Belgian circular materials technology company Umicore has purchased a minority stake in California-based solid-state battery manufacturer Blue Current.
This investment complements the companies’ joint development agreement (JDA) to integrate Umicore’s battery materials into Blue Current’s solid-state battery technology. By providing capital—in addition to supplying battery materials under the JDA—Umicore intends to drive market adoption of Blue Current’s silicon elastic composite battery towards mid-decade. Blue Current has been working on developing silicon anodes with completely dry composite electrolytes since 2018.
Umicore’s roadmap for rechargeable battery materials spans short, mid-and long-term research horizons for cathodes and silicon-based anodes, including those used in solid-state technologies. The composite electrolytes and silicon anodes in solid-state batteries allow for EV designers to create smaller, lighter and lower-cost battery packs than lithium-ion battery technologies with liquid electrolytes, Umicore said. The technology offers enhanced safety at the cell level and higher energy density at the cell and system levels to increase driving range and charging speeds.
“Solid electrolytes promise to enable electrodes that cannot cycle in liquid electrolytes,” said Nitash Balsara, co-founder of Blue Current. “In particular, the use of a composite solid electrolyte to enable silicon cycling is compelling given the high capacity of this material.”