Sila Nanotechnologies raises $590M to fund battery materials factory

Sila Nanotechnologies raises $590M to fund battery materials factory

Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley battery supplies firm, has spent years creating know-how designed to pack extra vitality right into a cell at a decrease price — an finish sport that has helped it lock in partnerships with Amperex Technology Limited in addition to automakers BMW and Daimler.

Now, Sila Nano, flush with a recent injection of capital that has pushed its valuation to $3.Three billion, is able to deliver its know-how to the plenty.

The firm, which was based almost a decade in the past, mentioned Tuesday it has raised $590 million in a Series F funding spherical led by Coatue with important participation by funds and accounts suggested by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Existing buyers 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Sutter Hill Ventures additionally participated within the spherical.

Sila Nano plans to make use of the funds to rent one other 100 folks this 12 months and start to buildout a manufacturing facility in North America able to producing 100 gigawatt-hours of silicon-based anode materials, which is utilized in batteries for the smartphone and automotive industries. While the corporate hasn’t revealed the situation of the manufacturing facility, it does have a timeline. Sila Nano mentioned it plans to begin manufacturing on the manufacturing facility in 2024. Materials produced on the plant might be in electrical automobiles by 2025, the corporate mentioned.

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“It took eight years and 35,000 iterations to create a brand new battery chemistry, however that was simply the 1st step,” Sila Nano CEO and co-founder Gene Berdichevsky mentioned in a press release. “For any new know-how to make an influence within the real-world, it has to scale, which can price billions of {dollars}. We know from our expertise constructing our manufacturing strains in Alameda that investing in our subsequent plant right this moment will maintain us on monitor to be powering automobiles and tons of of hundreds of thousands of client units by 2025.”

The tech

A lithium-ion battery incorporates two electrodes. There’s an anode (destructive) on one facet and a cathode (optimistic) on the opposite. Typically, an electrolyte sits within the center and acts because the courier, shifting ions between the electrodes when charging and discharging. Graphite is usually used because the anode in industrial lithium-ion batteries.

Sila Nano has developed a silicon-based anode that replaces graphite in lithium-ion batteries. The essential element is that the fabric was designed to take the place of graphite in with no need to vary the battery manufacturing course of or gear.

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Sila Nano has been targeted on silicon anode as a result of the fabric can retailer much more lithium ions. Using a cloth that permits you to pack in additional lithium ions would theoretically can help you improve the vitality density — or the quantity of vitality that may be saved in a battery per its quantity — of the cell. The upshot can be a less expensive battery that incorporates extra vitality in the identical area.

The alternative

It’s a compelling product for automakers making an attempt to deliver extra electrical automobiles to market. Nearly each international automaker has introduced plans or is already producing a brand new batch of all-electric and plug-in electrical automobiles, together with Ford, GM, Daimler, BMW, Hyundai and Kia. Tesla continues to ramp up manufacturing of its Model Three and Model Y automobiles as a string of newcomers like Rivian put together to deliver their very own EVs to market.

In brief: the demand of batteries is climbing; and automakers are on the lookout for the next-generation tech that can give them a aggressive edge.

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Battery manufacturing sat at about 20 GWh per 12 months in 2010. Sila Nano expects it to leap to 2,000 GWh per 12 months by 2030 and 30,000 GWh per 12 months by 2050.

Sila Nano began constructing the primary manufacturing strains for its battery supplies in 2018. That first line is able to producing the fabric to provide the equal of 50 megawatts of lithium-ion batteries.


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