Revolutionary Australian battery company plans £100m London float

Asia's Tech News Daily

A battery storage developer spun out of the University of Sydney plans to list in London to raise more than £16m to commercialise its technology.

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Autralia-based Gelion Technologies is expected to be valued at around £120m when it floats on Aim next month, having already raised cash from investors including Regal Funds Management and Elphinstone Group.

The company’s zinc-bromide batteries use an electrolyte gel rather than having to pump through a liquid solution, cutting size and cost.

Compared to flow batteries they are said to be more robust, less wasteful and able to work at higher temperatures – making them particularly well suited for remote agricultural and mining sites where operators want to replace diesel generators with a renewable power source, such as a wind farm, and batteries to store the energy.

The company is also developing lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur batteries for electric cars and electric planes.

The market for its products is set to soar as industries around the world switch to clean power sources which only generate electricity when the sun shines or the wind blows. Batteries will be needed to smooth out this intermittent supply.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, who founded the company and invented its technology, said: “One of the market gaps I saw was safe batteries which are long-lasting, recyclable, environmentally friendly and low cost.

Video: IEA’s Birol Sees Clean Energy as Solution to Global Crisis (Bloomberg)

“Current technology has trouble hitting all of those points. The zinc-bromide chemistry can target those points but flow batteries out there were not economically competitive – too complex and expensive, although the chemistry works beautifully.

“So I re-imagined that chemistry into a gel that does all the jobs the flow system is trying to do but in a passive block of energy. That worked so well I felt I should try and commercialise it.”

Gelion has agreements with manufacturers in Australia and India and is in talks with a third company in the US. It also has memorandums of understanding worth a potential $100m (£72m), with WeGen in the Philippines and Armstrong Capital in the UK.

The business’s broker FinnCap said: “[The new battery] is an exciting and potentially transformative battery technology that is a low-cost, safe and recyclable alternative to lithium-ion and lead acid batteries.”

Andrew Grimes, chief executive, said: “Our early market is going to be focusing on areas that particularly suit these applications – off-grid and agricultural. Australia is a really great proving ground for this, but it’s not our only market.”

The company expects to make its first commercial sales in 2023. Professor Maschmeyer said: “The UK market is very open to technology, ready to embrace the energy revolution.”

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