New Haven Register: Connecticut’s Cadenza Innovation raises $5M for battery technology efforts

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2016-07-22 New Haven Register logo

Christina Lampe-Onnerud is known around the world as someone who is constantly in search of ways to build a better battery.

No, not the kind of battery that goes into children’s toys and consumer electronics.

The battery technology that Lampe-Onnerud hopes to license to other companies and bring to market is high-capacity lithium ion battery that can give electric vehicles greater range between charges and can be used to store large amounts of energy for use at a later time.

Lampe-Onnerud founded Boston Power and her latest venture is Cadenza Innovation, which recently completed a funding round and announced Monday it had raised $5 million. Some of that investment is coming from Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public technology investment arm.

Lampe-Onnerud described her latest energy storage technology as something that is “very sophisticated energy building block.”

“It’s an interesting time to launch a new technology,” she said. The market for longer-lasting batteries for electric vehicles and storage batteries for electric utilities is expected to reach between $100 billion and $200 billion within the next decade, according to transport and grid markets — each of which is expected to surpass $100 billion in sales within the next decade, according to Lampe-Onnerud.

Cadenza Innovation is sharing space with KaroTech, a company located on Morse Road in Oxford that makes metal components and provides laser welding as well as 3D printing

Though Cadenza Innovation is developing the high-capacity batteries in Connecticut, its ability to grow and develop the technology largely depends upon what companies it is able to convince that licensing its technology makes sense, Lampe-Onnerud said.

“It’s a little bit like what Apple has done,” she said. “The (Apple) technology was invented here in the United States and is now being manufactured in Asia.”

Boston-Power, the company that Lampe-Onnerud previously founded, was able to raise more than $300 million in funding. But it ended up relocating from Westborough, Massachusetts, to China after it failed to get $100 million it had applied for as part of the U.S. Recovery Act.

The Chinese stepped in at the end of 2011 and provided Boston Power with a package of $125 million in venture capital, low interest loans and grants.

Connecticut Innovations is not alone in providing financial backing for the Cadenza Innovation battery technology. Its development has also been partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the state of Massachusetts, through its MassCEC Catalyst Program Awards.

By Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register