UK-based graphene startup Anaphite closed a £4.1-million (US$4.8-million) seed round led by Elbow Beach Capital with a £1.5-million (US$1.8-million) investment and supported by Wealth Club, Blue Wire Capital, Oxford Investment Opportunity Network, Zero Carbon Capital, Silicon Roundabout Ventures and Deeptech Labs.
Graphene, only discovered in 2004, is a unique material with many desirable properties such as high electrical and thermal conductivity and significant strength. While graphene has utility on its own, its properties are fully harnessed once incorporated into other materials. Anaphite incorporates graphene into battery materials, via an inexpensive and scalable process that fits directly into existing cell production lines.
Anaphite focuses on the enhancement of lithium-ion batteries for the electric vehicle industry. Roughly 30% of an EV’s costs come from its battery, and Anaphite’s technology can reduce battery manufacturing costs by over 10%. The company’s technology also improves battery capacity and charge rates, potentially reducing charging time by 50%.
By reducing manufacturing costs and improving charge rates and capacity, Anaphite helps EV manufacturers overcome three of the key commercial barriers to genuine mass adoption of Li-ion batteries. Bolstered by the upcoming ban in 2035 on all new sales of gasoline and diesel cars in the UK, Europe and US, there will be considerable and accelerated demand for reliable and inexpensive EVs.
The proceeds of this round will be used to open licence negotiations with a material supplier or cell manufacturer, and build a materials demonstration reactor with 100kg/day production volume. Test potential niche applications for Anaphite’s technology, for example in drones or e-bikes, validate the company’s battery prototype with an OEM, and complete a 10m roll-to-roll coating line demonstrating Anaphite’s novel low energy battery production process, by the end of 2023. Anaphite aims for its technology to be used in commercial EV production by 2028.
Anaphite’s next phase of growth will be led by Joe Stevenson, who is joining Anaphite as CEO in September. Stevenson brings more than 20 years of experience in the commercial and engineering sectors, having most recently been employed as a Commercial Director for Arcola Energy and Ballard Motive Solutions. Prior to this, he was a Corporate Strategy Director at Johnson Matthey.