German specialty chemicals company, Evonik, has invested (through its venture capital unit, Evonik Venture Capital (EVC)) in Chinese battery specialist SuperC. The Chinese company develops and produces graphene materials that improve the range, robustness, charging speed, and service life of lithium-ion batteries, aiming to solve key limitations of electric vehicles and accelerate the shift to climate-friendly mobility.
"By investing in SuperC, we are supporting a cutting-edge technology with a promising future. High-performance batteries are a crucial factor in accelerating the electrification of road transport and permanently reducing CO2 emissions," says Bernhard Mohr, head of Evonik's venture capital unit. The investment was made by the Sustainability Tech Fund launched in 2022, which has a total investment volume of €150 million. The Group is thus also strengthening its sustainability goals by investing in an innovative technology and business model. The focus of the fund is on new technologies to reduce emissions as well as innovations that complement Evonik's Next Generation Solutions.
SuperC has developed a process to produce few-layer graphene (FLG) and, in turn, pastes for electrodes in lithium-ion batteries. The addition of graphene is said to increase the electrical and thermal conductivity of the batteries for faster charging and better overall performance. The batteries also become more temperature insensitive. This saves on cooling requirements and reduces the risk of fire. "With our technology, we want to pave the way for the next generation of batteries. We are pleased to have Evonik as a strong and international partner at our side," says Di Sun, CEO of SuperC.
"By working with SuperC, we are expanding our technical know-how and our understanding of the highly dynamic market. This fits perfectly with our growth strategy for battery solutions," adds Stefan Plass, head of the Interface & Performance business line. As one of the world's leading specialty chemicals companies, Evonik is committed to innovative and sustainable e-mobility solutions. One focus is on improving battery technology: The company's products are used in various components of the batteries, making them more powerful, safer, and more environmentally friendly. Evonik has also its own global lithium-ion research center in Shanghai. “China's battery industry has logged rapid growth in recent years. With the investment, we create synergies in innovations for battery materials and thus support our local business development,” adds Fuliang Xia, President of Evonik Greater China. According to experts, global demand for lithium-ion batteries will increase fivefold by 2030.
Hefei Haizhou New Material Co., Ltd., also known as SuperC, was founded in 2011 in Dongguan, China. It has developed graphene-based electrode material for lithium-ion batteries. The company's materials are already used in products from leading Chinese battery manufacturers. SuperC plans to open a new production facility in Hefei, a key location for the automotive industry, in 2023.