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European startups making better batteries for a more sustainable energy transition

The application of batteries has become increasingly important in the modern world. From powering our phones to running machines and equipment, batteries are essential for many aspects of life and will gain further importance. 

The EU ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 is expected to have significant implications for the battery market. As more people switch to electric vehicles (EVs), demand for batteries to power these vehicles is expected to increase. In addition, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are not always producing electricity. In order to smooth out fluctuations, energy storage systems, such as batteries, are often used. 

As a result, an ever-increasing number of devices will rely on batteries for their energy needs. In this context, it is becoming significantly important to develop new types of batteries that can store more energy in a smaller package, have a shorter amount of time and last longer than ever before and at the same time use fewer critical raw materials and pave the way to a circular economy. 

The design of a battery involves three main components: a positive electrode (cathode), a negative electrode (anode), and an electrolyte. The electrolyte is the crucial element that enables the transfer of ions between the two electrodes, allowing the battery to be charged and discharged. Seems simple? Well, not when it comes to developing smaller, longer lasting and more sustainable options. 

European innovators are coming up with solutions to this problem. 

Solutions include tackling the overall energy density of the batteries, charging time, sustainability, durability, material supply, and cost. 

We carried out research to find out which European startups are creating batteries that are more efficient, durable, and affordable, whilst also being more sustainable as well as environmentally friendly and coming at a lower price. Here, we introduce you to 8 which caught our attention: 

LeydenJar logoLeydenJar: By tackling the anode part of the battery as well, Leiden-based LeydenJar creates the world’s most energy-dense anode foil based on pure silicon. The production of pure silicon anodes requires a plasma vapour deposition process which comes at a certain cost but leads to a high anode area loading, enabling energy density resulting in phones with 70% longer battery life and 40% reduced space requirement. Furthermore, it produces 85% less CO2 than existing anode production. The demonstrated high energy density and roll-to-roll production technology gained attention from investors, which resulted of closing a €22 million Series A in 2021 for the startup which was founded in 2016.

betteries AMPS GmbH logobetteries: In combination with solar power plans and 2nd life EV batteries, Berlin-based betteries is replacing fuel-based generators in the global south. This mitigates climate change, creates economic opportunities and improves the quality of life for the local communities. The company’s batteries deliver scalable CO2 savings and support the circular economy by ensuring recycling at the end of its second life. With a battery-as-a-service offering customers are provided with sustainable battery technology for off-grid productive use and on-grid backup power. Founded in 2018, betteries has recently collected € 2.1 million to accelerate the transition to renewables.

cylib logoCYLIB: With the current scale of material needs in batteries, recycling is not the solution but a valid business case in the near future. Since 2022. Cylib offers a holistic battery recycling service, starting from discharging to the recovery of all components of the lithium battery. Based in Aachen, Cylib’s end-to-end process is characterized by the efficient, resource- and climate-friendly recovery of all valuable metals in an electric car battery from pack to the cell level. Backed up by investors like Vsquared Ventures and Blue Impact Ventures, Cylib received a €3.6 million capital injection in October 2022.

AC Biode logoAC Biode: Luxembourg-based AC Biode has developed a patented technology that can be used to upgrade any battery at a lower cost using existing battery supply chains. The alternating current battery of AC Biode is more efficient, safer and about 30% more compact than regular batteries. Founded in 2019, AC Biode is also working on creating the world’s first standalone alternating current battery using a unique component called a “biode,” which has the properties of both an anode and a cathode. The resulting potential to replace some of the current state-of-the-art products has convinced 5 Investors and resulted in a deal flow of over € 700k. 

Geyser Batteries logoGeyser Batteries: Helsinki-based Geyser Batteries offer sustainable high-power heavy-duty energy storage solutions based on novel proprietary water-based electrolytes. Founded in 2018, Geyser Batteries products are extremely fast-charging, completely safe, very powerful and ultra-durable with an extra-low carbon footprint. Combining fast charging and a high lifetime of more than a million life cycles makes Geyser Batteries an iIdeal solution for hybrid electric machinery, especially for heavy-duty applications. So far they have already convinced 9 Investors and were able to receive a grant of €150k from the Suur-Savo Energy Foundation. Founded in 2018, it is also one of the CleanTech startups that we think you should keep an eye on this year.

InoBat logoInoBat: As there is no one fits all solution in battery applications InoBat has developed advanced and highly adaptable battery technology consisting of modular components that allow for the creation of complete, custom-engineered, scalable battery systems. The battery system allows ultra-fast charging cycles, reaching 85% of the cell capacity in 30 minutes. Since its foundation in 2019, InoBat has signed strategic partnerships (a.o. Cosworth and GUS Technology) and a first commercial agreement with an aviation customer. In addition, InoBat has secured €10 million in a round led by IPM Group in 2021 matching a €5 million government funding in the same year. In 2021, we put InoBat on our list of Slovakian startups to watch, and have kept a close eye since.

Lithium Werks logoLithium Werks: Cell manufacturers are consistently trying to reduce the levels of cobalt in their batteries due to insufficient supply, rising costs, and human rights violations in the supply chain. Backed by 300+ patents, Lithium Werks LFP batteries are 100% cobalt-free. Based in the Netherlands, Lithiums Werks Batteries are based on Lithium Iron Phosphate and are considered safer, less toxic, and more energy efficient with significantly longer cycle life than mixed oxide batteries. Established in 2017 Lithium Werks has already supplied more than 200 customers in 50 countries.

LiNa Energy logoLiNa Energy: Another approach is to switch from Lithium as a charge carrier to Sodium. By doing so, UK-based LiNa Energy technology is anticipated to cost 30% less than Lithium based batteries. Furthermore, Sodium-ion batteries offer advantages in technical performance, safety and cost over current technologies, such as Lithium-ion batteries. By using abundant raw materials LiNa is able to manufacture cells for less than €50 / kWh, half of the cost of lithium-ion batteries today. Founded in 2017, LiNa Energy has closed a €3.4m seed funding round and is expected to launch a Series A in Q2 2023.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

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Thomas Homburg
Thomas Homburg
Thomas studied Chemistry in Northern Europe, and he worked as a researcher in Canada, Israel, and the UK. Nowadays, he is working as an innovation manager in the area of sustainable chemistry, supporting international start-ups. He is interested in the interplay of research, entrepreneurship, and regulation and is convinced that the transition towards a sustainable future lies in multidisciplinary approaches.

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