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Thursday, 28 January 2016 13:51

Cash boost for high-energy storage will improve smart grids, transport & renewables

A major cash boost for a high-energy graphene storage device is set to improve the prospects for smart grids, transport and renewables. Skeleton Technologies, a European ultracapacitor manufacturer, has received a €4 million investment from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company dedicated to promoting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe's energy industry.

battery storage skeleton1 copyThe €4m investment from KIC InnoEnergy – whose shareholders include ABB, EDF, Iberdrola and Total – will be used to further develop the competitive advantage of Skeleton Technologies' ultracapacitors. The company aims to reach the ambitious target of 20 Wh/kg energy density for its technology by 2020.

Ultracapacitors are high-energy storage devices with greatly increased power density and longer life cycles than batteries. Skeleton Technologies' devices use a patented graphene material in their manufacture, and clain this allows them to deliver twice the energy density and five times the power density of their competitors.

Skeleton Technologies, which this week was announced as a Global Cleantech 100 company, will use the KIC InnoEnergy investment to further optimise electrode and cell design to allow for higher working voltages. These developments will unlock the full performance capabilities of the company's unique graphene-based material, known as carbide-derived carbon (CDC).

Kenneth Johansson, CEO of KIC InnoEnergy Sweden, said: "Energy storage is one of the key issues facing the European energy sector. Getting it right will help with everything from smart grids and smart buildings to ensuring better integration of renewables in electricity networks across the continent.

"We're excited to engage with Skeleton Technologies because we believe that their product is a potential game changer in the energy storage space. The future need for energy storage can hardly be underestimated and we look forward to embracing this opportunity through the development of this technology."

Skeleton Technologies' CEO, Taavi Madiberk, added: "We see KIC InnoEnergy as a strong, value-added partner, with a number of their investors being current or potential customers of Skeleton Technologies."

battery storage Skeleton2The investment was pledged as part of the €9.8m Series B financing secured by Skeleton Technologies last year. With funds now in place, work will begin to develop electrodes that can fully capitalise on the performance advantages offered by CDC. These electrodes will then be integrated into smaller modules, reducing both the weight and cost of the final energy storage system.

When this work is complete, Skeleton Technologies expects to offer three times the performance/weight ratio of current market leading products at the same price. This milestone will play a significant role in accelerating the adoption of ultracapacitors across transport, industrial equipment and grid applications.

Taavi Madiberk explains the technology road-map: "Our main focus as a company is ramping up our current production capability. The KIC InnoEnergy investment will help us to retain a global technology leadership position for many years to come."

The development work will be undertaken in collaboration with partners who will independently evaluate the performance of the ultracapacitor modules, including Finnish electric drive train manufacturer Visedo OY.

Skeleton Technologies' high-performance ultracapacitors are set to be launched into orbit as part of a European Space Agency project and have been incorporated in the world's first Kinetic Recovery System (KERS) for freight vehicles. They are also available in an Engine State Module (ESM) for trucks and as part of a hybrid Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for defence applications.

LINKS
Skeleton Technologies
KIC InnoEnergy