WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today announced a grant award of $493,292 to Electrochemical Materials, LLC, of Baton Rouge.  The funding was awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

In 2011, Sen. Landrieu led the successful effort to extend the SBIR program for six years.

“I congratulate Electrochemical Materials on its well-deserved award, which shows once again that Louisiana has great scientists and engineers capable of winning competitive awards to advance technology,” Senator Landrieu said.  “The funds they received through the SBIR program will help develop longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries.  That type of technological advancement will make a big difference in the lives of the millions of Americans who rely on portable devices, such as cell phones, tablets and laptops, and it is a great example of why the SBIR program is so valuable.”  

Electrochemical Materials, LLC, was founded in 2009 by LSU professor Dr. John Flake and is located at the Louisiana Business and Technology Center in Baton Rouge.  The company will use the funds to develop and commercialize surface-engineered silicon anodes for use in lithium-ion batteries.  The new anodes will allow batteries to reach capacities 30 to 40 percent higher than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which will enable people with cell phones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices to use them for longer periods between charging intervals.

"The Gulf South region has a tremendous infrastructure for manufacturing battery-related products and can easily become a leader in this industry,” said Dr. John Flake.  "Louisiana has a strong energy base and produces a number of the components used in batteries.  This grant helps progress toward high-value products which generate significantly higher revenues and more jobs.

“I thank Senator Landrieu for her hard work getting the SBIR legislation renewed for another six years. The fact is that without her dedicated effort on behalf of all technology-based small businesses the SBIR program that provides such a good return on investment to the taxpayers would not be around today."

The SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are the largest federal research and development programs for small businesses.  The programs allow small businesses to compete for a portion of federal research dollars in order to help the agencies meet their many missions from areas of health and environment to national defense and agriculture, and move the ideas from lab to market, whether for the government or commercial purposes.