Dry Electrodes, DOD Contracts, Funding for Thermal Battery Tech: Dec 2023

December 18, 2023 | News from around the battery industry including new battery products, new manufacturing and production facilities, grants for anode materials, research collaborations, and more.


Sakuu is now offering early access to Kavian, the world’s first manufacturing solution to print battery electrodes. Early adopters can leverage the platform’s equipment, printable materials, electro-chemistry formulations, and process technology to develop the next generation of batteries in a completely dry process. By printing batteries on Kavian, OEMs can tap into cleaner energy sources while eliminating the need for troublesome solvents and drying mechanisms. Sakuu was the first company to license its battery technology for producing lithium metal cells. The company now provides an entire dry electrode printing suite for anodes and cathodes. These building blocks are part of Sakuu’s strategic initiative to strengthen domestic production capabilities in a globally competitive market. Press release.

NanoGraf, the advanced silicon anode battery materials company, was awarded an $8 million contract through the U.S. Army Contracting Command by the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center Research and Technology Integration (RTI) Directorate. With the new funds from the U.S. Army, NanoGraf will accelerate the scale up of their silicon anode based cell which fuels the world’s most energy-dense cylindrical lithium-ion cell. Ultimately, soldiers will benefit from batteries that last nearly 30% longer than ones they use today. NanoGraf’s proprietary materials will be scaled up at the cell level at the company’s new headquarters in Chicago. In addition, the contract will onshore the scale up of battery materials to help support the future logistical supply chain for the Army and bring tech jobs to Chicago. Press release.

Auburn University and IntraMicron Inc., a partnering engineering technology development company, have demonstrated a revolutionary means to safely meet the extreme demands of pulse-power electrical systems tailored for next-generation defense missions. IntraMicron’s battery and cooling system, in conjunction with other cooling systems developed for the load itself, are coupled together, courtesy of another thermal industry leader, Rocky Research/Honeywell. The system is designed with maximum safety precautions to prevent battery propagation failures, while enabling cells to operate at peak current and power outputs. Leveraging thermal management, this battery-thermal technology enables up to a four-fold increase in power density, setting the stage for next-generation pulse power requirements. Thermal energy storage provides a high-density, consistent cooling capability for directed energy or other mission systems and power requirements. Press release.

Fourth Power has received $19 million in Series A funding to scale its cost-effective groundbreaking thermal battery technology. The investment round was led by the venture capital firm DCVC, with participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Black Venture Capital Consortium. In addition to helping scale the company’s thermal energy storage solution, which can store energy for both short- and long-term durations, the investment will initiate the construction of a 1 MWh-e prototype facility outside Boston, with a 2026 anticipated completion date. Fourth Power’s system converts renewable energy to heat, or thermal energy, which can be stored until needed. The thermal battery heats liquid tin and moves it through a piping system to heat stacks of carbon blocks until they glow white hot. The system then exposes thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells to the light and converts it into electricity. With Fourth Power’s solution, the renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted due to curtailment can be stored for over a month and discharged over any period from a few hours to a few days while maintaining the lowest possible cost. Fourth Power can meet today’s short-duration (5-hour) needs and the future’s longer-duration (100-hour) needs. Its flexibility to discharge within seconds is unique and helpful to grid operators as they try to ensure a reliable grid and 24/7 power. Press release.

South 8 Technologies, the first to develop and commercialize LiGas, liquefied gas electrolyte for advanced lithium-ion batteries, introduced its Arctic LiGas 18650 cell at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) in San Diego. Arctic LiGas cells, which replace traditional toxic and flammable liquid electrolyte with South 8’s revolutionary liquefied gas electrolyte, are a safe and versatile high-performance lithium-ion solution. South 8 is currently shipping Arctic LiGas cells to select customers for deployments across various markets and applications including defense, electric vehicles, stationary storage, and battery-powered industrial equipment. Arctic is the first in a family of lithium-ion battery cell formats and chemistries that South 8 is introducing to support the growing demand for batteries with superior performance. Press release.

