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.