Ex-Tesla engineer to establish battery materials manufacturing in Moses Lake, Washington – pv magazine USA
Sila plans to supply a silicon-based anode to power up to 500,000+ electric vehicles per year.
Sila, a next-generation battery materials company specializing in advanced silicon anode materials, aims to provide energy storage as we move closer to electrifying everything. The company started in 2011 as a Georgia Tech start-up, then in 2014 Sila moved to headquarters in Alameda, California, where it began to evolve its hardware. In 2019, after depositing its 100and patent, Sila enters into a partnership with Daimler. Fast forward to today, and Sila announced the purchase of a 600,000 square foot hydroelectric facility in Moses Lake, Washington, where the company will manufacture lithium-ion anode materials at the volumes and quality automobiles.
Sila reports that it is making its initial investment with the intention of supplying enough silicon-based anode each year to power 10 GWh of cells when used as a full graphite replacement, or up to 50 GWh of cells. when used as a partial replacement. Or enough hardware to power the batteries of 100,000 to 500,000 high-end electric vehicles and 500 million cell phones a year.
Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO, is a Tesla veteran. He was the seventh employee of Tesla Motors where he served as Principal Engineer on the Roadster Battery, leading the development of the world’s first mass-produced automotive lithium-ion battery system.
“Our new facility in Washington State builds on this momentum by providing the manufacturing capacity needed to meet the needs of our automotive partners on their way to an all-electric future. Since our inception, we have strived to meet automotive quality and scale standards to ensure longer range, faster charging times and lower battery cost. With this scale, we have a centerpiece to realize the full potential of next-generation materials at the volumes required to have global impact,” Berdichevsky said.
The Sila team has industrialized and brought to market next-generation lithium-ion chemistry with higher energy density. Sila will produce the same materials at the Moses Lake plant to power electric vehicles, cell phones and other consumer electronics. For example, Sila materials power the WHOOP 4.0 fitness tracker.
The plan calls for production lines at the facility to start in the second half of 2024, with full production start-up underway in the first half of 2025. The Moses Lake facility can be expanded 15 times to achieve production volumes of up to power 150 GWh of cells when used as a full graphite replacement or 750 GWh as a partial replacement, enough to power 2-10 million electric vehicles per year.
“Our energy independence and economic prosperity are tied to our ability to develop and manufacture new clean energy technologies here on American soil. I am proud that Washington State has been a leader on this issue and even prouder that innovative companies like Sila come here to advance these clean energy solutions. Washington is thrilled that Sila is investing here and we welcome the transformative impact building clean energy can have on our world and our state,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Moses Lake is also home to the shuttered REC Silicon plant, now owned by Hanwha, which has expressed plans to reopen the facility. BMW, in partnership with SGL Group, is the world’s largest producer of carbon fiber used in the manufacture of electric vehicles, and is also manufactured at a plant in Moses Lake.
Sila’s major investors include 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Coatue, Mercedes-Benz, In-Q-Tel, Matrix Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
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