Aquion Energy Inc., the developer and manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries and energy storage systems (earlier post), filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware.
Immediately preceding the Chapter 11 filing, the company retrenched to a core R&D team by terminating approximately 80% of its personnel (several of whom have also entered into consulting agreements with the company to assist it in the sale of its assets), paused all factory operations, and stopped the marketing and selling of its products.
These moves were made to provide the company with sufficient time to proceed with an orderly process to sell the assets of the company under the auspices of its Chapter case.
In 2007, with support from Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Jay Whitacre began researching low-cost electrochemical approaches to bulk energy storage. In 2008 he produced the first functioning Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery. Supported by VC funding, Aquion spun out of CMU in 2009. Aquion began low volume production in the summer of 2011 and broke ground on full-scale manufacturing facility in nearby Mt. Pleasant, PA in 2012. Aquion has been shipping commercially since mid-2014.
Aquion’s hybrid energy storage device comprised a carbon titanium phosphate composite anode, a Manganese oxide cathode (MnO2), and a saltwater electrolyte (Na2SO4 in water (~1 M)). The battery utilizes non-corrosive intercalation reactions at the anode and cathode, and has shown high cycle life of more than 5,000 cycles at high rates, (100% DoD).
Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern.—Scott Pearson, outgoing CEO and Suzanne Roski, Chief Restructuring Officer
Roski is a Managing Director at Protiviti, a Virginia-based consulting firm offering professional services around entering and exiting bankruptcy situations.
Filing for Chapter 11 provides the opportunity to sell the company’s assets and to maximize returns available to its creditors and stakeholders. Several potential strategic buyers have shown interest in Aquion and are conducting due diligence under non-disclosure agreements.
In the coming weeks, Aquion will be working to secure a bidder to purchase substantially all of its operating assets. The company then intends to seek approval from the Bankruptcy Court for a competitive bidding and auction process to offer other interested bidders an opportunity to win the right to purchase the assets of the company.
Whitacre, J. F., Shanbhag, S., Mohamed, A., Polonsky, A., Carlisle, K., Gulakowski, J., Wu, W., Smith, C., Cooney, L., Blackwood, D., Dandrea, J. C. and Truchot, C. (2015) “A Polyionic, Large-Format Energy Storage Device Using an Aqueous Electrolyte and Thick-Format Composite NaTi2(PO4)3/Activated Carbon Negative Electrodes.” Energy Technology, 3: 20–31. doi: 10.1002/ente.201402127
Whitacre, J. F., Shanbhag, S., Mohamed, A., Polonsky, A., Carlisle, K., Gulakowski, J., Wu, W., Smith, C., Cooney, L., Blackwood, D., Dandrea, J. C. and Truchot, C. (2015) “Corrigendum: A Polyionic, Large-Format Energy Storage Device Using an Aqueous Electrolyte and Thick-Format Composite NaTi2(PO4)3/Activated Carbon Negative Electrodes.” Energy Technology, 3: 796–798. doi: 10.1002/ente.201500222