Meta Materials Inc., a developer of functional materials and high-performance nanocomposites, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets and intellectual property, including 67 issued patents and 22 pending patents, from Optodot Corporation for a total of $48.5 million, comprising $3.5 million in cash and $45 million in META 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 to co-develop, license and scale the manufacturing 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 plant in Thurso, Quebec.
META will bolster its proprietary portfolio of battery materials with NPORE nano-composite ceramic separators to improve the safety, performance and cost of electric vehicles. Other potential applications for NANOPORE nanoporous membrane technology include ultrafiltration and metamaterial-based medical devices.
The race for electrification and a new world in which electricity replaces petrol and diesel has only just begun. Consumers want electric vehicles with increased range and fast charging to get back on the road quickly. Batteries must be reliable and safe, while reducing costs to drive wider adoption.
Optodot has developed disruptive and high-performance ceramic nanomaterials in partnership with leading battery and medical equipment manufacturers. Through this strategic acquisition, META expands its nanomaterials library and core expertise to address key battery safety challenges and other applications, unlocking multi-billion dollar markets.
—George Palikaras, President and CEO of META
The global lithium-ion battery separator market was estimated at USD 5.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 9.0 billion in 2025 (Source: Yano Research Institute Ltd.). Separator shipments were approximately 5.5 billion square meters in 2021 and are expected to reach 15.9 billion square meters in 2025 (Source: SNE Research). About 15 million m2 are needed per GWh of battery capacity (10-20 million m2depending on battery configuration).
Optodot has licensed its 1st Generation boehmite ceramic battery patents to LG Chem in 2016; Optodot is also a portfolio company of LG Technology Ventures. Optodot’s development projects have been funded by the US Department of Energy and Defense, and it is currently a contractor to a US Navy Phase II SBIR project run by Imperia Batteries, a division of Physical Sciences Inc.
Optodot has worked with a range of companies, including global automotive OEMs and leading battery companies. Development work is also being conducted at the Central Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing and Processing Facility at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In the field of infrared optical coatings, Optodot security marking technology is authorized by a global manufacturer of medical equipment to prevent the use of counterfeit consumables.
Background. A battery separator – a porous membrane placed between the electrodes of a battery – prevents contact between 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 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 a ceramic material. Second-generation NPORE nano-ceramic separators eliminate the use of plastic substrates and provide best-in-class dimensional stability with
In March 2021, Optodot was granted U.S. Patent No. 10,950,837, titled “Battery Production Methods Using Direct Anode Metal Deposition on Nanoporous Separators.” Third-generation NPORE ECS Electrode Coated Separator technology, developed with DOE funding, aims to reduce the manufacturing cost of lithium-ion batteries and the cost of idle components by 20-40 percent, while improving safety, battery life life and the energy and power density of the batteries. .
NPORE ECS incorporates new inactive components of separator, current collectors and termination materials, and uses a simpler and faster battery assembly process. With ECS, electrodes – for example, lithium metal anodes – are directly deposited on the separator to form a separator/electrode stack.