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BC MBA Grads Win Prize at Prestigious MassChallenge Business Competition

enerleap duo earn all-expense paid research partnership at international space station national laboratory

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (November 1, 2013)--Smart phones, flashlights, watches, and toys could soon last much longer thanks to a start-up company that has come up with a cleaner, greener battery that provides 10 times more power and five times greater capacity than what’s on the market today. The concept, invented by Boston College Associate Professor of Chemistry  Dunwei Wang and molded into a business by 2013 Boston College MBA graduates Emily Fannon and Meghan Zipin, was validated by the business world October 30 as the company, EnerLeap, took home a second place prize in the prestigious MassChallenge competition, which bills itself as the biggest accelerator in the world.

“We’re both really excited,” says Fannon. “Winning this award is very gratifying. This is what we are working for all the time and it can be difficult to stay motivated.  This is tangible validation of our work. “

“It’s a reflection of what we’ve done,” says Zipin. “We can integrate into any rechargeable lithium ion battery. We have the potential to make the market leading technology that much better.”

While the team didn’t make the global finalist round, it did go home with one of the “sidecar” prizes – a second place Center for the Advancement of Science In Space award for Technology in Space, which comes with $45,000 in prize money and an all-expenses paid research partnership at the International Space Station National Laboratory where the company’s proof of concept will be tested in the most extreme conditions.

“Energy storage in space requires batteries,” says Fannon. “Today, there are obstacles to adopting lithium ion batteries in space and we are removing some of those challenges and reducing risk.”

“If we are able to demonstrate that our material can withstand the extremes of temperature and harsh environment of space while operating safely,” says Zipin, “then it’s an endorsement of not only our performance capabilities in space, but also on earth.”

The duo’s business is centered on a patent protected, longer-lasting, lighter-weight, faster-charging battery. Fallon and Zipin expect the batteries to hit the market soon and hope they achieve rapid adoption because they can be used in so many products.

“We often talk about the impact of this technology in small scale consumer electronics, but the application doesn't end there,” says Fannon. “The technology is versatile and our partnership with CASIS will help us validate it in an industrial application.”

Being named one of 26 winners of the Mass Challenge is no small feat, especially considering there were 128 finalists (from a dozen countries) borne out of an initial entry field of more than 1,200 young companies.

“We have an innovative technology that the world cares about and our team is unique,” says Zipin. “Part of what makes us unique is that we are two women working in clean energy.  We have expert scientists known for their work in the battery space and have been able to make progress with a small focused team. “

If you would like to speak with Emily Fannon or Meghan Zipin, please contact: Sean Hennessey at sean.hennessey@bc.edu