Adden Energy, Inc. – a startup developing innovative solid-state battery systems for use in future electric vehicles (EVs) that would fully charge in minutes – has announced the grant of an exclusive technology license by Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) and a seed round financing of $5.15 million. Primavera Capital Group led Adden Energy’s seed round, with participation by Rhapsody Venture Partners and MassVentures.
The license and the venture funding will enable the startup to scale Harvard’s laboratory prototype toward commercial deployment of a solid-state lithium-metal battery that may provide reliable and fast charging for future EVs to help bring them into the mass market.
Developed by researchers in the lab of Xin Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Materials Science at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the lab-scale coin-cell prototype has achieved battery charge rates as fast as three minutes with more than 10,000 cycles in a lifetime, with results published in Nature and other journals.
It also features high energy density and a level of material stability that overcomes the safety challenges posed by some other lithium batteries.
Adden Energy was co-founded in 2021 by Li, along with William Fitzhugh, PhD, and Luhan Ye, PhD, both of whom contributed to the development of the technology as graduate students in Li’s Harvard lab. Fred Hu, PhD, founder and Chairman of Primavera Capital, is also a founder of Adden Energy.
The startup aims to scale the battery up to a palm-sized pouch cell, and then upward toward a full-scale vehicle battery in the next three to five years.
“If you want to electrify vehicles, a solid-state battery is the way to go. We set out to commercialize this technology because we do see our technology as unique compared to other solid-state batteries. We have achieved in the lab 5,000 to 10,000 charge cycles in a battery’s lifetime, compared with 2,000 to 3,000 charging cycles for even the best in class now, and we don’t see any fundamental limit to scaling up our battery technology. That could be a game changer“, states Xin Li.
“Typically, lithium-metal anodes in other solid-state designs develop dendrites, twig-like growths that can gradually penetrate through the electrolyte to the cathode. We defeat the growth of dendrites before they can cause damage, by novel structural and material designs. As a result, the device can sustain its high performance over a long lifetime. Our recent study shows that this nice feature can also be maintained at scale-up“, states Luhan Ye, now CTO of Adden Energy.