The investment, led by Koch Strategic Platforms, is expected to reach a total of more than $150 million and is aimed at building a low cost, sustainable domestic supply chain for battery materials
May 12, 2022
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—A $102 million Series D funding investment led by Koch Strategic Platforms will help 6K, Inc. build a low cost, sustainable domestic supply chain for battery materials. According to a release from 6K, the investment will speed deployment of cathode production plants in 6K’s Energy division and will fund expanded production of 3D metal powders in 6K’s Additive division.
The investment comes at an opportune time for 6K. The company’s CEO, Aaron Bent, Ph.D., expects lithium-ion battery markets to increase 10-fold over the next decade, fueled by growth in EVs and supporting critical infrastructure for telecom back-up, data centers, and power plants.
“The fact that there is no lithium-ion battery material production on U.S. soil is a concern for both national security and for the industries that are relying on these critical materials,” Bent said in the release. “6K is the only company capable of battery material production at costs lower than Asia, while also reducing impact on the environment by 70 percent to 90 percent. Disruptive approaches such as this are the only viable way to repatriate this industry.”
6K is the developer of UniMelt®, a proprietary, advanced microwave plasma production system that uses an environmentally benign process to produce engineered materials for lithium-ion batteries and additive manufacturing. According to 6K, UniMelt replaces a three-day, multi-step, high waste chemical co-precipitation process ((hydro-met) with one that is ultra-clean and ultra-fast—as short as 2 seconds. Powered by a 6000K microwave plasma, the UniMelt systems are deployed in 24/7, high-volume production at 6K Additive’s ISO 9001 certified facility.
Jeremy Bezdek, managing director for Koch Strategic Platforms, said that UniMelt is an innovation that will “help realize advancements in energy transformation and the battery value chain.”
“We have been following 6K Energy’s progress since inception, and have found that 6K’s UniMelt plasma technology delivers a competitive production process built on U.S. soil,” Bezdek said in the release. “They have created a transformative battery material production and recycling eco-system, delivering a versatile technology capable of full-scale production with various chemistries.”
The funding round was led by Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP), a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group, an investment arm of Koch Industries. It also included participation by investors Energy Impact Partners, Albemarle, and HG Ventures, as well as participation by 6K’s existing investors, 6K said in the release.
“The investment from Koch Strategic Platforms not only brings the capital required to fuel our growth, but equally important, they bring unparalleled commitment and reach within the battery value chain,” Bent said in the release.
The $102 million raised is the first of two funding tranches for Series D, which is expected to reach $150 million in total, according to 6K. The company said it will add a limited group of strategic investors.
6K is working with partners throughout the supply chain to build “an end-to-end solution.” The company said it is scheduled to open its $30 million Battery Center of Excellence in August. It is also working through the site selection process for its first 10-20 GWh cathode plant, with a goal of launching production in 2024, the company said.