Clarkson University’s GE Chair in Oil and Gas Systems, David Mitlin and CEO of Enermat Technologies, David Hessler ’67, have secured grant funding in the amount of $225,000 through the National Science Foundation to continue their partnership on commercializing energy storage technology invented by Mitlin.
As a result of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program award, Mitlin’s lab will receive $127,000 while Enermat will benefit from $98,000 worth of grant funding. In the NSF grant structure, this is a one year Phase One grant, with potential follow-on funding.
Mitlin said the funding will be used to jointly develop and commercialize the materials he has invented and patented. Mitlin has developed hemp-based carbon battery materials that are inexpensive and charge much faster.
“I am using my hemp- derived carbon nanosheets as a substitute for graphite to allow for much faster charging in high powered lithium-ion batteries,” he said. “It can safely charge in under 10 minutes.”
Mitlin said the value-added aspect of his invention is that the hemp-derived carbon anodes can be combined with a fast charge cathode that already exists commercially.
While the technology was invented by Mitlin, he credits Hessler and Enermat Technologies with all business-related aspects of the partnership. The National Science Foundation structures the STTR program so that a small business acts as the commercialization vehicle to get promising technology from universities like Clarkson to the market.
“This thing would not have been successful as a pure Dave Mitlin technical application, it required partnering with a company like Enermat Technologies to provide a viable path forward,” Mitlin said.
Hessler explained that Enermat will be responsible for prototyping Mitlin’s materials, with Enermat Founder, Dr. Rahul Mukherjee at the helm.
“There will be materials from Dave’s lab that will come here to Troy for us to fabricate them into prototype batteries,” he said. “We also believe we will have an opportunity to use the expertise and resources at the Oak Ridge National Lab for additional prototype work.”
Dr. Mukherjee, who received his Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic in 2014, said “I have known of Dr. Mitlin’s work since my doctoral studies, and we have had an opportunity to get to know each other through David Hessler over the past two years. I am excited and optimistic that this project together will advance the state-of-the-art in energy storage. We have numerous customer prospects who will be watching our progress”.
Mitlin, Mukherjee, and Hessler have been collaborating on projects for energy storage since December 2016, and both parties benefit from support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).