ZapGo Ltd (Zap&Go) is a high technology business founded in Oxford, UK, in 2013. The goal is to develop the next generation of batteries beyond lithium.
We were founded with energy storage technology licensed from the University of Oxford. Very close to the building where the first lithium-ion batteries were developed 40 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. However, it was apparent that in the demanding world of grid energy storage a more robust solution is needed.
To meet the demands of the grid, we are improving the performance of supercapacitors so they perform like batteries. This is achieved by using different materials than conventional supercapacitors which allow 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. We exclude all rare earth materials in our cells, we do not use any lithium or cobalt, and we do not use anything that can catch fire – excluding all chemical solvents and organic electrolytes.
This not only makes are cells safe, because there is nothing in them that can catch fire no matter how fast they are charged, but also means at the end of life they can be recycled.
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 cells also have a 20-30 year operational life, meaning their total cost of ownership compared to lithium or flow batteries is orders of magnitude lower.
The materials we use are nanocarbons combined with ionic electrolytes. This is important because to improve the energy density the key formula is E= ½CV2 where the energy (E) is determined by half the capacitance (C) multiplied by the (V) voltage squared. The nanocarbons increase the capacitance by providing a uniform ion structure and high surface area, and the ionic electrolytes allow a higher voltage.
Most supercapacitors use organic electrolytes that restrict the voltage to about 2.7V, whereas our current Generation 3 (Gen 3) technology is operating at 3.4V. Because the energy stored is proportional to the voltage squared, our current cells perform about three times (3x) those of conventional supercapacitors.
We call these cells Carbon-Ion™ (C-Ion)® to distinguish them from conventional supercapacitors. Ionic electrolytes are in development that can operate up to 8V, and we have a roadmap to further develop our technology to higher voltages. Our Gen 4 technology provides the lowest cost and most robust grid energy storage solution, our Gen 5 technology provides structural energy storage for the next generation of electric vehicles and our Gen 6 technology is aimed at safer and faster charging mobile phones, appliances and consumer electronics products.
Today we are building a new state-of-the-art R&D facility in Oxford, UK to develop beyond our current Gen 3 Carbon-Ion technology platform. We also have a specialist team located in Charlotte, North Carolina that is developing our grid energy storage solutions and production at an existing lithium-ion manufacturing plant in China.
We have a growing portfolio of our own patents and intellectual property to expand beyond our current electrical grid solutions to produce mobile phones that charge in seconds, cordless appliances like cleaners, drills and hair straighteners that perform as if they were plugged in, and electric vehicles that charge in the same time it takes to fill a tank with fuel today.