June 15, 2020
The Holland, Michigan-based company uses organic compounds to develop safer, sustainable, more efficient, and less costly energy storage, referred to as “flow” batteries. Tom Guarr, Jolt co-founder and chief technology officer, said the business is using the GCxN support to scale up from a lab prototype energy storage system to a larger system that will be incorporated onto the microgrid at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
THE TECHNOLOGY: Unlike lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium batteries where all the electrodes and active materials are contained within one can or pouch, a flow battery is an electrochemical cell where the chemical components are separated by a porous membrane. The amount of energy produced by a flow battery is proportionate to the size of the “tank,” making it a scalable energy option.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Jolt licensed Guarr’s work at his Michigan State University lab in 2015. Initially, he and co-founder Jack Johnson aspired to make additives for lithium-ion batteries to keep them from catching fire. “We had what we felt was a good chemical solution. At some point we realized our chemistry was halfway down the road to a fully organic battery, and we pivoted slightly to the development of that all organic battery,” he said.