There's a new cleantech player in town. As we and other media outlets reported last week, Watertown, MA-based A123Systems
The announcement is a strong PR push for Cambridge, MA-based 24M as a separate entity, but the company isn't giving many details about its technology or business strategy just yet. A123 and North Bridge Venture Partners did not respond to requests for comment last week. (It's not totally clear to me why A123 would spin this company out instead of keeping it in-house, where it would seem to have enough resources.)
Here's what we know so far. 24M's technology originated at A123, the lithium ion battery maker, and was further developed at MIT. It combines aspects of rechargeable batteries, fuel cells, and flow batteries. A flow battery pumps liquid electrolyte (often stored in external tanks) through an electrochemical cell to produce electricity. 24M says it is targeting energy-storage applications such as transportation -- presumably hybrid and electric vehicles -- and the power grid.
The latter is certainly a long-term problem in renewable energy; solar power and wind farms won't go very far without more efficient ways to store the electricity generated. It sounds like 24M, like many other companies, is looking to develop technology that will store more energy in a given amount of space, for less cost than existing batteries.
A123 has an unspecified equity stake in 24M, which is led by president and co-founder Throop Wilder, who is a veteran of the IT world. Wilder was previously involved with Crossbeam Systems and American Internet Corp, among other tech companies. His fellow 24M co-founders are MIT scientists Yet-ming Chiang (co-founder of A123) and W. Craig Carter.
"We believe that 24M's technology has the potential to reduce energy storage costs for transportation and grid applications, and we look forward to helping the company as it leverages our research innovations for the development of commercially viable systems," said A123's CEO, David Vieau, in a statement.
Some other interesting details about 24M have been reported elsewhere. For those interested in the technical aspects, Martin LaMonica of CNET pointed to a patent for a "redox flow device" filed by Chiang, Carter, and others on behalf of A123 and MIT. This may or may not be related to the technology that 24M is working on. And 24M's Wilder told Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe that he originally met Chiang through North Bridge (which invested in A123), while Wilder was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Charles River. Wilder also said that 24M will be expanding to 10 to 20 employees within the next six months.
More from Xconomy.com:
- Qualcomm Looks to Re-Energize the Brew Faithful at Inaugural Uplinq Conference
- Tesla Rocks the Nasdaq, But Analysts Skeptical Electric Car Company Can Go The Distance
- HP Buys Melodeo, RumbleFish Partners With YouTube, Motricity Declines & More Seattle-Area Deals News
Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's National IT Editor and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 617-252-7323, or follow him at twitter.com/gthuang.