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Niobium anode startup Echion closes £10M A-round

Echion Technologies, a spin-off from the University of Cambridge developing niobium oxide-based materials for anodes, has closed a £10-million (US$13.8…

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This article was originally published by Green Car Congress

Echion Technologies, a spin-off from the University of Cambridge developing niobium oxide-based materials for anodes, has closed a £10-million (US$13.8 million) Series A funding round.

The Series-A funding round was led by CBMM—the world’s leading supplier of niobium products—and BGF—the UK & Ireland’s most active and dynamic investor of equity capital in growth economy companies—with the University of Cambridge, Origin Capital and other existing shareholders also taking part.

Echion’s materials have been successfully evaluated by major battery cell and battery materials manufacturers around the world, who are now moving forward to larger scale trials. This financing will allow Echion to scale-up to multi-tonne level material production, demonstrating high-yield, cost effective manufacturability as well as to supply the growing demand for material for pre-production trials.

This partnership is part of our global strategy to accelerate the time to market of our Battery Materials Business front and bring to market an innovative niobium applied technology that will truly transform the way the world moves. Together, CBMM and Echion will advance towards sustainable mobility by offering ultra-fast charging batteries that have greater stability and longer life. We are optimistic and believe that these new products will be available within the next year.

—Rodrigo Amado, Head of Strategy and New Ventures at CBMM

The funds will also be used to strengthen customer support, commercial and R&D operations.

Echion’s niobium-based anode materials endow cells with a unique combination of fast-charge, safety, and high energy density:

  • 0 to 100% charge in 6 min or less—more than 5 times faster than standard Li-ion cells
  • Twice the volumetric capacity of LTO anodes
  • Safe operating voltage
  • 1000’s of cycles demonstrated
  • Low cost

Echion’s anode materials rely on its proprietary Mixed Niobium Oxide (XNO) technology. Echion designed unique crystal structures and particle engineering to enable reversible and superfast lithium ion diffusion within microcrystals, enabling fast-charging performance without the need to use nano-sized powders.

Echion has huge potential to use its cutting-edge battery chemistry technology to accelerate the adoption of batteries in a range of applications. BGF is convinced that batteries will play a critical role in the energy transition, and identified that Echion’s technology brings significant benefits in key areas such as fast-charging or high-power applications.

This funding round will support an exceptional management team in completing the final push to commercial adoption, working in parallel with a range of very high quality stakeholders for instance recent joint projects with Johnson Matthey, and a number of other high profile international customers.

—Richard Pugh, Investor at BGF, who joins the Board of Echion

This increases BGF’s investment in companies engaged in carbon reduction and the energy transition to £230m, and comes shortly after the announcement of a Clean Growth Advisory Board chaired by Baroness Brown of Cambridge.

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