U spin-off receives development grant

A U-M spin-off company that specializes in high-power batteries has been chosen as the state's first Center of Energy Excellence in Batteries, state officials say.

Sakti3, based in Ann Arbor and founded by Ann Marie Sastry, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical and Materials Science and Engineering, will receive a $3 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., as part of its program to bring companies, academic institutions and the state together to research, develop and implement alternative energy technologies. Christian Lastoskie, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will lead the University's portion of the grant. The effort, funded by $500,000 of the award, will focus on life cycle analysis of battery systems.

"Centers of Energy Excellence will enable innovative companies doing cutting-edge work in advanced and alternative energy to partner with our world-class research facilities and universities to help make Michigan the North American epicenter of the alternative energy industry," Gov. Jennifer Granholm says. "This new program is part of our aggressive strategy to diversify our economy, create new jobs and be the state that helps end our nation's dependence on foreign oil."

Sakti3 and Sastry specialize in research and development of batteries for future plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

"We are pleased to lead the effort to create an energy storage ecosystem in Michigan, in partnership with the University and the state," Sastry says. "This grant is an exceedingly strong show of support by the state of Michigan, at a time when our regional economy is challenged. Conversion of the drivetrain is a key element in Michigan's renewal, and it is with great optimism that we continue on our path."