Cleantech to Market

Energy Institute at Haas

2014 C2M Projects

Overcharge Protection for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Electric vehicle fires caused by thermal run away due to battery overcharging can cost lives, slow EV adoption, and lead to class action lawsuits as well as reduced vehicle company stock prices.   Researchers at LBL have developed a new type of separator that can improve lithium-ion battery safety.  These separators help prevent runaway overcharge events.  Potential applications include battery packs for EVs and other large, complex battery systems. Slides | Video

Mathematics to Optimize the Smart Grid

With growing penetration of distributed renewables, electric vehicles, and demand response, the distribution grid promises to become as complex and crowded as the Internet.  The same mathematicians at Caltech who helped optimize the web have developed similar algorithms to help manage the grid of the future.  These solutions involve scalable, real-time decentralized algorithms for providing voltage regulation and reactive power at lower cost and with higher reliability. Slides | Video

Phage Biofilm for Sensing and Generating

Bioengineering can solve a host of problems from natural gas sensing to advanced medical devices.  Berkeley researchers have developed a genetically engineered biomaterial that exhibits both sensing and piezoelectric properties.  This inexpensive, environmentally friendly phage material leverages nature's ability to self-replicate and self-assemble and has a wide range of potential applications, including field sensing and biologically powered implants such as pacemakers. Slides | Video

DC Microgrids for Greater Efficiency

As developing nations electrify, the hope is that they will use more efficient systems to avoid excess carbon emissions and thereby help mitigate climate change.  Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a DC micro grid architecture that maximizes end-to-end efficiency for renewables-based systems.  One of several goals is to promote a DC-based paradigm for the developing world. Slides | Video

Soft Magnets for Improved Motors

Motors power society and are hidden in virtually every form of transportation and manufacturing.  They also use a significant portion of the world’s fuel.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed new magnets that can make motors smaller, lighter, more efficient and/or more powerful, thereby driving superior performance and cost savings. Slides| Video

Modular Roofing for Impoverished Areas

Existing slum roofs lead to uncomfortable and dangerous living conditions.  ReMaterials, a startup based in India, is working with researchers at UC Berkeley on developing a low cost modular roofing solution for slum housing based on coated and compressed recycled materials.  They fill a significant market gap by offering health and safety improvements over low cost options, but at a much lower price than the high-priced alternatives. Slides | Video

Ultra-High Efficiency Concentrating Photovoltaics (PV)

As PV challenges the grid with its narrow generation profile and low module efficiencies, researchers at Caltech are working on a concentrating solar PV design that is dramatically more efficient than the vast majority of the current market.  They seek to generate 1.5-2X more energy on an annual basis over existing technologies.  This has the potential to offer a more attractive profile for grid integration in a cost-effective way, particularly where electric prices are high and land is scarce. Slides | Video

NearZero Flywheel Battery

While many flywheels optimize their designs for power, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new flywheel design that seeks to provide high-energy storage in a smaller footprint that can be optimized for both power and energy.  Their prototype achieves higher levels of performance by incorporating advanced electronics and control strategies to minimize losses.  It also operates well under extreme weather conditions, making it ideal for remote operations. Slides | Video


  • "I was thrilled to work with a team of students to explore the market opportunities for my research."
    - Christine Ho, Co-Founder Imprint Energy, PhD Material Sciences
  • "They did a superb job in terms of technology positioning, market analysis, and business proposition."
    - Jan Rabaey, Donald O. Pederson Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • "On every criteria – rigor, relevance, realism, grasp of the technical, policy, and business implications – this was nowhere near good, it was great. ARPA-E has high expectations. You've exceeded them and then some."
    - Josh Gould, Tech to Market Advisor, ARPA-E