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$30M Investment Charges Up Battery Company Founded at UMD

Ion Storage Systems Beginning Commercial Production of New Breed of Lithium Metal Batteries

By Maryland Today Staff

Battery illustration

A UMD spinoff company will begin manufacturing a new generation of lithium metal batteries designed to be safer and pack in more energy with the help of a $30 million investment.

Illustration by iStock

An innovative battery technology company founded at the University of Maryland will ramp up a battery cell manufacturing line at its Beltsville, Md., headquarters, thanks to a $30 million in financing.

Ion Storage Systems (also known as ION), founded by Distinguished University Professor Eric Wachsman in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, creates solid-state lithium metal batteries that are safer, lighter and have higher energy density than current technology. ION’s nonflammable technology offers greater abuse tolerance, and both volume and weight reduction.

The company touts advances that will give engineers and innovators new freedom in designing futuristic products, from automobiles to robotics to mobile technology.

“It’s extremely gratifying to see this novel solid-state battery technology created in my laboratories at the University of Maryland rapidly transition from academic research to a viable commercial product with such far-reaching impact across multiple energy storage markets,” said Wachsman, the company’s executive chair and director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. “The team has been making tremendous strides each and every day as recognized by this major investment in our company, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Production will initially be allocated to qualifying commercial cells for the company’s aerospace and defense customers, generating revenue by the end of 2023. The investment is led by Clear Creek Investments, VoLo Earth Ventures and Alsop Louie Partners, and builds on an $8 million seed funding initiative from Alsop Louie Partners and VoLo Earth Ventures in 2019. It will accelerate the development projects that ION has signed with multiple electric vehicle manufacturers, defense contractors and consumer electronics companies, according to the company.

As part of the financing agreement, Todd Crescenzo, Clear Creek founder and managing partner, and Joseph Goodman, VoLo Earth Ventures co-founder and managing partner, will join ION’s board of directors.

“Clear Creek is excited to invest with and alongside our investors in Ion Storage Systems given the company’s innovative battery technology, incredible team and complimentary commercial partners with the aligned goal of disrupting the battery industry for the better,” said Crescenzo.

Goodman added: “ION de-risks electrification for (original equipment manufacturers) with a safer, lower cost and more energy dense battery that is also robust to critical battery materials, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. Automotive and aviation OEMs are already gaining competitive advantages through partnership with ION."

The company is excited to be able to begin commercial production of a technology it knows can change the world, said Ricky Hanna, ION’s CEO.

“ION’s battery performance and safety far exceed what traditional lithium ion can offer and will become the benchmark for battery design for decades to come,” he said. “Our team continues to work hard to bring our technology to market and make us the first commercial solid-state battery company to generate commercial revenue.”

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