Gridtential launches AGM battery breakthrough with East Penn, announces financing boost

by John Shepherd
CEO John Barton (inset): 'Silicon Joule is the answer battery makers and OEMs have been looking for.' Images: Gridtential
California-based Gridtential Energy, the inventor and developer of Silicon Joule battery technology, revealed today it is launching a series of ground-breaking AGM reference batteries, produced on the prototype line of lead battery industry major, East Penn Manufacturing.

The move came as Gridtential announced $12m (£8.7m) in new financing led by 1955 Capital – which will support a new production line of advanced lead reference batteries, including "the world’s first factory-ready single-block 24V deep-cycle lead battery”, using Silicon Joule technology.

Gridtential CEO John Barton said: "With our new reference batteries, made with a world-class partner, manufacturers and OEMs can see for themselves that Silicon Joule is the answer they’ve been looking for.”

Barton told World Battery News in an exclusive interview last month that batteries using its advanced bipolar battery architecture were expected to hit the market for the first time during this year.

12V and 48V versions

The financing announced today is with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, August Capital co-founder David Marquardt, ReneSola CEO Yumin Liu and existing investors East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery and the Roda Group.

The first offering is the single-block 24V lead battery optimised for deep-cycle applications. A 12V power version will follow later in the second quarter of 2021. Gridtential said 48V versions of each are expected in the second half of the year.

To date, Gridtential has raised $28m and has required "significantly less capital than other battery companies to reach commercial production”.

Backgrounder - Silicon Joule technology...

Gridtential’s Silicon Joule technology substitutes treated silicon wafers for conventional lead grids and combines them using a patented ‘stack-and-seal’ architecture, which provides uniform current distribution and efficient thermal management, minimising failure modes such as sulfation, corrosion and grid growth.

While conventional lead-battery designs allowed for 6V and 12V monoblock configurations, until now 24V and higher voltage configurations were not commercially practical. OEMs had to combine lower-voltage batteries to achieve higher voltages, increasing their costs and introducing points of failure.

Gridtential said Silicon Joule batteries "charge up to two times faster, last more than four times longer, and weigh up to 30% less than conventional lead batteries”.

"They maintain the thermal stability and 99% recyclability of the conventional technology, creating a clear safety and sustainability advantage over lithium-ion.”

Silicon Joule reference batteries are designed for lab and field testing and enable manufacturers to move directly from prototype to mass production, with 90% of the required equipment already in use in their factories.

East Penn, Crown and Leoch are fully licensed to mass-produce Silicon Joule batteries. Nine other manufacturing partners, mostly international, are piloting the technology.

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Batteries using Gridtential's Silicon Joule bipolar tech 'set to hit market this year'