Binghamton University, with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), has selected two fellows for its inaugural cohort of the empowerST Energy Storage Fellowship Program. Wentao Li, founder and CEO of LiBAMA, LLC, and Matt Mayer, co-founder, president and CTO of ExoCell Power, have been selected for the first-of-its-kind energy storage entrepreneurial training program.

The empowerST program, a collaboration between Per Stromhaug, associate vice president for innovation and economic development, and 2019 Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor M. Stanley Whittingham, was made possible through funding provided by NYSERDA’s Accelerate Southern Tier Program Opportunity.

The two-year program will provide fellows with salary and up to $100,000 in R&D funding, along with access to the fast-growing regional cleantech cluster for innovators seeking to bring cutting-edge energy storage technologies to market. The fellows, selected from 54 applicants from eight countries, will pursue their research, development and technology commercialization activities with technical support from Binghamton faculty and startup mentoring from the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships.

“This fellowship will provide robust support on multiple fronts. The program will help to lay a solid foundation for our business and will provide the necessary resources for us to thrive,” said Li, a battery electrode specialist seeking to commercialize next-generation advanced metal anode batteries. Li’s company LiBAMA, has the ultimate goal of creating rechargeable AMA batteries that will provide mobile power for smart phones, notebooks, tablets, electric vehicles, drones and more.

“empowerST is the first major funding for ExoCell Power and will provide the tools to move the company forward at a critical time,” said Mayer, whose company is developing and manufacturing lightweight hydrogen fuel cells as an innovative alternative for the portable power and energy market. The company’s patented Thin Flexible Fuel Cell (TFFC) can conservatively extend flight durations of commercial small drones up to 4X relative to the current capabilities. “I am thrilled with the support and excellent resources provided by the program, Binghamton University and Dr. Whittingham.”

“empowerST will ensure that the next generation of energy storage innovations are brought to market with speed and certainty,” said Olga Petrova, assistant director of Binghamton University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships. “Through the resources, connections and funding provided by the program, both fellows will receive the tools necessary to bring their breakthrough technologies to market.”