Team Spotlight: Ceramic Battery LLC

Lithium Ion battery technology is increasingly being employed in niche electric vehicles. However, the widespread adoption of electrified powertrains requires 25% lower cost, 4x higher performance, and safer batteries without the possibility of fire. One approach is to develop solid-state battery (SSB) technology that does not use liquid electrolytes. SSB offers the promise of 3 – 4x the energy density (compared to the State-of-the-art Li-ion) at a reduction in the pack cost of 20%. Despite these attractive features, the fabrication and testing of SSB for EVs have not been demonstrated.

Impact of I-Corps

I-Corps methodology helped the team explore multiple markets for their technology including: eBikes, down-hole drilling, EVs, and consumer electronics. The personal growth of Dr. Thompson from material scientist to a business-savvy innovator has been tremendous. After several years of continuing to develop the ceramic battery business and the technology, Dr. Thompson has taken a business development role with Umicore, a company specializing in advanced materials for the clean mobility industry. Through this role, he will gain the experience of releasing and supporting clean technology products already in the marketplace.

University Affiliation: University of Michigan



Dr. Travis Thompson, PhD [left] and Dr. Jeff Sakamoto, PhD [right]



Jan 2015 Energy Institute Translational Research Award ($40,000)
May 2015 Energy and Transportation Regional I-Corps
Aug 2015 MTRAC Transportation ($50,000)
Sept 2015 U-M Prototyping Fund ($10,000)
Oct 2015 Clean Energy Resource Center ($60,000)
Jan 2016 CFE Pathways to Impact (Eng/Bus joint program)
Feb 2016 ARPA-E Award ($3.9M)
Aug 2016 MTRAC Transportation ($120,000)
Mar 2017 NSF National I-Corps ($50,000)
Jul 2017 MTRAC Advanced Materials ($100,000)