US LFP gigafactory firms ONE and Kontrolmatik progress first sites and reveal expansion plans


Our Next Energy has raised US$300 million for its LFP cell gigafactory in Michigan while Turkish firm Kontrolmatik has started building its plant in South Carolina.

Our Next Energy, or ONE, said the US$300 million Series B brings its post-money valuation to US$1.2 billion. The company is building an LFP cell factory in the town of Van Buren, on the edge of Detroit, for which exterior construction was completed last year and an opening is scheduled for 2024.

In concurrent and related news, Turkish company Kontrolmatik is holding a groundbreaking ceremony today (2 February) for its LFP cell manufacturing facility in South Carolina. The facility will begin production in mid-2024 with an initial annual production capacity of 3GWh, 50% higher than when the firm first announced its US plans.

The company has now gone even further, saying that it will increase annual production to 6GWh and has secured the land to do so. Kontrolmatik will invest a total of US$300 million in the new gigafactory, which will primarily serve the stationary energy storage system (ESS) market. The project is being launched through its subsidiary Pomega Energy Storage Technologies, which is also launching its Turkey production sites.

Real estate services firm JLL assisted Kontrolmatik with site selection, and recently told that some companies which previously looked at Europe for projects have now pivoted to the US in light of the tax credit incentives of the Inflation Reduction Act.

ONE’s site is planned to be comparatively bigger. Its gigafactory will have a production capacity of 20GWh by the end of 2027, and the firm has struck offtake deals with 10 companies totalling 36GWh until then. It is focused on the EV market and is requiring around US$1.6 billion in investment.

The company’s Series B was led by venture capital (VC) firm Fifth Wall and asset manager Franklin Templeton, with participation from private equity firms Temasek, Riverstone Holdings and Coatue, and VC Firms AI Capital Partners and Sente Ventures.

The capital increase also saw participation from existing investors from ONE’s 2021 Series A: Bill Gates-owned Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Assembly Ventures and BMW i Ventures, Singaporean-domiciled multinational diversified manufacturing company Flex and storage focused investor Volta Energy Technologies.

The company said that the Series B “marks a fundraising transition from venture to growth equity investors”, alluding to a sector-wide trend noted by research firm Mercom in its recent report on financing for energy storage in 2022.

Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO & Founder of ONE said: “We are transitioning from a startup funded by venture capital to a manufacturer fueled by growth capital. That’s important in this environment where urgent demand for U.S. based cell manufacturing is on the rise, supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, in a true public-private partnership.”

ONE added that it is preparing for phase two factory investments ahead of plan.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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