British battery materials supplier Echion Technologies, a University of Cambridge spinout, has secured significant investment from US-based investor Volta Energy Technologies.

The funding will further accelerate the commercialisation of Echion’s advanced niobium-based battery anode materials and enable it to meet growing customer demand in North America, South Korea, China and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Volta has relationships within several key European research institutions as well as Tier 1 automotive, industrial OEMs and a deep network of contacts in the US.

The niobium-based XNO anode material claims to deliver long cycle life, superfast charging capability and outstanding safety in lithium-ion batteries for use in heavy duty industrial and grid storage applications. 

Volta’s investment leverages Echion’s existing manufacturing partnership with the world’s largest niobium miner, CBMM, which will deliver a 2,000 tonne-per-year XNO supply capacity by 2024.

“We are very pleased to see the traction that XNO is gathering worldwide in the battery industry, and are confident that Volta’s backing and outstanding reputation in the battery industry will help further accelerate our commercial deployment,” said Jean de La Verpilliere, co-founder and CEO. 

“We are now on the cusp of reaching the mainstream market at scale, and Volta’s investment is a great validation of the work accomplished to date.

“We are excited to have Volta and their world-class team joining us and supporting the vision we have for Echion. We look forward to benefiting from their technical, commercial, and corporate insights as we grow further. 

“Together with our manufacturing partnership with CBMM, this investment will enable us to widen and accelerate the adoption of XNO in our target markets, enabling our customers to produce safer, faster-charging, and longer-life batteries.”

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Volta believes it has identified an opportunity to fulfil the demand for electrification of heavy industry that cannot be suitably served by existing solutions. 

“The Volta team is delighted to be an investor in Echion as it scales its differentiated XNO technology,” said Dr Jeff Chamberlain, CEO and founder.

“The technology Echion is bringing to the battery industry complements Volta’s growing investment portfolio of valuable technologies that solve challenging problems within sizable market segments. 

“The industrial and off-highway transportation sector is a significant portion of the global energy transition, and Echion’s product uniquely unlocks performance in lithium-ion batteries that can meet the precise demands of these applications. 

“Volta is excited to support the Echion team as it introduces its technology to new international markets.”

Echion is Volta’s first investment into a European headquartered company.

Chief investment officer Zander Arkin joins Echion’s board of directors, effective immediately, while principal James Frith joins as an observer.

Over £50m awarded to cutting-edge manufacturing projects