Turning CO2 into Graphite for 70% Lower Cost
Saratoga Energy, which has developed a patented process that electrochemically separates CO2 into oxygen and graphitic carbon, and could revolutionize battery production for electric vehicles, the grid and other applications, has won a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Department of Energy.
Saratoga Energyâ€™s inexpensive electrochemical process synthesizes graphite from carbon dioxide. Graphite is an essential material in advanced lithium-ion batteries. Traditionally, it is either mined in China or synthesized from petroleum. But Saratoga Energy uses carbon dioxide to synthesize graphite less expensively.
â€œWe expect our material to be about 70 percent cheaper than the graphite currently used in making lithium ion batteries, and that will help cut down on battery costs,â€ said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energyâ€™s CEO. â€œIn addition, our material will allow batteries to charge about three to five times faster,â€ Reid said.
The DOE grant is designed to help Berkeley, California-based Saratoga Energy develop a prototype. The company might also be eligible for a much bigger follow-up grant.
â€œWe have $150,000 and nine months to demonstrate the materialâ€™s performance on a prototype scale,â€ Reid said. â€œIf that goes well, we hope to win a second-round grant that can help us set up a pilot production facility.â€
Affordable high-performance batteries are considered critical to the emerging clean energy economy, from incorporating renewable energy into the electric grid to furthering the deployment of electric vehicles.
â€œThis is a highly competitive grant program, and it gives Saratoga Energy both capital and validation,â€ said Alex Luce, program manager of CalCharge, a public-private energy storage consortium that counts Saratoga Energy among its members. â€œWinning this grant suggests that the company might be onto something big.â€