The famous and veteran company Kodak (Eastman Kodak Company) founded in 1892 and dedicated to the commercialization of photographic products began a restructuring process that now takes it to the field of batteries for electric vehicles. The American company has announced through a statement that it has acquired a minority stake in Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a San Diego-based technology company that uses proprietary, high-performance methods for the accelerated development of new battery materials. The objective is to manufacture a super battery cell that improves the energy density of current cells by 90%.
The statement was made on July 13, the same day Wildcat announced it had raised $90 million in a Series D funding round, which includes investment from Kodak, as well as Koch Strategic Platforms ( KSP) and Fifth Wall Climate.
Wildcat is developing a number of innovative technologies necessary to formulate the chemical composition of a “super cell” for electric vehicles that will represent an innovation in the sector. The result, according to the statement, will be a disruptive cell, as it combines three Wildcat proprietary technologies that are currently under development. include a nickel and cobalt free high energy cathodea solid-state electrolyte compound and a lithium metal anode.
This next generation battery cell aims at an improvement of over 90% of the energy density of today’s best batteries, which could accelerate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. All innovative components are being developed with materials conflict free both those related to the location, abundance and working conditions of its extraction, which reduces the dependence of the supply chain on both nickel and cobalt.
Kodak’s investment will be used to support the rapid development of new technology, with the aim of having the super cell ready for sale in two years. In collaboration with Wildcat, the American company has also signed an agreement to provide its Engineering services to develop and scale film coating technologies. This part of the process is critical to the safety and reliability of Wildcat battery technology. In return, Kodak will have certain rights to negotiate a production or license agreement with Wildcat at the time the technology reaches commercial scale.
Kodak’s technology for photographic film adapts to batteries
Kodak thus capitalizes on its expertise in coating technologies, developed over decades for film manufacturing. Kodak’s investment represents industrial reuse of its group of materials and advanced chemical products, which have their application and their opportunity in the growing market of batteries. In recent years, Kodak has been using its pilot facility for the coating materials on substrates for electric vehicles, storage batteries and fuel cells also having a wide variety of customers.
kodak is now expanding the capacity of this pilot facility with new small-scale coating machinery that will be fully operational in early 2023. In addition, the company has announced that it has repurposed a large-scale production coating machine to manufacture coated substrates for the cathode and anode assembly. Kodak has started supplying this material to a battery manufacturer and is in the process of increasing production levels, with a maximum capacity of up to 80 million square meters per year.
According to Kodak CEO and CEO Jim Continenza, “This investment in Wildcat reflects Kodak’s commitment to building new businesses by leveraging our existing skills and infrastructure. Coating substrates is a critical aspect of battery manufacturing and no one is better at coating than Kodak.” The collaboration with Wildcat gives the company the opportunity to offer more powerful and secure solutions “for applications such as energy storage by actively participating in this fast-growing market,” adds Continenza.