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Andlinger Center News

March 24, 2016

Two Princeton University postdoctoral research associates, Andrew Hsieh and Barry Van Tassell, have been selected to participate in the prestigious energy technology incubator Cyclotron Road. A partnership between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the U.S. Department of Energy, Cyclotron Road supports outstanding researchers working on next-generation clean-energy solutions, offering a runway to translate cutting-edge science into technologies with a sustained impact on our energy future.

Hsieh and Van Tassell will develop a method for determining the state of charge, state of health and physical structure of any closed battery using acoustic interrogation. This low-cost, non-destructive and scalable technology could reduce the time and cost of battery development, manufacturing and qualification by linking battery cell performance directly to structure. The technology, invented in the laboratory of Daniel Steingart, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, with assistance from Clarence Rowley, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Jason Fleischer, associate professor of electrical engineering, has the potential to change how batteries are made, tested and managed everywhere.

The prestigious and highly competitive Cyclotron Road program will provide Hsieh and Van Tassell with up to two years of salary and seed funding, as well as office and lab space at Berkeley Lab. The program also provides mentoring, connections to commercial partners and investors, and access to world-class research facilities. Hsieh and Van Tassell were selected for admission after a nationwide call and a rigorous four-month application process.

Kef Kasdin, an executive-in-residence (XIR) in Princeton University’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), was instrumental in coaching Hsieh and Van Tassell through the application process. Kasdin formerly led Battelle Ventures’ investments in clean-energy technology and has 25 years of experience in technology transfer and entrepreneurship. She was joined by OTL New Ventures Associate Tony Williams in helping the team articulate why their project should be chosen for development to solve critical societal challenges.

“Both Kef and Tony were invaluable resources for us as we prepared for various interviews, presentations and pitches during the intense selection process,” said Hsieh. “Their patience, experience, and feedback were critical as we worked out how to clearly communicate our ideas and the potential impact of our technology.”

Hsieh and Van Tassell will join Cyclotron Road this May where they will enhance the battery analysis technology through a newly formed venture, Feasible.

Cyclotron Road is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO).