ITRI Grants Taiwan Mitsui Chemicals Exclusive License to Manufacture and Sell STOBA™
-- STOBATM Curbs Thermal Runaway to Prevent Lithium-ion Battery Fires --

September 29, 2014
Industrial Technology Research Institute
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.
Taiwan Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.

On September 16th, the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (“ITRI”; President: Jyuo-Min Shyu) signed an exclusive license agreement with Taiwan Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (President: Takeshi Hiraiwa), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (President & CEO: Tsutomu Tannowa), allowing it to manufacture and distribute ITRI’s STOBA™, the world’s only technology※1 to prevent hazardous lithium-ion battery (LIB) thermal runaway which can lead to explosions and fires.

※ITRI: Industrial Technology Research Institute
※1: Studies by ITRI and Mitsui Chemicals

ITRI, Taiwan’s largest and leading R&D institution, developed this groundbreaking technology, with support from the Taiwan government, using nonconventional mechanisms and innovative materials to prevent thermal runaway of LIBs. In 2009, ITRI’s technology to enhance the safety of LIBs, STOBA™ (self-terminated oligomers with hyper-branched architecture) was recognized by R&D Magazine and awarded the “2009 R&D 100 Award in Energy Devices”.
From 2012, ITRI in collaboration with Mitsui Chemicals undertook joint development and feasibility studies.

STOBA™ is a functional polymer with dendritic (hyper branch) nano-sized structures which forms films when internal temperatures of LIBs increase abnormally, thereby preventing migration of lithium ions and inhibiting further temperature increase, allowing safe termination of the battery. This technology is already used in Taiwan in electronic instruments such as smartphones and personal mobility vehicles (PMV) which require high safety standards.

With the increase of larger-scale, high energy (higher output and high capacity) applications, such as electric vehicles, safety of LIBs is a top priority, pressing issue. In addition, with market growth of high-risk, high-energy-based cathode active materials, the need for safe batteries will grow significantly. “STOBATM inside” will significantly contribute to safety and reliability of LIBs and bolster market expansion.
By fiscal 2016, Mitsui Chemicals will establish a manufacturing base for STOBATM in Taiwan. The Company targets fusion of its proprietary polymer and composite technologies to further enhance STOBA™ by improving manageability and usability. Mitsui Chemicals also plans to develop proprietary LIB materials using STOBATM technology.

Official Comments

Fuh, Wea-shyang, Deputy Director General, Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT),Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)

“High-safety STOBA™batteries have attracted considerable interest among lithium-ion battery producers around the world since 2009. Four local lithium-ion battery makers – E-One Moli Energy Corp., Amita Technologies Inc., SYNergy ScienTech Corp., and Lion-tech Corp. – produce batteries using this technology and have received orders from Japan for battery cells used in uninterruptible power systems and mobile power sources. They have also cooperated with foreign automakers in the development of batteries for electric vehicles. I hope that the licensing of this technology to Mitsui Chemicals Group will boost the international visibility of Taiwan's battery cell makers and the STOBA™ inside batteries, helping to strengthen international competitiveness and establish a high-safety, high-quality lithium-ion battery industry in Taiwan.”

Jyuo-Min Shyu, President, ITRI

“Mitsui Chemicals is one of Japan's leading chemical companies, having engaged in the development of chemical materials and products along with extensive experiences in mass production. Mitsui Chemicals also maintains a close relationship with a number of international automakers. I expect the licensing STOBA™ technology to Mitsui Chemicals Group will help promote the image of STOBA™ inside batteries around the world through the relationship between Mitsui Chemicals Group and automotive industry. This will enable the STOBA™ technology to be used in an international brand name and throughout the supply chain, underpinning the development of the battery industry in Taiwan.”

Mr. Yoshio Nishi (2014 Charles Stark Draper Prize Recipient )

“As LIBs use an organic electrolyte solution, the risk of fire from thermal runaway by battery misuse is high. STOBA™, developed by ITRI, is an outstanding material in suppression of hazardous thermal runaway. The first time I encountered STOBA™, I remembered the words of the American science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark, “Highly developed scientific technology cannot be distinguished from magic”. I congratulate Mitsui Chemicals Group for having been granted this license and I am confident that the Company has the ability to quickly turn it into a great business chance.”

Shigeru Isayama, Managing Executive Officer, Mitsui Chemicals

“Mitsui Chemicals has targeted the three business domains of mobility, healthcare, and food and packaging as high growth areas. ITRI’s STOBA™ will bolster Mitsui Chemicals’ strength in the mobility domain through its characteristic mechanisms and their potential to respond to wide market demands for safety. Through this exclusive license for STOBA™ technology, we target bolstering performance through our state-of-the-art polymer science technology and the creation of a new global safety standard for lithium-ion batteries. I look forward to greatly contributing to the development of cell-related industries in Taiwan.”

About ITRI

ITRI is one of the world’s leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Based on its long-term partnership with various industry sectors, ITRI offers a wide range of services, from technical to business consultation, to the international community– such as contract research, product and process development, and pilot runs for technological upgrades; IP strategy and licensing, industrial analysis, and talent training for hi-tech business; and the open lab and incubation for new ventures and emerging industries. The Institute has also incubated more than 240 innovative companies since 1973, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. Headquartered in Taiwan, ITRI has five branch offices in Silicon Valley, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, and Eindhoven to extend its R&D innovation across the globe.


ITRI Grants TMCI Exclusive License to Manufacture and Sell STOBA™ (PDF : 436KB)PDF