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Startup Volexion thinking beyond the ‘Holy Grail’ of battery power

June 30, 2023

In the search for a better battery, researchers often describe the “Holy Grail” as a battery strong enough to power a car speeding cross country on a single charge.

But Mark Hersam is dreaming bigger than that.

Hersam — a Northwestern University professor, MacArthur “Genius” and founder of battery startup Volexion — imagines a future where batteries power long-distance semi-trucks, lumbering freight trains carrying tons of cargo and even airplanes circumnavigating the globe.

“I think battery-powered planes are coming,” said Hersam, a Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering. “Right now, we have drones powered by batteries. Drones are obviously very different from 747s, but they represent an important step in that direction. Battery-powered trucks are already in the works. Trains will follow, then planes.”

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