By Katie Fehrenbacher
Summary: The humble lithium ion battery could be a lot better, according to Qnovo.
How many times have you dashed out of the house and realized your cell phone battery was about to die? Who hasn’t frantically searched for a cell phone USB charger at work or even a party? Yep, we’re all guilty. The humble lithium ion cell phone battery is pretty much the bane of existence for the modern mobile world, and it hasn’t gotten all that much better despite the best efforts of many companies and people.
There are a growing amount of startups and big companies out there that are focused on using science, chemistry, and nanotechnology to create new types of batteries that can be used in laptops and cell phones, as well as electric cars. But the reality is that science-based battery innovation tends to take a really long time to commercialize, and can be really expensive to develop. Electric car maker Tesla knew this early on, which is why it uses thousands of small-form lithium ion batteries in its cars purchased from Japanese giant Panasonic.
But in the face of the looming roadblocks for the progress of the everyday lithium ion battery, smart software has emerged as a novel option. And we’re not talking about the basic power management software on your cell phone. To meet this battery performance challenge, a promising startup called Qnovo has just emerged from stealth after four years in development with its own brand of software and silicon that taps into battery chemistry and makes batteries, well, better. I had the opportunity to speak to the founders and visit their labs for the first time this week.