25 battery breakthroughs for gadgets, electric cars & the grid

A lack of progress for battery technology is (arguably) the single biggest barrier for gadgets, electric vehicles, and the power grid. But there’s hundreds of researchers, entrepreneurs, universities and large companies working on battery breakthroughs. Here’s 25 you should know about:

Teaching High-Tech Gear New Green Tech Tricks

AQT Solar and Planar Energy are retrofitting old semiconductor fabrication equipment to turn out thin-film solar cells and solid-state batteries. If the cost and time-to-market advantages are close to what they claim, could such a practice become a trend?

Teaching High-Tech Gear New Greentech Tricks

Can cleantech companies cut millions of dollars from their capital needs by retrofitting old chip equipment to turn out brand-new products? If the advantages are anything close to what AQT Solar and Planar Energy claim, it very well could be the start of a new trend.

Boston-Power Swings Into Electric-Vehicle Batteries

With all the attention on electric vehicles these days, laptop battery manufacturers are rushing to get in on the action. The latest is Massachusetts-based Boston-Power, which on Monday unveiled a new battery, called Swing, for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The company hasn’t released any details about Swing, other than to say that it will deliver “industry-leading capabilities” in areas such as energy density, lifespan, safety, cost savings and environmental sustainability. (CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud told us in January that the company was working on a transportation battery.) She said more specifications will be coming in the next few weeks. Lampe-Onnerud said Boston-Power is in discussions with a range of potential transportation customers and already has some “small volume” sales. She wouldn’t disclose the names of the company’s customers, saying that the sales are part of larger initiatives for those customers, who would decide when to announce them.

Boston-Power also Monday announced plans to build a 455,000-square foot lithium-ion battery factory in Auburn, Mass. The 4-year-old company, which raised $55 million in January and supplies upgrade batteries for HP laptops, said it has scored up to $9 million in state funding and is seeking approximately $100 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.
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