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Vanadium ion battery startup Standard Energy raises $8.9M Series C from SoftBank Ventures Asia

Standard Energy is a South Korea-based vanadium ion battery developer. IT announced today That it has raised an $8.9 million Series C from SoftBank Ventures Asia. Standard Energy was founded in 2013 by researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). To date, it has raised a total of $22.5 million.

Why are vanadium ion batteries better than lithium-ion batteries?

The company says that in comparison to lithium-ion batteries, the vanadium ion batteries include less risk of ignition, and sourcing vanadium is easy. The ease of sourcing is an important selling point, as EV makers face a potential shortage of lithium-ion batteries.

Will it replace the lithium-ion batteries?

However, Standard Energy chief executive officer Bu Gi Kim says that instead of serving as a replacement for lithium ion batteries, they complement each other. Where vanadium ion batteries have high energy, performance and safety,  they are not as compact as lithium ion batteries.

Hence, lithium-ion batteries will continue to be used in hardware that needs to be compact and mobile in nature, such as electric vehicles or consumer devices like smartphones. In the same way, vanadium ion batteries are suited for “stationary” items, like wind and solar power plants or ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles.

Potential customers and growth

Energy Storage Systems (ESS) sector is one of its main potential customers. The company says that this sector is expected to grow from $8 billion to $35 billion in the next five years.

Kim said, “A large number of renewable energy projects have slowed or even stopped in many places due to the unstable battery performance of lithium-ion. VIB cannot be as compact as lithium-ion. However, ESS projects or solutions including renewable energy plants provide enough space for our products to be integrated into their systems”.

What the performance data says…

Standard Energy has already performed a total of over one million battery testing hours, including in a lab, at a certified battery performance test site, and in actual operations. Kim said the company is confident its performance data will convince customers to adopt vanadium ion batteries.

SoftBank Ventures Asia senior partner Daniel Kang said in a press statement, “The existing ESS market was in a state of imbalance due to the rapidly growing demand, and safety and efficiency issues of products. The company is expected to create new standards for the global ESS market through its innovative material and design technology with massive manufacturing capabilities.”

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