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Phoenix Innovation Polyphosphonate Electrolyte

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  • RemyC
    From: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/pdf/50_sum04.pdf via: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/html/pubs.htm#updatelist SAFETY FIRST: IMPROVED POLYMER
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2004
      From: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/pdf/50_sum04.pdf
      via: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/html/pubs.htm#updatelist

      SAFETY FIRST: IMPROVED POLYMER ELECTROLYTE RETARDS FLAME

      Polymer magic. A polymer chain containing phosphorus makes a highly
      conductive, flame retarding electrolyte for use in batteries. "This would
      not have happened had it not been for MDA funding."
      -Dr. Brian G. Dixon
      President
      Phoenix Innovation

      Powerful and lightweight, rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries still have
      a problem to overcome: they are flammable. A new class of polymer recently
      invented may not only improve voltage but also enhance safety.

      Phoenix Innovation, Inc. (Wareham, MA), directly as a result of work
      performed under MDA SBIR contracts, has patented a polyphosphonate
      electrolyte that offers higher conductivity than traditional polyethylene
      oxide electrolyte used in lithium-polymer batteries.

      As an important bonus, company chemists discovered that the same element
      that improved conductivity also retarded flammability. The combination of
      higher power density and lower risk is of huge interest to the mobile power
      and electric vehicle industry.

      "This would not have happened had it not been for MDA funding," said Dr.
      Brian G. Dixon, Phoenix president and co-founder. "We wouldn't have anything
      to talk about." In 2001, MDA awarded a Phase I SBIR contract to the company
      to investigate methods for producing highly conductive polymer electrolyte
      and immediately followed up with a Phase II SBIR contract to focus more on
      actual production techniques of liquid polymer electrolyte in a pouch
      battery.

      Phoenix is working closely with several other corporations on development
      and commercialization of the technology. Originally, Phoenix wanted to focus
      on making a solid high-voltage polymer electrolyte. Solid electrolyte offers
      the prospect of a lighter weight battery because in principle it would not
      need a containment vessel.

      However, liquid has an order of magnitude higher ionic conductivity than
      solid. In other words, it is much easier and more effective to charge and
      recharge through a liquid electrolyte than a solid when dealing with
      lithium-polymer batteries.

      So in pursuing their discovery, company chemists decided to focus in on the
      safety and power density aspects and were less concerned about the liquid
      versus solid issue.

      The technology does have potential to transition to solid and Phoenix
      intends to work towards that objective. Phosphorus is the key to the
      equation. Phoenix chemists found that if the "backbone" of a polymer chain
      contained phosphorus moieties, the electrolyte retained excellent properties
      of high voltage stability and flame retardance.

      Traditional polymer electrolytes can be made more stable and flame
      retardant, but only by including additives that compromise performance and
      add weight. The result is higher power density with low risk. Phoenix
      chemists estimate that in the same volume as a traditional 3-volt cell, the
      improved polymer electrolyte could push a battery voltage up to somewhere
      between 4.5 and 4.8 volts.

      According to Dixon, the limiting factor is not the electrolyte but rather
      the cathode. Phoenix has developed what it feels is a superior anode
      technology, and is currently working with a company with compatible cathode
      technology. Making lithium-polymer batteries is not an easy task.

      There is a transition process in which the lessons learned in the
      laboratory, where batteries are carefully handcrafted one at a time, have to
      be translated into high-volume mass production.

      Because Phoenix is a small company, it is most actively exploring the
      possibility of either licensing its patents or partnering on a formal basis
      with a larger firm. However, it is also open to the possibility of growing
      into a larger company as the lithium battery market evolves, and towards
      that end recently advertised for experienced managers and engineers with
      production expertise.
      -A. Gruen

      CONTACT INFORMATION:
      Dr. Brian G. Dixon
      Phoenix Innovation, Inc.
      20 Patterson Brook Road
      PO Box 550
      Wareham, MA 02576
      Tel: (508) 291-4375
      Fax: (508) 291-6307
      E-mail: bdixon@ phoenixinnov.com
      Web: http://www.phoenixinnov.com
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