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 InvestEU – EIB provides €20 million to GDI to develop 100% silicon anodes for batteries to replace graphite

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and GDI have signed an agreement on a quasi-equity loan worth €20 million to develop GDI`s next generation silicon anode technology to power electric vehicles and decrease dependency on graphite.

The agreement is supported by the InvestEU programme, which aims to trigger more than €372 billion in additional investment in new technologies until 2027.

GDI is a US-company, with an affiliate in the Netherlands and supported by EIT InnoEnergy Benelux that plans to produce it`s silicon anode at industrial scale in Germany. To scale up production quickly after the development phase, the company has selected an industrial site with a glass-coating production facility owned by AGC Glass Europe, a leading tier one supplier to European Auto OEMs. The AGC factory, in Lauenförde near Holzminden in Lower Saxony, will provide coating expertise, advanced manufacturing equipment, and know-how. One of Europe’s leading copper foil companies, Schlenk SE, will supply industrial scaled copper foil.

This alliance of experienced European industrial companies with a US-based technology scale-up company demonstrates the attractiveness of the European market to emerging US businesses.

The EIB loan will support GDI in developing its 100% silicon anode technology towards gigawatt scale industrial production. The technology has the potential to produce silicon anodes that increase Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell energy density by over 30% compared with today`s graphite anodes, substantially increasing the range of vehicle batteries. The technology can also decrease battery charging time by two thirds, GDI has verified through third party safety testing that multi-Amp hour high-energy Lithium-ion cells with its 100% silicon anode can pass nail penetration testing. The technology will make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers and help to decarbonize the transport sector. Additional applications will include medtech, drones, laptops, power tools, and construction equipment.

In Q4 2023, GDI and AGC were the first in the world to demonstrate roll-to-roll Megawatt scale pilot production capacity of double-sided 100% silicon anodes. When this project is completed, GDI will demonstrate the first Gigawatt scale production of 100% silicon anodes in Europe and potentially the world.

The EIB loan comes in the form of equity-type venture debt, with a guarantee under the InvestEU’s Thematic Innovation window that supports the achievement of the EU’s policy objective of decarbonizing the industry. The EIB venture debt loan is a form of finance that meets the needs of fast-growing, innovative companies. These loans complement financing when no commercial debt can be sought, being cheaper than equity and coming without further diluting the founder`s shares.

EIB-Vice President Ambroise Fayolle, responsible for EIB-financing in Germany, said: “To make the green transition work in the transport sector, the development of improved battery technology for all kinds of vehicles is crucial. We at the EIB 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.”

Rob Anstey, GDI Founder/CEO, said: “After intensive discussions and due diligence with the EIB, our result is a partnership that will lead to Europe’s first Gigafactory for 100% silicon anodes. These anodes can be directly integrated into Li-ion cell factories. Factories that adopt this anode will manufacture cells with increased energy density (>30%), 15-minute fast charging capabilities (hundreds of times in a row), and increased safety (verified by third party testing) vs. graphite anodes. We will be one of the few companies that succeeds in scaling next-generation Li-ion technology to industrial manufacturing in partnership with the EIB, Schlenk SE, and AGC.”