Leuven, Belgium-based SOLiTHOR, a company developing solid-state battery technology, announced on Monday that it has raised €10M in a Seed round of funding led by imec.xpand. The round is also supported by investment syndicates, including LRM, Nuhma and FPIM.
The company says it will use the funds to develop the technology required to enable further electrification of the transport industry and provide solutions to address current issues in autonomy, performance, longevity and safety.
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (imec) is an international research and development organisation, active in the fields of nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The firm is based out of Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the US, China, and Japan. In September, 2016, imec merged with the Flemish digital research centre, iMinds.
imec.xpand is an independently managed venture capital fund that focuses on hardware-based nanotechnology innovations. According to the fund, it will leverage the technology, knowledge, vision, and expertise of imec and of its strategic investors, targeting nanoelectronics-based innovation projects in smart applications for a sustainable society such as smart health, smart mobility, smart cities, smart industries, and smart energy.
imec has already backed new technologies for the past 10 years in order to boost the performance of solid-state batteries, while proposing components enabling an assembly process that is compatible with classical Li-ion battery assembly lines.
Olivier Rousseaux, Director Venture Development at imec, says, “We believe SOLiTHOR is on a path to unleash the great potential of this technology for the society: contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint through further electrification of our transport and contribute to Europe’s strategic positioning and independence in the energy sector. SOLiTHOR will impact our local economy thanks to the expected establishment of manufacturing activities to serve its customers globally.”
“Next-generation solid-state lithium batteries”
Founded in September, 2021, by Huw Hampson-Jones and Dr Fanny Bardé, SOLiTHOR is a spin-off from imec. It is spearheading the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of solid-state lithium (Li) battery cell technology to offer high energy storage solutions. The company has been operational since early 2022.
According to SOLiTHOR, its next-generation solid-state lithium batteries intend to bring the performance of classical battery systems to the next level in terms of energy density, charging speed, weight, and volume.
Huw Hampson-Jones says, “SOLiTHOR’s technology is unique and is based on breakthrough chemistry and components– the nano-Solid Composite Electrolyte and the nano-anode, spearheaded within the EnergyVille labs and patented by imec. This technology will improve energy density and charging speeds and crucially, increase safety and will be far easier to manufacture than other solid-state batteries. The R&D programme will be led by Founder and CTO, Dr Fanny Bardé, a seasoned expert in battery technology, together with imec’s R&D teams.”
SOLiTHOR’s battery technology will be used in a range of transport applications ranging from automotive to aviation, and marine to space. The company is on a mission to become a key provider in the European battery value chain and aims to make a ‘strong’ contribution to European exports supplying the worldwide market.