Gaussion, a UCL spinout behind a new technology that allows ultrafast and safe battery charging - essential for the rapidly growing electrical vehicle sector - has raised £2.85 million in a seed investment round.
The MagLib technology can unlock truly rapid charging on existing commercially available lithium-ion batteries, reducing the time taken to just ten minutes. Shortening battery charging times is important not only for the fast-moving electric vehicle (EV) market but also for phones, power tools, drones and other applications, however repeated fast charging has been proven to damage batteries. Gaussion is set to offer the first cost-effective technological solution to this which prevents the irreversible damage associated with rapid charging.
The patent-pending technology was first conceived by Dr Thomas Heenan and Dr Chun Tan (both UCL Chemical Engineering) back in 2017 at the UCL Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL), and inspired by the team’s earlier work using particle accelerators to analyse energy materials. Since then, the UCL engineers have taken commercial cells designed to charge in one to five hours and demonstrated over a thousand cycles of consecutive 10-minute charging while still meeting all warranty specifications, creating a technology that is primed to disrupt the global EV market.
Dr Chun Tan, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Gaussion, said: "We’ve built a world-leading team that is now working to commercialise this innovation as rapidly as possible. We will leverage this investment to establish a state-of-the-art research and development facility in central London, to allow future growth and innovation."
Professor Paul Shearing, co-Director of the Electrochemical Innovation Lab at UCL and co-founder of Gaussion, added: "New chemistries, materials and other solutions are continually being proposed, resulting in an everchanging global battery landscape. So, agnostic technical solutions such as this are hugely important to futureproof potential market changes".
High market demand for rapid charging is being driven by the need to provide over £100 billion of charging infrastructure by 2035 in Europe alone. With looming Net Zero targets, it is an area of strategic importance for governments and vehicle manufacturers alike.
UCL’s commercialisation company, UCL Business (UCLB) provided initial support to file a patent for Gaussion’s technology. The concepts were then tested for commercial viability through a Faraday Institution Entrepreneurial Fellowship with funds that supported scale-up validation across various applications.
The founders later won the Autocar Drivers of Change award and the Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies Prize in the Energy category, which provided funding that catalysed the formal spin-out of Gaussion in early 2022 to commercialise the technology. The Innovate UK EDGE team in UCL Innovation & Enterprise supported the spin-out process though company valuation, competitor due diligence, IP landscaping and grant applications.
Dennis Atkinson, investor at BGF, the £2.5b investment company, said: "We are extremely excited by the opportunity to invest in a business that has developed an impressive and elegant solution to one of the most pressing issues in the EV battery space. Gaussion is a fantastic example of a highly innovative tech business that has the potential to significantly improve the take up of EVs on a global scale."
Gaussion has also received investment from the UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) which is dedicated to helping UCL academics achieve the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact.
David Grimm, Investment Director at UCLTF said: "Gaussion has the potential to be a truly disruptive global company that pushes the world to a more mobile and sustainable future. We have been highly impressed with the progresses the team have achieved in a short space of time and look forward to supporting them alongside BGF."