Spider9: Transforming the Battery Cell/Solar Management Industries

Keeping batteries and solar panels operating at maximum efficiency takes software smarts, and we’ve seen a lot of technology developments around both fields. Now we’ve got a startup that says it can handle both tasks, with tests underway and plans for commercial products out by late this year.

Spider9 is developing patent-pending intellectual property from the University of Michigan, so far via private financing, Glynne Townsend, founder and CEO, told me in an April interview. The Northville, Mich.-based startup is also in the midst of closing an undisclosed funding round in the millions of dollars range from Advanced Equities, he told me.

The money is aimed at proving out Spider9’s ability to “manage, not monitor” the performance of batteries at the individual cell level — a technical challenge that’s the focus of a lot of private and government funding at present. As a former executive at lithium-ion battery market A123, Townsend has plenty of experience in the battery management system (BMS) field, and frankly, most of these systems, all they do is monitor,” he said.

Automotive or grid-storage batteries contain hundreds or thousands of electrochemical cells that interact in hard-to-predict ways. Most of today’s BMS systems tend to be limited to “pack-down” operations to shut down packs that temperature or voltage monitors show to have a problem, Townsend said.

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