Battery innovator Wildcat Discovery Technologies has raised $90 million in a Series D funding round led by Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP), a subsidiary of Koch Industries (yes, that Koch Industries). Eastman Kodak (yes, that Kodak) also participated in the round.
Wildcat will use the new funds to further develop and commercialize a “Super Cell,” which it envisions as “a transformational battery cell combining three Wildcat proprietary technologies currently in development, including a cobalt- and nickel-free high-energy cathode, a composite solid-state electrolyte and a lithium metal anode.”
The goal is to have the Super Cell ready for commercialization in two years.
“The next generation of EV batteries requires innovation, resources, and unique capabilities that we are delivering with an impressive consortium of leading investors and partners,” said Mark Gresser, CEO at Wildcat. “Eastman Kodak brings industry-leading technical and scale-up expertise to the consortium. Coupled with Wildcat’s unique high-throughput research capabilities, we have all the ingredients necessary to bring these breakthrough products to market quickly.”
Eastman Kodak is involved with Wildcat on several levels—it has taken a minority stake in the battery developer, and is also providing coating and engineering services, which take advantage of technology Kodak has already developed for the making of film.
In a recent interview with WXXI News, Kodak CEO Jim Continenza explained why it makes sense for a film company to get involved in making EV batteries. His company has repurposed a machine that had been used for coating film to produce battery materials.
‘‘Probably a $70-million or $80-million machine, and we were selling it extremely cheap, [less than] $2 million,” said Continenza. “And it’s like, ‘no we’ve got to put this back to work. This is an incredible piece of equipment.’ And we realized, accidentally, George Eastman made a battery company, he just didn’t know it. It’s identical to making film and coating on batteries.”
Continenza said that Kodak is also considering using its coating and chemical expertise to work with other companies on battery technology. “It’s not just EV batteries, there’s home storage and there’s different technologies, we’re looking at doing some solid-state stuff for others. We’re also doing hydrogen, hydrocell. We know how to manufacture these things.”