Ithaca, NY-based battery developer Primet has received funding to improve lithium-ion anodes.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $650,000 in total to Primet Precision Materials of Ithaca to further the company’s work on developing a more energy-efficient process to manufacture high-end battery materials.

NYSERDA says the funding will also be used for the firm to develop an improved lithium titanate anode material that could improve battery safety and make more efficient rechargeable batteries for a variety of uses, including modular utility electric systems for use at wind and solar generating sites.

Lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries are increasingly being used in smart-grid applications for energy storage, which can store electricity created by renewable resources like wind, solar and hydropower.

Such storage devices are also used to smooth out energy surges and dips, in turn making gas- and oil-fired electric generators more fuel-efficient.

Li-ion batteries are also used in electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as other products.

Primet says it is working on rechargeable battery materials that offer better energy storage than most batteries made today. The materials can also be manufactured at a lower cost. Once manufactured, the materials will be used to make demonstration cells of various sizes.

The NYSERDA funding announced has two facets:

A $400,000 amount received by Primet under NYSERDA’s Innovation in the Manufacturing of Clean Energy Technologies Program, for the company to scale up production of its NanoScission process, a novel particle-processing technology used to produce performance-enhancing battery materials.

NYSERDA says the funding, which is meant to help commercialize technology in the clean energy sector, will allow Primet to grow its process from lab-scale to a continuous NanoScission manufacturing process that can produce tons of materials. The NanoScission process is estimated to require a fourth of the energy used in conventional battery material production, at a third of the cost.

The second part of the funding is a $250,000 amount received in conjunction with the New York Battery Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium, for Primet to continue seeking new markets for its anode materials, a lower-priced alternative to many products on the market today.

NYSERDA says Primet’s product also has the advantage of being produced with a much more energy-efficient process. Primet is a member of NY-BEST.

The NYSERDA funding will leverage an additional $1.5 million in matching funds and in-kind services from Primet.

The funding will result in up to five new positions at the company, with the likelihood of additional production, quality and distribution jobs in the next few years.

“This public-private partnership represents the type of investment, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, that the state is making to ensure a more reliable and energy efficient future for all New Yorkers,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO, NYSERDA. “The energy storage sector is an important component in New York’s cleantech economy, and the investments made today will provide the technology needed for the energy consumers of tomorrow.”

Primet CEO Larry Thomas said he was pleased to see NYSERDA funding a project that bridges the gap between lab research and development and large-scale manufacturing.

“The place where you get an economic benefit is when lab work becomes production work,” Thomas said. “When you start hiring operating technicians and mechanics, that’s when you get the real benefits of job growth.”

Primet was founded in 2004 in Maryland by Robert Dobbs, a materials engineer and current chief technology officer. The company moved in 2005 to Ithaca and is currently headed by CEO Larry Thomas.

Primet has launched NanoScission, a low cost particle processing technology that can be used to produce high-performance battery materials.

Using the NanoScission process, the company is producing electrode materials for the battery industry that help improve performance and lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries.