Sydney battery materials start-up raises $1m towards possible "EV game-changer" | RenewEconomy

Sydney battery materials start-up raises $1m towards possible “EV game-changer”

Investors led by global venture capital firm Artesian tip $1m into NSW start-up, Sicona, and its battery density-boosting technology developed at University of Wollongong.

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Investors led by global venture capital firm Artesian have tipped $1 million into Sydney based start-up, Sicona, in support of its work with innovative battery density-boosting technology developed at the University of Wollongong.

Founded in June 2019, Sicona is working to commercialise its silicon-graphite-carbon anode materials and binders, which have been flagged as a possible game-changer for the electric vehicle market, with the potential to extend range and reduce costs for EV batteries.

Cleantech angel group EnergyLab said this week that Sicona had impressed the investor group with its strong intellectual property and clear commercialisation path – even despite the economic challenges being presented by Covid-19.

EnergyLab said the investor group, led by Artesian, made an offer of more than $1 million just 27 days after being introduced to Sicona at the NSW start-up’s most recent pitch event on June 23.

The money will be put towards Sicona’s efforts to license, produce and sell high-performance active anode materials and polymer binders into the lithium-ion battery market – a market expected to reach $125 billion a year by 2025.

“The use of innovative materials to increase lithium-ion battery energy density at a competitive cost to cell producers will play a major role in the growth of the EV industry and industrial-scale storage solutions for renewable energy production,” said Sicona founder and CEO, Christiaan Jordaan, in a statement this week.

“We are motivated by the support for the Sicona team as we seek to bring our battery materials to market and make a positive impact on reducing harmful carbon emissions and air pollution.”

The fund-raising round was the second for the young company, following a Seed-1 round in early June that was also led by Artesian, and included pilot plant engineers Kemplant and Sicona’s founders and directors.

In a separate statement following the fundraising, Sicona said the round one funds would be put towards the design and construction of a pilot production plant in Wollongong, to scale up existing technology and refine and develop a range of silicon-composite anode and binder products.

The company’s management team says it is also in discussions with various potential partners about the joint development of project opportunities in Australia, Europe and North America.

“Closing this round despite market turmoil created by the Covid-19 global pandemic is a clear sign that the industry recognises Sicona’s potential,” Jordaan said at the time.

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