NV -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 04/04/2005 -- Altair Nanotechnologies,
Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), a developer and manufacturer
of innovative advanced ceramic nanomaterial products,
today released a Program Profile to provide more details
on its Battery Electrode Materials Program.
rechargeable battery market has four major battery
$30 billion a year market.
Used in motive power applications like automobiles,
trucks, golf carts, etc.
Lithium Ion (Li Ion)
$5 billion a year market.
Principally used in portable devices like cell phones
Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
$1 billion a year market
Used in power tools and smaller specialty markets
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
$1 billion a year market
Deployed principally in power tools, cordless phones
Li Ion, NiCd and NiMH batteries have been primarily
manufactured in Japan. However over the last three
years a significant shift has occurred with China
now manufacturing 30 percent of the worldwide supply.
This market share is expected to continue to rapidly
rise over the next few years. It is also anticipated
that U.S. and European manufacturers will take a renewed
interest in this market sector.
Li Ion batteries have inherent limitations in their
design, which if solved, would allow Li Ion battery
manufacturers to extend their reach into the power
tools market and into motive power application such
as electric powered vehicles:
Long charge times, typically measured in hours - two
to four hour charge
times are typical.
Slow discharge rates that prevent them addressing
applications which require large bursts of power.
Low cycle life (the number of times you can charge/discharge
battery) limiting their life and therefore their price/performance.
cycle life is today about 500 to 1000 charge/discharge
Explosive potential which prevents their use in large
This is due to the voltage levels they operate at
and the potential for
creating a chemically explosive reaction from the
established a research and development program in
2000 to address these limitations.
Altair Battery Electrode Materials Development
early as 1999 it was postulated by an Altair scientist
that by applying nanotechnology to battery electrode
material design a significant improvement could be
achieved in a Li Ion battery's performance characteristics.
With this hypothesis Altair began its development
of Altairnano Lithium Titanate Spinel, a nanomaterial
designed to accept rapid electrical charges and discharges,
in early 2000. Since then Altair has executed 26 confidentiality
agreements regarding this material.
working with the J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical
Chemistry in Prague and the Ecole Polytechnique Federal
Lausanne, Switzerland demonstrated that the rate at
which nano-sized lithium titanate spinel can be charged
is a function of particle size when there is unlimited
lithium ion availability at the particle surface (ion
connectivity) and unlimited electron transport from
the surface (electron connectivity). Altair reported
these results in 2001, and a version of this report
was subsequently published in the July 2003 edition
of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
a result of further research and development Altair
filed two patents covering fundamental work in anode
and cathode electrode material design and manufacture.
These patents were recently granted by the US Patent
Office and were announced in press releases dated
January 7, 2005 ("Process For Making Lithium
Titanate") and January 14, 2005 ("Process
For Making Nano-sized and Sub-micron-sized Lithium-Transition
part of Altair's development of the electrode materials
it has produced several batches of the lithium titanate
spinel electrode material. This material was used
to construct several prototype batteries by Rutgers
University Energy Research Group. They then conducted
testing of these prototype batteries. The results
of these tests have indicated that batteries constructed
using Altair's nano-lithium titanate electrode materials
could have the following characteristics:
Very fast charge rates - currently measured at six
minutes to a full
charge. In the power tools market this is a major
breakthrough compared to
the current two to four hours. And in the electric
vehicle (EV) market this
would allow a recharge in the same amount of time
as it currently takes to
fill a car with gasoline. Rapid charge rates would
provide a significant
performance improvement for current EV designs, which
several hours to charge and make them only practical
for short haul trips.
-- Fast discharge potential - required when high amounts
of power are
needed by power tools and electric or hybrid vehicles.
An Altair scientist
commented that an EV powered by batteries using Altair's
materials would have a 0-60mph speed that would leave
other EVs in the
Extremely long cycle life - Reported by Rutgers at
9,000 cycles and
estimated at 20,000 plus charge/discharge cycles.
