Batteries that last longer, without needing the scarce – and controversial – raw material cobalt. This is one of the principal applications for the nano-coatings developed by Delft IMP. Applied on a large scale, this unique technology has the potential to play a significant role in the energy transition, says CEO Roderik Colen. “We can really improve the world.”
Delft IMP is located in YES!Delft Labs on the southern part of the TU Delft Campus. Colen’s office looks out onto NEXT Delft, which is currently under construction and will be home to scale-ups and other companies supported by YES!Delft that are expanding. Next to his desk is a model of the equipment used to apply nano-coatings. The real machines are kept in the lab on the other side of the hallway.
The principle behind nano-coatings is simple: apply a razor-thin protective layer at the atomic level to the powders used in batteries, and they last twice as long. In addition, thanks to these improved properties, cobalt is no longer needed to keep the battery stable. “So, not only can we increase the service life, but we can also save on valuable raw materials that are often mined under appalling conditions,” explains Colen.
Since powders are used in many different materials, nano-coatings can be used for various applications, such as in LED lamps, for example. “They also contain powder: phosphorus. Applying a protective layer increases its heat resistance, which in turn prolongs the service life of the lamp.” Medicines are another example. By applying a nano-coating in a targeted manner, you can make medicines dissolve much more slowly.