Australian Battery Materials Innovator Announces US Expansion

23 April 2024

Sicona Battery Technologies, an Australian battery materials innovator, today announced its expansion into the fast-growing United States battery component market with the development of its first commercial production facilities in the south-eastern United States near the geographic heart of the growing U.S. battery and electric vehicle manufacturing hub.

Having recently completed front-end engineering design studies with global engineering and construction leader Bechtel, Sicona is moving forward with the phased development of a 6,700 tonne per annum (tpa) silicon-carbon anode materials production plant.  This development will make Sicona the largest producer of silicon-carbon anode materials in the United States surpassing the approximately 5,800 tpa total silicon-carbon plants under construction and development in the north-western United States.

By the early 2030s, Sicona plans to ultimately expand its US production to a total output of 26,500 tpa, enough silicon-carbon anode materials to power more than 3.25m American electric vehicles (EVs).

Sicona SiCx™can deliver significant improvements in today's EVs through increased range and reduced charge times, two known major inhibiting factors to rapid EV adoption in the United States, and which are critical factors in achieving the stated US goals of reducing  greenhouse gas emissions by ~52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Leveraging its extensive intellectual property portfolio Sicona produces Silicon-Carbon (Sicona SiCx™) anode materials that supercharge Lithium-ion batteries delivering a 20%-plus increase in energy density over conventional graphite-only Lithium-ion battery cells and reducing charge times by more than 40%.

Furthermore, Sicona's technology does not rely on expensive, dangerous, bottlenecked or emissions intensive supply chains such as silane gas. This enables Sicona's customers to access unmatched prices and scale for maximum positive impacts of a "drop-in" material without incurring significant costs and disruptive reengineering in their battery production facilities.

Utilising a top-down process, Sicona has cracked highly efficient mechanical silicon metal reduction to create uniform nanoparticles. Further treatment in specialised carbon coating processes create the unique material qualities that customers demand.

To support its US manufacturing plans, Sicona has started supplying product samples and initiated offtake discussions with cornerstone customers with qualification activities expected to ramp up significantly over the coming 12 – 18 months.

"Sicona's vision is to be the largest silicon-carbon battery materials producer in the world and today's announcement is the first major step towards the realisation of that goal," Mr Jordaan said.

"We believe by going mass scale with our technology we can have maximum impact on increasing the adoption of electric vehicles. This is because our product has a real impact on the charge time of an electric vehicle or how far you can drive your EV before recharging, which are two major factors holding people back from buying an EV.

"We are proud to be an Australian company leading the charge on the global stage and working with our valued partners like Bechtel to establish our first production facilities in the United States.

"We believe our proposed project in the United States will promote a sustainable energy future that expands and secures the domestic US battery ecosystem and creates high quality jobs and economic opportunities for the local community."

"As the world works to lower its carbon footprint, Bechtel provides the predictability needed to realize design and construction of new battery value chain projects," said Justin Britt, Bechtel's General Manager for Electric Vehicles in Manufacturing & Technology. "Bechtel provides a full array of project delivery services so our customers can realize their vision."