On Wednesday, Boston-area advanced materials startup 6K, which makes sustainable materials for energy storage and additive manufacturing powders, announced that it has successfully raised a $51 million Series C venture round. The round was led by Volta Energy Technologies, the venture capital fund spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, along with new investors Catalus Capital and S Cap/Prithvi Ventures, and existing investors Anzu Partners, Launch Capital, Material Impact, and RKS Ventures.
6K–so named for the operating temperature of its flagship platform, UniMelt® (which also happens to be the surface temperature of the sun) says it will use the new capital to complete its state-of-the-art Battery Development Center of Excellence, expand its energy team, triple production capacity for 3D metal powders, increase its portfolio of powder product offerings, and grow global sales.
“This round of capital is a validation of 6K’s model to replace wasteful legacy production technologies with the UniMelt® platform, enter scaled production, meet customer needs, move toward profitability, and transform industries,” said 6K CEO Aaron Bent. “We are joined by world-class investors who are aligned with our vision to transform the way performance materials are produced. And in doing so, we are teaming to solve critical needs of the US and the planet, addressing climate change, supply chain security, and reducing the demand on our fragile and limited resources.”
6K’s mission to provide solutions for global decarbonization in the production of performance materials, which are critical to manufacturing and production infrastructure. The company’s core product, UniMelt, is said to rapidly and efficiently make products, such as battery materials for electric vehicles, semiconductor materials, 3D printing powders, phosphors, advanced ceramics, and electronic materials,
According to the company, if a legacy battery cathode production plant was replaced with 6K’s UniMelt platform, 100 percent of solid waste and wastewater would be eliminated, energy usage and greenhouse gas generation would be reduced by up to 70 percent, and water usage would be decreased by 90 percent.
6K also says that, in response to market demand, it plans to invest in identifying and developing of performance and electronic materials that can be produced cost-effectively and sustainably using the UniMelt plasma production system. 6K has established an advanced R&D team for the development of performance materials including those for applications ranging from semiconductors to electronic packaging to bio-ceramics to name just a few.
“Our investment strategy focuses on technologies that bring a positive impact to the environment and contribute to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy on the grid,” said Zander Arkin, Volta’s Chief Investment Officer, who will join 6K’s Board. “Not only does 6K and its UniMelt platform align perfectly to our investment strategy, but the company is well poised to impact advanced material manufacturing for electric vehicle batteries with a solution that changes the dynamic of sustainability in the supply chain for battery materials.”
Earlier this month, 6K announced an exclusive joint development agreement with Heritage Battery Recycling to produce new cathode material from recycled batteries. The process will combine Heritage’s network infrastructure to collect, store, and process end-of-life batteries with 6K’s plasma technology to manufacture critical cathode-grade battery materials needed to power applications with high-purity requirements.