Estonian-founded ultra-capacitor producer Skeleton Technologies has signed a strategic agreement with the Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan's largest conglomerates, with a view to entering the east Asian (China excepted) electric vehicle and hydrogen transportation markets.
The move will support commercial scale-up and customer acquisition for Skeleton's SuperBattery product, the company says, while Marubeni has also made an equity investment on top of the €41.3 million financing Skeleton announced last November, as part of the deal.
Masayuki Omoto, COO of Marubeni's Next Generation Business Development Division said: "Enabling carbon-neutral electrification is a key priority for the Marubeni Corporation. Skeleton Technologies fits perfectly into our portfolio, as they fill the gap for high-power, extremely long high-cycles, and efficient energy storage devices.
"The company has validated its competitive advantage in real-life applications and has shown strong commercial traction. We are delighted to back Skeleton because we see that, besides their technological advantage, they are going after scale as evidenced by their participation in the €3-billion 'European Battery Innovation' project alongside companies such as Tesla and BMW," Omoto added, according to a Skeleton press release.
Taavi Madiberk, CEO and co-founder of Skeleton Technologies, said of the deal that: "Marubeni Corporation is a major conglomerate keen on advanced technology businesses and now becomes a key strategic partner for Skeleton Technologies. Our cooperation will drive the Asian automotive market's adoption of our technology in the near future as the cost down will be much faster than for lithium-ion batteries. Our main focus is on electrified vehicles and hydrogen transportation markets because our products allow them to function more efficiently and drive their costs down."
As noted the deal will primarily be followed by a focus on Skeleton's 15-second charting capability SuperBattery product line.
The two firms also aim to cooperate on new applications for the Skeleton-patented and produced curved graphene material – which SuperBattery is made out of.
The deal covers much of east and southeast Asia, excluding China, with SuperBattery aimed at complementing lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells in products using them, which Skeleton says will lead to efficiency gains.
Founded in 2009, Skeleton is a Global Cleantech 100 company and the largest European manufacturer of ultracapacitors, which find use in energy storage in automotive, transportation, grid and industrial applications.
Most of its production is based in Germany, though electrical engineering facilties are based in Tallinn.
The company employs around 140 people, and also aims to help companies reduce CO2 emissions and save energy.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Marubeni Corporation is an international trading and investment company encompassing a diverse range of business activities across wide-ranging fields including lifestyle, ICT & real estate business, forest products, food, agri business, chemicals, energy, metals & mineral resources, power business, infrastructure project, aerospace & ship, finance & leasing business, construction, industrial machinery & mobility, and next generation business development.
Editor: Andrew Whyte