Ion Storage Systems, a College Park-based energy startup, raised $8 million in funding as it looks to begin manufacturing of its solid state batteries.
The funding round was led by Alsop Louie Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm.
“We believe that Ion Storage Systems is poised to be the leader in an emerging generation of rechargeable battery technology companies,” Mark G. Fields of Alsop Louie Partners said in a statement. Fields will join the company’s board.
The company spun out of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, which was created by the state government in 2017 with a focus on spurring entrepreneurship in energy, and licensed technology from the University of Maryland. It has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy programs ARPA-E and EERE, NASA and Lockheed Martin.
The company’s technology is designed for rechargeable batteries, which are meant to be safer and have a higher energy density than conventional batteries, said Dr. Eric Wachsman, Ion’s founder and CEO. Conventional batteries have a liquid electrolyte that could be flammable; Ion’s batteries don’t have that liquid.
“We’ve completely removed the flammable part of the battery,” Wachsman said of the technology, which was developed in the lab at Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, where he is also the director.
Along with being safer, the batteries are smaller and lighter than conventional batteries and can be made using materials that cost less, Wachsman said. A key part of the company’s research was developing batteries that can recharge at a greater rate.
Wachsman said the company will likely look to work in the defense and aerospace industries at first, as well as consumer electronics (think: cell phones or laptops) and electric vehicles.
The investment funding will provide for pilot-scale manufacturing, and “we’re planning on impacting the local Maryland economy by growing manufacturing in the state of Maryland,” Wachsman said.
The company looking to add battery engineering talent to the team and to grow from four to 20 employees. It’s located in UMD’s Technology Ventures Building in College Park.
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