New Orleans-based rechargeable battery technology company Advano has announced its official exit from stealth mode with an $18.5 million Series A funding round.
Japanese manufacturing giant Mitsui Kinzoku’s SBI Material Innovation Fund co-led the round, along with PeopleFund and Nest co-founder and iPod inventor Tony Fadell’s Future Shape. Thiel Capital, DCVC, and Y Combinator also participated.
In a statement, Advano chairman and CEO Alexander Girau touted his company’s commitment to spurring growth to address climate change. “Advano is helping to solve [climate change] by making energy more sustainable, cleaner, and cheaper through our silicon-based batteries. To fix the problem however, the solution must scale. From day one of Advano’s existence, scale has been the first criterion of every decision we have made.”
Advano claims to inexpensively transform silicon waste from semiconductor or solar panel manufacturing into A-SiFx™, a clean and scalable silicon-based substance that increases the energy density of lithium-ion batteries and helps eliminate the “range anxiety” associated with driving electric vehicles.
“Advano’s unconventional full-stack approach allows for the battery customization manufacturers require,” Fadell said. “Plus, they’re using sustainably-sourced silicon to combat the environmental effects of our transition to electric everything.”
This reuse of silicon, rather than the graphite conventionally used, allows the company to not only improve battery performance, but also to practice environmental safety by bypassing the toxicity associated with manufacturing silicon.
Although other companies, such as California-based unicorn Sila Nanotechnologies, also develop silicon-based lithium-ion batteries, Fadell says Advano stands out in several ways, and that their innovative work with silicon is “the holy grail for batteries.”
Advano will partner with Mitsui Kinzoku to leverage the Japanese materials supplier’s knowledge of manufacturing, and access its vast distribution channels across multiple industries. According to CNBC, the company also plans to use the funding round to complete construction on a 20,000 square-foot facility in New Orleans that will allow Advano to manufacture 10 tons of material annually.
“No one has been able to solve four key issues concurrently: material expansion, cycle-life, cost, and drop-in manufacturing scalability,” Fadell said in a statement. “Advano’s battery experts are the first to successfully tackle them all.”