Silicon battery start-up raises $18m

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Another US startup using silicon for the anode of a battery to improve the energy capacity and lifetime has raised $18.5 in is series A round of funding. 

The investors in Advano include strategic funding from manufacturing giant Mitsui Kinzoku, while former Stanford Professor John Foster is named president and Chief Operating Officer and iPod inventor and Nest founder Tony Fadell joins the Board of Directors as a key investor. Other investors include Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital, DCVC, and Y Combinator.

Like other silicon battery startups such as Nexeon in the UK and Sila Nano and Amprius in the US, Advano points to the integration of the material into the existing battery supply chain and manufacturing processes. Varta in Europe is spending almost €200m on the development and commercialisation of silicon battery technology.

Advano uses scrap silicon waste from semiconductor or solar panel manufacturing to create A-SiFx, a material that increases the energy density of li-ion batteries by a factor of 10 compared to today’s graphite anodes. By upcycling, Advano says it is able to sidestep the toxic silicon manufacturing process entirely, protecting both the environment and its engineers.

The deal with Mitsui Kinzoku, one of the largest battery materials suppliers in the world, will use Mitsui’s knowledge of manufacturing and access its distribution channels across multiple industries. 

“The greatest problem of our world is climate change, and Advano is helping to solve it by making energy more sustainable, cleaner, and cheaper through our silicon-based batteries. To fix the problem however, the solution must scale,” said founder Alexander Girau, chairman and CEO of Advano.  “From day one of Advano’s existence, scale has been the first criterion of every decision we have made.”

“Adding silicon to li-ion batteries can 10x their run-time. Imagine eliminating ‘range anxiety’: more EVs, less CO2. But no one has been able to solve four key issues concurrently: material expansion, cycle-life, cost, and drop-in manufacturing scalability. Advano’s battery experts are the first to successfully tackle them all. In addition, Advano’s unconventional full-stack approach allows for the battery customization manufacturers require. Plus, they’re using sustainably-sourced silicon to combat the environmental effects of our transition to electric everything! Advano’s innovative work with silicon is the holy grail for batteries,” said Tony Fadell.

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