Dr. Qichao Hu

Founder & CEO - SolidEnergy Systems

Dr. Qichao Hu

Founder & CEO - SolidEnergy Systems


Founder & CEO

SolidEnergy Systems

September 2013 – Present (3 years 5 months)Waltham, MA

Raised almost $20M in two rounds of equity financing from some of the world’s largest investors; formed joint development agreements with leading equipment and materials suppliers, battery manufacturers, consumer electronics and auto OEMs; built a team of world class scientists and engineers; led the product development effort to demonstrate 2X in energy density in real 2Ah cells in less than 2 years, unprecedented in the industry; and spearheaded the design and construction of a brand new state-of-the-art pilot facility.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

March 2012 – September 2013 (1 year 7 months)Cambridge, MA

The development of the polymer ionic liquid (PIL) rechargeable lithium metal battery in Prof. Sadoway’s group eventually paved the way for the “Anode-free” battery that is at the core of SolidEnergy.

In 2012, I spent more time in the energy club and Sloan entrepreneurship center than in the battery lab, built the SolidEnergy team and actively participated in business plan competitions and won MIT $100K, MIT Clean Energy Prize, DOE Clean Energy Prize, and runner-up at the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. Most student teams ended after competitions, but we went on to build a real company.

We were chased by investors from around the country. Then in the fall of 2012, several large US battery companies filed for bankruptcy including A123, investors that were initially excited about us could’t run away faster. It turned out to be one of the worst meltdowns in the history of the US lithium battery industry.
I visited A123 and found lots of idling equipment and employees, so I asked them if they could help me build batteries. Initially they laughed, but then they taught me the whole process and before long I was going to A123 on weekends and evenings to build battery prototypes with SolidEnergy materials.

Then in the spring of 2013, A123 was bought and came out of bankruptcy. We officially formed a partnership. In September, investors were impressed by our prototypes and that they were built under adverse situations, we raised Series A, and officially started SolidEnergy.

Graduate Researcher

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

January 2009 – March 2012 (3 years 3 months)Cambridge, MA

After leaving Harvard and joining Prof. Sadoway’s lab, I worked on solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) rechargeable lithium metal battery, and developed the polymer ionic liquid (PIL) rechargeable lithium metal battery.

Techniques used include: scanning/transmission electron microscopy, helium ion microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, focused ion beam milling, sputter/spin coating, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic cycling, differential scanning calorimetry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, cryo ultramicrotome, particle size analyzer, BET surface area, ball milling, doctor blading, coin cell fabrication, battery testing procedures, and other chemical synthesis techniques.


Harvard University

September 2007 – January 2009 (1 year 5 months)Cambridge, MA

Initially studied photonics the manipulation of light, but didn’t see the value in it and dropped out of Harvard after 2 years. Went to MIT and worked on several clean energy related projects in solar, energy policies, water purification, utility trading, got fired three times, and eventually ended up in a battery project. It was a soul searching period, finding my place in the world.


All sessions by Dr. Qichao Hu