24M, part of a team that received $3.5 million in funding from ARPA-E in 2016 to further the development of the next generation of high-energy-density, low-cost batteries (earlier post), has raised a $21.8 million Series D to accelerate the deployment of its simple, capital-efficient, low-cost manufacturing process and the development of differentiated, high-energy-density lithium-ion cells for the EV market.
The financing was led by advanced ceramics manufacturer Kyocera Group and leading global trading company, ITOCHU Corporation. Also participating in the round were previous investors, including North Bridge Venture Partners.
24M’s Chief Scientist & Co-Founder is Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, a professor of Material Science and Engineering at MIT and one of the top battery researchers in the world. He previously co-founded American Superconductor and A123 Systems.
24M introduced its novel SemiSolid lithium-ion battery design in 2015, and has since leveraged its own semi-automated pilot facility to substantially advance both cell design and production readiness.
The SemiSolid process, which uses electrolyte as the processing solvent, eliminates capital and energy intensive steps such as drying, solvent recovery, calendaring and electrolyte filling.
24M leverages the process via differentiated cell designs, eliminating the need for significant inactive material (copper, aluminum and separator), resulting in both a structural bill of materials advantage and a lower cost to manufacture. Further, the incorporation of electrolyte during the binderless slurry mixing process presents novel approaches to high energy density cell designs that have heretofore been impossible to explore.
Demand for lithium-ion batteries is escalating rapidly due to increasing interest in electric vehicles and renewable energy, and 24M’s differentiated manufacturing process and radical approach to cell design offers a powerful solution to cost-effectively respond to this need with a superior product.
Through this investment, ITOCHU is excited to be working closely with 24M to promote the global production of next-generation SemiSolid lithium-ion batteries.—Koji Hasegawa, General Manager, Industrial Chemicals Department of ITOCHU Corporation