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Developing the Super-Battery: Riccardo Signorelli and FastCAP System

It took six years of collaborative research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the cutting edge energy storage technology of FastCapSystems.

Compared to traditional batteries currently used in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), the Massachusetts-based company’s ultracapacitor costs less and offers twenty times higher power densities, similar energy densities, and millions of full charge-discharge cycles. By using only domestically-abundant and eco-friendly raw materials, FastCAP SYSTEMS will be the first to bring this breakthrough technology to automotive markets.

Leading the company is Italian CEO Riccardo Signorelli, who completed his Ph.D. in 2009 at the MIT at the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems, where he spent six years co-designing and co-developing FastCAP’s low-cost, high-energy and high-power density ultracapacitor.

“Usually you need dozens of minutes, if not hours, to recharge a laptop battery or another device that uses lithium batteries,” says Signorelli.

“FastCAP Systems works on the development and commercialization of batteries that can recharge and discharge in seconds, while lasting for many years.”

During his doctoral work, Signorelli led and managed an interdepartmental team of postdoctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students, and laboratory technicians focused on the development of the nanotube enhanced ultracapacitor technology.

The idea to launch a company like FastCAP Systems as the recession lagged required some courage, but financial assistance from President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided much needed relief for projects like Signorelli’s.

Prior to joining MIT in 2003, Signorelli worked as a researcher at GE Global Research, in Schenectady, NY, as an Engineer at Siemens AG in Erlangen, Germany, and at EXIDE Technology in Italy. Signorelli received his Laurea cum Laude from the Polytechnic Institute of Milan and his Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002.

About Stefano Salimbeni

Stefano is a Boston-based freelance reporter, correspondent and producer for Italy’s national TV network RAI. Over the past 15 years he has produced more than 800 “Italian-angled” news stories and features from New England and from around the United States for RAI’s international channel, RAI Italia, broadcast to over 60 million viewers of Italian origins or of Italian descent living outside of Italy. He also assisted, and occasionally still does, RAI’s main correspondents in producing news stories and special reports during major news events. For the past three years, Stefano has also been the US correspondent for Famiglia Cristiana, one of Italy’s most widely circulated national magazines. He came to Boston in 1996 to earn a master’s degree and fulfill a lifelong dream of being a journalist. Stefano’s work can be viewed on his personal website, www.stefanosalimbeni.com.