SmallCaps Daily Sits Down with Dr. Denis Phares, CEO of Dragonfly Energy cover

SmallCaps Daily Sits Down with Dr. Denis Phares, CEO of Dragonfly Energy

Dr. Denis Phares

President and CEO

Dr. Denis Phares leads with a passion for making the planet more sustainable. As the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dragonfly Energy Corp., he focuses on developing revolutionary technologies that will change the way we store and harness renewable energy. As a visionary leader, Phares has helped grow Dragonfly Energy and its brand, Battle Born Batteries, into one of the leading Li-Ion products on the market while also leading a world class R&D team in the advancement of groundbreaking technologies and manufacturing processes. After establishing himself as a tenured professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California, Phares left academia to found Dragonfly Energy in 2012. With three decades of extensive experience in the fields of Energy, Nanotechnology, Fluid Mechanics, and Powder Processing, Phares has positioned himself as a leading expert in Green Energy Storage and has spent the last 15 years focused on advancing lithium-ion battery technology. He holds a number of patents, some of which are key in fundamental battery cell manufacturing. Phares received a B.S. in Physics from Villanova University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Science from California Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno

Full Interview:

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions about Dragonfly Energy Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: DFLI). Can you share some insights into your background and how DFLI came into existence?

Dragonfly Energy's journey stems from my academic background, dating back over a decade when I was a professor at USC. Initially focused on aerosol mechanics and nanotechnology, my interest gradually shifted towards energy storage. Recognizing lithium-ion batteries as crucial for integrating intermittent energy sources like solar and wind into the grid, I was intrigued by their potential but hindered by manufacturing costs. To address this, I applied aerosol mechanics to develop a dry electrode process, laying the foundation for Dragonfly Energy. Our journey started with battery packs branded as Battle Born Batteries®, gaining traction in the RV market and expanding rapidly thereafter.

With the geopolitical landscape impacting the flow of materials, how does it affect Dragonfly Energy's growth in the next few years?

Geopolitical pressures emphasize the importance of domestic battery manufacturing, crucial for energy independence. China's dominance in lithium battery manufacturing highlights the urgency for the U.S. to bolster its infrastructure. Our focus on domestic cell manufacturing aims to mitigate reliance on overseas sources. We've validated through a third-party cost & sustainability assessment that our battery cell manufacturing process enables cost-effective domestic production, positioning us competitively on the global stage.

Your dry electrode process offers a significant advantage. Could you elaborate on its value proposition?

Our dry electrode process streamlines lithium-ion battery production by eliminating solvents, reducing costs, and enhancing efficiency. Unlike traditional methods requiring expensive equipment and space, our approach minimizes environmental impact and operational complexities. The scalability of our process, demonstrated by successful deployment, underscores its viability for large-scale manufacturing.

The longevity of your batteries raises questions about repeat purchases. How does Dragonfly Energy navigate this aspect?

While our batteries boast longevity, our market focus on storage applications necessitates durable solutions. Offering a 10-year warranty, we prioritize reliability to meet customer demands. Expanding into new sectors while maintaining quality ensures sustained growth, with potential expansions into consumer electronics and electric vehicle markets on the horizon.

The pursuit of solid-state batteries appears promising. What's Dragonfly Energy's approach in this domain?

Our ultimate goal is to develop non-flammable all-solid-state batteries, addressing safety concerns while maintaining performance. Unlike other solid-state technologies, our emphasis lies in retaining the longevity and cost-effectiveness of our current offerings while meeting the safety needs these applications require.

Are there specific markets Dragonfly Energy is targeting beyond RVs?

Beyond RVs, we're strategically entering markets like medium and heavy-duty trucking, leveraging our expertise in alternative power solutions. Our products cater to diverse applications, from long-haul trucks to liftgate systems, prioritizing efficiency and sustainability in transportation sectors.

Recycling plays a pivotal role in sustainability. How does Dragonfly Energy address this aspect?

We recognize the importance of recycling in preserving valuable resources like lithium. Partnering with recyclers like Aqua Metals, we've successfully used recycled lithium to produce high-quality batteries, this proof of concept was done in our robust research and development lab and not only demonstrated what's possible but also our continued commitment to sustainability within the energy industry. This commitment to sustainability extends from manufacturing to end-of-life solutions, ensuring a closed-loop approach to battery production.

The acquisition of Wakespeed® underscores a focus on alternator charging technology. Can you elaborate on its significance?

Wakespeed® 's technology enhances alternator charging efficiency, critical for applications like heavy-duty trucking. Acquiring Wakespeed® aligned with our commitment to innovation and sustainability, empowering us to offer comprehensive solutions for diverse market needs.

How does Dragonfly Energy set itself apart from competitors in the energy storage market?

Dragonfly Energy distinguishes itself through a holistic approach. We operate with a circular vision, where each facet reinforces and strengthens the others. Our extensive real-world data advantage stems from hundreds of thousands of LiFePO4 battery packs deployed through our popular Battle Born Batteries® brand. This, combined with our robust R&D department's deep analysis of battery cells, fosters a unique perspective that informs the optimization of our cutting-edge battery cell manufacturing technology.

Are there any key milestones or upcoming developments investors should be aware of?

Within the battery pack segment, we are continuing to pursue significant opportunities in the trucking industry. The ongoing success of our numerous pilot programs is highly encouraging. Additionally, we are solidifying our presence within the stationary and industrial solar sectors, leveraging our established partnerships with Ameresco and Connexa.

On the cell manufacturing front, with our electrode pilot line completed, we are now engaged in optimizing our battery chemistries and solidifying IRA-compliant supply partners for materials. We believe this ongoing process unlocks the potential for exciting new market opportunities for the company.

For a deeper dive into our progress, I'd urge everyone to tune in to our upcoming Q1 earnings call for more detailed updates on these efforts.

How does Dragonfly Energy address potential regulatory or environmental risks in its operations?

Sustainability is a core principle at Dragonfly Energy. We recently secured a third-party validation of our cell manufacturing process, specifically focusing on cost and environmental impact. This rigorous assessment confirmed significant advancements to our patented process over traditional battery production methods. Notably, our process boasts substantially lower energy consumption and a nearly 10% reduction in carbon footprint.

Beyond the cell manufacturing process itself, we prioritize proactive risk mitigation. For our existing battery packs, we stringently adhere to safety and compliance standards in our target markets. This commitment is evidenced by our pursuit of various third-party certifications and listings.

What are some of the biggest potential challenges DFLI might face in the coming years, and how is the company prepared to address them?

At Dragonfly Energy, we embrace ambitious goals. This necessitates remaining at the forefront of technological innovation and pioneering industry disruption. Undoubtedly, external forces, such as recent macroeconomic fluctuations in some of our target markets, pose potential challenges. However, we have a proven track record of successful market penetration, exemplified by our achievements within the RV industry. We are confident that our exceptional team and strategic approach will continue to propel us forward as we navigate future expansion.

Is there any other information you wish to share with our investors so we can highlight the investment potential of DFLI?

The lithium-ion battery industry stands poised for a monumental surge. This burgeoning demand presents a significant opportunity, but also a crowded landscape. We at Dragonfly Energy take pride in our focus on homegrown technology, meticulously developed over the past decade, and backed by a strong revenue generating business today. This focus ensures we will be perfectly positioned to capitalize when the market reaches its tipping point. The United States requires innovative domestic technologies to propel us forward, and that's precisely what Dragonfly Energy is delivering.

Thank you for your time!



, ,