietary electrolyte.