- Meta Materials, an inventor, designer, developer, and manufacturer of sustainable, highly functional materials, recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all the assets and intellectual property of Optodot Corporation
- The acquisition will expand Meta’s proprietary portfolio of battery materials with Optodot’s NPORE(R) separators that enhance thermal stability – and therefore battery safety – and electrochemical performance
- Lithium-ion batteries power all-electric vehicles but are linked to many problems, including but not limited to overheating and flammability, short life spans, and underperformance, and Optodot’s technology addresses these problems
Meta Materials (NASDAQ: MMAT) (FSE: MMAT), a global company that invents, designs, develops, and manufactures sustainable, highly functional materials that enable leading brands to deliver breakthrough products to their customers in consumer electronics, automotive, clean energy, aerospace, health and wellness, and 5G communications, recently expanded its capacity for innovation and product development even further with a strategic acquisition that targets the global lithium-ion battery separators market projected to reach $9.0 billion in 2025, which is up from $5.1 billion in 2021.
Captured in a definitive agreement between itself and Optodot Corporation (“Optodot”), the acquisition will see Meta Materials purchase substantially all of the assets and intellectual property, including 67 issued and 22 pending patents. Under the terms of the agreement, Meta Materials will pay a total consideration of $48.5 million, comprising $3.5 million in cash and $45 million of MMAT shares of common stock. The transaction, which strengthens Meta’s portfolio of proprietary battery materials, is expected to close in June, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
Given current projections and problems linked with the use of electric vehicles (“EV”), the acquisition could not have come at a better time. Consultants Ernst & Young, for instance, predict that electric vehicle sales in Europe, China, and the U.S, the world’s largest automotive markets, will outpace other engines sooner than initially anticipated. By 2045, the projections show, non-EV sales will have declined to less than 1% of overall sales (https://ibn.fm/WlOav). But as a 2021 Forbes article notes, consumers must be wary of battery safety before thinking of buying or driving off with an EV (https://ibn.fm/HKNKc).
“Lithium-ion batteries power every electric vehicle on the road. But there are problems with these batteries: overheating and flammability, short life spans and underperformance, toxicity, and logistics challenges, such as proper disposal and transportation,” reads the Forbes article.
Optodot understood these problems and has been developing technologies that address them: its NPORE(R) battery separators have undergone various iterations and improvements. The first generation separators commonly used today are made by coating a plastic substrate with ceramic material on one or both sides. The second-generation separators, known as NPORE(R) ceramic separators, utilize a flexible, free-standing ceramic nanoporous membrane separator for lithium-ion batteries, which does not contain a plastic substrate. They boast less than 1% heat shrinkage for better battery safety, 5x higher thermal conductivity than plastic separators, and flame resistance. They also have high electrochemical performance with superior abuse resistance (https://ibn.fm/yQS6l).
Developed with funding by the Department of Energy (“DOE”), Optodot’s third-generation NPORE(R) Electrode Coated Separator (“ECS”) technology aims to improve energy and power density, battery longevity, and safety while reducing the cost of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries and the inactive components by 20-40%. The technology incorporates new inactive components and uses a simpler, faster battery assembly process.
“Optodot has developed disruptive, high-performance ceramic nanomaterials in partnership with leading battery and medical equipment OEMs. Through this strategic acquisition, METAexpands its nanomaterials library and core expertise to address key challenges in battery safety and other applications, opening multi-billion-dollar markets,” said Meta Materials President and CEO George Palikaras.
Over the last two decades, Optodot has been pioneering technologies that improve the safety of batteries in partnership with leading U.S. government agencies, innovative start-ups, and leading OEMs. So far, Optodot has worked with LG Chem and is a portfolio company of LG Technology Ventures. In addition, the company has collaborated with leading battery companies and global automotive OEMs.
Following the definitive agreement with Meta Materials, Optodot is optimistic about the future. “Our complementary technologies and partnerships will help accelerate market adoption in EVs and other industries. We look forward to leveraging each firm’s combined expertise and technology and the benefits of scale and visibility, which META will bring to the Optodot platform,” commented Dr. Steve Carlson, President and CEO of Optodot.
Through its PLASMAfusion(TM) technology, META creates thin coated copper current collectors that result in an 80% reduction in weight and inhibit thermal runaway. And, according to the company, Optodot products can be combined and coated with the technology.
As global companies such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) (which has committed to adding 100,000 EVs by 2040), Unilever (LON: ULVR) (which is working to electrify its fleet by 2030) and Walmart (NASDAQ: WMT) (which intends to convert its fleet to 100% EVs 2040) embrace EVs to drive their Environmental Social Governance (“ESG”) agendas, the existence of safer EV battery technologies will be a substantial boost to these efforts.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.MetaMaterial.com.