Marubeni invests in Skeleton to ramp production
Japanese trading company Marubeni is investing in Skeleton Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of supercapacitors, to expand Skeleton’s production capacities in Germany. This apparently involves a double-digit million euro amount.
Marubeni sells Skeleton’s technology in Asia and wants to support the expansion of production to meet demand for Skeleton’s so-called SuperBattery. This is a new generation of ultracapacitors based on Skeleton’s patented “Curved Graphene” carbon material made from entirely renewable material.
Supercapacitors, or in Skeleton’s case, the SuperBattery using Curved Graphene, are used in combination with a lithium-ion battery as a buffer for peak power loads for charging and discharging. This also enables a long service life of up to one million charge/discharge cycles, as well as extremely high safety.
Skeleton’s Curved Graphene circumnavigates fairly intense environmental and/or geopolitical issues that come with both natural and artificial graphite, usually used in supercapacitors for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, among many other applications. Since Curved Graphene can be produced with theoretically endless supply, vehicle manufacturers are keen to ensure robust supply chains.
Skeleton is already the largest European manufacturer of supercapacitors and is expanding its business and customer base, which already includes Siemens, General Electric, and Shell, as well as major automobile and heavy electric machinery manufacturers, mainly in Europe and the United States.
Although Skeleton comes from Estonia, it has a production site in Germany in Großröhrsdorf near Dresden and is currently building a large supercapacitor plant in Markranstädt near Leipzig. Production is scheduled to start in 2024.
The two companies have not disclosed the amount of the investment. According to a report from the German media agency dpa, Marubeni’s new investment in Skeleton amounts to a mid-double-digit million euro sum. Marubeni joined Skeleton as a strategic partner in March 2021 with a sales cooperation agreement in Asia, with the exception of China and India.
“Marubeni is much more than an investor; it is a strategic partner for Skeleton and has helped us gain excellent market access in Asia, especially in the heavy equipment, vehicle manufacturing and automotive sectors,” said Taavi Madiberk, co-founder and CEO of Skeleton Technologies. “We are very pleased with the demand for our SuperBattery and urgently need to expand our production capacity. We will continue to work closely with Marubeni, benefiting from the company’s global distribution network and experience in the energy sector.”
Marubeni sees Skeleton on track to become “one of the world’s leading next-generation battery companies” given the market demand for high-performance batteries and supercapacitors. “Since Marubeni joined Skeleton as a strategic partner in March 2021, we have received positive feedback from the manufacturing industry on Skeleton’s products and have worked together to develop SuperBattery applications,” said Masayuki Omoto, COO of Marubeni Corporation’s Next Generation Business Development Division. “We see significant potential in the area of heavy-duty electrification, electrified and hybrid vehicles, and power grid energy storage. We believe our investment will help Skeleton expand its capacity for mass production of the SuperBattery, bring it to market as quickly as possible, and accelerate the company’s growth.”