Sila Nanotechnologies is a typical startup, according to a recent article in Forbes, until one walks through the entrance and into an industrial laboratory complete with 2-liter furnaces hooked up to gas lines, computers, and chemistry instrumentation.
The company’s intent is to perfect and then commercialize a fine black powder that they claim will “do for battery technologies what Intel did for the semiconductor and personal computing industry in the ’90s,” according to Gene Bernichevsky, co-founder and CEO. Thus far, they have venture capitalists lining up to help fund the enterprise, hoping to hit it big with batteries that can pack more juice into a given space for electric cars and cellphones. There are predictions that within a decade, the market for car batteries, alone, will be $125 billion a year. Sila also has competitors, of course, that range from other startups in the field to the biggies like Toyota, Dyson and others who hope to redesign batteries or battery components to acquire better batteries for these purposes. Sila has redesign of the lithium-ion battery underway, as well, and it is anticipating that its new black powder would replace the graphite in existing lithium-ion battery technology. The overall plan, however, is to initially produce enough “new black powder” for 2.3 million phone batteries – it’s anticipated that the immediate market need will be for better batteries that go into wearables and cellphones. Then, the idea is to use the remuneration generated from this enterprise to gain prowess in the much more lucrative car battery business. All of this sounds intriguing – and a little challenging – as, in recent weeks, there have been a number instances of electric car batteries blowing up. Good luck to Sila and other startups who are attempting to make that circumstance a distant memory!