Australian energy start-up Sicona Battery Technologies (Sicona) has on Wednesday announced it has raised AUD 22 million ($15 million) in Series A funding which will be used to further the company’s development plans both in Australia and the United States.

Sicona said in a statement that the investment was led by India’s Himadri Speciality Chemical Ltd, an Australian venture capital investor Artesian, and Electrification & Decarbonization AIE LP, a fund managed by Waratah Capital.

Riverstone Ventures, Chaos Ventures, Investible Climate Tech Fund LP and Club Investible also participated in the funding round.

Sicona said that the funds raised in this round will provide significant growth capacity in the United States over 2023 to 2024 where demand for anode materials is estimated to exceed 1,200GWh by 2030.

“Sicona’s core product is an innovative silicon metal based silicon-composite battery anode technology enabling more than 50 percent increase in energy density of existing Li-ion batteries,” Sicona Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Christiaan Jordaan said.

By using silicon metal, he said Sicona can offer low-cost silicon anode materials at large automotive scale locally in major markets.

He also said welcoming one of the leading global speciality chemical companies as a strategic investor in the firm’s Series A round allows the firm to accelerate its mission of becoming a major producer of cost-effective silicon composite anode materials.

According to him, Himadri has a multi-decade track record of manufacturing materials at scale and their expertise and inputs will be a major asset to us in the next phases of our growth plans.

“Our silicon metal-based technology decouples us from the major bottlenecks and cost implications of silane gas-based technologies and provides our customers the confidence that we can deliver a silicon-carbon anode material at a capital intensity and $/kg price which is feasible for mass-automotive market adoption,” he added.

He also said the firm’s mission is to deliver enabling technologies that persistently tear up the envelope on battery and battery materials performance and innovation.

He said it aims to producing best in class materials in a scalable, cost-effective way to power a sustainable future.

Sicona is a firm that develops low cost, scalable next-generation battery materials technology used in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that enable electric-mobility and storage of renewable energy.

The firm’s current generation silicon-composite anode technology delivers a remarkable 50 percent to 100 percent higher capacity than conventional graphite anodes and its anode materials can deliver more than 50 percent higher cell energy density than current Li-ion batteries.

The company, which has its headquarters and pilot plant based in Wollongong, just south of Sydney, is advancing engineering studies, site selection and customer qualification for a 20ktpa (~200 GWh) silicon-carbon production plant starting with 5kpta (~50 GWh) in phase 1.

This commercial scale plant will be built in the south eastern United States to serve customers in the United States market with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) compliant materials supply.

“We are delighted to make this investment in Sicona. Sicona’s ground-breaking research and cost-effective and highly scalable approach to silicon anode manufacturing perfectly complements our strategic objectives,” said Himadri Speciality Chemical Chairman and Managing Director Anurag Choudhary.

He said the firm is extremely confident of Sicona’s team and technology and its ability to consistently innovate in the rapidly evolving battery technology landscape.

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