New Ann Arbor Made Battery Breaks the Norm

By Lauren Ebelt on September 26th, 2014 / Comments

Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan (and its hospital), one of the biggest football stadiums in the nation, and now—an innovative battery.

Produced by Sakti3, Inc., a self-proclaimed “spinout” company from the University of Michigan, the battery cell has double the energy density of a current lithium ion battery. In more specific terms, the battery produces over 1,100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density. Typical lithium-ion batteries produce between 250-730 Wh/l.

These types of batteries, sometimes referred to as Li-ion batteries or LIB, are common in consumer electronics as they are rechargeable and thus suitable for portable electronics.

The new battery from Sakti3 is revolutionary—or, as one battery-expert from the University of Michigan put it, a breakthrough.

“It’s the world’s best, made on a mass production system,” Professor Wei Lu said about the company and the process. “It’s not either/or in cost and performance in batteries anymore—Sakti3 has both. They built a really high-performance device on a really low cost platform—like building millions of high-end processors in a factory that produces ordinary plastic wrap. It was quite a scientific feat.”

Collectively, the brains behind the new battery have over 100 years of startup, company, manufacturing, equipment, finance, and research and development experience. Since the company’s inception in 2007, they have been heralded across the media, and received millions in grants from companies and even the State of Michigan for their work.

Their work includes doubling usage times in some devices, like a smartwatch. With Sakti3’s technology, the watch could be worn more than nine hours, versus the traditional 3.5 hours, according to a press release from the company.

The battery is now in pilot production, fulfilling the company’s goal of “commercializing a breakthrough, high-performance, low cost and intrinsically safe solid state battery technology.” And safe they are: An all-solid-state construction and materials in the cells not only make the battery low-cost but sturdy as well. A video produced by Sakti3 shows how the cycling cell can hold up even with hot solder being dripped onto it.

The company has already achieved a lot in the form of grants and reviews, but it isn’t stopping there. In a recent press release, Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO and co-founder, said: “Our target is to achieve mass production of cells at ~$100/kWh. Our key patents on the technology have been issues, and we are up and running on larger tooling, and can now speed up processing.”

This could mean great things for consumers who have devices that use lithium-ion batteries.

“Out first market will be consumer electronics,” Dr. Sastry added, “And after that, we’ll move to other sectors.”

To learn more about the technology and the company, visit their website at www.sakti3.com.

 

About the Author

Lauren Ebelt

Lauren is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. She likes traveling, blogging about the food she eats, and correct grammar.