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Thursday, February 29, 2024
UW-Madison chemistry professors Robert Hamers and Robert West designed their first electrolyte in 2004.

UW-Madison chemistry professors Robert Hamers and Robert West designed their first electrolyte in 2004.

UW-Madison startup company invents safer electrolyte for batteries

UW-Madison startup company Silatronix recently invented a safer electrolyte that will be used for phone, laptop and tablet batteries. Silatronix is planning on moving into pilot production with a major Japanese battery manufacturer, which still has not been identified.

The company began research because of the dangers that still come with lithium batteries, which will occasionally rupture and explode, according to a university release. The eventual co-founders of the company—UW-Madison chemistry professors Robert Hamers and Robert West—designed their first electrolyte in 2004. They started the company in 2006.

Hamers said even though they produced a safer battery more than a decade ago, they still needed to work toward improving performance to get major manufacturers on board.

“We built a library of compounds, and eventually invented ‘third generation compounds’ that work phenomenally well,” Hamers said in the release. “Not only do they have better performance than any other electrolyte, but also have this added safety benefit as they’re much less flammable.”

He went on to say that Silatronix helps UW-Madison students, in addition to creating a safer, more efficient battery.

“It also offers a tremendous boon to students,” Hamers said in the release. “The vast majority of graduate students in chemistry go into industry, and I can do a better job of educating students because I’ve seen what it takes to run a business.” 

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