KULR Technology emerges as leading provider of NASA-grade electronics and lithium-ion battery safety solutions


The California company's carbon fiber thermal-management technologies, developed with NASA's help, serve electric transportation, energy storage, battery safety, 5G infrastructure, cloud computing, aerospace, and defense applications

ISC - KULR Technology Group Inc

Quick facts: ISC

Price: 19.2 CAD

Market: TSX
Market Cap: $336 m
  • Pioneer in thermal (cooling) management technology with its carbon fiber thermal interface material 
  • Tapped by NASA for Mars Rover mission and safe-battery storage aboard International Space Station  
  • Branching into EV and smartphones markets as consumers seek cooler, lighter, and safer products  

What the company does:  

KULR Technology Group Inc (OCTQB:KULR) develops, manufactures, and licenses next-generation carbon fiber thermal-management technologies for batteries and electronic systems. 

The San Diego-based company’s technology enables leading aerospace, electronics, E-mobility, energy storage, 5G infrastructure, and electric vehicle manufacturers to make their products cooler, lighter, and safer for users and consumers.

The company is a pioneer in thermal management technology and battery safety, built upon its carbon fiber thermal interface material. The material offers superior thermal conductivity and heat dissipation properties. It is also ultra-lightweight and flexible that it can fit most power or electronic configurations. It is designed for space exploration and defense applications, where efficient cooling is paramount.

Simply put, KULR’s technology is all about keeping things cool and in order -- so lithium-ion batteries or cells don’t overheat, catch fire, explode, and cause a catastrophic fire or worse -- whether it’s aboard a spaceship to Mars or inside a simple smartphone. Underscoring this technology are two flagship products that standout -- KULR’s Passive Propagation Resistant (PPR) battery design (cooler and safer battery module or pack) and Thermal Runaway Shield (TRS) (battery enclosure)

KULR’s carbon fiber technology acts as a firewall between batteries/cells to encapsulate the initial faulty cell (and subsequent fire, if it happens) while keeping the others around it cool and safe. But heat needs to be dissipated --- so the removal of heat is important not only for performance but also for longevity as well, as consistently high temperatures over time can degrade batteries.

KULR developed its cooling technology with help from NASA for regulating extreme temperatures of sensitive components in space. Today, the company has manufactured custom-designed heat sinks (channels heat away) and thermal management products for two NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory space missions — Mars Perseverance Rover and the return to the Moon in 2025. Its technology also is being used on the International Space Station and the Mercury Messenger project.

In fact, the company has more than 30 contracts with NASA and deals with the Department of Transportation, US Air Force, and other government agencies in projects that are critical to the country's national security interests. 

How it is doing:

In the second half of 2020, the company continued to strengthen its partnership with NASA as the space agency sends the company’s technology to Mars and other extra-territorial missions.

The Mars Perseverance Rover mission, which launched July 30, is carrying KULR’s thermal management material to be used on the Rover’s SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environment with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals instrument) that scans the dirt on the Red Planet for past life. The Rover is expected to land on February 18, 2021.

Since the launch, KULR has landed two more NASA contracts. 

Its safe storage, fireproof pouches that use its passive propagation resistant Thermal Runaway Shield (TRS) technology will be used onboard the Orion spacecraft as it transports crew to and from the International Space Station. The pouches will hold and protect Microsoft Surface Pro 5 hybrid notebook computers, given that they run lithium-ion batteries. The technology also will be used in future NASA launches. 

In addition, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has awarded the company a contract to build 3D-printed battery systems for manned and robotic space applications. The company’s passive propagation resistant (PPR) and internal short circuit (ISC) technologies will be used to develop battery systems -- while in space -- that meet the safety standard created by NASA for crewed space missions.

Advancing its tight links to the US government, KLUR also is teaming with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to supply it with the company’s ISC and testing device technologies. KULR's devices will address the alarming increase in smoke and fire incidents aboard an aircraft due to passengers' malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries. 

Outside the US, the company is partnering with Airbus Defense and Space to provide its passive propagation resistant battery design solutions for ongoing research into lithium-ion battery testing and safety for flight applications. 

While space and aviation comprise a large part of KULR’s focus and development, the company in recent months has been moving to tap into the potentially lucrative and game-changing electrical vehicle market.    

KULR will supply its carbon fiber thermal interface material to Drako Motors, a Silicon Valley manufacturer of the high-performance electric supercar Drako GTE. Drako Motors will utilize KULR’s made-for-space technology as part of the thermal management system in the luxury Drako GTE, which carries a 1,200 horsepower quad motor that can hit 206 mph. 

The company also is moving into the smartphone market by striking a legally binding memorandum of understanding with a global electronics component and battery manufacturer that supplies components for Apple's iPhone and other smartphones. The parties plan to pursue business relationships building on KULR's ISC battery testing technology. KULR also can license its TRS technology to its new partner in a commercial phase.

Lastly, to commercialize its battery safety technology, KULR has teamed up with Volta Energy Products Inc, which manufactures renewable power systems. Its PPR technology will be integrated into stationary energy storage modules from the grid designed for both immediate back-ups, in the event of power outages, and supplemental energy during peak demand.

In the late spring, it secured financing from Yorkville Advisors for up to $8 million over a 24-month period in individual tranches of up to $100,000 each. KULR closed its 3Q, which ended September 30, with a cash balance of about $3 million, compared to $767,906 as of the end of its 2Q on June 30.

Inflection points:

  • Expand deeper into EV, smartphone and 5G, and microgrid markets
  • Grow partnership with NASA 

What the boss says:

"With the recent US election, we believe the incoming administration will most likely accelerate a transition to clean energy and steer the US away from an economy reliant on fossil fuels,” KULR Technology CEO Michael Mo said recently.

“We expect to see a strong focus on decarbonization of the electric and transport sectors, which will advance the market penetration of electric mobility, energy storage, clean-tech, and battery recycling — all providing tailwind for KULR's products, solutions, and services."

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