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6 September, 2023 - 13:49 By Tony Quested

Funding from US investor underpins global scale-up for Echion Technologies

A big-hitting US investor majoring in transformational technologies that accelerate global energy transition has pumped significant growth capital into Cambridge battery innovator Echion Technologies.

No figures are being revealed but Illinois-based Volta Energy Technologies says it is excited for University of Cambridge spin-out Echion’s prospects in a lucrative market.

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

The investment is a major feather in the cap of the UK and in Echion and Nyobolt, Cambridge boasts two world-class operators in the battery space.

Echion’s niobium-based XNO® anode material delivers 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.

Jean de La Verpilliere, co-founder and CEO of Echion Technologies, said: “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.
“We are now on the cusp of reaching 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.”

In Echion's niobium-based XNO® technology, Volta has identified a unique opportunity to fulfil the demand for electrification of heavy industry that cannot be suitably served by existing solutions.

Volta recognised Echion's valuable accomplishments in developing and industrialising its technology, and importantly, the significant commercial traction made to date.

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

“The technology Echion is bringing to the battery industry complements Volta’s growing investment portfolio of valuable technologies that solve challenging problems within sizeable 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 represents Volta’s first investment into a European headquartered company as the organisation extends and expands its investments within the larger European battery and energy technology ecosystem.

Building on Dr. Chamberlain’s experience of the industry, having served on the board of the UK’s Faraday Institution, Volta has cultivated and maintained relationships within several key European research institutions as well as Tier 1 automotive and industrial OEMs.

Volta will leverage these relationships as well as its deep US network to support Echion to accelerate the commercialisation of its ultra-fast charging, long-cycle life XNO® anode material. 

From Volta, Chief Investment Officer, Zander Arkin, joins Echion’s board immediately while Principal, James Frith joins as an observer.

A spinout from the University of Cambridge, Echion is at the forefront of the British battery industry. Echion’s XNO® is an internationally patented niobium-based anode material that delivers lithium-ion battery performance highly suited for industrial, commercial, and high-value applications that demand the highest up-time, lowest total cost of ownership, and maximum performance.

The technology enables lithium-ion batteries that can safely charge in less than 10 minutes, maintain high energy densities even at low temperatures, and deliver high power across a cycle life of more than 10,000 cycles.
Volta has a long and extensive reach.

It sources, validates and develops the most promising technologies working with members of an impressive innovator network spanning the US from MIT to Stanford plus every national lab and major university in the States as well as leading universities in the UK, Germany, Japan, and China.

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