Atraverda Ltd. is seeking to raise funds for a transition into commercial battery production as part of a plan to increase output by more than 12-fold by 2014 and meet demand for electric cars and storing power.
Atraverda, a closely held company set up to make batteries that can be used to drive motorbikes, scooters and wheelchairs, proposes to raise 10 million pounds ($16 million) from current investors and venture capital companies, said Chief Executive Officer Graham Ryan in an interview in London.
“People are moving to electric vehicles and hybrid cars,” Ryan said, with the world’s market for lead-acid batteries totaling about $8 billion. “We’re targeting three areas initially: Stationary power such as distributed energy storage and backup power; light motive; and then highway vehicles.”
Countries need to store electricity as they strive to reach renewable-energy targets by relying more on sun and wind power, which provide variable generation depending on the weather. The power storage industry may be valued at as much as $25 billion by 2020, the U.K. Institution of Mechanical Engineers says.
Atraverda plans to raise the funds by September and boost capacity at its plant in Wales by the middle of next year, with the factory producing about 150,000 batteries a year by 2014. It is completing a first order, from a U.S. solar power installer building commercial-scale projects on rooftops and some solar farms, Ryan said, without naming the company.
The installer plans to use the batteries, which Ryan says are smaller and lighter than rivals’ products as they include a patented ceramic material, for a backup power-storage system.
Atraverda is also talking to a Japanese original equipment manufacturer as the nation spurs householders to put batteries in their homes to store power after deciding to quit atomic power following the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
“They’ve turned off their nuclear power, which is 30 percent of their generating capacity, so we’re talking to a domestic supplier in the country,” Ryan said.
The contracts with both companies may start around October, with sales of about 6,000 batteries a month, using all of the company’s capacity over the next 12 months. The U.S. order may deliver as much as $14 million in revenue over three years and the Japanese deal about an annual $2 million, he said.
Atraverda is also trying to secure customers for next year when its capacity increases and is talking with a light vehicle maker in China in the hope of signing a deal in the next two months, Ryan said. It’s in discussions with a U.S.-based wheelchair manufacturer and an auto company in Asia.
Atraverda, now backed by seven venture capital firms, would “love” a strategic investor and has made some approaches, including venture arms of utilities and energy companies.
“We’ve also spoken to a number of Chinese battery businesses,” Ryan said. “It will be much easier for us to grow with some real long-term strategic backing, either from a battery company or a potential customer like a utility.”
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