Smartphones with increasingly heavy batteries, a blooming electric vehicle sector: it is here that LeydenJar Technologies saw an opportunity. So they decided to launch themselves into the battery industry. At the moment industries mainly use lithium and lithium-ion batteries. In these lithium batteries, the negative pole (anode) consists of graphite. But LeydenJar developed anode foil made of 100% silicon.
This revolutionary technology increases the energy density of batteries by 70% and reduces CO2 emissions by 85%. Anode foil is 10 times thinner than the materials currently used. Moreover, the production process for the anode comprises only one step instead of four. As a result, the process is simpler, cheaper and cleaner.
The 70% increase in energy density means many sectors can use the batteries for different products. For example:
- consumer electronics (smartphones that last longer on a single charge);
- aviation (drones with a greater range, and soon-to-arrive electric planes);
- electric cars (70% increase in range).
Christian Rood and Gabriel de Scheemaker founded LeydenJar Technologies in 2016. It was a spin-out from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). In 2018, they succeeded in demonstrating the new technology in a functioning battery. The company opened a production facility in Eindhoven in 2019. By 2020 it achieved a world record battery energy density of 1 350 Wh/l. In 2021, it completed a Series A investment round amounting to EUR 22 million. The company is now preparing to launch its product on the market and scale up production.
This revolutionary battery technology interests many parties in a variety of markets. These include electric transport, consumer electronics and e-flight. The specifications of the battery technology are enough for use in the first few niche markets. But, LeydenJar also works on improving the performance of the batteries and the production facilities. They are preparing for bigger markets.
CEO Christian Rood says: ‘We want to put our first large-scale production line into operation in 2023. By 2025, we aim to have scaled this up to a complete anode factory. LeydenJar not only supplies anode foil. It also offers machine configuration and provides support. Furthermore, it issues licences for integrating the technology into battery production lines. At present, our greatest challenge to enter larger markets is improving the battery life.’
Support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency
LeydenJar has been in contact with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) since it was founded. In 2016 it received early-phase financing. Rood explains: ‘This support helped us to prove the worth of the technology for market purposes.’
Further collaboration between RVO and LeydenJar followed. This included participation in different schemes:
- The Mission-Driven Research, Development and Innovation (MOOI) scheme.
- The Demonstration of Energy and Climate Innovation (DEI+).
- Innovation Credit scheme.
‘RVO created an opportunity for us to further develop a key innovation and get it to market. Without the support of the RVO, this technology would never have seen the light of day. It would have remained confined to the laboratory. This was very important for LeydenJar as an organisation, and for the battery industry and the energy transition as a whole.’
Tips for others with global ambitions
LeydenJar is happy to share a few tips with other entrepreneurs: ‘Think big and be ambitious. Set yourself a bold future target, and have the courage to take steps towards it. As an entrepreneur, you are the only one who can do this for your company. It is also a good idea to keep building up your team. For example, recruiting a Korean CTO from the battery industry was a decisive step for us,’ says Rood.
‘And one more thing: tell your story. A revolutionary piece of technology or a great idea is all well and good, but without a purpose or a story, they cannot bring about great change in the world. Write your own story, shout it from the rooftops and improve on it every time.’
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