Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a San Diego-based startup, thinks it has made a discovery that could, in one fell swoop, make your laptop battery, cell phone battery, and electric vehicle batteries all last between 25% and 65% longer. The key: a pair of new materials—a high-voltage electrolyte material and a high-voltage cathode material—that provide vastly improved energy density compared to today's technologies (in technical terms, they have an energy density of over 675 Wh/kg while operating in fuel cells at five volts).
The materials, dubbed EM1 and CM1, can be used to build lithium cobalt phosphate batteries that are comparable from a cost standpoint to lithium-ion batteries, but offer up to 65% more energy. "Up until now, it was difficult to develop high-voltage batteries. Now that we have a high-voltage electrolyte material, we can develop higher energy density and lower cost batteries. The field is now opened up," explains Wildcat CTO Steven Kaye.
Wildcat discovered EM1 and CM1 in just two years of research—an impressive timeline considering that the "world has been looking for this for 10 to 15 years," according to Kaye. The company's secret is a high throughput platform based on techniques used in the drug discovery arena that allows it to perform experiments 100 times faster than standard laboratories.
So while Wildcat expects to quickly license its new materials to manufacturers and put them into production within two years, the company is already working on improvements. "These materials are improving almost weekly," says Kaye. "It's difficult to publicize what we have because it becomes out of date just a few weeks later."