The history of PolyPlus

+ History

History. PolyPlus Battery Company is among the world leaders in the development of next-generation battery technology. The team at PolyPlus has the internal capabilities to invent novel battery chemistries, engineer cell and battery pack prototypes, and protect its inventions with domestic and international patents.

Founded upon the invention of a lithium/organosulfur battery at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, PolyPlus has been in continuous operation since 1991. PolyPlus’ early business model was focused on IP development and licensing. These roots yielded a company culture that combines scientific creativity with disciplined execution, as well as a comprehensive intellectual property portfolio. Over the years, PolyPlus has been supported by a combination of funding from licensing, private investment, industry, and government contracts from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.


PolyPlus invented and patented the protected lithium electrode (PLE), a core technology that enables the use of ultra-light metallic lithium anodes in batteries. PolyPlus has used the PLE concept to develop both primary and rechargeable batteries with lithium metal anodes. PolyPlus’ inventions include non-aqueous lithium/sulfur batteries, primary lithium-water, primary and rechargeable lithium-air, and rechargeable aqueous lithium-sulfur batteries.


PolyPlus currently has 28 employees, including 7 Ph.Ds, two mechanical engineers, several chemical engineers and chemists, and associated support staff. PolyPlus has a well-equipped R&D facility in a 13,000 square foot leased building in Berkeley, CA. In 2013, PolyPlus installed a semi-automated pilot line to produce PLEs.


From left: Lut De Jonghe, May-Ying Chu, and Steve Visco

+ Board

Board

Steve Visco, Ph.D.
CEO, CTO, & Founder:

Steve Visco is an internationally recognized expert in lithium batteries and fuel cells. Dr. Visco currently holds over 100 U.S. patents, more than 200 international patents and has authored close to 100 journal articles, as well as books, monographs and other publications. He has successfully raised $45M in government contracts and grant awards, serves on numerous scientific committees and panel, and directed research leading to recognition of PolyPlus by TIME magazine and a Gold Edison Award in 2012. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Ph.D in Chemistry from Brown University, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California in Santa Barbara before joining the staff at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2013 Dr. Visco was selected by the City of Berkeley for a “Visionary Award” for his work in next generation batteries. Steve also serves on the Technical Advisory Boards for the Conrad Foundation and the CIC Energigune Institute in Miñano, Spain and was awarded the 2011 International Battery Association Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Lithium-Air and Lithium-Water Batteries.” In May 2015 Dr. Visco was elected a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society.



May-Ying Chu, Ph.D.
CFO, COO, & Founder:

Dr. Chu has more than 20 years of experience in managing battery R&D, intellectual property portfolios, government contracts and audits, and is an inventor on 28 issued U.S. patents and more than 50 international patents. Chu is the lead inventor of the nonaqueous Li/sulfur battery technology. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Materials Science, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D in Materials Science from the University of California at Berkeley.



Professor Lutgard C. De Jonghe
Chairman of the Board, Director, & Founder:

Professor De Jonghe is a Professor in the Graduate School - Materials Science Department at U.C. Berkeley, has been a Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1978, is an American Ceramic Society Fellow, and is an internationally recognized expert in ceramics and ionic devices. Prof. De Jonghe has more than 220 publications and holds 62 U.S. Patents. He was a Research Fellow in the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics at Harvard University, an Associate Professor at Cornell University, and a Senior U.S. Scientist and Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany, and has worked at the Nuclear Research Center in Belgium. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Higher Technical Institute in Antwerp, Belgium, an M.S. in Metallurgy from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D in Materials Science from the University of California at Berkeley.



Mark Platshon
Independent Board Member:

Mark Platshon is an independent board member for PolyPlus Battery Company. In addition, Mark is a Senior Advisor and Partner, BMW i-Ventures and Managing Director, Icebreaker Ventures, LLC in Menlo Park, CA. Mark has been a partner in the Cleantech group at VantagePoint Venture Partners where he focused on energy storage, transportation, solar, wind and building efficiency. Previously, Mark was a Venture Partner at Trident Capital and at X/Seed Capital, and a serial Silicon Valley CEO and Director of venture-backed companies for over 20 years. Mark earned a BSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan, studied Nuclear Engineering at the Westinghouse Naval Reactor School and obtained his MBA from Stanford University. As a Naval Officer and engineer, Mark had a joint Navy and Department of Energy appointment to Admiral Hyman Rickover’s nuclear submarine engineering staff.

