The University of Texas at Austin's Discovery to Impact has invested $250,000 in Group1, a local startup focused on advancing Potassium-ion battery (KIB) technology. Group1's mission is to reshape the energy sector by offering an alternative to Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) through their innovative KIB technology, potentially reducing dependence on critical minerals.
This investment, the fourth from UT Austin's $10 million Seed Fund, will assist Group1 in expanding its team, scaling up production of its proprietary potassium cathode material, Kristonite™, and forming collaborations with Tier1 cell and automotive manufacturers interested in exploring lithium-alternative solutions.
Discovery to Impact, UT Austin's research commercialization arm, identified Group1 due to its commitment to translating university-owned intellectual property into practical solutions. The startup's focus on sustainable Potassium-ion batteries aligns with UT Austin's vision for viable alternatives to traditional LIBs.
Christine Dixon Thiesing, Associate Vice President of Discovery to Impact, highlighted the investment's significance in fostering research-driven entrepreneurship within the Austin technology hub.
Group1's innovation centers on Potassium-ion batteries, which sidestep critical minerals like Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, and Copper. This approach could bolster domestic manufacturing while enhancing energy security.
At the core of Group1's technology is Kristonite™, a 4V cathode material named Potassium Prussian White (KPW). This material enables faster charging, improved safety, and higher energy density compared to conventional LIBs.
Group1 has already secured $7.5 million in funding to develop their KIB technology and is engaging with key supply-chain partners and major cell manufacturers.
Alex Girau, CEO and Co-founder of Group1, emphasized the potential of their Potassium-ion battery technology to reduce mineral dependence from geopolitically unstable regions.
Notably, Group1 has strong ties to UT Austin, with key team members having affiliations with the university, including Leigang Xue, Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, who invented the core KPW technology during his time as a Postdoctoral researcher in Professor John Goodenough's lab.
Investor Kyle Bass, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Hayman Capital, praised the partnership's potential in addressing Lithium shortages and transforming the U.S. battery supply chain.
As Group1 progresses, its collaboration with UT Austin underscores the role of academia and entrepreneurship in shaping a sustainable future for energy storage.