“All Polymer Battery” Startup APB Closes ¥8 Billion Financing

March 16, 2020 by Paul Shepard

APB Corporation (APB), a pioneer in development of next-generation lithium-ion batteries called "All Polymer Battery," has raised about ¥8 billion (approx. US$80 million) from a group of investors including JFE Chemical Corporation, JXTG Innovation Partners Godo Kaisha (a corporate venture capital of JXTG Holdings, Inc.), Keio Innovation Initiative, Nagase & Co., Ltd., Obayashi Corporation, Teijin Limited, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation (in alphabetical order).

APB is a startup developing and manufacturing the first large scale bipolar lithium-ion battery modules  called All Polymer Battery, it measures 550 x 400 x 50 mm (pictured above), which was co-developed by Hideaki Horie, current CEO of APB, and Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd. (Sanyo Chemical).

"To realize high-quality batteries, we have developed a bipolar structure where current flows across the cell interfaces perpendicular to the electrode plane, and polymer as a basic material. The electrode material of All Polymer Battery is wrapped with gel-like polymer containing an electrolytic solution, which is realized by surface activity control technology of Sanyo Chemical," commented Hideaki Horie.

"Through the adoption of such technologies, our All Polymer Battery is characterized by such features as high reliability, high energy density, and innovative manufacturing processes at the same time. With fewer parts needed thanks to bipolar structure and polymer-based constituent material, All Polymer Battery has high flexibility in size and shape of the cells, which will help us to create thicker electrodes and larger cells.

Inner structure, bipolarly connects 40 battery cells in series

"The raised funds will mainly be used for building a new mass-production plant of All Polymer Battery. The funding will also help us establish mass-production technology, and start manufacturing and sales of the batteries. By welcoming a new group of leading companies in each field as investors, we will accelerate our expansion and growth.

"Traditionally, people have thought that current collectors should be made from metal, in order to minimize internal resistance of the batteries. We have developed a bipolar structure where current flows across the cell interfaces perpendicular to the electrode plane, and polymer as basic material for the first time in the world. With the strong support of existing and new investors, we will implement the manufacturing process of All Polymer Battery in our new plant and put into effect this technology in our society," concluded Hideaki Horie, founder and CEO of APB.

"The importance of batteries and energy storage system is continuing to grow, as they will meet the various needs such as private power generation, storage, electricity liberalization, renewable energy, the upgrade of power infrastructure with IoT technology, and disaster response. All Polymer Battery, which is characterized by no fire, even when it is fully charged and damaged by drilling or cutting, high flexibility in size and shape, and low-cost manufacturing, will improve our life and contribute to creating sustainable society," said Takao Ando, President and CEO of Sanyo Chemical, one of the largest investors of APB.

"As a shareholder of APB, Sanyo Chemical will support commercialization of All Polymer Battery, together with existing and new business partners. After the merger with Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. scheduled on October 2020, we will continue to devote our management resources to the All Polymer Battery business and support APB," Ando concluded.