building better batteries with next-generation electrolytes
Richard Wang and Mauro Pasta worked together extensively at Stanford for over four years on innovative battery technologies. Wang worked in Yi Cui’s lab and received his PhD in materials science from Stanford, engaged in battery research at Tesla Motors, and received his BS in mechanical engineering from Caltech. Pasta previously held a postdoctoral position in Yi Cui’s lab at Stanford. He is now an associate professor at Oxford University and serves as a technical advisor for Cuberg. He received his PhD and BS in industrial chemistry from the University of Milan.
They co-founded Cuberg in March 2015, received an Innovation Transfer grant from the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, and developed their business at the Ignite program out of the Stanford GSB. Since then, they have won the cleantech pitch competition at the 2015 North Bay Innovation Summit, placed 2nd at the 2016 Berkeley Cleantech University Prize, and were finalists at both the Caltech FLoW and National Cleantech University Prizes in 2016. Most recently, they closed a private investment round of $900,000 in August 2016 from a strategic partner and customer in the oil & gas industry to commercialize their technology.
Critical need: Lithium-ion batteries do not store enough energy and suffer from inherent safety challenges. Consequently, they limit product performance and hamper innovation in industries ranging from portable electronics to electric vehicles.
Technology vision: Our batteries, based on an innovative electrolyte, offer dramatic improvements in safety, energy density, specific energy, abuse tolerance, thermal durability, and voltage. These benefits make them attractive in a wide range of applications.
Current state-of-the-art: Conventional lithium-ion batteries utilize a liquid electrolyte that conducts ions between the cathode and the anode. However, the electrolyte consists of extremely flammable organic solvents that can fuel runaway battery fires. Moreover, the chemical instability of these solvents reduces battery lifespan and limits the types of energy-dense electrode materials that can be safely used.
Key innovation: Cuberg’s technology replaces the traditional organic electrolyte with a safe and stable blend of non-flammable solvents and salts. Our electrolyte’s chemical stability allows us to combine a high-voltage cathode with a lithium metal anode in an inherently safe design that provides unmatched energy density and reliability.
Manufacturing challenges: Our electrolyte is a drop-in replacement for existing battery electrolytes. We anticipate early supply-chain challenges with some of our electrolyte solvents and salts.
Competing technology: Non-rechargeable primary chemistries, such as lithium thionyl chloride and lithium carbon monofluoride, can deliver similarly high energy densities, but they are single-use and suffer from serious safety and performance limitations. Solid-state batteries may eventually be competitive but are limited by processing and manufacturing difficulties.
First market hypothesis: We are initially targeting a specialty battery market serving the oil & gas industry where energy density, safety, and high-temperature stability are critically important.
Potential for impact: Our technology can displace lithium-ion batteries by delivering greatly improved performance and reliability. This will not only expedite growth of burgeoning industries such as electric vehicles but also enable the creation of entirely new classes of devices and products. Flying cars, here we come.
We're looking for:
- Technical collaborators
- Team members - scientists, engineers
- Joint development partners
richard [dot] wang [at] cuberg [dot] net and mauro [dot] pasta [at] cuberg [dot] net