SafeLiCell Takes 2nd in $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge

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A sample of Lithium Flex, a patent-pending, lightweight, noncombustible, flexible polymer electrolyte for use in lithium-ion batteries.

A young company's pitch to commercialize a safer electrolyte for lithium batteries won second place and $15,000 at the inaugural $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge business plan competition, held April 25. SafeLiCell, founded by Clark School Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) graduate student Aaron Fisher, Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) sophomore Mian Khalid, and their advisor, BioE professor Peter Kofinas, represented the University of Maryland in the competition, which also included teams from the seven other universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as two additional teams from regional non-conference schools. SafeLiCell has developed a patent-pending, solid-state polymer electrolyte material, called Lithium Flex, for use in lithium-ion batteries. The material takes the form of a light, strong, flexible film that can be wrapped or bent into different shapes without breaking, and contains no combustible or corrosive materials. At present, the SafeLiCell hopes to enter the market by targeting the battery needs of biomedical and other miniature devices, but the technology could be also be used in consumer electronics. (Learn more about the potential dangers of lithium-ion batteries and watch SafeLiCell's investor pitch »)

SafLiCell accepts the second place award.
SafeLiCell accepts the second place award at the $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge. Left to right: Mian Khalid, Professor Peter Kofinas, Aaron Fisher, and Testudo.

Fisher says SafeLiCell plans to use the prize money to acquire additional resources for the continued development and testing of Lithium Flex, and that they plan to pursue more fundraising activities. "We are very excited about the win, and look forward to publicizing our research and its possible economic impact," he says. "It has been a whirlwind of a competition," adds Khalid, who was recently awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support his work on the project. "I am very proud that I was able to represent Maryland in this elite competition as an undergraduate. It was an excellent networking opportunity and I got to think about and present my engineering ideas from a business perspective." For More Information: Visit the ACC $100K Clean Energy Challenge web site »
Read Mtech's press release for full coverage of the event »

Published April 27, 2012