Battery business powered up for further growth

The world recently had a glimpse of the first sodium-ion powered vehicle, thanks to a Sheffield based R&D business which is going from strength to strength following investment from Finance Yorkshire.

Faradion, based at the city’s Innovation Centre, is pioneering low-cost sodium-ion battery technology, capable of reducing the cost of renewable energy storage. Both BBC World News and Sky News have featured Faradion’s technology in recent months.

The recent e-bike vehicle demonstration, which was led by Faradion and supported by Williams Advanced Engineering and Oxford University, was a proof of concept designed to showcase the capabilities of sodium-ion technology.

Faradion’s pioneering technology enables the replacement of lithium-ion batteries with the more commonly available and sustainable sodium, without impacting adversely on any of the key performance characteristics of current large scale batteries.

Sodium-ion batteries are considerably less expensive than their lithium-ion counterparts, offering savings of at least c. 30% in terms of cost per kWh. They also have significant safety advantages, as they can be transported in a totally discharged state.

Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn Fund initially invested in Faradion in 2011 and has since made follow on investments.

Faradion chairman Chris Wright said: “The development of a sodium-ion powered e-bike was a major milestone for our pioneering technology, and demonstrated its capability. Sodium-ion batteries have the potential to revolutionise the supply of electric batteries for stationary storage and automotive applications.

“Finance Yorkshire’s investments have enabled us to further develop our technology as well as scale up production of our next-generation battery materials. Future users of our technology will be able to secure high quality materials in commercial volumes at competitive prices.”

Investment director at Finance Yorkshire, Ashwin Kumaraswamy said: “We are proud to be the founding investors in Faradion and we have made subsequent investments because the business is a true trailblazer in this type of battery technology, not only in the UK but globally.

“Since our most recent investment, the business has ramped up its development considerably, not least with the demonstration of the e-bike and exposure on the national news. With various patents pending and advanced technology applicable to both power and energy applications, Faradion is in a perfect position for real success.”

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 10,196 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £309 million and generated private sector leverage of £179 million.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

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Dr Ruth Sayers, Faradion’s Sheffield site manager with Finance Yorkshire’s Ashwin Kumaraswamy

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