Elegus Technologies creates joint venture with state battery companies
Elegus Technologies Inc., a University of Michigan spinoff that hopes to make lithium-ion batteries safer and last longer, whether in electric vehicles, smartphones or laptops, has formed a $1.5 million joint venture with two Michigan battery makers.
Elegus was one of the 10 startups that graduated from a three-month accelerator program run by Techstars at Ford Field the summer of 2015. Its technology involves using the same material that helps Kevlar stop bullets to make batteries safer.
Terms of the joint venture with XALT Energy of Midland and Energy Power Systems LLC of Troy were not disclosed.
“I think this joint venture will showcase the power of collaboration between Michigan companies toward a common goal,” Elegus CEO John Hennessy said in a news release. “In our industry, it’s a bit rare for a startup like us to pair up with large manufacturers. Lithium-ion battery safety issues still persist, but instead of accepting those issues as inherent to battery technology, we’re working together to find a better solution.”
Kevlar is made of a synthetic material called aramid fiber, which is extremely strong and heat-resistant. Elegus uses aramid fiber to separate the anodes from the cathodes in lithium-ion batteries, which increases the time between charges and helps resolve a dangerous propensity for overheating.
“The Elegus separator will be the solution that will enable XALT to achieve its higher energy roadmap while maintaining safety,” said Dennis Townsend, chairman of the XALT board. “As improvements in technology allow higher and higher energy density in lithium-ion batteries, safety issues become far more challenging. Elegus’ advanced separator solution provides excellent electrical performance and dimensional integrity.”
Elegus received $175,000 in funding as a part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s entrepreneur and innovation initiative.