MUSCAT: Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the integrated sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, has joined a consortium of international investors in raising $214 million in additional financing for Group14 Technologies, a US-based global manufacturer and supplier of advanced silicon battery materials.

Washington-based Group14 Technologies is a pioneer in the manufacture of innovative lithium-silicon battery materials to replace traditional lithium-ion batteries – currently the mainstay of the global EV industry. Group14 has also attracted several leading investors in the battery materials field, including Porsche and SK Materials, among others.

With the latest funding injections, Group14 Technologies raised a total of $614 million in its Series C funding round, the company announced on Thursday.

Joining Muscat-based OIA in the consortium behind the latest additional financing were Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, Lightrock Climate Impact Fund, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Molicel, it stated.

OIA first announced that it had invested in Group14 Technologies in its quarterly newsletter published in October this year.

The wealth fund noted at the time that its investment was part of a strategy to explore opportunities in new fields while partnering with global investors and attracting investment to Oman.

Through its investment in Group14 Technologies, OIA intends to integrate Oman with the company’s global supply chain, it noted.

In line with this strategy, OIA has since added Ascend Elements, a US-based engineered materials and lithium-ion battery recycling firm, in its portfolio of climate tech sector investments.

Massachusetts-based Ascends Elements is currently constructing a mega-scale sustainable Electric Vehicle (EV) battery materials plant in the US state of Kentucky at a cost of around $1 billion. The one-of-a-kind facility will produce sustainable, engineered battery materials from recycled lithium-ion batteries to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year.

Significantly, Group14 Technologies’ Series C round has been ranked among the ten biggest financings in the climate tech sector in 2022, according to PitchBook, an independent provider of data on private capital markets. The ranking underscores the growing investor appeal of market-ready, transformational battery technologies, Group14 Technologies noted.

Group14’s first investment, a Battery Active Materials (BAM) plant in the US, is current producing 120 tonnes per annum of SSC55 – a material based on the company’s proprietary silicon-carbon battery technology.

A far-bigger commercial scale BAM is also under development with funding from the Series C round, supplemented by a $100 million grant from the US government and the US Department of Energy.

Group14 says it plans to build a network of BAM factories around the world to support the rapidly growing requirements of global battery manufacturers and automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The plants will produce commercial-scale quantities of advanced silicon battery technology that delivers higher performance than traditional lithium-ion batteries in terms of energy density and charge rates. A BAM plant will also be set up in South Korea as part of a joint venture with SK Inc.

“It comes down to shortening the path to market for OEMs so we can meet EV demand today,” said Rick Luebbe, CEO and Co-Founder of Group14.

“The market has been moving at a breakneck pace, and right now, we’re truly at a crossroads for the future of electrified mobility. This investment is a testament to the mission on which Group14 has been founded: a cleaner, more sustainable planet for generations to come.”

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