Sicona raises $3.7 million to scale battery materials technology globally

Christiaan Jordaan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Sicona Battery Technologies Pty Ltd

Funds have been raised by venture capital and private equity investors globally to accelerate pilot manufacturing and commercial deployment of Sicona’s innovative battery materials.

Sicona Battery Technologies Pty Ltd (Sicona), a groundbreaking battery materials technology company, has successfully raised AU$3.7 million in a pre-Series A funding round.

Sicona Battery Technologies attracts global investment

The funding round was led by global venture firm Artesian and Riverstone Ventures an affiliate of Riverstone Holdings, Chaos Ventures (New York), Bandera Capital (Australia), SDGx Ventures (Singapore), Australian climate-tech investors and global battery materials specialists.

This capital injection follows the $1m seed round in July 2020, the $704k Accelerating Commercialisation Grant by the Australian Federal Government in November 2020, and Sicona’s participation in the Startmate accelerator in the 2021 climate technology cohort.

Sicona, founded in June 2019 by Christiaan Jordaan, and Andrew Minett, a highly credentialed materials scientist, is developing next-generation battery technology used in the anodes (negative electrodes) of lithium-ion (“Li-ion”) batteries that enables electric mobility.

Sicona is commercialising innovative silicon-graphite composite battery anode and binder process technology and materials, developed and perfected over the last ten years at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) at the University of Wollongong.

Sicona’s current generation silicon-graphite composite anode materials facilitate the delivery of 50% higher capacity than conventional graphite-only materials available in the market.

This can unlock more than 50% higher cell energy density than current Li-ion batteries thereby increasing electric vehicle range whilst reducing the cost and the time it takes to charge.

According to a recent report prepared by Accenture for the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC), diversified battery industries could contribute $7.4 billion annually to Australia’s economy and support 34,700 jobs by the year 2030.

The report for Australia to expand its presence across the battery value chain advocates for establishing active materials manufacturing capability to serve the global value chain.

This is where Sicona comes into play with its plans to establish domestic commercial-scale advanced manufacturing of its next-generation active anode materials.

The global lithium battery opportunity is growing rapidly with more than 4TWh of announced cell production requiring in excess of four million tonnes of anode materials per annum.

Sicona plans on deploying commercial production plants in Europe and North America.

Comments on Sicona Battery Technologies’ funding

“The energy density of current lithium-ion batteries is limiting performance, resulting in multiple issues including higher upfront costs and lower range for electric vehicles.”

“It is our mission to provide scalable next-generation materials at an affordable cost to our customers,” commented Sicona’s founder and CEO, Christiaan Jordaan.

“Sicona’s silicon-graphite anodes solve technical challenges in using silicon in a battery at a fraction of the cost of competing approaches due to simple and scalable production.”

“We are excited to be taking multiple innovation products to the market. These unique products include the binder system, conductive carbons and active anode materials.”

“We are solving key supply chain issues by taking a leading role in deploying our technology in Australia, Europe, and North America, disrupting the Chinese concentrated supply chain.”

“We are extremely grateful for the support from our growing international investor base.”

“Our next milestone is the commissioning of Sicona’s pilot production plant at our site in Wollongong and leveraging its larger-scale production capacity to qualify our materials with global battery producers and conduct larger-scale battery testing programs.”

Alexandra Clunies-Ross, Artesian Cleantech Portfolio Manager said, “We were impressed by Sicona’s combination of technical and commercial acumen.”

“Sicona’s understanding of the battery materials market and supply chains and the challenges to scaling new materials technologies from the laboratory into commercial production.”

“We are impressed with their fast growth and we are pleased to support the Sicona team.”

Kevin Wang, VP at Riverstone Holdings said, “We are excited to support Sicona with this funding round as they scale their ground breaking battery materials technology and leverage the fast-growing markets developing for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and the United States.”

Zarmeen Pavri, Partner at SDGx Ventures said, “At SDGx, we invest in deep tech with potential to create a meaningful and measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and scale up to transform industries globally. Sicona clearly has that potential.”