Poly, start-up team up to build bet­ter drone bat­ter­ies

The Straits Times - - EDUCATION -

Drones are emerg­ing as a key tech­nol­ogy across in­dus­tries rang­ing from lo­gis­tics to en­ter­tain­ment, and mak­ers are con­stantly look­ing for ways to im­prove their de­sign and bat­tery life.

To that end, home-grown start-up En­er­gyNova is work­ing with re­searchers from Te­masek Polytech­nic (TP) to de­velop light­weight, longer-last­ing bat­ter­ies for drones.

The part­ners were con­nected through In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty In­ter­me­di­ary (IPI) Sin­ga­pore’s por­tal. The non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion links Sin­ga­pore-based com­pa­nies with part­ners in its network of tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion providers.

En­er­gyNova makes com­pact, light­weight hy­dro­gen-based bat- ter­ies, which when paired with a fuel cell, can be used for a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing pow­er­ing drones.

Through IPI’s por­tal, En­er­gyNova con­nected with re­searchers from TP’s Clean En­ergy Re­search Cen­tre, who had de­vel­oped a pro­pri­etary hy­dro­gen fuel cell tech­nol­ogy that can de­liver more en­ergy than con­ven­tional sys­tems.

En­er­gyNova li­censed the tech­nol­ogy from TP, and the part­ners are work­ing to­gether to bring it to mar­ket in a year’s time.

“Drones are in­creas­ingly used for in­dus­trial pur­poses, for in­stance, to in­spect tall build­ings and power lines. Half an hour of flight time is never enough. With our so­lu­tion we can achieve two or three times more than cur­rent bat­ter­ies,” said En­er­gyNova busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Adec Thng.

Mr Thng added that there are fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion – for in­stance, in de­vel­op­ing por­ta­ble charg­ing de­vices that can last for longer pe­ri­ods of time, or even de­vel­op­ing so­lu­tions to power small golf bug­gies or e-scoot­ers.

Dr Han Ming, head of fuel cell sys­tems at TP’s Clean En­ergy Re­search Cen­tre, said the part­ner­ship also gave two TP stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to in­tern at En­er­gyNova.

“It trained our stu­dents to work in a start-up and be ex­posed to the process of tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion,” he said.

Chia Yan Min

PHOTO: EN­ER­GYNOVA

The group work­ing to bring the light­weight, longer-last­ing bat­ter­ies to the mar­ket in­cludes (from left) en­gi­neer Wang Lei and Dr Han Ming from Te­masek Polytech­nic’s Clean En­ergy Re­search Cen­tre, Dr Lu Jin­chang and Mr Adec Thng from En­er­gyNova and stu­dents Ryan Lim and Eu­gene Chin (at the back), who in­terned at the start-up.

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