electric car plugged in

The US Startup That Aims To Change How Batteries Are Made

Introducing Ion Storage

Ion Storage Systems began with a $574,275 federal grant inside a University of Maryland chemistry lab. Based outside of Washington, DC, it makes a battery that’s said to charge faster and last longer.

Market observers say the US is far behind other countries like South Korea, Japan, and China when it comes to the manufacturing of batteries. Government officials and venture capitalists have invested in companies like Ion Storage, hoping improved technology can help close the gap. The next generation of batteries are also said to be safer due to reduced fire risk.

Important Timing for Industry

The electric vehicle industry is a big part of why time is of the essence for US battery makers. A number of automakers are currently in the market for long-term deals with suppliers as they look to ramp up production. Ion Storage’s CEO describes this moment as the “last chance” to get things right.

Part of the company’s pitch involves the materials used in construction, and the ones that aren’t. Ion Storage’s batteries use no cobalt or nickel, and require less lithium than standard batteries. Demand for all three metals has surged, leading to skyrocketing prices. Analysts suggest this is where Ion Storage could find beneficial profit margins.

Consumer Electronics Could Become Safer

Ion Storage explains their batteries are solid-state lithium-ion batteries, as opposed to a liquid that acts as an electrolyte. Experts note the liquid batteries are highly flammable, and they also don’t last as long or charge as quickly. Scientists have displayed this by cutting solid-state batteries in half and putting them before an open flame — without any catching on fire.

This could potentially answer a longstanding safety issue for industries that rely on batteries. Everything from jetliners to cell phones and cars have faced fire risks in recent years, with General Motors (GM), Tesla (TSLA), Ford (F), and BMW (BMWYY) recalling battery-powered vehicles. Ion Storage and others hope to be part of the solution — and help advance where the US stands in global battery production.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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