AquaLith Advanced Materials Receives Investment from Maryland Momentum Fund to Create More Efficient, Economical, and Environmentally Friendly Lithium Ion Battery Materials
AquaLith is Co-Founded by a University of Maryland, College Park Professor and is Enabling a Cheaper, Safer, Higher Density Lithium Ion Battery
Baltimore, Md. (September 8, 2021) – AquaLith Advanced Materials, a Maryland company developing revolutionary lithium ion battery materials, has completed its first outside investment, raising $750,000 from the Maryland Momentum Fund (MMF) and a consortium of private investors.
This funding will allow AquaLith to expand its development laboratory and start production of sample products. The technology is based on the work of Professor Chunsheng Wang, the Robert Franklin and Frances Riggs Wright Distinguished Chair in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), in collaboration with Kang Xu, a Fellow at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory.
“We are thrilled to see a start-up taking the joint work and intellectual property that are a result of our collaborative efforts with Prof. Wang and the University of Maryalnd,” said Dr. Kyle Grew, Battery Science Branch Chief at ARL. “The needs for advanced battery technologies are great. Getting breakthroughs out of the lab and into industry is sometimes challenging for the DoD Research and Development community. Having entrepreneuers take exciting new ideas with transformative impacts for the Army, form a start-up around them and then push it toward commercialization presents an incredible opportunity to see these breakthroughs realized. We are excited about these developments and are looking forward to partnering with AquaLith to help see them be successful.”
AquaLith has demonstrated its highly concentrated electrolytes work at temperatures below minus-50 degrees Celsius, which enables outdoor applications at the North and South poles. Additionally, the water-based electrolyte dramatically reduces the risk of fire in the event of a short circuit.
“We’re excited about supporting more battery storage development in Maryland. We have a nascent, but growing climate tech entrepreneur community. This material composition is disruptive technology – and changes the way that lithium ion batteries work because of the aqueous electrolyte and the cathode chemistry. It replaces transition metals such as nickel and cobalt with chloride and bromide salts. Getting rid of a transition metal in a cathode is the real story here because it reduces supply chain issues,” said Maryland Momentum Fund Managing Director, Claire Broido Johnson.
AquaLith’s development team is working out of University of Maryland, Technology Advanced Building while it builds out a headquarters and factory at a site, yet to be announced, along the I95 corridor.
AquaLith is commercializing next-generation battery materials that enable consumer electronics to charge faster and less frequently. These new technologies are safer, higher energy density, less expensive, contain no nickel or cobalt and operate efficiently down to very low temperatures.
The technology was recognized as UMD’s 2020 Invention of the Year.
Contact: Ted Olsen
About the USM Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10M commitment from the USM already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, and its portfolio companies include: MF Fire, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, Zest Tea, PaverGuide, Retrium, Veralox Therapeutics, Gemstone Biotherapeutics, Neoprogen, Minnowtech, ARMR Systems, Infercabuary, Datakwip, pathOtrak, KaloCyte, MiRecule, N5 Sensors, VisiSonics, Voxy EngGen, Dynamhex, TargetDocs, Qualytics, Liatris, and AquaLith. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more at https://momentum.usmd.edu/
Contact: Mike Lurie