Nathan Staron got into the lithium battery business, “at the right place, at the right time,” the 2004 Indiana Area High School graduate said.
After his graduation, Staron moved to Pittsburgh where he studied for his commercial pilot’s license at the Community College of Allegheny County. Within two years, he moved to Tampa, Fla., to pursue flying helicopters. But, after doing some research, his trajectory changed.
“At the time there was a huge opportunity for the markets and the news was projecting that lots of businesses were leaning towards lithium and looking to replace a lot of batteries,” he said.
From there, he began The Lithium Battery Co. in 2014 and started off selling 12-volt batteries to a number of Fortune 500 companies. He also began working with the government.
“Once we got into government purchasing, like with the FBI rapid response unit, our batteries started going all over the world. I’ve also designed batteries that have been used by people with products on ‘Shark Tank’ and have even had batteries I’ve designed being used for space robotics.”
The company mass produces the batteries and tends to deal mostly with large and bulk orders. The company’s website states that it is “the leader among lithium ion battery manufacturers, utilizing safe, long lasting energy solutions.” The company has also helped to expand the market by innovating batteries that are fully customizable for the most demanding battery missions.
This reputation has also helped them land a prestigious contract working with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). The contract is for $149 million over the next five years. The batteries that the company will provide will go to GDLS for use in Multi-Utility Tactical Transport vehicles.
“The vehicles can be operated through GPS,” Staron said. “The route can be preprogrammed or someone on the other side of the world could operate it remotely, or someone could tether it and be able to walk with it and have it follow you.”
The main duty of these vehicles is to help carry payload, which is a boon to the troops.
“We got to talk to some of the troops (that will be using the vehicles) and their main challenge was the amount of gear that they had to carry,” Staron said.
“This can help them without them having to carry it on their backs or drag it along. It’s difficult to make sure you’re carrying your gun and keeping alert all while carrying upwards of 60 pounds of gear,” he added.
The batteries that the company provided are lightweight and have a high energy density, allowing for an increased payload for the vehicle since it’s not carrying added battery weight. The batteries are also safe, he said. The chemistry used allow the batteries to remain stable should the vehicle catch fire or be fired upon.
Staron said he’s looking forward to continuing to work with GDLS and the military over the course of the contract. “It’s really cool to be able to do this and help out the military,” he said.