May 18, 2021
Alex Girau - Founder, Advano
Success in commercializing new battery technologies requires a cross-functional and fundamental understanding of many different disciplines. However, solving these problems is often like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube — just because you solve one side does not mean the entire cube is solved. For Alex Girau, Founder of New Orleans-based battery company Advano, approaching battery design as a systems-level problem is the missing link for transforming new materials breakthroughs in the laboratory into globally impactful decarbonization technologies. In other words: new materials discovery is important, but it is essential to discover materials that are compatible with each other and can be produced in a scalable way.
Alex developed Advano’s core technology during his doctoral work at Tulane University, initially targeting applications in gene therapy. So what motivated the pivot into batteries? Scalable manufacturing was a critical value proposition of the underlying technology, and battery materials need to be produced easily at massive scale. Now nearly a decade into this effort, Alex espouses the value of incorporating sound chemical engineering principles, fundamental materials chemistry, and a data-centric approach from Day 1 of any new battery development effort.
In Episode 12, we’ll hear from Alex about what it takes to commercialize a new battery material: what are the biggest challenges facing the industry, where are the biggest opportunities, and what role can data and A.I. play in accelerating the process?