Battery demand has skyrocketed in major automotive markets in Europe and the United States as the world transitions to electric vehicles. Hence, researchers are searching for materials that can make sustainable batteries. Relatively, Allotrope Energy, a UK-based energy startup developing batteries for use in the mobility, aerospace, and robotics industries, now has secured $6.7 million in funding to develop a fast-charging battery made from trees pulp.
The British battery manufacturing startup got investment from Suzano Ventures. Following its launch last year by São Paulo-based Suzano, the world’s largest hardwood pulp producer, this is the first investment by the $70 million corporate venture capital fund.
In addition to the investment and supply of biomaterials, Suzano and Allotrope Energy will enter into a broader partnership agreement. As part of the potential arrangement, Suzano’s Brazilian and Canadian teams will support innovation and commercialisation of the technology, as well as develop global markets and supply chains.
An alternative to lithium-ion
The UK-based lithium-carbon battery technology startup has developed batteries can be recharged in 90 secs to fuel an internal combustion engine vehicle, without the safety hazards associated with other lithium-ion technologies. In addition to being ultra-fast charging batteries, they do not require the use of materials such as cobalt, nickel and rare earth metals, where shortages have been impacting global supply chains and increasing costs.
“The lithium-carbon battery we used for the Mahle moped project can be made from natural, sustainable materials provided by Suzano,” explains Pete Wilson, CTO at Allotrope Energy.
For those who are not aware, in 2021, Allotrope Energy announced the development of a lithium carbon battery that can be recharged in just 90 seconds for mopeds and scooters. Mahle Powertrain, a global Tier One provider to automotive and mobility markets, supplied the battery to manufacturers.
Founded in 2016 in Surrey, Allotrope Energy’s technology offers a safe ultra-fast charging alternative to current lithium-ion technologies. Further, the carbon for batteries will be derived from sustainable biomaterials produced in Suzano’s pulp manufacturing process as a co-product. The startup was formed by three founders, currently has a team of 12, and now it plans to expand to around 20 members by 2024.
Paula Puzzi, Manager of Suzano Ventures, said: “At Suzano Ventures, our focus is on finding deep tech startups that can build a circular and regenerative economy through the innovative production and use of biomaterials. We are excited that our first investment is into a company can harness a co-product from our own pulp production process as a key raw material, to help accelerate the global transition to zero-emission mobility.
“There is already significant commercial interest in Allotrope Energy’s technology, and the company shows considerable promise for being able to deliver at scale. “
Dr Peter Wilson, CEO of Allotrope Energy, added: “This significant investment is the pivotal step in demonstrating the immense opportunity in combining Suzano’s sustainable, natural resource and Allotrope’s agile high-rate carbon technology.
“Working with Suzano we get access to a critical raw material that is sustainably produced, alongside the commercial and technical expertise and global reach from working with a major multinational business. It comes at a time when we see an increasing global interest in exploring new battery technologies which offer broad appeal across a range of industries.”
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