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Nexergy's advanced battery work spurs growth and chance for new markets

Nexergy is on the cutting edge of advanced battery technology -- a niche that helped the company add nearly 20 jobs between 2009 and early 2010.

The Columbus-based company is working on some of the technological challenges of building lithium ion battery packs -- a battery that produces more energy per weight and size than anything else on the market.

Lithium ion batteries today are used in many consumer products, like notebook computers and cell phones (by contrast, Nexergy builds battery packs for high-value portable electronics like medical instruments and tools, safety and security equipment). But they have a couple of problems when battery size increases -- they can generate a lot of heat and they have to be carefully controlled with electronics. That makes developing a large lithium ion battery that can be used in such things as electric vehicles a major technological challenge.

"One of the big issues that the industry is dealing with in kind of moving up the food chain in getting lithium ion used in bigger and bigger packs for things like wheelchair batteries or lawnmower batteries or electric vehicle batteries," says company founder Phil Glandon.

Nexergy is helping to solve that problem in a collaboration with GrafTech, Mobius Power, and the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University. The companies are receiving $965,000 from the Ohio Third Frontier to build a next generation of applications for lithium ion power.

Overcoming those challenges could mean tremendous growth for a company like Nexergy if it's able to convert its large lead-acid battery business to lithium, Glandon says. The company, which also has operations in California and Colorado, employs 165 in Ohio.

Sources: Phil Glandon, founder, and Sean Harrigan, president and CEO, Nexergy
Writer: Gene Monteith

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