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Superdielectrics and Gelion are both looking to disrupt the market in different ways
Thursday 25 Nov 2021 Author: Tom Sieber

COP26 reinforced the move away from gas, coal and oil, while the energy crisis this year has partly been caused by the unpredictability of renewables – with less windy weather leading to a lower contribution from wind power.

The solution to the intermittent nature of renewable energy supply is energy storage, providing a reliable means of storing up energy to smooth out periods when the sun isn’t shining and/or the wind isn’t blowing.

Two companies are set to join the UK stock market in the coming weeks which are both aiming to tackle this problem from different angles.

Expected to list in early December, Superdielectrics plans to raise £20 million, and reports suggest it expects to command a market valuation in the region of £350 million.

Backed by TP ICAP (TCAP) founder Michael Spencer, it is in the process of developing supercapacitors which use an electric field instead of chemicals that feature in batteries such as lithium ion and lead acid ones currently used to store energy from renewables and to power electric vehicles.

The firm is focused on ‘superdielectric’ materials, over which it has built up considerable intellectual property, which can store up to 10,000 times more electricity than existing solutions.

Principles behind the development of the humble soft contact lens are being used in this technology and Superdielectrics CEO Jim Heathcote, who previously headed up hydrogen play ITM Power (ITM:AIM), tells Shares that ‘this is the culmination of many years of work’.

‘I’ve been looking at energy storage for 25 years and our director of research (Donald Highgate) around 50 years. Our supercapacitors have the ability to charge very quickly and discharge very quickly and they’re safe, they could be used for lots of applications.’

Heathcote says the funds being raised alongside the listing are to position the business for a potential commercial negotiation in two years’ time once the company has increased the energy density of its supercapacitors.

Coming to the UK stock market in late November is Gelion which is perhaps less revolutionary in its approach but still potentially disruptive.

The Australian outfit, founded as a spin-out from Sydney University by professor Thomas Maschmeyer in 2015, is reportedly looking to raise £16 million to commercialise its zinc-bromide batteries.

CEO Andrew Grimes describes these as ‘work horses’ in the sense they can apparently cope with higher temperatures and are tougher and more efficient than lead acid and lithium ion batteries. Unlike the latter, Gelion’s batteries are relatively easy to recycle.

They aren’t suitable for mobile applications though, with the focus instead on renewables energy storage. The company is also exposed to electric vehicles though through nano-structured additives which it says could boost the performance of lithium ion batteries.

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