Saratoga wins California grant to support its work on carbon nanotubes for grid storage

Saratoga Energy’s effort to synthesize carbon nanotubes for use in high-powered, long-lived batteries for electric grid storage has won a Concept Award from the California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) program.

Saratoga Energy is synthesizing carbon nanotubes from carbon dioxide, and using them to enhance the performance of lithium ion batteries while also reducing battery costs and energy requirements.

Saratoga Energy was one of eight start-up companies selected from a field of more than 300 applicants to receive a $150,000 grant in the first round of funding granted by the new CalSEED Concept Award program. CalSEED, which aims to fund promising energy entrepreneurs with very early-stage concepts, is funded by the California Energy Commission and is administered by the California Clean Energy Fund.

“Carbon nanotubes have high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, and high strength,” said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energy’s CEO.  “We believe using the nanotubes could extend batteries’ cycle life, which is especially important when you’re talking about batteries used to store energy for the electrical grid.”

Saratoga Energy’s nanotubes may also make grid-scale energy storage safer. The grant will help Saratoga Energy test the thermal stability of the product, as carbon nanotubes are good conductors of thermal energy and can help prevent hot spots and thermal runaway in batteries.

Affordable, reliable, high-performance batteries are considered critical to incorporating a growing amount of intermittent renewable energy — such as solar and wind power—into the electrical grid. California has an energy storage mandate, which requires utilities to boost their energy storage capacity.

“With the growth in renewable generation, California’s electric grid needs reliable energy storage,” said Deepa Lounsbury, Program Manager of CalSEED. “Saratoga Energy’s unique approach could end up playing a major role in our state’s clean energy future.”