By Megan Rogers  |  Albany Business Review  |  6/16/15

Rensselaer engineers team up on battery startup

The co-founders of EnerMat Technologies in Troy, New York are building a prototype for their fast-charging, long-lasting battery that could have applications in the automotive and electronics industry.

Rahul Mukherjee and Eklavya Singh developed the technology as mechanical engineering graduate students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private school in Troy. Now, they are using a $250,000 state grant to build a scalable prototype.

Mukherjee and Singh are working with private investors to raise $250,000 to serve as a match to the $250,000 grant they were awarded last month by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Singh says they are talking with companies in the automotive and electronic industries about potential joint partnerships. The goal is to use the technology in electric vehicles, he said. But the first step is to build a prototype.

Mukherjee and Singh recently licensed the technology from Rensselaer. The startup has developed a way to use the nanomaterial graphene to improve batteries.

EnerMat Technologies is one of several startups in the region that are trying to build better batteries for wearable devices, electronics, vehicles and other uses. The push for a startup ecosystem in the region has helped the co-founders feel comfortable pursuing a startup after graduation.

“One thing that really helped us is that community is really helpful in Albany and the Capital Region,” Mukherjee said. “That got us in a place where we could take the step that OK, we are not going to look for regular jobs.”

Mukherjee said he and Singh have received business advice from Matt Cusack, entreprenuer-in-residence at Rensselaer and Rich Honen, a partner with intellectual property firm Phillips Lytle LLP in Albany.