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' technology involves using aramid fiber, rather than more common thermoplastic materials in its lithium-ion cells.
Terms of the joint venture with XALT Energy of Midland, Mich., and Energy Power Systems LLC of Troy, Mich., 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."
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Elegus uses aramid fiber as the separator between the anodes and 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."
XALT was created from the former Dow Kokam lithium-ion battery joint venture after Dow Chemical Co. sold its interest in the business.
Elegus received $175,000 in funding as a part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s entrepreneur and innovation initiative.