Polaris positioned for battery testing checkered flag

Doug Morris' Polarity Labs has a meticulous layout. Its landlord has painstakingly installed a bevy of electrical outlets and vent hoods.

Doug Morris' Polarity Labs has a meticulous layout. Its landlord has painstakingly installed a bevy of electrical outlets and vent hoods. 

After a second infusion of capital from a state incubator and location of its facility in Beaverton, Polaris Battery Labs is opening for business June 1.

The company has a few new clients, and will move quickly into operations as the state’s only battery lab. It will offer basic lifecycle testing, along with voltage and capacity testing, mixing and coating of electrons on site, and the ability to assemble cells and consult on other services.

Polaris received $50,000 from Drive Oregon last June but is substantially backed by a silent partner. The unnamed individual owns a large battery pack manufacturing company and contributed $850,000 to the lab’s development.

The venture has just announced another $50,000 state grant, this one an Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute Gap grant, which comes to Polaris via Portland State University this week.

“I’m really encouraged by everything. There’s just a lot of interest,” said CEO Doug Morris, who was working to assemble the lab throughout May.

PSU is a partner in the venture and will expand Polaris’s testing capability by providing microscope analysis and offering interns and graduate students to the lab.

The Oregon Institute of Technology is also a partner, providing additional battery testing capabilities and equipment. Polaris is also exploring partnership opportunities with Oregon State University.

So far the venture employs two people and an IT contractor. Polaris plans to hire an engineer toward the end of 2013.

As for future growth, “from there it really is just a function of how well we do,” said Morris.

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