25 April 2024

Wollongong startup Sicona Battery Technologies cracks US market

| Kellie O'Brien
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Sicona Battery Technologies co-founders Dr Andrew Minett and Christiaan Jordaan. Photo: Supplied.

Sicona Battery Technologies co-founders Dr Andrew Minett and Christiaan Jordaan. Photo: Supplied.

Wollongong-based battery materials innovator, Sicona Battery Technologies, has expanded into the United States’ fast-growing battery component market with the establishment of its first commercial production facility.

Sicona produces battery materials technology used in lithium-ion batteries for electric mobility and storage of renewable energy and has been a driver to fast-track electrification and move away from fossil fuels.

The US site will be in the southeastern region, strategically located within the heart of the expanding US battery and electric vehicle manufacturing sector, and will see the phased construction of a 6700 tonne per annum (tpa) silicon-carbon anode materials production facility.

It will position Sicona as the US’s premier producer of silicon-carbon anode materials and comes after completing front-end engineering design studies alongside global engineering and construction leader Bechtel.

Sicona CEO Christiaan Jordaan said by the early 2030s Sicona plans to ultimately expand its US production to a total output of 26,500 tpa, enough silicon-carbon anode materials to power more than 3.25 million American electric vehicles (EVs).

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“Sicona’s vision is to be the largest silicon-carbon battery materials producer in the world and today’s announcement is the first major step towards the realisation of that goal,” Mr Jordaan said.

“We believe by going mass scale with our technology we can have maximum impact on increasing the adoption of electric vehicles.

“This is because our product has a real impact on the charge time of an electric vehicle or how far you can drive your EV before recharging, which are two major factors holding people back from buying an EV.”

Drawing on its extensive intellectual property portfolio, Sicona manufactures Silicon-Carbon (Sicona SiCx) anode materials, which enhance lithium-ion batteries by boosting energy density in that battery or cell by more 20 per cent and reducing charging times by more than 40 per cent.

It also eliminates the need for costly, hazardous, and constrained supply chains, along with allowing customers to benefit without incurring substantial expenses or disruptive reengineering in their battery production facilities.

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Christiaan said they were proud to be an Australian company leading the charge on the global stage.

”We believe our proposed project in the United States will promote a sustainable energy future that expands and secures the domestic US battery ecosystem and creates high quality jobs and economic opportunities for the local community,” he said.

Bechtel’s Electric Vehicles in Manufacturing & Technology general manager Justin Britt said as the world worked to lower its carbon footprint, Bechtel provided the predictability needed to realise design and construction of new battery value chain projects.

Sicona has already started supplying product samples and initiated discussions with customers, with progress expected to increase significantly over the coming 12 to 18 months.

The news comes after Sicona was named on Cleantech Group’s 2024 APAC Cleantech 25, an annual list of Asia-Pacific (APAC) private sustainable innovation companies that are poised to make a significant impact in the next five to 10 years.

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