The Department of Energy has just announced that Vorbeck Materials — one of the hottest companies out there exploiting the seemingly limitless possibilities of graphene, the Earth’s strongest substance — has been nominated for the honor of “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator.”

Vorbeck was started by John Lettow, who graduated from Princeton Engineering in 1995. The company’s products are based in part on research coming out of the labs of Ilhan Aksay, under whom Lettow did his senior thesis while an undergraduate.

Here is a video explaining Vobeck’s potential applications in long-lasting lithium ion batteries. These batteries are widely used in laptops and smartphones and to power electric vehicles. Vorbeck, working with Princeton and with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Labs, is rapidly bringing this new technology to market.

Vorbeck is competing with 36 other companies to be America’s Next Top Energy Innovator. You can cast your vote for your favorite company on the DOE’s website. The winner will be announced at the Arpa-E summit in Washington, D.C., in late February.

In other Vorbeck news: the company just announced closing a new round of funding of $10 million. This month Nature Materials published a chart showing that three of the top ten graphene patent holders are associated with Vorbeck. And you can read more about Vorbeck’s health-related research in the latest issue of EQuad News.