Polaris Labs to bring new battery technology to market
By Lee van der Voo
Doug Morris is the CEO of startup Polaris Labs, which aims to shrink the time it takes to bring new battery technologies to market.
Batteries are a tricky business. And yet a booming one.
Batteries are in our computers, cell phones, and cameras. Power tools, tablets and medical equipment. They’re also a growing alternative to fossil fuel consumption, powering electric vehicles and grid storage and back-up systems for wind and solar farms, along with and other intermittent energy sources.
But for all the consumer goods that need batteries — and for all the companies that need to keep improving them — creating a new battery or bettering an old one is an endeavor marked by two critical problems. First, it takes a long time and a lot of money to prove a new battery concept. And second, once you have one, it’s likely to collect dust.
“No one will buy it from you because you’re brand new and because batteries are unsafe, they blow up,” said Doug Morris, CEO of Polaris Labs, a startup focused on fixing those two problems. Morris is also a battery expert whose career stretches 30 years in the battery world, much of it developing technology for Motorola.
In June, Morris received a $50,000 grant from Drive Oregon, the state-funded economic development organization that supports the electric vehicle sector, to create Polaris Labs. Set to launch as a service business in the first quarter of 2013, Polaris will operate as a privately funded research and development center aiming to bridge the commercialization gap.
Polaris Labs is intended to appeal to U.S. and European-based lithium ion battery developers that are looking to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies for consumer, vehicle and industrial product applications. Those potential clients include battery manufacturers, material manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers, as well and national and university laboratories with developed battery concepts that have not yet fully optimized their recipes for targeted products.
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