Two award-winning inventors with a mission to develop more sustainable batteries have secured £150,000 to help launch their latest product from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, managed by Mercia Fund Managers.
Amrit Chandan and Carlton Cummins of Aceleron have achieved a world first by developing a lithium battery which can be fully serviced to give it a much longer lifetime. The Circa battery has already made pilot sales for domestic energy storage and electric vehicles and gained approvals to be sold in the EU. Aceleron has also found a way to turn waste battery components into second-hand batteries.
Both Amrit and Carlton were named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list of innovators last year and Carlton was awarded the Shell Global Entrepreneurship Innovation Prize 2017. They met while working as low-carbon consultants where they became aware of the growing problem of used batteries from electric cars being sent to landfill and decided to set up Aceleron in 2016 to find a solution.
The company, which is based at Birmingham University’s Bizzinn incubator, with another site at Brunel University, has previously secured £1.2million in grants and £175,000 in angel investment and is currently negotiating a partnership with a major battery disposal firm. This latest investment will be used to complete ongoing trials and convert the pilot sales into full-scale commercial orders in preparation for a major fundraising round early next year.
Amrit, CEO of Aceleron, said: “We are very excited to partner with Mercia Fund Managers. Our aim is to unlock the benefits of sustainable battery technology for people and businesses across the world. The MEIF investment will bring us closer to achieving our goals.”
Julian Dennard, Fund Principal with Mercia, said: “Aceleron is an exciting business with the potential to disrupt the battery market. The ability to turn waste components into second-life batteries, together with its design for the world’s first serviceable lithium battery, offers the opportunity to establish an ‘energy-as-a-service’ business model. This investment will allow it to bring its first product to market.”
Grant Peggie of the British Business Bank added: “The MEIF Proof of Concept Fund and Early Stage Fund was set up to help to support innovative companies such as Aceleron to bring innovative new products to market. In the case of Aceleron, it is great to see the Midlands Engine Investment Fund supporting a potentially disruptive technology that could have a global impact.”
Pat Hanlon, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s (GBSLEP) Board Director for Access to Finance, said: “Providing MEIF funding for Aceleron will help to support the company’s product development, innovation and growth. The low carbon industry is one of the key sectors we have identified as driving economic growth across Greater Birmingham and Solihull. Investing in companies from these sectors, such as Aceleron, will help to ensure that this region continues to grow and thrive.”
CMS provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment while Brown Jacobson advised Aceleron.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.