As a Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary who pushed hard for plug-in vehicles, it seems only natural that Dr. Steven Chu would eventually hook up with a technology company in that sector once he left his government position. Well, now he has. Battery maker Amprius has announced that the Nobel Laureate has joined the its board.

Amprius battery cellThe company now manufactures a lithium battery for cell phones that uses a silicon nanowire anode developed by co-founder Dr. Yi Cui. It plans to use its technology to power electric vehicles in the future and claims its high-energy, high-capacity chemistry is capable of holding 650 watt-hours within the space of a liter (650 Wh/l).

That would seem to put the technology up there among the better batteries, at least with respect to volumetric density, but it's still difficult to judge overall without knowing how it meets other metrics, such as cycle life, gravametric density – the most frequently-used measure, and cost.

Still, it seems the company's current tech and future potential has been impressive enough to attract not only Dr. Chu, but also, recently, $30 million in Series C funding. In addition, the company boasts on its website that it's been backed by a plethora of venture capital firms and the likes of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Scroll below for more crowing over this board appointment in the official press release.
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Former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Joins Board of Battery Company Amprius

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and NANJING, China – Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Laureate and the former Secretary of Energy, has joined the Board of Directors of Amprius, a leading manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries.

"Higher-energy and longer-lasting batteries are in high demand for numerous applications, from consumer electronics to electric transportation," said Dr. Chu. "Amprius has exciting technology and strong scientific and commercial leadership. I look forward to advising Amprius' development of silicon-based anodes, advanced cathodes, and next-generation batteries."

Amprius recently announced that it had received an additional $30M in funding. Amprius will use Series C funds for research into advanced technologies, development of next-generation batteries, and commercialization of high energy and high capacity solutions for customers worldwide.

"Amprius is currently sampling and selling high-energy density batteries," said Amprius CEO Kang Sun. "We are delighted that former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is joining Amprius' Board of Directors. Dr. Chu is a world-renowned scientist and leader whose ideas and experience will help Amprius accelerate the development of even higher-energy batteries."

"Dr. Chu will bring incredible intellectual horsepower, vision, and experience to Amprius. I am thrilled to have him on board," said Dr. Yi Cui, Amprius Co-Founder, Board Member, and Stanford University Professor.

About Amprius

Amprius is a leading manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries. The company maintains an R&D lab and corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, California and operates an R&D lab and state-of-the-art pilot production line for advanced battery development in Nanjing, China. Amprius' investors include Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Chinergy Capital, SAIF Partners, Google Chairman Dr. Eric Schmidt, and Stanford University.

About Dr. Steven Chu

Dr. Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. From January 2009 until April 2013, he served as the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Before joining the Obama Administration, Dr. Chu was the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Chu won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, while he was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University.


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