SBIR Phase II: Novel synthesis method for ionic liquids

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Boulder Ionics Corporation
18300 West Highway 72, Suite 6
Arvada, CO 80007
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is targeted at the development of a novel, low-cost continuous method for the production of ionic liquids. Ionic liquids are a class of industrial chemicals with broad applications in energy, pharmaceutical, biomass and solar fields. Ionic liquids are leading candidates for electrolytes in advanced batteries and capacitors where they enable non-flammable, longer-lived batteries that store more energy than current models. While the potential of ionic liquids is significant, the current cost is prohibitive. Boulder Ionics Corporation proposes to develop a novel, cost-effective method for producing ionic liquids in industrial volumes. The highly flexible technique enables continuous production of ionic liquids with low capital cost. It eliminates the use of solvents in the synthesis process, and produces a very high purity product. In Phase II the company will develop the novel synthesis process, demonstrate low-cost ways of making key precursors, and develop techniques for purifying and measuring the purity of the products. Successful completion of the program will result in low-cost, high-performance electrolytes for advanced energy storage. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to make ionic liquids cost-effective in a wide range of industries. Ionic liquids can replace volatile organic solvents in a vast range of industrial processes, are leading candidates for biomass processing, and have broad applications in electrochemistry, advanced batteries, supercapacitors/ultracapacitors and as heat transfer fluids in advanced concentrating solar plants. In addition, our innovative synthesis technique has broad application across the chemical industry. Cost-effective ionic liquids are critical elements of the new energy economy, with applications in biomass, solar power, and grid-scale energy storage. Techniques developed in this research will enhance scientific understanding of novel chemical reactors, leading to a new generation of more efficient and less-polluting chemical plants. Knowledge gained in this program will enable technologies that will enhance U.S. energy security, and strengthen the emerging U.S. battery industry.