GDI gets $22mln from EIB to scale up EV silicon anode production

By Nick Carey

(Reuters) – The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide 20 million euros ($22 million) to GDI to help the U.S. silicon anode startup scale up production for electric vehicle batteries at a factory in Germany, the two companies said on Wednesday.

The funding will take the form of loans and the European Union’s lending arm will also take an equity stake in Rochester, New York-based GDI. The deal is part of the InvestEU, which aims to trigger investments of 372 billion euros in new technologies by 2027.

GDI says its anodes provide 30% more energy density – which means greater range – and charge times of just 15 minutes for EVs versus graphite anodes.

It is one of a number of startups developing silicon anodes, including Nexeon, Group 14 Technologies and Sila Nanotechnologies, all touting better performance than graphite.

China refines more than 90% of the world’s graphite into the material used in almost all EV battery anodes and introduced export curbs for graphite in December.

This has spurred automakers’ efforts to source synthetic graphite or use alternative materials such as silicon outside of China.

“We… are happy to support GDI’s innovative technology, that helps the industry to replace graphite, a critical raw material, with silicon that is available everywhere in the world,” EIB vice president Nicola Beer said in a statement.

GDI will scale up its anodes for major tests in automakers’ EV batteries at a factory in Lower Saxony owned by Belgian automotive glass supplier AGC Glass Europe and copper foil supplied by Germany’s Schlenk SE.

Later in the decade, GDI expects to produce enough silicon anodes for mass-produced EVs.

According to sources familiar with GDI’s operations, the startup is in talks with most major European and U.S. automakers about its 100% silicon anode technology.

($1 = 0.9137 euros)

(Reporting By Nick Carey; editing by Barbara Lewis)