KOCH INVESTS: Accelerating Battery Material Production with 6K

May 17, 2022

min read

Koch Strategic Platforms is leading a $102 million Series D investment round in 6K, a Massachusetts-based leading producer of engineered materials for lithium-ion batteries and additive manufacturing from its UniMelt® plasma technology.

This round will fund production expansion for premium 3D metal powders in its 6K Additive division and accelerate the deployment of cathode production plants in its 6K Energy division.

WHY IT MATTERS: Lithium-ion batteries are likely to play an increasingly larger role in society in the coming years, fueled not only by growth in the electric vehicle market but also supporting critical telecommunications and energy infrastructure.

  • “6K is the only company capable of battery material production at costs lower than Asia, while also reducing impact on the environment by 70%-90%. Disruptive approaches such as this are the only viable way to repatriate this industry,” says 6K CEO Aaron Bent. “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."

6K UniMelt Technology

HOW IT WORKS: 6K’s UniMelt system aims to revolutionize the production of materials for lithium-ion batteries, replacing a three-day, multistep, high waste chemical co-precipitation (hydro-met) process with a cleaner and quicker process (sometimes as fast as 2 seconds), powered by a 6000K microwave plasma. The process is already in place at high volume 24/7 at 6K Additive’s 45-acre, ISO9001-certified facility.

  • 6K uses half the footprint, offers substantially lower capital expenditures and half the conversion costs (or less) of existing top technologies.

BY THE NUMBERS: Implementing a 6K solution for nickel-rich layered oxide LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2 (known as NMC811) across the 400 GWh of announced capacity by 2025 has the potential to save billions of dollars and eliminate solid and liquid hazardous waste while reducing water usage by 90% and energy usage up to 70%.

WHY KOCH INVESTED: 6K Energy’s UniMelt technology “delivers a competitive, production process built on U.S. soil,” says Jeremy Bezdek, managing director for Koch Strategic Platforms. "They have created a transformative battery material production and recycling ecosystem, delivering a versatile technology capable of full-scale production with various chemistries. This innovation will help realize advancements in energy transformation and the battery value chain."

THE BIG PICTURE: KSP’s investment in 6K is the latest in a series of activity in the energy transformation space and across the battery value chain, including solid-state battery solutions with Blue Current as well as investments in Li-Cycle, Aspen Aerogels, Eos and Standard Lithium.

GO DEEPER: Read the whole announcement here, and check out coverage from Bloomberg.