Silicon-carbon anode startup raises $18m

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

US startup Group14 Technologies has raised $18m (€16.3m) to scale up manufacturing of its silicon-carbon nanocomposite anode material for lithium ion batteries.

The drop in material, both from ‘group 14’ in the periodic table, can provide a 30 percent boost in performance for current batteries. The backing comes from Chinese battery maker Amperex Technologies Limited (ATL), Japanese materials giant Showa Denko (SDK), Cabot Corp, BASF Venture Capital, and OVP Venture Partners.

Silicon anodes for lithium ion batteries in electric cars is a major area of development, wtih companies such as Sila Nano, Nexeon and Aprius all racing to bring the technology to volume production in the coming months.  

“When the automotive industry is fully electrified, there will be a nearly trillion-dollar battery industry, 25 times bigger than today. Partnering with the most influential players in the space, we’ll be playing a significant role in making a fully-electrified automotive reality happen faster,”said Rick Luebbe, Co-Founder and CEO at the company.

“The opportunity to aggressively advance the electrification of the transportation system is right now. It is innovative materials that will create the greatest impact. Group14 Technologies will be one of the companies that helps to make electric vehicles widespread and ubiquitous,” said Bob Lutz, a member of the Group14 board.

Covered by matter and process patents, the anode is created when silicon is absorbed into nanostructured porous carbon to form a sponge-like composite. This structure provides high capacity and structural integrity through extended battery cycling.

“The lithium-ion battery industry is aggressively seeking higher performance anode materials to improve battery performance, and Group14’s silicon-carbon composite is uniquely positioned to fill that need,” said Dr Henry “Rick” Costantino, Co-Founder and CTO, Group14 Technologies.

“We have a strong interest in Group14 Technologies’ silicon-carbon composite as a high-performance anode material for next generation lithium ion batteries. This product’s high first cycle efficiency, exceptional cycle life, and drop-in compatibility with existing graphite anode processes and equipment will enable its rapid adoption.” said Joe Kit Chu Lam, Executive Vice-President of ATL.

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