Novonix Battery Testing Solutions, which emerged from research conducted at Dalhousie University by Jeff Dahn, is receiving a $1 million loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to buy specialized equipment for its production facility in Burnside Industrial Park.

Brisbane, Australia-based Novonix Ltd. bought the company now called Novonix BTS in 2017, with Chinese battery company CATL also signing on as an investor. Novonix BTS continues to be based in Bedford, and its parent company trades on the Nasdaq.

Novonix BTS will use the ACOA money to pilot a method for cathode material production. In a battery, the cathode is the positively charged portion through which electricity exits.

“We have been critically focused on technologies and materials that support long-life, high-performance applications,” said Novonix CEO Chris Burns in a press release.

“This contribution will help us move more quickly and bring equipment and people to the team to work towards demonstrating the scalability of our cathode synthesis technology.”

Novonix BTS Co-Founders Burns and David Stevens, both PhDs who worked under Dahn, founded Novonix BTS to develop a product that could reduce the time needed to test the life of large lithium-ion batteries, like the ones used in Tesla sports cars.

Dahn, meanwhile, continues to collaborate with Tesla on research and development projects, and last February, it was announced that he was Novonix Ltd.’s new Chief Scientific Advisor.

In the summer of 2015, Dahn's lab at Dal made headlines by signing a five-year research partnership with Tesla, marking the first collaboration between the American automaker and a Canadian university.

And last summer, Texas energy giant Phillips 66 paid US$150 million, or about C$188 million, for a 16 percent stake in Novonix BTS’s Australian parent company.

Novonix shares on the Nasdaq, which have been in a gradual decline since December, rose more than 8 percent Wednesday to US$3.76.

Novonix has 55 employees in Nova Scotia and hopes to have 100 within a year. It began moving its operations to a 35,000 square foot facility in Burnside last week, but will still maintain a team at its older Bedford location.

Counting the Cathode materials it is currently developing, Novonix will soon have three main product offerings — all battery components.


Dislosure: ACOA is a client of Entrevestor.