Our lives today run on batteries. We work on laptops, app on our smartphones, drive electric vehicles and, who knows, we may well be zooming off to our holiday destinations in electric planes in the future. The greater the battery capacity, the greater the number of options. That’s why LeydenJar’s entrepreneurs are developing the battery of the future. They store 70% more energy and charge faster, without being bigger in size. Less charging, endless possibilities. Tim Aanhane, Business Developer at LeydenJar, shed light on this incredible new technology.
A better battery
A glance at LeydenJar’s website reflects a world of anodes, wattage and chemical processes. Behind the scenes, LeydenJar’s brain power focuses on developing technology that tends to boggle the mind. How does Tim explain what he does at birthday parties? Tim: “As everyone knows, batteries have two poles: a positive (+) and a negative (-). The negative pole is the limiting factor at the moment. At LeydenJar, our daily mission is to develop a better negative pole, also known as an anode. Made of silicon instead of graphite. Thanks to this material, a battery of the same volume and weight can already store 70% more energy. Our objective is for battery builders worldwide to be using our technology in the near future.”
Today’s LeydenJar actually began as a “failed experiment” to create more flexible solar panels. Just before the project was abandoned, the technology that had been developed turned out to be far from useless. What didn’t work for solar panels appeared to be a good starting point for silicon anodes, at least according to proactive inventor Wim Soppe. Tim: “Co-founders Christian Rood and Gabriël de Scheemaker then started working with the technology in Leiden, and LeydenJar was born. Interesting snippet: the company’s name is derived from the Leidse Fles, the predecessor of the battery that also originated in Leiden. The name LeydenJar serves as an ode to its predecessor.”
Support from DOEN Participaties
Like Christian and Gabriel, DOEN Participaties – DOEN Foundation’s investment company – believed in the battery of the future from the start and began investing in it thanks to the people who play the Postcode Loterij, as far back as in 2018. Christian Rood, co-founder of LeydenJar, picks up from Tim: “DOEN Participaties’ early support for high-tech start-ups like LeydenJar is invaluable for developing innovative, sustainable technologies. Since LeydenJar’s establishment, we’ve been able to count on DOEN Foundation as a partner, and its support has helped us to refine our technology in the challenging start-up phase.”
In dialogue with Tesla
Essentially, LeydenJar produces anode foil. A grey-coloured foil that comes in rolls 40 cm wide and dozens of metres long, ultimately intended for use by multinationals like Tesla, Apple and other tech giants. Tim: “We’re in dialogue with battery builders and big brands. Whereas it’s the builders who will soon be implementing our technology, it’s the consumer electronics and car manufacturers who share the desire for better batteries and are stimulating the development of new battery technology. In the meantime, LeydenJar is focusing on product development. This includes manufacturing batteries. Tim: “To attract the first customers, we need to develop a battery that shows what our product, the anode foil, does.”
The factory of the future
Worldwide, more than 3.5 billion smartphones and close to 8 million electric cars are in use. LeydenJar’s ambitions extend as far as its production capacity. “In this business, quantity prevails,” says Tim. LeydenJar recently announced the founding of Plant One: the first commercial production facility in the Netherlands. Tim: “This should provide enough material for around 5 million smartphone batteries. And that’s a huge number for us. It also includes battery material for 5,000 electric cars, a relatively small number by contrast. In that sense, we already have to think three steps ahead.” With Plant One in the pipeline, Tim’s already thinking about Plant Two. “Plant One will attract the big customers and Plant Two will serve the masses!”
Taking off like a drone
LeydenJar’s dreams are as big as its production capacity, which is why drones will come before aircraft. An interesting and, above all, manageable market.
Tim: “This year, we’ll be focusing on drones, industrial drones to be precise. They deliver packages or take care of transporting blood, for example. A better battery makes a big difference here.” Following Plant One, when Plant Two is also up and running, LeydenJar will be ready to conquer the world. Tim: “After drones, we’ll be setting our sights on consumer electronics. Think headphones, laptops and, of course, smartphones. The automotive industry will follow in around four years’ time.”
Tim has confidence in the future: “The potential market is huge and it’s only getting bigger. We’ve got a great story to tell and, above all, we offer unique technology. Batteries equipped with our silicon anodes provide such enormous added value that after scaling up, we expect to become the preferred supplier for battery production. Our venture will attract people and opens doors, I’m convinced!”
LeydenJar continues to grow and progress rapidly. In 2022, following a new round of investment, the company will again attract no less than €22 million. And DOEN Participaties will again be among the company’s investors.