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Energy storage startup licenses ORNL battery tech – News – Oakridger – Oak Ridge, TN



Energy storage startup SPARKZ Inc. has exclusively licensed five battery technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed to eliminate cobalt metal in lithium-ion batteries.

Energy storage startup SPARKZ Inc. has exclusively licensed five battery technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed to eliminate cobalt metal in lithium-ion batteries.

The advancement is aimed at accelerating the production of electric vehicles and energy storage solutions for the power grid, according to a news release from ORNL.

The licensed technologies include cathode materials, a novel electrolyte formula and a scaling process that will together enable industrial scale production of more sustainable, fast-charging cobalt-free batteries.

Cobalt is a rare, costly and difficult-to-access metal that increases the performance but reduces the safety of lithium-ion batteries found in consumer electronics, such as mobile devices, and in electric vehicles, or EVs. The metal is specifically used in a battery’s cathode, the positively charged end that determines much of a battery’s performance.

“However, because cobalt is costly and mined overseas, finding alternative materials has become a top priority,” the release stated.

“Moving forward to an electrified world with millions of electric cars, cobalt is not sustainable,” said Ilias Belharouak, a group leader in ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division in the release.

A report by the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance predicted battery demand is expected to increase to around 14 times 2018 levels of 184 gigawatt hours, or GWh, to more than 2,600 GWh in 2030, according to a report by the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance. Of that growth, a large majority is projected to take place in the mobility sector, a main focus of the licensed technologies.

“Oak Ridge National Laboratory is pleased to license this suite of advanced battery technologies to support efficient, affordable energy storage for electric vehicles,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director of ORNL’s Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate in the news release. “Our scientists push the boundaries of what’s possible with materials science and process engineering. By working with industry partners such as SPARKZ Inc. we can help accelerate the transition of these technologies to the marketplace for the greatest societal impact.”

SPARKZ Inc. is evaluating a location for a research and development and prototyping facility in the U.S. to scale these technologies to meet the demands of customers in the mobility and grid sectors.

“We have chosen Oak Ridge National Laboratory to be our partner because ORNL provides all those functionalities which are essential to get a product rapidly to market; namely, access to the world’s best battery technologists, or human capital; access to the best technology, or intellectual capital; and access to the best infrastructure,” SPARKZ Inc. CEO Sanjiv Malhotra said in the release.

SPARKZ Inc. licensed ORNL-developed technologies including:

• High energy density secondary lithium batteries

This high-density lithium battery design uses novel cathode and anode compositions to overcome energy density limitations of existing technologies for more efficient rechargeable batteries.

• Cobalt-free layered oxide cathodes

This low-cost, cobalt-free cathode material was created for the development of improved lithium-ion batteries.

• Nonaqueous electrolyte with lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide salt for fast charging/discharging of Li-ion batteries

Electrolytes are the liquid medium by which cathodes and anodes “talk” to each other in batteries by exchanging electrons. This new electrolyte formulation allows faster charging for lithium-ion batteries and can perform at a 23% higher capacity during a 12-minute charge than other formulas.

• Early transition metal stabilized high capacity oxidatively stable cathodes of lithium-ion batteries

This innovation improves on lithium-ion cathodes by replacing early transition metals, namely cobalt, at relevant sites in cathodes, and by varying the lithium composition.

• Battery materials scale up and processes

This manufacturing innovation enables industrial-scale production of battery materials through a series of chemical processes.

“The hallmark of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s technologies is developing low-cost, cobalt-free cathode materials without compromising on energy density,” said Jagjit Nanda, a principal investigator on several of the licensed technologies, who works in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division in the news release.

Energy density, or the amount of charge that a given quantity of a material holds, is especially important for EVs. Fast-charging, energy dense batteries developed by ORNL and scaled by SPARKZ could allow electric charging stations to take over as the “gas stations of the future.”

“I look at this as a very strategic partnership,” Belharouak said in the release. “It will establish ORNL as the ‘engine’ around energy storage research in the Southeast region.”

In 2019, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office selected the ORNL-SPARKZ partnership for the DOE Lab Investment Incubator Activity, which focuses on maturing lab-scale technologies for commercialization.

The partnership was also selected in 2019 for a $750,000 DOE Technology Commercialization Fund project, “Enabling Cobalt-Free Battery Solution for Behind-the-Meter Storage.”

SPARKZ Inc., was founded in 2019 by Sanjiv Malhotra, who has worked as a scientist, an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist and in the public sector, including as the first ever director of DOE’s Energy Investor Center. He founded methanol fuel cell company Oorja Protonics, Inc., in 2004, which he sold to a private equity firm in 2014.

