Eonix was originally spun out of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) to explore the commercialization of 21 novel ionic liquid electrolytes for ultracapacitors developed through a series of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grants. After receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) i-Corps award to explore the market potential of these electrolytes, we discovered that ultracapacitor device manufacturers were hampered far more by cost rather than device performance, contrary to the claims in academia. These concerns regarding ultracapacitor device cost were echoed in the interviews we later conducted with representatives at automotive OEMs. Despite the automotive performance advantages offered by ultracapacitors and demonstrated in the Chinese hybrid bus and European start stop markets, ultracapacitors would not be adopted for hybrid and electric vehicles by domestic automotive companies without a significant reduction in cost and size. At the conclusion of i-Corps, Eonix was awarded a $250k NYSERDA grant to further study different electrolyte solutions on the benchtop and prototype scale. By leveraging the diverse characterization resources available at the CNSE, Eonix observed the impact of different electrolyte compositions on the degradation of these devices when exposed to a larger potential window. A novel salt that reduced device resistance by 40% was developed during this project. Eonix now aims to leverage this highly conductive salt to develop an electrolyte that expands the potential window of ultracapacitor devices from 2.7V to 3.5V.
Eonix is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.
Innovation Crossroads is a new program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.
Several entrepreneurs have been selected to transform their ideas into clean energy companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Innovators receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus up to $350,000 to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL.