Silicon Valley startup announces breakthrough in lithium-ion battery safety

March 5, 2024

San Jose startup raises $20m for safer lithium-ion batteries

A technological advancement

A California startup has announced a significant development in the production of safer lithium-ion batteries.

Anthro Energy, based in San Jose, recently completed its first funding round, raising $20 million.

This achievement, as the company claims, could be a turning point in addressing persistent safety concerns associated with lithium-ion batteries.

These batteries are essential for storing power from renewable energy sources like wind and solar, but their tendency to catch fire has been a longstanding issue.

The safety problems related to lithium-ion batteries have often overshadowed their benefits.

Instances of fires and explosions, although rare, have heightened public skepticism, particularly as energy storage facilities need to be built closer to urban areas for effective decarbonization.

Innovative solutions for energy storage

Anthro Energy’s approach to this challenge involves a novel battery design that purportedly reduces the risk of safety incidents significantly.

David Mackanic, the CEO of Anthro Energy, stated: “We have developed a scalable solution to solve the trade-off between energy density and safety in lithium-ion batteries.”

He highlighted the urgent need for electric device developers to find ways to pack more energy into the same space.

However, Mackanic pointed out that current solutions for improving energy density, such as new battery form factors and chemistries, often lead to compromises in safety.

The company’s breakthrough lies in its “advanced non-volatile and mechanically tunable polymer electrolyte.”

This proprietary polymer, which replaces the highly flammable liquid electrolyte in conventional lithium-ion batteries, is touted as a key innovation.

Joe Papp, Anthro’s CTO, added that this development allows for new battery forms and chemistries, aiding broader electrification efforts across the economy.

Unlike many emerging battery technologies, Anthro’s polymer electrolyte can be integrated into existing giga-scale manufacturing lines.

Anthro plans to use its new funding to expand its team and build a pilot-scale production facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

FSJA Comment

The advancement by Anthro Energy in lithium-ion battery safety represents a notable step in the renewable energy sector.

As the world increasingly turns to renewable sources, the need for safe and efficient energy storage solutions becomes more pressing.

By reducing the risk of fires and explosions, Anthro Energy’s innovation could lead to greater public acceptance and integration of energy storage systems in urban and residential areas, crucial for the decarbonization efforts.

The success of this technology in practical applications and its adaptability in existing manufacturing processes will be key to its widespread adoption and impact.

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