You love your smartphone, but how much more would you love it if the battery lasted for days, instead of hours? MassChallenge finalists Meghan Zipin and Emily Fannon, co-founders of EnerLeap Inc., are betting the answer is “a lot more.” They’re also betting you’ll gladly pay extra for the longer battery life.
Their startup company is developing a super efficient lithium ion battery—an upgrade to the kind of rechargeable battery that powers most consumer electronics and also is used in some military and aerospace equipment. EnerLeap claims its battery will provide 10 times more power and five times more energy capacity than today’s lithium ion batteries.
The company hopes its batteries, which are still being tested in a laboratory at Boston College, will achieve rapid adoption once they hit the market because they can be instantly inserted into existing products.
“We’re not trying to make the next generation of rechargeable power,” said Fannon. “We’re saying, ‘This is the market-leading technology right now, and we can make it even better.’ ”
The key to EnerLeap’s longer-lasting, lighter-weight battery is replacing powder “binders” used in transferring energy between a battery’s two electrodes with titanium silicide, a rigid material that does not break down as quickly. The company has received a patent for its battery construction, which was invented by Boston College chemistry professor Dunwei Wang.
Fannon and Zipin teamed with Wang as MBA students at BC, and now are using their time in the MassChallenge business accelerator program to work on forming strategic partnerships with electronics makers and the military. They are hoping partners will invest in the company and eventually take EnerLeap batteries to market in their products.
The military is interested in EnerLeap batteries, Zipin said, because of their potential to reduce the weights of soldiers’ packs and the time spent charging equipment. EnerLeap projects its batteries not only to need infrequent charging but also to recharge more quickly than conventional batteries.
“If a soldier has to stop to charge something in a risky environment, let’s eliminate that risk,” Zipin said. “Let’s make sure the battery can last long enough to get from point A to point B safely.