NSF grant helps Saratoga Energy perfect processes for advanced batteries

Grant funds access to top experts and facilities

A $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help Saratoga Energy speed development of electrolytically synthesized graphite for better, cheaper advanced batteries for electric vehicles, electronics and the grid.  

The project will focus on using supercritical fluids extraction to reduce the purification time, energy cost, and the environmental footprint of Saratoga Energy’s electrolytically synthesized graphite.

“At the end of the project, we hope to have a process that meets requirements for maximum graphite purity and is efficient in terms of energy costs and capital, as well,” said Chief Technology Officer Benjamin Rush.

Traditionally, graphite — an essential material in lithium-ion batteries — is either synthesized from petroleum or sourced from poorly regulated, highly polluting Chinese mines. In contrast, Saratoga Energy’s patented electrochemical process synthesizes graphite from clean, American sources of carbon dioxide, producing graphite that costs up to 70 percent less that allows batteries to charge three to five times faster.

Graphite used for batteries must be high purity, and that’s where the NSF grant comes in. The grant will allow Berkeley, California-based Saratoga Energy to partner with Applied Separations, a leader in supercritical fluids and separation sciences based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Last year, Saratoga Energy won Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Voucher grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. This year, it hopes to set up a pilot manufacturing plant and begin to engage potential clients.  


DOE grants will bring Saratoga Energy advanced battery materials closer to market

Working with national labs will speed progress on cheaper, better energy storage

October 11, 2016 – Two new Department of Energy grants will help Saratoga Energy accelerate efforts to bring its breakthrough battery technology to market.

The grants, totaling $355,000, are part of the DOE’s highly competitive Small Business Vouchers pilot program. They are designed to give the nation’s most promising clean-energy innovators access to the unparalleled expertise and facilities available through the national laboratory system.

“The grants give us access to veteran researchers and cutting-edge facilities we simply don’t have in-house,” said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energy’s CEO. “It’s massively more efficient to get our technology market-ready while collaborating with national labs than it would be to do it on our own.”

Saratoga Energy’s patented electrochemical process synthesizes graphite—an essential material in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, electronics, and renewable energy for the grid—from carbon dioxide.

Traditionally, graphite is either synthesized from petroleum or mined at poorly regulated, highly polluting mines in China. Saratoga Energy’s process relies on clean, American feedstock to produce graphite that costs up to 70 percent less, while allowing batteries to charge three to five times faster.

One Small Business Voucher grant, worth $300,000, will allow Saratoga Energy to spend a year working with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to help refine techniques for purifying graphite, with an eye on speed, costs and energy efficiency.  

The other grant, worth $55,000, will pay for Saratoga Energy to spend half a year working with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California to carry out in-depth testing using lithium-ion test cells.

The Small Business Voucher awards are the second and third competitive Department of Energy grants Saratoga Energy has won this year. The company is using a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Grant announced this past spring to demonstrate its material’s performance on the prototype scale.

Saratoga Energy wins DOE grant to help build a better battery

Company’s innovation allows cheaper, faster charging for electric cars and the grid  

June 6, 2016 - Saratoga Energy – which has patented a process that could revolutionize battery production for electric vehicles, the grid and other applications – has won a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Department of Energy.

Saratoga Energy’s inexpensive electrochemical process synthesizes graphite from carbon dioxide. Graphite is an essential material in advanced lithium-ion batteries. Traditionally, it is either mined in China or synthesized from petroleum.  But Saratoga Energy uses carbon dioxide to synthesize graphite less expensively.

“We expect our material to be about 70 percent cheaper than the graphite currently used in making lithium ion batteries, and that will help cut down on battery costs,” said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energy’s CEO.

“In addition, our material will allow batteries to charge about three to five times faster,” Reid said. 

The DOE grant is designed to help Berkeley, California-based Saratoga Energy develop a prototype. The company might also be eligible for a much bigger follow-up grant.

“We have $150,000 and nine months to demonstrate the material’s performance on a prototype scale,” Reid said.  “If that goes well, we hope to win a second-round grant that can help us set up a pilot production facility.”

Affordable high-performance batteries are considered critical to the emerging clean energy economy, from incorporating renewable energy into the electric grid to furthering the deployment of electric vehicles.

“This is a highly competitive grant program, and it gives Saratoga Energy both capital and validation,” said Alex Luce, program manager of CalCharge, a public-private energy storage consortium that counts Saratoga Energy among its members. “Winning this grant suggests that the company might be onto something big.”