Pittsburgh, PA, USA – Today, Safe-Li (SFL), a Pittsburgh, PA, based fire-safe lithium battery technology startup announced that they have been selected to participate in Shell’s GameChanger program. Safe-Li is built upon a technology licensed from Arizona State University (ASU) through ASU’s exclusive technology transfer office, Skysong Innovations. 

The Safe-Li technology features patent pending inorganic ceramic separators made from a custom formulated zeolite material for lithium-ion batteries (LIB) with improved safety, and a set of inorganic separators with a tailor-designed intra- and inter-particle pore structure for lithium-metal batteries (LMB) with higher energy density. In addition to preventing thermal runaways and fire, including minimizing or preventing dendrite breakthrough, the technologies also improve battery performance and longevity at higher charge-discharge rates by as much as three to five times. Finally, improved wettability of the separator allows for the use of a fire-retardant liquid electrolyte, further reducing fire risk.

Shell’s GameChanger program works with start-ups and businesses on unproven early-stage ideas that have the potential to impact the future of energy. The GameChanger team provides support, expertise and seed funding, while start-ups maintain independence to make their own decisions. Under this program Safe-Li shall receive a grant to further its fire-safe technology for lithium-ion batteries. At the culmination of the project, Safe-Li expects to have a commercial ready design for a multi-layer pouch cell with energy ratings from 1-10 Ah. Higher energy rating cells from 10-100-1000 Ah are expected to be commercial ready within six months of completion of this program.

“The electrification of our energy consumption is an important and necessary step as we battle climate change and improve sustainability,” said Chetan Chothani, CEO of Safe-Li. “Billions of dollars have been invested in Lithium battery manufacturing infrastructure and our technology is an enabling technology that will help realize the full potential of these investments and indeed help it grow further and faster.”

“A lot of work has been done by many others to solve the thermal runaway problem in Lithium based batteries,” said Dr. Jerry Lin, ASU Regents’ professor, inventor of the technologies and Chief Scientist at Safe-Li. “Most of these require a change in the battery manufacturing process which would require new large-scale investments and re-tooling. We focused our approach towards integrating our technology into existing battery manufacturing systems. By doing this we can leverage the existing manufacturing infrastructure and scale up commercialization and deployment at a much faster rate.”

Safe-Li is now engaging with OEM partners, battery manufacturers and others in the battery and electrification value chain.

About Safe-Li, LLC: Safe-Li (SFL), established in 2022, is a startup that is developing and commercializing a fire-safe Lithium battery technology through its unique membrane solution. This technology will make both Lithium Ion and Lithium Metal solid state batteries virtually fire-safe when coupled with Safe-Li’s unique fire-safe electrolyte.