15.08.2019 - 09:31

Exclusive Interview with Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One Materials Corp.

Rarely a broad hint is given as strong as this, that a license deal is only a question of time. We have inquired directly with the CEO. To cut a long story short: for Nano One the cash register ...

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Nano One Materials Corp.

Exclusive Interview with Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One Materials Corp.

15.08.2019 - 09:31 by Profiteer

Rarely a broad hint is given as strong as this, that a license deal is only a question of time. We have inquired directly with the CEO. To cut a long story short: for Nano One the cash register could ring already by early 2020!

 

Exclusive Interview with Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One Materials Corp.

Profiteer: Dan, in your latest news release it was mentioned that Nano One has identified and tested a low cost, high purity and high-volume source of iron that enables your process to eliminate an intermediate step in the supply chain. Can you please elaborate a bit more in that regard?

Dan Blondal: Iron phosphate is typically prepared by an upstream supplier and sold to a cathode manufacturer in advance of mixing it with lithium to make LFP. Nano One’s proprietary process enables the preparation of all the ingredients (lithium, iron, phosphorous and carbon) in one mixture, thereby eliminating the iron phosphate middleman and associated costs.

As part of the joint development work, Nano One has identified and evaluated various sources of iron and found a high-volume manufacturer of low cost, high purity iron. The identity of that supplier is of course confidential as is the pricing advantage.

We will work alongside Pulead and their supply chain experts to ensure that the advantageous pricing, quality and volume of supply can be sustained for the projected growth in LFP batteries. From this, we will determine the economic benefits in greater detail, and this will form the basis of royalty, licensing and commercialization talks.

Profiteer: What are the advantages of the carbon coating of LFP cathode material?

Dan Blondal: On its own, LFP is not a very electrically conductive and all producers are obliged to add carbon coatings to increase conductivity. Industry generally applies the carbon after the formation of lithium iron phosphate, requiring extra steps to mix in the carbon, dry it and fire it in a kiln. Nano One adds carbon into its mixture with the lithium, iron and phosphorous. The carbon coats the LFP powders as they form in the furnace, which eliminates costly steps and helps form high performance LFP.

Profiteer: Can you please tell us a bit more in regards to the next milestones of JDA (Joint Development Agreement) and when you want to reach them?

Dan Blondal: Our latest results have exceeded our targets and address milestones laid out early this year by demonstrating that high performance LFP can be made with a low-cost advantage. This meets milestones laid out early this year and our next milestones include larger pilot runs of optimized LFP for third party validation and as discussed, confirmation that favourable supply chain pricing, quality and volume can be sustained over the long run. We are aiming to reach these next milestones in 2019.

Profiteer: How far away are you from a potential licensing deal with Pulead?

Dan Blondal: With larger pilot runs, bigger battery tests and a detailed look at the supply chain, we expect to be determining the size of the royalty early in 2020 with licensing discussions underway.

Profiteer: Is Pulead also a candidate for your "Scaling Advanced Battery Materials" project?

Dan Blondal: Sustainable Development Technology Canada is providing financial support for our Advanced Battery Materials Project and it includes our LFP initiative with Pulead, our high energy NMC initiative and our work with Volkswagen on advanced cathode materials.

Our innovative work and recent patents on NMC should be of interest to anyone looking to differentiate their NMC product line. Pulead would be a natural fit and a possible collaborator. Similarly, our progress on LFP may be of interest to Volkswagen; after all, their largest market is China where they expect LFP to continue playing a dominant role.

Profiteer: How many industrial partners are you currently talking to?

Dan Blondal: We are talking to 20 or so industrial groups, ranging from technology companies to global automotive companies in the lithium ion battery supply chain. As you know we have 5 partners including the three we’ve announced, Saint-Gobain, Pulead and Volkswagen.

Profiteer: At the moment, you have five industrial partners in this project. How many companies are you targeting for your consortium in total and what do they need to bring to the table?

Dan Blondal: Our consortium partners provide the expertise and validation needed to move our technologies towards commercialization. However, we are always developing new relationships, with other LFP, NMC and LMN interests.

LMN is a high voltage, fast charging cathode material that consists of lithium manganese and nickel with no cobalt; it has applications with next generation liquid electrolyte and solid-state batteries. This strengthens our position with existing partners and broadens our commercialization opportunities. The more licensing prospects the better.

Profiteer: Nano One already received almost 5m CAD in government grants out of Canada and was recently approved for 5m CAD funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Are you also planning to apply for government grants in Europe?

Dan Blondal: There are eligible funding programs in Europe, Canada and Asia that could work alongside of what we’ve already put together. In fact, over the last 3 years, we’ve had as many as three Canadian government financial support programs contributing non-dilutive funds in parallel.

Profiteer: How was the feedback of institutional investors at the 39th Annual Growth Conference of Canaccord in Boston?

Dan Blondal: I met with a number of institutional investors while in Boston, some of whom we already know. Everyone is very positive about us hitting our milestones and signing partners like Volkswagen, Saint-Gobain and Pulead. The near-term commercial sightlines on LFP provides investors with comfort in Nano One’s practical ability to execute on its plans and the work with Volkswagen on next gen cathode materials chemistry shows that we are positioned with long-term value for our partners.

Profiteer: Which value inflection points do you see within the next 6-12 months?

Dan Blondal: I see two major inflection points over the coming year.

A license deal or a joint venture on LFP would obviously be a company maker for Nano One. To put it in context, the global LFP market is projected at 200,000 tons per year in 2025 with over $2B in sales. With favourable economics like we are seeing in our most recent results, we could potentially address half of the market and with royalties, for example, between 2 and 5%, we could generate $20-50M per year in licensing revenues. That’s obviously back of the napkin and quite generalized, and of course, there’s lots of work to do, but that’s what gets us up every morning.

The second inflection point could come from collaborative work with our automotive partners, demonstrating that our advanced cathodes and NMC technology address stability, safety and handling issues that are otherwise slowing the mass market adoption of high energy cathode chemistries. Our patents and our approach on making NMC materials sets us apart from others and positions us with unique and valuable technology for the long run.

I look forward to bringing you more news in the coming months.

Profiteer: Thanks for the interview and a lot of success for the future!

 

The translated interview in German can be found here:
Exklusivinterview mit Dan Blondal, CEO von Nano One Materials Corp..

 

 

 

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