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Riccardo Signorelli

The Thread

"It is the system of relationships and experiences an individuai is part of that gives people the opportunity of building up a visi on and change history."

He defines his work as the fascinating result of an ecosystem where the interaction between the parts is just the starting point. His infinite passion for electricity, a legacy of his father, led him to travel across the ocean to put his ideas to the test. And America welcomed his innovation as a challenge and invested heavily in it. A revolution that, applied to electric-powered vehicles, will make them extremely more efficient.


Riccardo Signorelli was born in 1978 in Italy, in Romano di Lombardia. At the age of twelve he worked with his father, an expert of cars and electricity, helping him to assemble electric power systems. It is here, he tells, that his love for this field of research blossomed and led him to choose to study Electrical Engineering at the Milan Polytechnic University.
During his time at the university he was an exchange student at the University of Texas in Austin, where he remained for the master's degree that he attended at the same time he attended the Polytechnic University. In the meantime he worked at the Center for Electromechanics in Austin. In 2002 he graduated while he also worked for Siemens in Germany and then for General Electric in New York. He kept following the thread of energy and in 2003 he entered MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for a research doctorate in Energy Storage for the vehicles. One year later he became part of the most famous of all MIT research teams: the LEES (Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems). He worked for six years on his project: developing a low-cost but high energy and high power density supercapacitor. The capacitar, the size of a torch, is built with carbon nano-tubes and is capable of withholding energy charged particles for an infinite time and then release it almost instantly. This innovation makes it possible to power electrical vehicles during the most energy-demanding stages (for example acceleration). The super-capacitar can generate large amounts of electrical current aver very short times and its storage capabilities make it possible to increase the battery life and charge duration. Despite all the advantages it
could bear the application has been tested for industria! use only so far.
After many years of researches, in 2008, Signorelli also became an entrepreneur and gave !ife to his firm: FastCap Systems, as of today employing about twenty employees. In 2009 he was awarded a 5.3 million dollar fund from the US Department of Energy to develop application of his invention to the vehicles.

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