Five years ago, Jonathan Tan and Roger Basu were looking for an industry where they could use their experience in thin film technology to achieve the best possible and fastest results. They chose the battery, more precisely, degradation and battery life.
It was not, and still is not, an industry without investment, research, or companies that claim to be successful in the field of batteries. But the couple claims to have seen everyone else zigzag.
Tan and Basu, who co-founded California-based startup CorShell in 2017, said they weren’t trying to develop a new battery from scratch as many companies were already working on the costly and time-consuming undertaking.
Instead, they focused on nano-coating technology that could be added to a battery cell manufacturer’s existing manufacturing system. The founders of CorShell said that this coating increases the battery’s usable capacity by 30% or more and improves thermal stability by up to 200%, while reducing costs and improving safety. It can also be applied to batteries with a variety of chemistry and applications, including consumer electronics and electric vehicles.
“We want to be the ‘Intel Inside’ of the battery,” said CorShell CEO Tan gaming-updates. “We want to apply this coating technology directly to the most difficult surfaces in a battery, namely the anode surface and the cathode surface where it comes into contact with the electrolyte.”
CoreShell’s new approach has been backed by various investors, battery manufacturers and even the prestigious dune buggy company Meyers Manx. The advisory tube is also full of experts, including Tesla co-founder Mark Tarpening; Chunmei Bang, professor at the University of Colorado, known for her work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Judith O’Brien, who has made a career of helping companies go public.
The pair first started trading and then went through the Alchemist Accelerator in 2020 to raise some seed capital.
Since then, CorShell has collaborated with BASF on a range of coatings for advanced cathode materials, as well as with other battery cell manufacturers Tan could not name. The company recently raised $12 million in a Series A round led by Trousdale Ventures, Industry Ventures and Helios Capital Ventures. The round also included existing investors Entrada Ventures, Foothill Ventures and Asymmetry Ventures. To date, CorShell has raised $19 million.
CorShell’s relationship with Trousdale Ventures and, in particular, Managing Partner Philip Sarofim also led to a collaboration with Meyers Manx. The Meyers Manx Electric Beach Buggy prototype will be the first vehicle to feature CorShell technology.
Sarofim, who is also president of Meyers Manx, said the partnership is in line with Meyers Manx’s mission to “continue to bring adventure and entertainment to the world, but with even greater performance to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.”
Meyers Max Performance, a collaboration with other battery cell manufacturers and automakers, will enable CoreShell to showcase all of its capabilities at both the cell and device levels, as well as the speed at which it can be applied to vehicles, said Tan, a chemical engineer. . who became a tech business development manager.
The company is also partnering with New Era Converting Machinery to demonstrate how its thin film coating technology can be used in roll-to-roll processing. If successful, Corshall will be able to convince car and battery manufacturers to adopt its technology.
Battery manufacturers use a continuous process called roll-to-roll. “Open the cylindrical cell and you will see what looks like a bead of electrodes,” Tang explained. They are essentially large rolls of electrodes on foil before they are placed in the battery case.
“Obviously, this is too small to start with, but even demonstrating this potential is an important step in order to show: “Hey, you can just put us there and the battery will die.” and can reap the performance benefits of increased capacity. while lowering production costs,” Tan said.
It was this progress that caught Tarpening’s attention.
“It seemed like every six months a breakthrough was announced that would mean a reduction in battery capacity, or price, or whatever — but that never happens,” Tarpenning said. “Part of this is because many of these technologies that work in the lab don’t scale well or require major process changes.”
He liked CorShell because it could be added to existing cell maker operations.
“You can really put it in there and see how it works in an existing factory – and that was a huge achievement for me,” he said. “I thought, wow, well, this is one of those big chicken and egg problems that have just been sorted out.”