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DOE awards Saratoga Energy $1M commercialization grant for graphite from CO2 technology for Li-ion batteries

Saratoga Energy, the developer of a process for synthesizing graphite from carbon dioxide, has won a $1-million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Department of Energy to help commercialize its innovation. The Saratoga Energy process—which electrochemically separates CO2 into oxygen and graphitic carbon—produces graphite more sustainably and affordably than traditional graphite, which is usually sourced from poorly-regulated mines in China or synthesized from petroleum, said Drew Reid, Saratoga Energy’s CEO.

In addition to offering sustainable sourcing and cost benefits, Saratoga Energy’s graphite also has performance advantages. Graphite made with its patented process can charge and discharge more quickly, making it ideal for electric vehicle customers, the company said.

The company’s graphite—synthesized from carbon dioxide—has a negligible carbon footprint.

The DOE SBIR program is designed to advance clean energy technologies that show good potential for commercial success and job creation, and businesses across the country compete for the grants. Berkeley, California-based Saratoga Energy won the $1 million grant based on a promising prototype funded by a DOE SBIR Phase I grant awarded last year.

The SBIR Phase II grant will help Saratoga establish a pilot production facility, ramp up production, and optimize processes.  It will also go toward demonstrating fast-charging capability in large-format lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Saratoga Energy’s plans include scaling up production tenfold, to about 1 kilogram per day; sharing samples with interested companies developing batteries for electric vehicles; and further refining the company’s production and post-production processes.

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