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.