Advanced Battery Concepts
Better Batteries, A Better World
Advanced Battery Concepts is a company with an exciting new power play. The company has developed a proprietary battery electrode technology, branded GreenSeal™, which is anticipated to enhance lead acid battery power tenfold or nearly double the energy, without additional material costs. According to company founder and CEO, Ed Shaffer, “GreenSeal™ technology has an additional advantage; it makes traditional lead acid batteries feasible for new applications such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Shaffer indicates that GreenSealTM affords reduction in product weight and size and increased cycle life. Additionally, because GreenSeal™ can make use of the existing lead acid manufacturing and recycling infrastructures, Advanced Battery Concepts has a significant competitive advantage over other battery chemistries.”
The history of this Midland, Michigan company tells an interesting story. Shaffer, a MIT Ph.D with 20 years experience in advanced materials, relates, “When we were making the decision whether to locate Advanced Battery Concepts in California or Michigan, we agreed it had to be Michigan. Michigan had the infrastructure to support our company, in large part due to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and its advocacy for growing new technology companies such as ours.”
Shaffer further relates that, “the company’s GreenSeal™ technology can be a vital part of accelerating the adoption of new technologies in the electrification of vehicles, alternative energy and in the military and defense industry.” Advanced Battery Concepts currently has an agreement with California-based Concord Battery Corporation to assist with manufacturing batteries and to jointly develop a battery for military applications. Additionally, Advanced Battery Concepts is working with three other lead-acid battery producers on similar agreements and hopes to publicly announce them soon. “By 2010, we will have completed prototype development and will be working with a number of manufacturers in various industries to field test our batteries,” acknowledges Shaffer. “There are a number of Michigan companies that use lead acid batteries interested in our technology,” Shaffer continues. Zwas states, "Within two years we will have placed our batteries in several niche markets. While the cost of manufacturing will be the same, we can charge a premium price for our batteries because of the savings and performance enhancements these batteries will yield."
Despite its status as a new company, Advanced Battery Concepts has already achieved a striking degree of success. In May, the company presented to a large group of investors at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. The annual symposium, one of the longest running programs of its kind, brings together investors from across the country, executives of early stage and emerging growth companies and related stakeholders. A carefully screened group of high-potential companies present to an audience of venture capitalists, angel investors and institutional investors, and Advanced Battery Concepts generated a significant amount of interest with its pitch. In June, the Great Lakes Entrepreneurship Quest (GLEQ) hosted its Statewide Business Plan Competition Award Ceremony with partner organizations Automation Alley and NextEnergy. In the New Business Idea category, Advanced Battery Concepts received the first place $5,000 award. The company went on to receive two other innovation awards; the Automation Alley Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Award of $12,500, and the NextEnergy Alternative Innovation Award of $10,000. Finally, the team closed on a $250 thousand investment in early 2010 from the Blue Water Angels, a formal angel investor group based in Midland.
It was the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium that connected Advanced Battery Concepts to the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC). Each of the 32 companies chosen to present its ten minute investor presentation at the symposium was required to work with the SBTDC to polish its pitch. “What a stroke of luck that was for us,” relates Shaffer. “The SBTDC has been a fantastic resource for our company and instrumental in whatever success we’ve had to date. Tech team business consultants, Phil Tepley and John Balbach provided coaching and guidance on our recent presentation to investors, connected us with additional services and networking opportunities, and helped us build our business model. SBIR specialist, Anna Bier, has been of unbelievable assistance in helping us prepare our SBIR application submission for a phase 1 federal research grant. Her guidance and reviews resulted in a four-fold improvement in our proposal. While the award won’t be granted until later in the year, our expectations for success are high. I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to have people like Phil, John and Anna available to businesses in Michigan. I look forward to our continuing relationship with this terrific network,” Shaffer explained.
Phil Tepley, manager of the SBTDC technology consultants states, “Advanced Battery Concepts is the kind of company we want to see succeed and grow in Michigan. It’s a company that has incredible potential and one that can clearly help diversify the state’s economy. We not only want to continue to work with them but to help them capitalize on the exposure they’ve recently received. This is a company to watch.”