Intel Invests In Qnovo’s Battery Boosting Tech
Battery life stays the fly within the ointment of shopper smartphone satisfaction. To not point out all the opposite units we’re being inspired to strap on our individual or stick in our luggage as computing shifts from fastened places to one thing that’s close to ubiquitous and (more and more) private. So it follows that corporations which may even incrementally enhance battery efficiency are doubtless to seek out their tech in demand.
To wit: Qnovo, a Newark, California-based mostly agency that’s been creating battery charging enhancement know-how since 2010 — and is as we speak saying an $eight.6 million Collection B funding spherical, with Intel Capital becoming a member of as a strategic investor, alongside present buyers RockPort Capital, US Enterprise Companions and Blue Run Ventures.
Its adaptive charging tech — which apparently speeds charging occasions with out shortening battery lifespan — has not but been commercially deployed however it says the brand new financing will probably be used to help the launch of “a number of smartphones” utilizing its tech subsequent yr. It’s additionally planning to broaden software to different units, akin to laptops and wearables, though smartphones stay its preliminary focus.
How does its battery enhancing know-how work? It’s a layer of software program that analyzes how a lithium ion battery is charging and adapts present and voltage in actual-time to optimize the method. (Which sounds very similar to the strategy of TC Disrupt NYC 2015 alum, Nucleus Scientific, which launched on stage at our startup battlefield competitors again in Might.)
“Present charging of batteries in place for a century is a a method course of (CCCV) that’s blind to the chemical reactions contained in the battery that trigger degradation. Via the managed introduction of cost and subsequent measurement of response, Qnovo is ready to “see” degradation mechanism signatures and regulate charging present and voltage in actual-time to attenuate cell injury whereas concurrently minimizing cost time,” says Qnovo Nadim Maluf, co-founder and CEO.
“From in depth measurement over 4 years, we see from two to eight occasions longer cycle life as in comparison with CCCV. With longer cycle life, the battery may be charged quicker and nonetheless final for 2 years.”
Maluf claims there are a number of benefits to utilizing its adaptive battery charging tech. “The most effective smartphones at the moment solely supply two of the 4 key battery efficiency attributes: capability (use time), quick charging, battery lifetime, and skinny and lightweight. Apple iPhone 6 is skinny and lightweight with good lifetime however sacrifices capability and fees slowly. Samsung Galaxy S6 is skinny and lightweight however lowered capability from the S5 to be able to supply quick charging. With Qnovo know-how, smartphone OEMs can supply wonderful use time (3Ah+ capability), quick charging (1 day use with 20 minute quick cost), two yr lifetime (800 cycles) in a skinny type issue (7mm or much less thickness) — concurrently,” he tells TechCrunch.
“The know-how is broadly relevant to purposes the place longer cycle life or quicker charging is useful. It really works with commonplace lithium ion batteries and requires no modifications, so it may be shortly deployed to manufacturing with no added value to battery manufacturing. As software program, it makes use of out there compute assets and doesn’t add further hardware value. The advantages vs commonplace charging improve with quicker charging and better power density cells,” he provides.
All of which sounds somewhat too good to be true, which might be why Maluf is so happy to snag Intel as an investor. “We’re very happy with the addition of Intel as a strategic investor. We see this as a validation of our know-how in addition to the significance of enhancing battery efficiency in cellular units,” he notes.
If Qnovo can get its lithium ion enchancment tech to market subsequent yr it’s more likely to beat off extra formidable approaches to boosting battery efficiency — corresponding to Israeli startup StoreDot which has raised some $seventy six million in funding since 2012, and has been demoing prototypes of a quicker charging battery since final yr (however has but to deliver them to market in telephones).
StoreDot faces an arguably greater problem in getting its battery boosting tech to market given the batteries themselves contain new know-how (it’s utilizing bio-natural nano-crystals, fairly than present lithium ion cells). Final October the corporate was suggesting 2017 for a business deployment of its tech. It’s since expanded its focus to constructing very quick charging batteries for electrical automobiles, so it’s arguably now much less targeted on the smartphone phase.
Others enjoying within the battery enhancement area embrace Sakti3, which is creating a strong state battery tech that’s purportedly larger density than lithium ion cells; and Seeo, which is working to shrink cell measurement with out compromising capability by way of lithium-polymer batteries. Stanford scientists have additionally been probing the potential of aluminum-ion for enhancing battery efficiency.
There’s definitely no scarcity of ambition to enhance battery efficiency. Who can truly ship these a lot wanted enhancements stays to be seen — leaving shoppers to lug round a spare battery pack in the intervening time.
Featured Picture: Steve Lengthy