November 8, 2021

Automat Solutions - how to find the “golden eggs” of EV batteries through AI and Robotics

Leo Liu and Teng Zeng

Why Automat Solutions

The New California executive order requires that all the in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks be zero-emission by 2035. With promotions on sustainable energy, the electric vehicle (EVs) era has officially begun. The battery is an essential component in this industry. As demand for battery quality rises, raw materials become more relevant to the success of an EV product.

Today, companies exploit the Edisonian approach in their R&D phases; the “trial and error” phase makes the entire development process highly time-consuming and costly. To overcome this obstacle, there is a need for the industry to investigate ways to speed up the R&D process for raw material recipes.

Powered by the AI engine hunting for the best recipies, Automat's high-throughput screening robotics can automate chemical lab experiments in large scale and high efficiency.

 

It takes 7-14 years of R&D and 3-6 years of validation to discover new materials manually. The self-driving platform will reduce the discovery time from 10-20 years to 1-2 years. Automat Solutions provides the technology that enables companies to find new materials and generate recipes for batteries in a much shorter time.

Automat’s software can predict the conductivity of a given new electrolyte and actively search for new electrolytes that have higher ionic conductivity. Automat Solutions’ high-throughput screening system can test and match these advanced electrolytes with raw materials (for example, lithium metal anode) to create recipes for high-density-energy batteries. These high-density-energy batteries can charge faster and last longer at a lower cost.

Besides generating existing recipes, Automat’s software can also “recommend” a potential recipe formula through machine learning and AI. Once a possible recipe appears, the machine examines and records the sample data into its database and notifies the technicians to execute appropriate protocols. By utilizing high throughput screening that runs up to 96 samples simultaneously, Automat Solutions created more efficient machinery for discovering novel raw materials.

The foundation of Automat Solutions

Besides the cutting-edge innovation from Automat Solutions, the TSVC Deeptech team was confident in the solid background of the founding team. The CEO of Automat Solution, Dr. Leon Wang, studied battery and electrochromic materials at Tsinghua University. Before his time at Automat Solution, he also worked with companies within the EV battery industry. In the mid-2010s, he led Seeo in lithium battery development. Later, he joined Heliotrope Technology and was responsible for electrolyte development. With 15 years of experience in battery materials, Dr. Leon saw the opportunity to develop a non-traditional method to discover raw materials, which led him to found Automat Solution in 2021.

Dr. Jason Wang (no relation with Dr. Leon Wang) studied robotic development at Peking University. Before his time as the COO of Automat Solutions, he had 20 years of experience in high throughput robotic development. In the early stage of Automat Solutions, he successfully introduced and marketed Automat’s R&D equipment in China. He received recognition in the HTS (High Throughput Screening) field from Chinese academic research institutions.

With their vision and professionalism, Dr. Leon and Dr. Jason created cutting-edge technologies that combined with material science and robotics. While Automat Solutions is at the forefront of the EV era, it discovers battery material recipes among the nearly infinite possible combinations of new materials. We are confident that Dr. Leon Wang and Dr. Jason Wang will develop materials for longer-range and lower-cost batteries. 

TSVC Conviction

TSVC holds constant interests in cross-disciplinary technology commercialization with aids of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). Tremendous academic progress has been made for the past 30 years and it is time to harvest. Automat Solutions, for instance, is a perfect example of material discovery with AI + robotics. Sophisticated AI algorithms enhance effectiveness and high throughput screenings increase efficiency in discovering new and desired electrolytes for batteries, both solid-state and regular lithium-ion. However, solid-state batteries may be difficult to reach the market full scale within the next 5-10 years, despite the current hype. To sync with the market, Automat Solutions is partnering with lithium-ion batteries manufacturers to provide raw materials at the current stage, seizing profits and maintaining its business. Yet, with its built mass production capability and core algorithms, Automat Solutions may pivot to solid-state batteries electrolyte providers seamlessly. 

 

https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/journals/the_supply_chain_for_electric_vehicle_batteries.pdf

https://semiengineering.com/why-ev-battery-design-is-so-difficult/

https://www.automatsoln.com/

https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/23/governor-newsom-announces-california-will-phase-out-gasoline-powered-cars-drastically-reduce-demand-for-fossil-fuel-in-californias-fight-against-climate-change/

Read the original article