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Newfangled battery maker lands a customer

The world is ready for new types of batteries, says Dan Squiller, CEO of PowerGenix. The company, which specializes in nickel zinc batteries, has landed a contract to supply its batteries to a large manufacturer for four years. The start-up will begin delivering battery cells to its customers in 2007.

Zinc-based batteries are very power dense, which means they can deliver a large amount of energy at once., but are also light. The company expects to sell its batteries to power tool makers and the military. Right now, these companies have to use traditional nickel batteries. Lithium batteries do not work well for these applications.

Zinc technology has been around since Edison, but typically Zinc batteries don't recharge well. The zinc forms into spheres after a while, he said. PowerGenix has figured out how to stop that from happening.

Although PowerGenix doesn't directly compete with lithium battery makers, the issue comes up. At a meeting with a VC, Squiller was pointing out that lithium batteries occasionally explode. The VC then trotted out a laptop that started smoking the week before.