Better Batteries:

An Innovation Hub Project

lithium ion battery.

Silicon is added to the graphite (carbon) anodes of lithium-ion batteries to increase the energy-storage capacity.

As part of the Innovation Hub initiative, Distinguished Professor and Chair Mark Swihart and PhD student Adam Raszewski are leading a project to create better batteries. 


While lithium-ion batteries are the common choice in consumer electronics and electric vehicles, their storage capacity is limited. To overcome this issue, Mark Swihart and Adam Raszewski have turned to silicon, which can hold up to 10 times as many lithium ions as current materials, thereby boosting energy-storage capacity.

Using their $62,320 award, the team is investigating the production, characterizing and testing of silicon-carbon nanostructures for lithium-ion battery anodes. The funds will also support development of a unique process and material, with the goal of low-cost manufacturing and higher-capacity batteries.

electron microscopy images.

Innovation Hub Initiative

Six months ago, UB and partners launched the Innovation Hub initiative to support the region’s growing startup economy. “Innovation Hub is closing the gap between innovators and the marketplace by connecting researchers, students and clinicians to the funding, facilities and expertise they need to commercialize their ideas more rapidly and effectively.” -Christina Orsi, Associate Vice President for Economic Development

With applications accepted on a biannual basis, the second round of applicants currently under review, and the search for the third round beginning in early 2020. There are now seven entrepreneurial teams working to advance promising new technologies that aim to solve pressing societal challenges. The teams — six from UB, one from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — are developing new therapeutics for respiratory failure, more efficient and sustainable batteries, opioid alternatives for chronic pain and other innovations.

See more about the initiative and projects here, or visit the Innovation Hub website for more information.

Project Team

  • Dr. Mark Swihart (Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Technical Lead)
  • Parham Rohani (Ph.D. alumnus, CEO of NanoHydroChem, Entrepreneurial Lead)
  • Adam Raszewski (Ph.D. student)