This compares with less
than 1,000 for all other types of rechargeable batteries.
electrode materials, this would allow lifetime rechargeable
power tool applications, as well as providing a cost
benefit, it also has a
substantial environmental impact because it would
significantly reduce the
toxic hazards from discarded batteries. In EVs, it
the cost of ownership because the batteries would
not need to be replaced
during the typical life of the vehicle and in fact
could be transferred to
a replacement vehicle.
Safe design - Because of the electrical characteristics
of the Altair
electrode materials they are operating at a level
that avoids the explosive
potential inherent with current Li Ion batteries.
will enable large configuration batteries to be constructed
required in EVs or telecom switching centers. As well
as solving a major safety problem, it also will reduce
the cost of battery manufacture because the safety
mechanisms included in current Li Ion batteries to
mitigate explosions will likely be minimized.
The Competitive Environment
research and development in electrode materials is
addressing fundamental requirements of the rechargeable
battery market -- fast charge times, long cycle life,
high power output and safe designs. Needless to say
other companies are also working in these areas as
well, however Altair is well positioned with its current
patent portfolio and collaborations with other interested
recent announcement by a battery development organization
has endorsed the direction Altair is taking and validated
that there is a need in the market for fast charge
Li Ion based batteries. Competitive pressures in the
battery market will dictate that there will not be
one sole worldwide supplier.
Development for Altair's Electrode Materials
develops and manufactures electrode materials. These
materials need to be incorporated, by an established
battery designer and manufacturer, into a new generation
of battery. This process requires Altair working closely
with battery manufacturers during their development
and manufacturing introduction of the new battery.
And therefore, the market availability of batteries
based on Altair's electrode materials will be determined
by the pace of the battery manufacturers.
completing the most recent phase of the Electrode
Materials Development program Altair has embarked
on establishing commercial collaborations with battery
manufacturers and battery materials suppliers around
the world. The level of interest in Altair's developments
has been strong in all battery sectors and all geographies.
all mature industries, the battery supply market is
characterized by large and small manufacturers in
all geographies -- the Americas, Europe and the Far
East. The market has new innovative suppliers who
have specialized in certain segments of the market,
who are eager to move rapidly and are keen to generate
market awareness for their developments early on.
Contrast that with established large multi-nationals
who have much to gain/loose with new developments
and therefore will approach the market more cautiously
and deliberately, often keeping new developments under
wraps until they are ready for market. Altair is in
discussions or working with all types of battery suppliers
around the world.
approach to market is to work with identified battery
manufacturers and materials suppliers ranging from
targeted battery solution vendors who see a very specific
application for an Altair powered battery, to broad
based suppliers wishing to build general market batteries
using Altair materials. In addition to worldwide licensing
agreements Altair is pursuing specific sector opportunities
including vertical application markets such as power
tools and electric powered vehicles, as well as targeted
geographic markets like China and India where the
market and manufacturing conditions are different
to the more homogenous western geographies.
Nanotechnologies, through product innovation, is a
leading supplier of advanced ceramic nanomaterial
technology worldwide. Altair Nanotechnologies has
assembled a unique team of material scientists who,
coupled with collaborative ventures with industry
partners and leading academic centers, has pioneered
an impressive array of intellectual property and product
Nanotechnologies has developed robust proprietary
technology platforms for manufacturing a variety of
crystalline and non-crystalline nanomaterials of unique
structure, performance, quality and cost. The company
has a scalable manufacturing capability to meet emerging
nanomaterials demands, with capacity today to produce
hundreds of tons of nanomaterials.
company is organized into two divisions: Life Sciences
and Performance Materials. The Life Sciences Division
is pursuing market applications in pharmaceuticals,
drug delivery, dental materials, cosmetics and other
medical markets. The Performance Materials Division
is pursuing market applications in Advanced Materials
for paints and coatings; titanium metal manufacturing,
catalysts and water treatment; and alternative energy.
For additional information on Altair and its nanomaterials,
Nanotechnologies, Inc.®, Altair Nanomaterials™,
Altairnano™, TiNano®, RenaZorb™, NanoCheck™, TiNano
Spheres™ and the Hydrochloride Pigment Process™ are
trademarks or registered trademarks of Altair Nanotechnologies,
Marty Tullio or Mark Tullio
McCloud Communications, LLC
SOURCE: Altair Nanotechnologies