Estonia: #InvestEU: Graphene ultracapacitors get powered by EUR 15m financing from EIB
10 February 2017
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 15 million ‘quasi equity’ financing with Skeleton Technologies, Europe’s leading producer of ultracapacitors and ultracapacitor based energy storage solutions built with graphene-type materials. The EIB loan is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of theInvestment Plan for Europe.
The EFSI-backed financing will allow the company to finance the R&D for the further development of its products and systems. Skeleton Technologies had previously raised EUR 26,7 million of capital investments and the EIB ‘quasi equity’ financing brings the total financing to EUR 41,7 million. The financing will allow Skeleton Technologies to better serve its customer base, which includes German automotive manufacturers, leading global engineering companies and the European Space Agency.
EIB’s Vice President Jan Vapaavuori commented: “The EIB financing will provide Skeleton a powerful financial boost to accelerate production, R&D and commercial development with a view to deploy its graphene-based ultracapacitors not only across the European continent, but also globally. It will allow the company to fully exploit its leading scientific knowledge in the field, gain critical mass and become significant in a market with huge potential. Given Skeleton’s cutting-edge technology and the eco-friendliness of its products, it’s only logical that EIB supports such European innovators.”
Skeleton Technologies’ CEO, Taavi Madiberk, said: “This EIB loan is an important milestone for the company, not only providing more financial power to achieve our goals, but also serving as a sign of trust for our customers and partners. The loan will enable us to focus our efforts on bringing energy savings from our technology to transportation and power grids, where reducing CO2 emissions will have the largest impact both financially and environmentally. The Investment Plan for Europe was the perfect way for us to finance pan-European activities and we plan to significantly increase our headcount and expand activities in Estonia and Germany.”
The company plans to invest heavily in manufacturing and R&D to increase its competitive advantage on a component level. This will allow Skeleton Technologies to become a full energy storage systems provider, providing customers with an end-to-end hybrid energy solution. The company will also launch an electrode mass production facility near Dresden, Germany. This will create employment locally, in line with the objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe, under which this loan will be guaranteed by the European Commission
Vice-President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip said: “Today's agreement will allow Skeleton to cement its position as a world-leader in its field. We want to see innovative companies start-up, scale-up and flourish here in Europe, That's why I am delighted that Skeleton can avail of the support of the EFSI as it takes its exciting next steps."
Estonian Minister of Finance Sven Sester who witnessed the signing of the loan agreement highlighted: “Both Estonian and European economic growth has to be based on private sector investments. The decision by Estonian tech company Skeleton Technologies to invest into high-tech production and the loan issued by European Investment Bank and guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments, is a meaningful example of cooperation for economic growth,“ stated The Estonian Minister of Finance Sven Sester. „Estonian government has set a separate target for growing the volume of investments. We do this by using our own means but also cooperate with European institutions.”
Ultracapacitors are an emerging technology used for fast energy storage. Capable of rapid charging in a matter of seconds and able to provide over 1 million charge/discharge cycles, they offer benefits in industries where reliable, instant power is a necessity. This is in contrast to more traditional batteries which are used for slow energy storage due to much longer charging times and lower life cycles. Skeleton Technologies’ patented graphene based ultracapacitors provide four times higher power density and up to two times higher energy density than its closest competitors, resulting in more efficient energy systems for customers.
The EIB and the Estonian Ministry of Finance have signed the second tranche – worth EUR 400 million – of the co-financing facility for Estonia to support investments in research and innovation, sustainable transport infrastructure, and promoting the development of SMEs. This loan from the Bank will help Estonia in the successful absorption of the EU structural funds over 2014 – 2020, the first EUR 200 million tranche of the facility was signed in December 2014.
The EIB is providing inRiver AB, a Swedish developer of cloud computing based product information management software (PIM), with EUR 8 million in financing to boost the company’s competitiveness in a fast growing market. The transaction comes under the European Growth Finance Facility which benefits from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a EUR 20 million loan to high-tech engineering company Manz AG. The funds are being made available for the company’s research and development (R&D) in the area of sustainable and cost-efficient power generation. The financial support is being made accessible through a new financial instrument that takes into account the specific requirements of midcap companies in the field of R&D financing. This is a joint initiative by the EIB and the European Commission.