Vorbeck Materials, a startup company using Pacific Northwest National Laboratory technology for better laptop and other batteries, has been named by Energy Secretary Steven Chu as one of three winners of "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge.
The winners were based on an internet public vote and an expert review that looked at potential economic and social impact.
Almost 500,000 votes were cast for 14 companies in the challenge, with Vorbeck of Jessup, Md., receiving the third most votes with about 14,500.
Vorbeck is developing and commercializing PNNL's method of building tiny chemical structures to greatly improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries.
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The rechargeable batteries are used in laptops and electric cars.
The new material in Vorbeck's batteries stores twice as much electricity at high charge and discharge rates as current lithium-ion batteries and creates increased battery capacity and a longer cycle life.
Participants in the contest were part of the Obama administration's Startup America initiative, which reduces the cost for startup companies to obtain an option agreement to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by DOE's national laboratories.
It also reduces the paperwork required.
As a winner of the energy innovator challenge, Vorbeck will be featured at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this month in Washington, D.C., a premier gathering of clean energy investors and innovators.
The two other top winners were IPAT of Iowa, which is lowering the cost of titanium powder to manufacture parts, including for artificial limbs, and Umpqua Energy of Medford, Ore., which is developing a system to increase gasoline mileage.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; email@example.com