Evonik Invests in Chinese Battery Maker SuperC

28.02.2023 - German chemical producer Evonik is investing in battery maker Hefei Haizhou New Material Co (SuperC), a Chinese company specialized in graphene materials, which it describes as a technological leader in materials that improve the range, robustness, charging speed and service life of lithium batteries.

Founded in 2011 in Dongguan, SuperC has developed an innovative process to produce few-layer graphene (FLG) and, in turn, pastes for electrodes in the batteries. The Chinese firm says the addition of graphene increases electrical and thermal conductivity for faster charging and better overall battery performance.

As the process also can make batteries more temperature insensitive, this saves on cooling requirements and reduces the risk of fire, while also solving key limitations of electric vehicles and accelerating the shift to climate-friendly mobility.

"By investing in SuperC, we are supporting a cutting-edge technology with a promising future. High-performance batteries are a crucial factor in accelerating the electrification of road transport and permanently reducing CO2 emissions," says Bernhard Mohr, head of Evonik's venture capital unit.

The chemical group is making the investment through its Sustainability Tech Fund launched in 2022, which has a total investment volume of €150 million and is focused on new technologies as well as innovations that complement its Next Generation Solutions.

Stefan Plass, head of Evonik’s Interface & Performance business line, says working with SuperC allows the Essen-based group to expand its technical know-how and its understanding of the highly dynamic market. “This fits perfectly with our growth strategy for battery solutions.”

Evonik products are used in various components of the batteries and are aimed at making them more powerful, safer and more environmentally friendly. The group has its own global lithium-ion research center in Shanghai.

With the new investment, Fuliang Xia, president of Evonik Greater China, said the chemical producer is creating synergies in innovations for battery materials and thus supporting local business development. Industry experts calculate that global demand for lithium-ion batteries will increase fivefold by 2030.

SuperC ‘s materials are already used in products made by leading Chinese battery manufacturers. The company plans to open a new facility in Hefei, a key automotive production site, sometime this year.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist