DOE awards $100M to Sila startup co-founded by MSE alum Gleb Yushin
This press release was originally published in Sila Nano News.
ALAMEDA, CA – OCTOBER 19, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it has awarded Sila, a next-generation battery materials company, $100 million to fund the build-out of its 600,000+ square foot facility in Moses Lake, WA, and scale manufacturing of its breakthrough silicon anode materials. Sila’s rollout plan, across its 160-acre campus, estimates the production of 20 GWh of capacity by 2026, enough to power 200,000 electric vehicles. Automaker Mercedes-Benz will be the facility’s first commercial customer and has selected Sila’s anode materials to power its electric vehicles, starting with the G-Class series.
Sila is a recipient of the first set of projects funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and the electrical grid, with a focus on domestic processing of materials and components currently imported from other countries. The funding announced today by the Department of Energy is the first phase of over $7 billion in total provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the battery supply chain. DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) is responsible for strengthening and securing manufacturing and energy supply chains needed to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and support a clean and equitable energy transition. MESC will manage the portfolio of projects with support from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office.”
“The U.S. federal government’s support of clean energy research and development is second to none. Funding from the DOE was instrumental in the early days of Sila and supported our product development. We’ve been able to make good on that investment with our breakthrough chemistry. Now the DOE is taking another big step by supporting our move into automotive scale manufacturing,” said Gene Berdichevksy, Sila Co-Founder and CEO. “Offering federal resources to advance domestic production of proven technologies will help the U.S. assert itself as a leader in the global EV market. With our Moses Lake facility, we’re committed to delivering revolutionary battery material that is better, lowers cost, and accelerates our electric future. And the DOE’s grant and support prove its long-term commitment to the same.”
Sila expects to hire and train 150 – 300 technologists at its Moses Lake facility and is working with local high schools, vocational training programs, and community colleges to train and recruit talent for this location. Production lines at the facility will start up in the second half of 2024, with the full start of production to be underway in the first half of 2025.
Sila’s proprietary silicon anode material is a replacement for current graphite material in Li-ion batteries and increases the energy density of batteries by 20%, without compromising cycle life, power, safety, or other performance parameters. As automakers transition their fleets to electric, Sila’s drop-in replacement has the ability to boost overall battery performance while lowering battery cost per kWh, which is critical in meeting consumer expectations regarding cost, range, charge time, and acceleration. Sila materials will be crucial in achieving the ATVM Loan Program’s goal of improving the fuel economy of the US fleet through the accelerated adoption of electric vehicles.
Founded in 2011, Sila is a next-generation battery materials company with the mission to power the world’s transition to clean energy. Sila shipped the world’s first commercially available silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries in 2021. Sila’s materials drive battery performance enhancements in consumer electronics devices and will power electric vehicles starting with the Mercedes-Benz G-Class series. Committed to American leadership in clean energy production, Sila is scaling its technology at its manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. Major investors include 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Coatue, In-Q-Tel, Matrix Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
Dr. Gleb Yushin received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State University in 2003. Dr. Yushin is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he focuses on nanostructured materials for use in electrochemical capacitors, Li-ion batteries, and alternative battery chemistries. In 2011, Dr. Yushin co-founded Sila Nanotechnologies, Inc., located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is also its CTO. In 2018, Dr. Yushin was awarded the MSE Hall of Fame award.
This post was originally published in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.