Carbon-Ion Energy is developing and bringing to market the next generation of batteries: beyond lithium

Carbon-Ion was founded to build on research conducted at the materials science group at the University of Oxford. Carbon-Ion has a state of the art R&D centre in Oxford located close to the building where the first lithium-ion batteries were developed 50 years ago. Today these lithium and cobalt based batteries are in widespread use, in our phones, laptops, cordless appliances and power tools, and also in electric vehicles. But the base materials such as cobalt are increasingly challenging to source, and recycling these batteries is difficult. As these batteries become more widely used, there are also greater risks of fire.

Now the world needs the battery for the next 50 years, and our goal is to develop a new category of energy storage device called Carbon-Ion or C-Ion. One that is safer, faster charging, does not use rare-earth materials and can be recycled at the end of life.

C-Ion are electrostatic or capacitive energy storage devices that use different materials to conventional supercapacitors and are designed to solve three world problems:

Grid energy storage

National grids need to modernize to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, grid energy storage is essential to buffer intermittent energy generation from renewables such as wind and solar and also to provide applications such as high rate DC charging for electric vehicles. C-Ion provides very high power, essential for fast frequency response and high rate DC EV charging (350kW, 450kW, 1,500kW or above) and can be used in combination with lithium or flow batteries – hybrid systems – to provide cost effective grid energy storage solutions that are the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in class.

Electric Vehicles

Drivers are use to filling a tank in a gasoline, petrol or diesel vehicle in 5-minutes and then being able to drive sometimes 500 miles or more before they have to fill up again. When they do, it is just another 5- minutes to re-fuel. Carbon-Ion believes that for drivers to switch to electric vehicles they will demand the same experience and Carbon-Ion’s C-Ion technology makes this possible. Also as C-Ion can be safely built into the structure of the vehicle it is orders of magnitude cheaper than the complex lithium packs currently used.

Mobile phones and connected devices

The glass on the front of mobile phones smashes when you drop it. The next generation of mobile phones and connected devices are designed to be foldable or bendable, so will not have this glass. But the glass provides the structural integrity, so how is the device structure maintained without the glass? C-Ion produced in a structural form can not only provide this structural integrity for future foldable devices, but also provide a much faster charging experience so devices will charge in seconds, not hours.

C-Ion is about improving the performance of supercapacitors so they perform like batteries. This is achieved by using different materials than conventional supercapacitor which all us to retain a long life, excellent power density and fast charging capability of supercapacitors, but also have the energy density of the best performing batteries.  C-Ion uses a combination of nano-carbon, polyofins and naturally derived materials combined with ionic electrolytes.  No flammable chemical solvents are used in manufacturing, only water based processes. This not only makes C-Ion very safe, because it is not flammable, but also makes C-Ion easier to recycle at the end of life. 

However most importantly they can be manufactured in volume using existing battery giga-factories and supply chains, but without the most expensive components like the lithium and cobalt.  Our C-Ion cells are designed for a 30 year operational life and 1 million charge/discharge cycles.