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Posted on May 13, 2009

Energy harvesting batteries

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FlexEl LLC, a start-up company spun out of technologies created at the University of Maryland, develops millimetre-thick, high-density, rechargeable batteries made from thin films. Remotely rechargeable, the batteries gather energy from the environment, from sources such as vibrations and existing radio waves. They can even recharge by simply pointing a cell phone at them. FlexEl's batteries are flexible, meaning they can conform to nearly any shape and act as part of an electronic device's packaging. They attach to microchips, sensors, RFID chips, and small electronic components and the batteries are comprised entirely of environmentally friendly materials.
FlexEl LLC has been announced as one of nine finalist teams for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. FlexEl LLC is entered in the Information Technology Category as they have developed a proprietary battery that packs more energy per square centimetre than any other rechargeable flexible thin-film battery in the world. The battery also recharges at extremely low voltages, enabling it to take advantage of energy scavenging techniques not feasible with other batteries. Unlike other rechargeable thin film batteries requiring expensive semiconductor processing equipment, they can be manufactured using a cost-effective printing process. Because of these unique attributes, the FlexEl battery is especially well-suited to power a wide range of ultra-small electronics, including wireless sensor networks, implantable medical devices, RFID devices, and smart cards.
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The FlexEl LLC team consists of Marty Peckerar, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering; Neil Goldsman, professor, department of electrical and computer engineering; Zeynep Dilli, research associate, department of electrical and computer engineering and Josekuttan Manikathuparambil, graduate student, master's program in telecommunications.
Top Image: Marty Peckerar, source University of Maryland