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Pushing Revolutionary Lithium-Ion Battery Technology

Image Credits: HKSTP, Press Release

A partner company of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and inventor of the world’s first water-based lithium-ion battery manufacturing technology, has secured a US$ 13 million Series A funding round. The company is a Hong Kong-based green-tech company and is building the world’s first Giga factory in Jiashan, China, based on its patented WATMAR3 water-based battery technology.

The technology won the Grand Prix at the 49th International Exhibition of Invention Geneva in 2019 for its proven ability to remove the most polluting aspects of lithium-ion battery production and recycling. The company’s WATMAR3 ultra-green, water-based manufacturing technology releases up to 40% fewer greenhouse gases during manufacturing and up to 80% during recycling, compared to current industry practices.

The Series A investment will help the company advance to its next phase of licensing WATMAR3 technology internationally as well as mass producing water-based lithium-ion batteries. Both investors will contribute their significant expertise and support to the company’s future development.

It was noted that the company is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the rapidly-growing production of lithium-ion batteries which by 2030 could generate up to one per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to its Co-Chairman.

The Head of Business Development at Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) stated that the Park is excited to witness and support this major milestone for our partner company, as it makes strides in shaping a carbon-neutral future for business and society.

As a Hong Kong pioneer with world-class innovation and global ambition, it has deservedly been backed by true giants of industry and is a show of strength for the emerging tech start-ups and the growing innovation ecosystem at HKSTP and in Hong Kong.

Fuelling an energy revolution

A research and advisory firm projects that the annual global demand for lithium-ion batteries to rise from about 230 GWh in 2020 to nearly 1,700 GWh in 2030, primarily driven by increasing use in electric vehicles (EVs). Crucially it projects a threefold increase in recycling needed to help meet 2030 demand levels for lithium-ion EV batteries.

With WATMAR3 technology, lithium-ion battery manufacturers no longer have to rely on highly toxic, polluting, and expensive NMP solvent and PVdF binder in their cathode production. Instead, they can obtain a licence for the WATMAR3 technology, which uses water as an affordable, clean solvent and includes the company’s proprietary water-soluble binder. This will give battery manufacturers a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded international market.

Currently, the world’s largest producer of lithium-ion batteries is in China, which is also home to the world’s largest EV market. In a bid to ramp up sustainability in the sector, the company has recently formed a joint venture with the Chairman of a Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturing company, which holds a 35% stake versus the company stake of 65%, to spearhead the adoption of its ultra-green, water-based manufacturing technology. The new venture will build its own giga-factories and also license GRST’s patented WATMAR3 technology to other lithium-ion battery manufacturers across China.

The joint venture has already signed an agreement with Jiashan County in Zhejiang Province to build the world’s greenest lithium-ion battery giga-factory and first using WATMAR3 technology. Its first batteries to be manufactured via water-based technology are expected to roll out by late 2022.

The company and the county government of Jiashan also signed a strategic agreement on 16 June 2021, to build the world’s cleanest battery manufacturing plant, just 66km north of Shanghai, China. The factory will initially start rolling out lithium-ion batteries for electric two-wheelers, power tools, and energy storage systems (ESS) for OEM customers. Production at GRST’s factory will begin with an initial capacity of 0.5GWh within its first year. The plan is to grow to 15GWh by the end of 2028.

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