From the left: Lutgard De Jonghe, May-Ying Chu, Steve Visco, Eugene Nimon, Bruce Katz, Richard Klidies

+ Management

Management

Steve Visco, Ph.D.
CEO, CTO, & Founder:

Steve Visco is an internationally recognized expert in lithium batteries and fuel cells. Dr. Visco currently holds over 100 U.S. patents, more than 200 international patents and has authored close to 100 journal articles, as well as books, monographs and other publications. He has successfully raised $45M in government contracts and grant awards, serves on numerous scientific committees and panel, and directed research leading to recognition of PolyPlus by TIME magazine and a Gold Edison Award in 2012. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Ph.D in Chemistry from Brown University, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California in Santa Barbara before joining the staff at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2013 Dr. Visco was selected by the City of Berkeley for a “Visionary Award” for his work in next generation batteries. Steve also serves on the Technical Advisory Boards for the Conrad Foundation and the CIC Energigune Institute in Miñano, Spain and was awarded the 2011 International Battery Association Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Lithium-Air and Lithium-Water Batteries.” In May 2015 Dr. Visco was elected a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society.



May-Ying Chu, Ph.D.
CFO, COO, & Founder:

Dr. Chu has more than 20 years of experience in managing battery R&D, intellectual property portfolios, government contracts and audits, and is an inventor on 28 issued U.S. patents and more than 50 international patents. Chu is the lead inventor of the nonaqueous Li/sulfur battery technology. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Materials Science, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D in Materials Science from the University of California at Berkeley.



Professor Lutgard C. De Jonghe
Chairman of the Board, Director, & Founder:

Professor De Jonghe is a Professor in the Graduate School - Materials Science Department at U.C. Berkeley, has been a Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1978, is an American Ceramic Society Fellow, and is an internationally recognized expert in ceramics and ionic devices. Prof. De Jonghe has more than 220 publications and holds 62 U.S. Patents. He was a Research Fellow in the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics at Harvard University, an Associate Professor at Cornell University, and a Senior U.S. Scientist and Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany, and has worked at the Nuclear Research Center in Belgium. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Higher Technical Institute in Antwerp, Belgium, an M.S. in Metallurgy from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D in Materials Science from the University of California at Berkeley.



Eugene S. Nimon, Ph.D.
Director of Research & Development:

Dr. Nimon has extensive experience in the research and development of electrochemical systems and lithium batteries. He has authored over 70 scientific publications and is an inventor on 54 issued U.S. patents and close to 60 international patents. Dr. Nimon manages the PolyPlus R&D group. He was instrumental in the development and engineering of the protected lithium electrode, as well as PolyPlus breakthrough battery technologies including lithium-air, lithium-water, and lithium-sulfur. He received a Ph.D in Chemistry from the Frumkin Institute of Electrochemistry, Moscow, and an M.S. in Physics from Saratov State University, Russia.



Bruce D. Katz
Manager, Intellectual Property:

Bruce Katz is a Materials Scientist and IP Engineer specializing in electrochemical materials, with particular expertise in the fields of lithium battery electrodes and solid electrolytes. Mr. Katz has 60+ issued patents in the field of lithium batteries and lithium battery cell components, and 20+ patents pending. He received his Masters degree in Materials Science with a focus on lithium intercalation materials from the University of Pennsylvania.



Richard D. Klidies
Facilities Manager:

Richard Klidies supervises five full-time and two part-time employees on the facilities and operations team at PolyPlus. Richard has 40 years experience in facilities and equipment management and maintenance in the semiconductor industry, and has an A.S. from Evergreen College.

At the Polyplus labs

+ Staff

Staff

Images from the PolyPlus patent portfolio

+ Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property. PolyPlus’ extensive patent portfolio includes fundamental claims on the subject of protected lithium electrodes (PLEs). The PLE is a core element of the PolyPlus portfolio because it represents a major advancement in battery technology: the PLE enables the safe use of high energy density lithium metal anodes in batteries.

PolyPlus’ portfolio also covers key aspects of various liquid and solid electrolytes, and advanced battery chemistries including Lithium-Air, Lithium-Seawater, and Lithium-Sulfur systems. In addition to discovery phase research, PolyPlus develops battery structures, seals and associated hardware necessary to maximize the performance of its unique chemistries.


Currently, PolyPlus Battery Company holds more than 137 issued U.S. and international patents as well as 40 pending applications.

The PolyPlus Pilot Line

+ Facilities

Facilities. The PolyPlus facilities, located in Berkeley, CA, contain superb equipment for battery research and development, including:

Several triple-chamber gloveboxes with electrical feedthroughs

Several 100-channel Maccor battery testers

Several potentiostat/galvanostat systems with impedance spectroscopy

A scanning electron microscope equipped with EDAX

A machine shop

A standard porosimeter capable of accurately measuring pore-size distributions in materials and engineered structures from 1 nm to 3 x 105 nm.

Dry room facilities for lithium handling and battery assembly

PolyPlus recently installed a one-of-a-kind semi-automated pilot line for the fabrication of its PLEs.