Volexion Secures $2 Million in Seed Funding to Scale Battery Cathode Technology

The investment by Clean Energy Ventures and Energy Foundry will enable Volexion to scale its cathode technology to meet market demand for high energy density solutions. 

CHICAGO, IL, April 8, 2021 – Volexion, the developer of a graphene coating for lithium-ion batteries that dramatically increases energy and power density, as well as cycle life and safety, today announced the closing of the $1.1 million first tranche of its $2.2 million seed financing led by leading climate tech venture capital firms Clean Energy Ventures and Energy Foundry.

Volexion’s proprietary graphene coating acts as a protective layer around battery cathode materials to suppress material and electrolyte degradation. Battery cells with Volexion’s coating can see a 30 percent increase in energy density, 40 percent increase in power density, and run twice as long as conventional lithium-ion batteries. Volexion-coated cathode material is “drop-in”, integrating directly into any manufacturer’s existing processes, and is complementary to advanced anode technologies.

“The lithium-ion battery market is growing rapidly, with many innovations and new ideas, yet relatively few innovations have focused on the cathode. Volexion’s innovation is special because it improves the performance of a very wide range of battery chemistries,” said David Miller, Managing Director and Co-founder of Clean Energy Ventures. “We believe Volexion’s innovation will accelerate the performance improvements of lithium-ion batteries

by as much as 10 years and enable the additional reduction of over 2.5 billion tons of CO2e by 2050 through the more rapid adoption of electric vehicles.”

uncoated Volexion particle
Uncoated particle

Volexion already has nine collaboration agreements in place with cathode and battery producers as well as automotive original equipment manufacturers. The technology can unlock performance improvements for consumer electronics and grid storage sectors as well as for electric vehicles.

“By innovating on the cathode, Volexion’s technology can work in conjunction with many of the new, emerging battery chemistries and anode innovations. Promising technologies like cobalt-free batteries could potentially enter the market even sooner when combined with Volexion’s technology,” said John Carlisle, Director of Chain Reaction Innovations at Argonne National Laboratory, where Volexion has been developing their technology with support from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

“Volexion is uniquely positioned for success,” said Sara Chamberlain, Managing Director of Energy Foundry. “Not only have they launched an incredibly promising technology platform, but their roots include talent from Northwestern University, validation from Argonne National Laboratory, and early customers across the Midwest.”  

“With this new funding we’re accelerating rapidly to scale our technology and improve battery performance for battery cell manufacturers for a variety of devices,” said Damien Despinoy, CEO of Volexion. “Both Energy Foundry and Clean Energy Ventures have deep operational experience and a successful track record in the energy space that will be a strong asset to us as we commercialize.”

About Volexion

Volexion is a battery technology company working to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries globally. Volexion’s proprietary graphene coating for lithium-ion battery cathodes dramatically improves energy and power density while reducing costs. Volexion was founded by Prof. Mark Hersam, Director of the Northwestern University Materials Research Center and a MacArthur Fellow, who discovered that coating battery cathodes with graphene can improve battery performance. Volexion was formed in 2018 to explore the commercialization of this solution. Learn more at volexion-inc.com.

About Energy Foundry

Energy Foundry, a Chicago-based venture capital platform, invests in today’s most promising energy innovators, and works with the world’s leading energy companies to build and scale new ventures. Their approach merges venture capital with the perks of partnership and includes an arsenal of essential tools and relationships to help bring great ideas to market.  www.energyfoundry.com

Nth Cycle Secures $3.2 Million in Seed Funding to Scale Technology for Battery Recycling, Sustainable Mining

The investment by Clean Energy Ventures will allow Nth Cycle to scale its metal processing technology, an alternative to pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes.

BOSTON, April 8, 2021 – Nth Cycle, the maker of a recycling technology that extracts critical metals from batteries, e-waste, low-grade ore, and mine tailings so they can be reused to make new clean energy products, today announced that it secured $3.2 million in funding from investors led by climate tech venture capital firm Clean Energy Ventures.

The team at Nth Cycle

Nth Cycle uses an environmentally-friendly process called electro-extraction to recover cobalt and other minerals from discarded batteries and mining ores and waste using only electricity and carbon filters. Electro-extraction is a cleaner, lower-cost alternative to the conventional pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes used by battery recyclers and mining companies to recover cobalt, nickel and manganese for new battery manufacturing. This technology expands the circular supply chain of critical minerals for the clean energy transition.

