General Motors has acquired a stake in battery developer OneD Battery Sciences and also signed a development agreement with the Californian company. The potential use of OneD’s silicon nanotechnology in the carmaker’s Ultium battery cells is to be discussed.
The battery developer is announcing General Motors’ financial participation in the wake of its completed Series C financing round, which raised $25 million (about €25.4 million), according to the company. In addition to GM, Volta Energy Technologies is one of the Series C investors. Exactly who invested how much is not clear from OneD’s announcement.
In addition to the financial aspects of the collaboration, there will also be a development cooperation with General Motors. The basis for this is a manufacturing process patented by OneD called Sinanode. At the core of the approach are silicon nanowires that are fused directly onto graphite powder in the anode. More on that in a moment.
Both sides expressed that the collaboration on silicon anode technology is believed to be the first of its kind between two US companies. “GM designed Ultium to be a supremely flexible platform so we can continuously improve our cells as battery technology advances,” commented Kent Helfrich, GM CTO, vice president of GM Research and Development, and president of GM Ventures. “Our collaboration with OneD will focus on efforts to continue advancements in EV range, performance and cost.”
The company hopes to accomplish this through a new manufacturing process for building silicon graphite anodes called sinanode. The technology offers room for customization in both graphite (natural or synthetic) and electrode coating (wet or dry). OneD claims that energy density can be tripled thanks to silicon nanowires on commercially available graphite powder – while halving the cost per kilowatt-hour.
In addition, the sinanode method is said to be “seamless to existing manufacturing processes.” In October 2021, the battery developer announced it would build an initial pilot manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Washington state, and invite OEMs there to adapt and optimize the silicon graphite anodes “for use in their future lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries.”
OneD Battery Sciences previously operated under the company name OneD Material. In 2013, the company acquired Nanosys’ nanowire technologies. It now holds “over 240 issued patents in the field of anode production and battery design,” the developer shares. OneD Battery Sciences is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The company wants to establish licensing its sinanode technology to industrial partners as its main business model.
OneD says it will use the funds from the latest round of financing to continue research and development, advance pilot production, and attract OEMs and battery manufacturers as customers through licensed production partners.
“From day one, OneD has aimed to simplify silicon as the means to a completely new era of EVs. We believe that the winners of the EV race will be those who can effectively add more silicon to the battery cell, in a way that doesn’t disrupt existing supply chains and processes,” said Vincent Pluvinage, CEO of OneD Battery Sciences. He added: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with General Motors on our shared goal of accelerating mass EV adoption.”
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