by Adam Lesser
It’s long been understood that there is no Moore’s Law for batteries. The annoyingly slow pace of advancement in battery technology (and energy density) has been a problem for everyone from cell phone makers to the Nissan Leaf. Add to this problem the reality that next generation battery technology startups require lots of debt capital to reach commercialization and well, we’re basically on a slow train to lithium ion land.
But while improving battery chemistry deals with core issues of physics and material sciences, improving the software that run and optimize batteries does not. And that’s where a few brave startups are looking to make a difference. And really the approach to battery tech that favors software over hardware development is emblematic of the macro move in cleantech toward digital green solutions where innovators can make a difference on a smaller timescale.
A startup called Qnovo, profiled by Gigaom’s Katie Fehrenbacher, is working with algorithms and silicon to improve battery performance:
“Qnovo’s silicon controller sits between the battery and the main applications processor on the phone, and it measures the battery’s parameters, including current, voltage, and temperature. The smart software applies its own models and algorithms to that data, and uses it to make decisions about charging the battery on the fly. The data and software essentially illuminates to the controller the state of the battery and its chemistry in real time, and the controller optimizes how the battery charges, and can also charge it as fast as possible but while keeping the battery healthy.”