Group14 Technologies Inc. has begun construction on an advanced battery technology plant in Washington State – funded in part with a $100 million federal grant – whose products will help power electric Porsches.
The Moses Lake facility will make a silicon-carbon material for battery anodes, boosting the amount of energy batteries can store and slashing the time it takes to recharge them. The project comes as more manufacturers change their capital-investment plans, moving projects that might have been built in Asia to the US instead as a result of generous government funding. “It’s really shifting the focus for battery production and supply chains,” said Rick Luebbe, the startup’s chief executive officer.
In a bid to wrest control of the fast-growing industry from China, US President Joe Biden has made building up a domestic supply chain for batteries a top priority. Group14 was one of 20 battery-related companies to receive grants in October from the US Department of Energy, using money from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Competitor Sila Nanotechnologies, which also makes a silicon-based anode material, received a $100 million grant as well to open a plant in the same central Washington city.
Porsche AG and Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund led Group14’s recent $614 million Series C funding round, and some of the plant’s output will be used in the batteries of Porsche’s electric cars, Luebbe said. Group14 already has a smaller plant in the Seattle area and will open a factory in Korea this year, through a joint venture with SK Group.
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