Pioneering Battery Technologies with Torpel

Recent Chemical Engineering PhD graduate Chen Cai and current UVA professor Gary Koenig have worked together for years on battery research. They have discovered and developed an electrode manufacturing technique to load in more electroactive materials, resulting in batteries with longer lifetimes under a certain size. Their intended target is currently wearable/portable electronics with batteries that would ideally take up very little space.

Chen started off his PhD under the advisory of Professor Koenig in 2018. The original electrode structure was for fundamental research about Li-ion transport in batteries. As the results yielded more interesting cycle stability, they saw the potential for further investment into this specific type of battery. 

As a current early-stage venture, Cai and Koenig are extensively optimizing the technology, discovering customers, and raising funds. The unique nature of a technology-based start-up company is creating a solution before there is an actual problem, then tailor the solution to real-world problems. They intend to maximize their experience at the i.Lab by gaining mentorship and taking advantage of networking opportunities. They also intend to learn as much as possible about different entrepreneurial techniques and continue “learning, developing, and creating.”