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UMD Energy Tech Spinoff Receives $20M Department of Energy Grant

By Maryland Today Staff

A University of Maryland-linked startup company this week received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a program to boost research and development in the nation’s energy sector.

Ion Storage Systems, a Beltsville, Md.-based manufacturer of solid-state batteries based on technology developed in UMD labs, received the funding as part of the Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program. The program is administered by the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

The company was co-founded by Distinguished University Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute and a faculty member in materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering.

The company will combine the award with another $20 million in private matching funds to collaborate with partners including Saint-Gobain, one of the world's largest ceramics, glass and material suppliers, and KLA, a leader in semiconductor process and quality control, to dramatically accelerate the commercialization of Ion Storage Systems’ safe, energy-dense and fast-charging batteries.

“By catalyzing the commercialization of promising technologies, we are empowering the private sector to go all in to boost American manufacturing, strengthen national security and ensure our competitive edge,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granhold said in a news release.

Since the program started in 2019, only UMD, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University-related teams have received multiple SCALEUP awards.

“It’s been quite the journey since the initial ARPA-E seedling award enabled the demonstration of my 3D ceramic architecture concept and the opportunity for multiple other funding awards to advance the technology, to now the ultimate award—SCALEUP—that transitions the technology toward commercial readiness with major manufacturing partners such as Saint-Gobain and KLA,” Wachsman said.

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