LiNa Energy, a spin-off from Lancaster University working on solid-state battery technology, has closed a £3.5m funding round. The company wants to use the fresh capital to expand its lab and to accelerate the commercialisation of its sodium-based technology.
The seed funding from existing and new investors comes at a late stage, given that LiNa Energy was established in 2017. What is more, the company claims to be working to commercialise its battery technology already.
In terms of technology, the company’s solid-state battery is free from cobalt and lithium, and LiNa sees the cells’ “potential to greatly exceed both lithium-ion and rest-of-market sodium-ion technologies on all performance measures, and at a cost of less than $50/kWh.” The startup further predicts that, if scaled-up, the new battery could save 4.5bn tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2050, accelerating global efforts towards net zero.
Talk about scaling up, Dr Gene Lewis, CEO of LiNa Energy, said the funding was critical. “It provides us with a 24-month runway and enables us to push forward our commercialisation plans before building a pre-commercial production line in 2023.”
At present, however, LiNa Energy says it will use the £3.5 million to triple the Lancaster-based laboratory, raising the headcount from 20 to 30 by the end of 2022 and buying additional equipment to improve the speed and quality of cell manufacturing processes. In addition, they will further progress commercialisation by securing customer trial partners in what they call “primary target markets of stationary energy storage and transport.”
LiNa Energy did not name the investors in today’s announcement.
Earlier news on the website saw the startup join the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP). The APC manages a £1 billion investment fund, provided jointly by the automotive industry and the UK government.
Then in August, LiNa Energy received another grant, this time through the Faraday Challenge, to lead a seven-strong team, who will construct and operate a 1kWh prototype sodium-nickel-chloride battery system over 12 months, and optimise LiNa’s manufacturing processes for scale-up, decarbonisation and recycling.
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