“As demand for batteries increases dramatically in the coming decades, we need a sustainable process for recycling and reusing critical minerals to build a secure, low-cost domestic supply chain for electric vehicles and energy storage that avoids imports from unreliable and politically unstable regions,” said Daniel Goldman, Managing Director at Clean Energy Ventures. “Nth Cycle’s best-in-class technology reduces the volume of e-waste headed for landfills, improves the effectiveness of existing mines, and can ultimately have a material impact on climate change by mitigating over 2.5 billion tons of CO2e emissions over the next thirty years through cleaner processing and re-use of critical minerals.”

Nth Cycle, whose technology was developed at Harvard University and Yale University, recently opened new operations in the Boston area, and will use the funding to execute their technology roadmap and deploy several pilot projects with recyclers and mine operators early next year. The company has seen extensive interest in its technology from battery recyclers, operators of existing and proposed mines, auto OEMs and micro-mobility companies, and battery manufacturers eager to utilize this technology to reduce reliance on imported critical metals or environmentally unfriendly recovery technologies.

Megan O'Connor, CEO & Founder at Nth Cycle

“Separating critical minerals from other metals in the recycling and mining process can be costly and complex”, said Daniel Miller, Innovation Crossroads Program Lead at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “A technology like Nth Cycle’s reduces the cost, footprint, and environmental impact of producing recycled metals that have exactly the same composition and performance as newly mined minerals.”

“A significant fraction of the critical minerals needed for the transition to electric vehicles are already in circulation today, we just haven’t had a clean, profitable way of retrieving them, until now,” said Megan O’Connor, CEO and Founder of Nth Cycle. “Through electro-extraction, we’re turning waste into valuable resources and we look forward to bringing this technology to battery recyclers and miners so we can all move together on a path toward a more sustainable planet.”

About Nth Cycle

Nth Cycle is a metal processing technology company. We work with battery recyclers and miners to recover production-grade critical minerals from separated e-waste and low-grade mine tailings. Our electro-extraction technology—an alternative to hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy—enables customizable, clean and consistent recovery of the critical minerals for the energy transition. Learn more at nthcycle.com.

LineVision Secures $12.5 Million in Series B Financing to Scale Grid Enhancing Technology

LineVision, Inc., a leading provider of non-contact overhead power line sensor solutions to monitor, optimize, and protect critical energy delivery infrastructure today announced the closing of its Series B financing round, raising $12.5 million to accelerate the company’s growth. The round is led by UP Partners, a Los Angeles-based electrification and mobility fund. Other new investors include National Grid Partners, the venture investment and innovation arm of one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies; and ZOMA Capital, a Colorado-based family office specializing in grid modernization technologies. These new investors join existing LineVision backers including Clean Energy Ventures, which is again investing in LineVision through this Series B financing round.

“We are thrilled to welcome this elite group of investors and partners on LineVision’s next phase of growth,” said Hudson Gilmer, LineVision’s Chief Executive Officer. “With this investment, we will continue to build the team and platform which are helping our utility clients around the world increase the capacity, flexibility, and resilience of their grids.”

“LineVision is harnessing advanced sensors and analytics to solve one of the most critical obstacles to the energy transition,” said Adam Grosser, Chairperson of UP Partners. “There is simply no way we will achieve the urgent goals of electrification and decarbonization without widespread deployment of technologies like LineVision to unlock more capacity and flexibility from the existing grid.”

“National Grid has long been dedicated to deploying technologies that enable us to optimize the performance and reliability of our network,” said Rudy Wynter, President of National Grid, New York. “Technologies like LineVision’s V3 systems help us better understand the condition of our assets while enabling us to meet the goals of our Net Zero by 2050 plan. We see investment in grid-enhancing technologies like LineVision as strategically important to our efforts to modernize the grid and integrate more renewables.”

National Grid is currently utilizing LineVision’s V3 platform to assess conductor asset health, obtain greater situational awareness, and increase transmission line capacity with Dynamic Line Ratings. The utility first deployed LineVision’s solutions in 2018 on transmission lines in Massachusetts, and in 2020 installed LineVision’s asset health monitors on lines in New York.

LineVision’s unique V3 sensors collect real-time data on critical parameters of overhead power lines including line temperature, sag, horizontal motion, and anomalies. Studies have shown congestion on transmission lines costs US consumers more than $8 billion annually. A recent study by The Brattle Group showed that Dynamic Line Ratings enabled by LineVision will help double integration of renewables on the existing grid.

In just over two years since its founding, LineVision has secured deals with National Grid, Dominion Energy, Xcel Energy, Tennessee Valley Authority, and several other North American utilities yet to be announced. The company also works with multiple European utilities through the Farcross Project, which aims to improve cross-border interconnections by utilizing Dynamic Line Ratings.