Berkeley Lab: Battery Company’s Success Has Origins with Cyclotron Road
This article orignally appeared in Berkeley Lab – Energy Technologies Area.
Kiran Julin – European battery manufacturer Northvolt recently acquired the U.S.-based battery technology company Cuberg, Inc., which was co-founded by Richard Wang, a 2016 fellow hosted at Cyclotron Road. Cuberg is one of the earliest companies supported at Cyclotron Road, the first Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) at Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) that supports leading entrepreneurial scientists as they develop commercially viable technology solutions for clean energy and bring them to market.
“Cuberg is excited to be joining Northvolt and to see the full potential of our technology being realized,” said Wang. “The support we received through the fellowship program was invaluable. I’m not sure I would have taken the leap with Cuberg without the resources and mentorship we received through the program.”
Cuberg develops lithium metal batteries that offer dramatic improvements in performance, safety and thermal durability. These next-generation batteries could significantly improve the range of Northvolt’s electric-vehicle batteries, which are currently being used by auto companies such as Volkswagen, BMW, and Scania.
Cuberg’s technology is unique among next generation battery developers in the speed with which it can be scaled up. The company’s technology can be manufactured within existing lithium-ion production systems, reducing both time to market and capital investment. This technology grew out of Wang’s graduate research at Stanford University, and the Fellowship hosted by the Cyclotron Road division at Berkeley Lab enabled him to experiment and further develop Cuberg.
While a fellow, Wang and his company benefited from access to Berkeley Lab facilities, a rich research environment, and entrepreneurial mentoring that's provided to all fellows in partnership with Activate. "We are proud the fellowship program played a vital role in accelerating this technology from lab to market,” said Cyclotron Road Division Director Rachel Slaybaugh. “This outcome underscores our goal of supporting entrepreneurial scientists as they develop globally impactful technologies."
Through the acquisition of Cuberg, Northvolt is establishing a new advanced technology center in Silicon Valley. Cuberg, based in Emeryville, California, is actively hiring battery engineers and scientists, adding domestic jobs in the growing clean energy sector.