Graphite, an essential part of the battery necessary for EVs, makes up about half of a typical battery. As demand for EVs is expected to grow significantly, raw material supply chains cannot keep up. About one-third of all EVs produced by 2030 are estimated to face graphite shortages. In addition, China announced export curbs on graphite earlier last month restricting supply to the US and EU.
A Dutch deeptech startup CarbonX aims to meet the rising need for local supply of critical raw materials for the battery industry. Now, the Delft-based startup has secured €10 million in funding led by Innovation Industries, InnovationQuarter, and the European women-led VC Borski Fund.
The funding will set CarbonX up for the next stage of commercial growth. The new capital will allow the company to further optimise their unique material, scale the commercial organisation and increase the production capacity to support high-volume application.
Sustainable alternative to graphite
Founded by Rutger Van Raalten and Daniela Sordi in 2014 as a TU Delft spinoff, carbon anode material for the battery industry. The company aims to solve the rising need for local supply of critical raw materials for the battery industry. Originally the company developed the technology for the tire industry with Dutch investor Sequoia BV and is now entering the battery market, providing a cost competitive and more sustainable alternative to graphite.
CarbonX’s unique feedstock technology consumes low energy compared to synthetic or natural graphite, resulting in lower cost and a reduced carbon footprint.
The company’s unique 3D porous network structure improves electron- and lithium-ion transfer, while it is still highly compressible to achieve outstanding battery performance. Moreover, the company is also developing fast-charge and high energy density grades in collaboration with the industry.
Localised supply chains
CarbonX aims to set up localised supply chains rather than relying on the natural graphite supply chain dominated by China. It uses a unique emulsion feedstock technology to produce a new carbon anode material in regional carbon black manufacturing facilities in high volumes.
Daniela Sordi, CTO of CarbonX explained, “Our feedstock technology seamlessly integrates into existing carbon black manufacturing plants resulting in the production of a novel structured carbon material that functions as an active anode material, like graphite.“
CarbonX CEO Rutger van Raalten said “In the wake of export curbs imposed by China earlier last month, we see an increasing need for localized supply chains. With CarbonX technology we enable EU and US to source raw materials independently. Not only at a lower cost per kWh, but also with a reduced carbon footprint which becomes increasingly more important for the battery value chain.”
“The deep material knowledge of both founders and R&D facilities headed by Daniela are an unique asset to the company. The drop-in solution and proven large scale manufacturing enables CarbonX to scale fast. It’s all about timing. In 2023, they recognised CarbonX’s outstanding progress on battery performance, the imminent shortage of graphite and need for nearshoring supply chains. The new investors base brings extensive experience in deeptech, battery development and growth dynamics to support the company in its international expansion”, added Bertrand van Leersum; investment director Borski Fund.