Blue Current, a leader in the next phase of the all-solid-state battery (ASSB) industry, announced a series of technical achievements, expanded partner engagements, and funding. Blue Current continues to carefully expand its investment and industry partnerships. During 2023, new and existing investors, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), Piedmont Capital, and Umicore, began or continued investment. Blue Current’s investors also include global business leaders, Alan Mulally, who served as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ford Motor Company, and Henry Kravis, co-founder of KKR, who joined as a new investor. The company is using this added funding to complete its 22,000-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Hayward, California. The pilot will be used to prove its batteries can be scaled economically using high-volume LIB manufacturing equipment. The company’s technology addresses three critical performance vectors. It maximizes energy density through the highest possible silicon content. The need for expensive packaging material is eliminated since Blue Current’s battery cycles well at low operating pressure. Blue Current’s battery is also safe and completely dry without flammable liquid or gel electrolyte materials used in traditional LIB. Press release.

AM Batteries has closed a $30M Series B in an oversubscribed funding round led by Toyota Ventures. New investment combines strategic corporate support from Porsche Ventures and Asahi Kasei, with financial investment from RA Capital Management – Planetary Health, Wilson Sonsini, and Industry Ventures. The round also includes existing investors such as Anzu Partners, TDK Ventures, Creative Ventures, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures, Foothill Ventures, and Zeon Ventures. AM Batteries’ dry battery electrode (DBE) process uses a “powder to electrode” method that reduces the number of steps to make a battery electrode from seven steps to four by removing the need for electrode drying and solvent recovery. This reduces cost, time, and energy while eliminating the need for harmful solvents, ultimately catalyzing the growing EV demand. All in all, this change is critical for the commercialization of greener batteries and helpful to OEMs and cell makers as they search for the best option to reduce the cost of EVs for mass market adoption. Press release.

Kyon Energy, one of the leading project developers for large-scale battery storage in Germany, is selling storage projects with a total storage capacity of 194.7 megawatts to the leading Danish operator of solar PV systems Obton in 2023. Following the successful transactions of two storage projects in Tangermünde, Saxony-Anhalt (15.8 MW / 35 MWh) and Karstädt, Brandenburg (20.7 MW / 41.4 MWh), the recent transaction of Europe’s largest battery storage facility in Alfeld, Lower Saxony (137.5 MW/ 275 MWh) marks the third project Kyon Energy has transferred to the Danish investor this year. The transaction of a fourth project with a storage capacity of 20.7 MW will be completed by the end of the year. The joint implementation of the storage facilities has already begun. The transactions are part of a comprehensive framework agreement between Kyon Energy and Obton, which was concluded at the end of 2022. In the first year of the agreement, a third of the storage capacity—around 200 megawatts—has already been successfully contributed. The cooperation between the two companies extends over a period of up to three years, during which a total of up to 600 MW of storage capacity is to be integrated into the German electricity grid—an investment in the energy infrastructure that amounts to a high three-digit million euro sum. Construction of all four new storage projects, including the latest transaction in Alfeld, is scheduled to start next year. Press release.

Cirba Solutions is expanding their collaboration with Call2Recycle, the nation’s premier battery collections, logistics, and recycling program. Cirba Solutions will serve as the non-profit’s strategic partner in processing post-consumer lithium-ion batteries. Post-consumer batteries are batteries that are most frequently found in items such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, power tools and other household items. Under the agreement, Cirba Solutions will handle the processing of consumer lithium-ion batteries gathered by Call2Recycle from around the country and spearhead the separation of critical materials from the batteries to be placed back into the battery supply chain. Call2Recycle will leverage their expertise in safe, efficient, and compliant battery aggregation and collection. Ensuring traceability and transparency is a critical part of both Cirba Solutions and Call2Recycle. This vital link in the supply chain is supported by Call2Recycle’s GreenTrax platform, which provides a secure framework for data sharing. Press release.