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Samsung Venture, Hyundai invest in solid-state battery producer

[NEW YORK] Solid Power Inc, a Colorado-based maker of solid-state battery cells for cars and aircraft, arranged US$20 million in financing to complete a manufacturing facility.

Investors in the Series A funding round include Sanoh Industrial Co, Samsung Venture Investment Corp and the venture capital units of Hyundai Motor Co and Solvay SA, according to a statement Monday. It comes about nine months after Solid Power announced a deal with BMW AG to develop solid-state batteries for electric vehicles.

Solid Power is positioning its technology as a competitor to the lithium-ion batteries that have dominated the energy-storage industry. Advocates say alternative battery technologies may be safer and can pack more energy - key for electric-vehicle range - than lithium ion, but suppliers have struggled to transition from small-scale demonstrations to high-volume production.

Solid Power expects to complete construction this year and it will be fully operational in 2019. The site will be able to produce batteries with about 10 megawatt-hours of capacity a year. That's big enough for potential customers to validate the company's technology, according to Doug Campbell, Solid Power's chief executive officer.

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"It's certainly well beyond lab state, which is historically where solid-state has been," he said in an interview.

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