The University of Connecticut has signed a three-year research agreement with a Fairfield County company that is developing high-capacity lithium-ion batteries for such uses as giving electric vehicles greater range between charges and energy storage for use at a later time.
The value of the research agreement with Wilton-based Cadenza Innovation is $700,000, according to UConn officials. The work UConn scientists will be doing for Cadenza involves highly specialized materials analysis and synthesis for use in lithium-ion-based energy storage.
Cadenza has developed a way of packaging lithium-ion batteries that increases the amount of energy the batteries can produce.
The work UConn will be doing is being conducted at UConn’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering in the lab of Dr. Radenka Maric, the school’s vice president for research and Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Professor of Sustainable Energy, who is the principal investigator on the project. Additional work will take place at the recently opened Innovation Partnership Building at the UConn Tech Park by professors Sina Shahbazmohamadi and Steven Suib.
“Cadenza has the technical capability and holds key patents to develop game-changing battery technologies,” Maric said in a statement. “UConn has the expertise and unmatched research facilities to conduct rigorous, reproducible, accurate specialty materials analysis to help their technology advance.”
Cadenza was founded in 2012 by Christina Lampe-Onnerud, a leading entrepreneur in the field of energy storage. The company, which currently employs 25 people, had been located in Oxford before moving about a year ago into a space in Bethel that also houses the research laboratories of commercial battery maker Duracell.
The company’s corporate offices are in Wilton. Cadenza’s investors include Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public technology investment arm.
Lampe-Onnerud said the work UConn’s scientists are doing is “vital research for energy storage and a range of other critical technologies.”
“They have developed some really important analytical capabilities over years,” she said of the UConn researchers
The UConn research is designed to build upon Cadenza’s partnership with Syrah Resources, the only major, fully funded, natural graphite development project in construction globally. Syrah is projected to be the world’s largest individual graphite producer by 2020 with approximately 40 percent market share from its operation in Mozambique.
The work UConn’s scientists are doing involves the characterization and fundamental study of Cadenza Innovation’s technology to synthesize low cost, natural graphite collected from the Syrah mines into an ideal base material for lithium-ion batteries. As the research proceeds, studies focused on improving battery performance will be done.