Manufacturing batteries requires a significant number of special machines and techniques to ensure that the products and the employees who make them stay safe: from battery roller stands and battery charger stands to battery changing systems, the proper steps and tools must be used to prevent serious injuries and other accidents. Fortunately, the manufacturing process and the batteries themselves are constantly being innovated to promote safety and improve the quality of the product. In one of the most recent breakthroughs, a startup in Oregon has announced that they may be able to extend the life of battery cores to 20 years.
NRGindependence, a research firm that focuses on energy storage, recently partnered with Alex Yokochi, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University. NRGindependence has already made waves in its industry after developing a system that chemically coats a battery’s carbon core, significantly reducing degradation. This process could triple the life of rechargeable “reduction-oxidation”, or redox batteries. Now, the firm hopes that Yokochi will be able to help them further advance this technology.
Already, the partnership has secured $150,000 in commercialization funding from Oregon BEST, a group that promotes clean energy innovation in the state. Combined with additional contributions from the OSU Venture Fund, NRGindependence and Yokochi will be able to purchase battery handling equipment, allowing them to conduct industrial-scale testing on battery technology and their new system. Their operation will likely require several different tools, including a battery changing system and battery wash equipment.
While the project is still young, the company is excited about the impact their process could have on the battery industry as a whole. While redox batteries have existed for several years, most manufacturers who produce them operate at a loss because of lack of interest in the product. If successful, NRGindependence’s 20-year battery cores could make the manufacturing process much cheaper while simultaneously creating an appealing product.