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Hashtag Trending – Tesla’s battery goals; Toronto the startup hub; Climate pledges from the corporate world




Tesla’s new battery goals, Toronto is a global powerhouse for startups, and new climate pledges for some of the world’s largest companies.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, September 24, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.

Tesla has announced a new generation of batteries that will be more powerful and half the expense of the current cells used in the vehicles. Elon Musk says that in three years the new batteries will have larger cylindrical cells providing five times more energy, six times more power and 16 per cent more driving range. To further bring the cost of batteries down, Musk told the Guardian that Tesla plans to recycle its batteries in its Nevada gigafactory and reduce cobalt to virtually zero which is one of the most expensive battery materials. Now, the plans for these batteries are not fully complete just yet and more is to come as environmental policies get stricter and investors are seeking how Tesla can grow it lead over legacy automakers.


Despite all the economic and business challenges in 2020. Toronto is one of the world’s leading entrepreneurial ecosystems according to a new report. LinkedIn’s Top Startups in Canada list for 2020 suggests seven of the top 10 startups are Toronto based. The criteria had scopes about employee growth, jobseeker interest, member engagement with the company and its employees. Some of the startups include Drop, Clearblanc, and Book Jane.


Climate Week is underway and some of the world’s largest companies have new plans to combat climate change. Here are some goals the companies announced:
General Electric said it will stop building coal-fired power plants. Morgan Stanley is hopeful to cut the emissions to net-zero within 30 years. Amazon wants to help customers shop for sustainable products, and Walmart says it would only use renewable electricity by 2035 and take its global operations zero-emission within 20 years. [LinkedIn thread]

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE with triple rear camera setup, 5G, a 120Hz refresh rate display launched- Technology News, Firstpost




Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) at a Galaxy fan event. The Galaxy S20 FE comes with an Infinity-O display that has a 120Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset and triple rear camera setup. The smartphone comes in both 4G and 5G variants, and three storage variants that offer up to 8 GB RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. Galaxy S20 FE is a trimmed-down version of the Galaxy S20 that was launched in India back in February this year at Rs 66,999.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE pricing, availability

The 5G variant of the smartphone is priced at $699 (approx. Rs 51,400). It comes in 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage variant, 8 GB RAM +128 GB storage variant and 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage variant. In terms of colours, Galaxy S20 FE comes in Cloud Red, Cloud Orange, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy and Cloud White colour variants.

 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE with triple rear camera setup, 5G, a 120Hz refresh rate display launched

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

It will go be available for purchase on 2 October only in select markets. India pricing and availability of the smartphone have not been announced yet.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specifications

The smartphone features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Infinity O display that comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 1,080 x 2,400 pixels. The 4G variant is powered by the Exynos 990 chipset whereas the 5G variant is equipped with a Snapdragon 865 processor. In terms of storage, both 4G and 5G variants offer up to 8 GB RAM and 256 GB of internal storage.

For photography, Galaxy S20 FE sports a triple rear camera setup that houses a 12 MP primary sensor, a 12 MP ultra-wide lens and an 8 MP telephoto lens. For selfies, it comes with a 32 MP front camera.

The smartphone comes with a 4,500mAh battery that comes with support for 15W fast charging and wireless charging.

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Walcott quits, Agard returns – Tech News TT




Above: Good times. George Hill and Dr Ronald Walcott in 2012. Photo By Mark Lyndersay.

TSTT has announced the resignation of Dr Ronald Walcott and the appointment of Lisa Agard as acting CEO.

Walcott served as CEO for six years, taking the role after the departure of George Hill. Both men were key players in the company’s push to 4G, Hill as Chief Technology Officer and Walcott as Executive VP for Mobile, overseeing the migration from Nortel hardware to Huawei installations and guiding the marketing push to migrate customers to the new standard.

Walcott ends his half-decade in the role on October 01, 2020, having overseen a massive staff rationalisation exercise, a 2016 loss of $316 million, the design of a new five-year $3.7 billion restructuring plan.

He led the Zero-copper campaign to switch legacy copper landlines to fixed wireless connections, a project formally announced in October 2018 which remains incomplete.

Beginning in November 2018 the company began staff retrenchments which would result in the separation of more than 600 employees.

In May 2017, Walcott guided the company’s acquisition of the fledgling and largely faltering Massy broadband operation Amplia.

Helming Amplia were two TSTT veterans, Lisa Agard and Trevor Deane.

At that point, the company was experiencing a 99 percent drop in profitability against a $230 million investment in building a fibre network.

Walcott’s departure follows the resignation of Chief Technical Officer Hassel Bacchus, who is is now a Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration. Bacchus was overseeing, as part of his duties, the reengineering of the company’s financial backoffice, another project which is not completed to the satisfaction of the company’s customers.

A recent press release photo of Dr Ronald Walcott.

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