Having paved the way with rechargeable thin film lithium battery technology back in 2002, Palm Bay, Florida-based Oakridge Global Energy Solutions Inc. will implement its many specialized patents as it expands, the firm announced last Wednesday.
Based on breakthrough research conducted by Dr. John B. Bates while he was employed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the company acquired Oak Ridge Micro-Energy Inc. 13 years ago to continue the development and commercial applications for the technology.
“The timing is now right and the market is now ready for Thin Film Solid State Batteries,” said Steve Barber, OGES executive chairman and CEO. “These amazing next generation batteries last for years without the need for recharging while providing steady power to smart phones, computer tablets, smart watches, medical electronics, and even animatronics and flexible applications such as the incorporation of batteries into the fabrics of clothing and tires.”
Barber explained that the process for manufacturing Thin Film Solid State batteries is different from the current method of producing small format or large format lithium cells, and is actually more like manufacturing techniques used in the semiconductor industry.
“While the market wasn’t quite ready for the technology when Dr. Bates invented it in the mid-1990s, now is the perfect time for Oakridge to commercialize our industry-changing technology," Barber said. "We will complete the last phase of pre-production prototyping in early 2016 and be ready for full commercial product and manufacturing of these hi-tech batteries in late 2016 to early 2017.”
Barber emphasized that the company will utilize the considerable local resources in and around Florida’s Space Coast as it implements manufacturing, equipment sourcing and local hiring for its intentional “Made in the U.S.A.” operation.
“This is yet another very exciting product line that nicely complements our existing products that we have already introduced, and will be a real game-changer for the global battery industry and truly represents the next generation of batteries," Barber said. "With this new product initiative … we are continuing with our mission statement of on-shoring jobs and manufacturing back to the U.S.A. … instead of having to rely on imported products.”
Oakridge's technology team is engineering driven, with core capabilities in materials, product design, process control, manufacturing technology, quality and safety.