Sila Nanotechnologies Raises $70 Million To Scale Next-Gen Batteries

SEP 2 2018 BY MARK KANE 10

Sila Nanotechnologies secured financing to scale the next-generation of battery materials

Sila Nanotechnologies, the company that develops silicon-dominant anode materials that replaces conventional graphite electrodes (recently also in partnership with BMW), raised $70 million in Series D funding.

The latest investment round was led by Sutter Hill Ventures. Among new investors is the Next47, the Siemens-backed global venture firm, and Amperex Technology Limited (ATL).

Sila Nanotechnologies already raised $125 million since its inception in 2011, and hopefully it will now be able to increase energy density of lithium-ion batteries.

“To hit the future targets of multiple industries, Sila Nano understood that significant advancements in lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology were necessary. The company is focused on developing and now commercializing the next generation of battery materials. Their first products are a family of silicon-dominant anode materials that replace conventional graphite electrodes entirely. Developed for cost-effective production within current cell manufacturing processes, these materials work today and enable high cycle life, ultra-low swelling, and high energy density in next generation battery cells.”

Mike Speiser, Managing Director, Sutter Hill Ventures said:

“Changes in battery chemistry are generational, and Sila Nano is bringing the next one to market. Sila has solved the hard scientific and engineering problems and is ready to rapidly scale up manufacturing to meet the enormous demand for better batteries. We back companies that solve big problems that are worth solving, and Sila is a great example of that. Dramatically better batteries will change the landscape of what’s possible for the phone in your pocket, the cars on the road, and the entire grid infrastructure.”

T.J. Rylander Partner at Next47 said:

“Batteries are a key component in the future of mobility and electrification, but the current technology can’t keep up,” said . “Future progress in everything from wearables and smart devices to industrial IoT and electric transportation depend on improvements in energy density and cycle life. Sila has demonstrated that they have the right technology and the right team to meet these demands.”

Gene Berdichevsky, CEO of Sila Nano said:

“We have spent the past seven years diligently developing critical new materials to improve battery storage capacity. With the chemistry proven we are now moving into a new phase of market application and manufacturing at industry scale. “We are incredibly gratified to be supported by a group of investors from finance and industry who recognize the opportunity, understand the science and share our vision.”

Categories: Battery Tech


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10 Comments on "Sila Nanotechnologies Raises $70 Million To Scale Next-Gen Batteries"

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graphene.. silicon… who cares…eventually it will happen, and when it does, ICE will become obsolete overnight. when will be that night? It’s a good question

iNext battery technology perhaps?

I’d never even heard of them. This money is for commercial production starting next year. Only 20 MWh, though, for cell phones and such. CEO was employee #7 at Tesla. They list JB Straubel and Kurt Kelty as advisors. BMW partners with them with an early 2020s target.

40% improvement isn’t enough for Roadster, but the Tesla ties are interesting.

What is Tesla’s position on Si-anode batteries? Didn’t they use them only on the 90 kWh packs and then went back to graphite-anode for 100 kWh pack? My understanding is that the 90 kWh packs have durability issues–limited charge rates for Supercharging and Tesla offered a $20K pack upgrade to the P90D owners.

S and X were originally graphite. Panasonic and Tesla both talked about adding silicon to the anode, but it’s not 100% clear they ever did.

Only difference with 100 kWh pack was re-packing the cells and cooling to cram more in there, AFAIK.

According to official statements, they are presently using predominantly graphite anodes with a little silicon; and intend to gradually increase the silicon contents.

Where did you get the 40% figure from?

As for Roadster, that would be more than expected, since Elon explicitly said that he only expects a 10%, maybe 20% improvement for the batteries they will use.

Does anyone happen to know how they claim to overcome the swelling problem? Guessing from the name of the company, I’d say it’s some sort of special structuring that absorbs the volume changes. Would make sense, since AFAIK there has been quite a bit of research on various variations of this approach…

The exact structure and chemistry is of course a trade secret of SILA, but most Si-Anode producer trying to overcome the swelling by nanotechnology like:

(1) Si surface with nano size holes (10Nm) to absorb Li,
(2) Nano-wires ( 20-50Nm diameter) of Si, thin enough to avoid the cracking
(3) sponge like structure of nano-wire-mesh to allow enough room for absorbing Li
(4) Graphite coating of nano-wires
(5) Si-Oxide coating of nano-wires.