Clean tech and energy

Gridtential Energy Closes $12M Note To Energize Battery Technology

Illustration of electric car plugged into an outlet.

Gridtential Energy is developing an advanced Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery that is inexpensive, recyclable and an alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

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On Tuesday, the Santa Clara, California-based company announced a $12 million convertible note to support the production line of its lead batteries made from its patented, solar-inspired Silicon Joule technology. This includes what company CEO John Barton touts as the world’s first factory-ready single-block 24-volt deep-cycle lead battery. The batteries can be used in transportation and home power storage.

1955 Capital led the financing with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, as well as David Marquardt, Yumin Liu and existing investors East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery and The Roda Group. This new funding gives Gridtential $28 million in total funding since the company was founded in 2012, according to John Barton, CEO of Gridtential.

The company’s technology was founded from university research by Peter Borden and Michele Klein, who realized the limitation on batteries was going to be storage, said Barton, who came in as CEO in 2017.

“They hypothesized that they could make a lead battery perform better if it was made from better materials,” he added. “They discussed silicon, and the benefit of that is taking chemistry and using silicon supply chains, bringing two giant industries together to solve energy storage quickly.”

Gridtential’s battery

Gridtential’s Silicon Joule replaces the metal grids in conventional lead batteries with specially processed silicon wafers and stacked-cell architecture to reduce weight, increase power performance and extend cycle life, which enables the batteries to charge up to two times faster, last more than four times longer, and weigh up to 30 percent less than conventional lead batteries, Barton said. The company is already working with 12 battery partners for development.

Barton estimates the lead battery market is valued at $60 billion, and the energy storage market will be $200 billion in a few years. In addition, the benefit to lead batteries is they are safer — lithium batteries can’t be put out with water — and they are the most recycled. Infrastructure is already in place to do that, compared with the cost of lithium batteries, which does not include recycling, he said.

“The circular economy is already in place for lead batteries,” Barton added.

Andrew Chung, founder and managing partner at 1955 Capital, said in an interview that Gridtential is proving that it can roll thousands of batteries off of production lines having raised tens of millions versus the hundreds of millions other battery companies take in.

Chung has looked at more than 500 battery companies over the past 20 years and said he was “blown away” by Gridtential’s team and technology.

“Their technology drops into existing manufacturing and the silicon wafer is already an established supply chain,” he added. “There will be a number of tailwinds in getting this commercialized. When John says they are working with 12 different groups, that is phenomenal. It plants the seeds for go-to-market partners. They only need to hit a few to be a billion-dollar business. It gives them a shot at winning big here.”

Battery photo courtesy of Gridtential Energy.
Illustration: Dom Guzman

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