Meta Materials Inc., a developer of high-performance functional materials and nanocomposites, signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets and intellectual property, including 67 issued and 22 pending patents, of Optodot Corporation for an aggregate of $48.5 million, comprising $3.5 million in cash and $45 million of META shares of common stock.
Optodot is a developer and licensor of nano-composite battery separators and infrared optical coating technologies, based in Devens, Massachusetts. The acquisition is expected to close in June, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
META’s Advanced Materials and Battery Products group will continue joint development, licensing, and manufacturing scale-up of Optodot’s technology in partnership with leading OEMs. Optodot products can be combined and coated with META’s PLASMAfusion technology, and META plans to expand capacity at its facility in Thurso, Québec.
META will strengthen its proprietary portfolio of battery materials with NPORE nano-composite ceramic separators to enhance safety, performance, and cost in electric vehicles. Additional potential applications for NANOPORE nanoporous membrane technology include ultrafiltration and medical metamaterial devices.
The race to electrification and a new world in which electricity replaces gasoline and diesel is just getting started. Consumers want EVs with increased range and rapid charging to get back on the road quickly. Batteries need to be reliable and safe, while reducing cost to drive wider adoption.
Optodot has developed disruptive, high-performance ceramic nanomaterials in partnership with leading battery and medical equipment OEMs. Through this strategic acquisition, META expands its nanomaterials library and core expertise to address key challenges in battery safety and other applications, opening multi-billion-dollar markets.
—George Palikaras, President and CEO META
The global market for lithium-ion battery separators was an estimated $5.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $9.0 billion in 2025 (Source: Yano Research Institute Ltd.). Separator shipments were about 5.5 billion square meters in 2021 and are projected to reach 15.9 billion square meters in 2025 (Source: SNE Research). About 15 million m2 are required per GWh of battery capacity (10-20 million m2, depending on the battery configuration).
Optodot licensed its 1st Generation boehmite ceramic battery patents to LG Chem in 2016; Optodot is also a portfolio company of LG Technology Ventures. Optodot development projects have been funded by the US Department of Energy and Defense Department, and it is currently a subcontractor on a US Navy Phase II SBIR project led by Imperia Batteries, a division of Physical Sciences Inc.
Optodot has collaborated with a range of companies, including global automotive OEMs and leading battery companies. Development work is also conducted at the Roll-to-Roll Fabrication and Processing core facility at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In the field of infrared optical coatings, Optodot security marking technology is licensed by a global medical equipment manufacturer to prevent the use of counterfeit consumables.
Background. A battery separator—a porous membrane placed between the electrodes of a battery—prevents contact between the anode and cathode while facilitating the transport of lithium ions. The challenge in designing safe battery separators is to optimize porosity and ion transport, reduce the weight and thickness of inactive materials, while maintaining thermal and mechanical stability.
First generation separators are typically made by coating a plastic substrate on one or both sides with ceramic material. Second Generation NPORE nano-ceramic separators eliminate the use of plastic substrate and provide best-in-class dimensional stability with
In March 2021, Optodot was issued US Patent No. 10,950,837, titled “Methods of Producing Batteries Using Anode Metal Depositions Directly on Nanoporous Separators.” Third Generation NPORE ECS Electrode Coated Separator technology, developed with funding by the DOE, aims to reduce the cost of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries and the inactive components cost by 20-40%, while improving battery safety, lifetime, and energy and power density.
NPORE ECS incorporates new inactive components of separator, current collectors, and termination materials, and utilizes a simpler and faster battery assembly process. With ECS, electrodes-for example, lithium metal anodes-are directly deposited onto the separator to form a separator/electrode stack.