Highlights of 2023 for Skeleton Technologies
As we approach the end of a transformative year for Skeleton, it’s time to reflect on the key accomplishments of the past 12 months.
Skeleton's CEO and Co-Founder Taavi Madiberk (right) with Dai Sakakura from Marubeni.
For Skeleton, 2023 was primarily a year of strengthening foundations. In October, we announced the completion of a €108M funding round, one of the largest in Europe's cleantech sector. We welcomed Siemens, a customer and partner in our industrialization efforts, as an investor. Additionally, CBMM from Brazil joined us. Our existing investors, including Marubeni Corporation, also participated in this investment round.
Support from Siemens and Marubeni, two major industrial giants in Europe and Asia fuels our next phase of growth and innovation. With the concluded Round E1, Skeleton's total funding now exceeds 300 million euros, ranking us among Europe's top-financed deep tech firms.
Skeleton's new COO Tobias Hüppe (left) with CTO Dr. Linus Froböse.
In November, we announced the addition of Tobias Hüppe, former Northvolt Senior Director of Manufacturing. With his extensive experience in the battery industry, he will lead Skeleton’s manufacturing expansion as the new Chief Operations Officer (COO).
Skeleton's Scientific Director Dr. Kai Vuorilehto
Expansion to Finland
In May, we announced our expansion to Finland. We established a Finnish R&D team near Aalto University to accelerate the development of our next-generation products. The team is led by the renowned battery expert and our new Scientific Director, Dr. Kai Vuorilehto.
This move included acquiring the assets of European Batteries Oy, a pioneer in the European battery industry and the first company to produce Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries in Europe. We launched pilot production in a 9400 sqm plant in Varkaus, Finland, to add new manufacturing capacity, speed up prototyping and expand our piloting capabilities.
New Applications in Hard-to-Abate Sectors
We thrive on providing energy storage solutions to sectors previously thought to be incapable of decarbonization with existing electrification technologies. In 2023, our high-power high-energy SuperBattery proved to be a transformative technology for many industries previously unserved by existing battery technologies. For example, we partnered with TECO 2030, a Norwegian cleantech company, to enhance the use of renewable hydrogen in the maritime sector. This partnership involves integrating our SuperBattery with TECO 2030’s fuel cell modules in the HyEkoTank project, demonstrating the feasibility of zero-emissions voyages and port operations.
In urban environments, where reducing emissions is a top priority, the lack of cost-efficient and safe solutions for fleet electrification has been a barrier to achieving net-zero goals. Our collaboration with Martinrea International Inc focuses on electrifying fleets, particularly refuse collection vehicles. This move is set to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and lower noise pollution in densely populated areas.
In the world of competitive racing, not typically associated with green technologies, we've partnered with Honda to demonstrate how supercapacitors can make the sport more sustainable without sacrificing excitement. Our supercapacitors are a key component in the new Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer, a demonstration vehicle showcasing IndyCar hybrid power unit technology. Our products provide braking energy recovery and enhance boost acceleration.
In 2023, Skeleton presented the results of an R&D project on a supercapacitor-based fast charging system for public transportation.
Joining Forces to Accelerate Innovation
In 2023, we proudly expanded our R&D portfolio, embracing collaboration as a cornerstone of our approach to combat climate change. This year's initiatives, marked by partnerships with top-tier universities and industry leaders, underscore our commitment to pooling diverse expertise and resources to fast-track innovation in clean and efficient technologies.
Notably, we've joined forces with institutions like the University of Cambridge and companies including Fincantieri to embark on new projects. These include the HydroCap Project, developing SuperBattery-based energy storage for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and the V-ACCESS Project, which aims to revolutionize power management in marine applications through a DC shipboard microgrid. Additionally, the CloudCap Project focuses on advancing supercapacitor management for better health monitoring, and the GreenCap Project aspires to create high-energy-density technology without relying on critical raw materials.
Active Voice in the EU
2023 was another year of actively engaging in public policy discussions at the European level. Fortunately, the year brought significant policy developments in Europe, including the new EU battery regulation, the Net Zero Industry Act, and the Critical Materials Act, all recognizing the urgency of developing and deploying clean technologies.
In January, we joined the Cleantech scale-up coalition, created by Cleantech for Europe, which represents leaders in developing, deploying, and investing in clean technologies across the EU. Its mission is to connect cleantech innovators with policy leaders. As members, we contributed to the report "A European Critical Raw Materials Strategy fit for Cleantech Competitiveness." We were among the 26 leading cleantech organizations from 13 countries that co-signed an open letter to the European Parliament, advocating for a strategic and ambitious Net Zero Industry Act.
In May, Skeleton became a European representative in the EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT), focusing on Environment & Sustainable Development. Established in 1999, the BRT helps develop trade and investment between the EU and Japan and submits recommendations to the Government of Japan, the European Commission and the European Council. Its 85 members include senior executives from major companies and business organizations, such as Airbus, Bayer, Fujitsu, and Sony. The BRT's 2023 policy recommendations were handed over to European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová in November in Brussels.
From left: Olivier Becht (French Minister for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad), Kaja Kallas (Prime Minister of Estonia) and Tiit Riisalo (Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Information Technology)
In October, we spearheaded the signing of a memorandum on cleantech collaboration between France and Estonia. This partnership focuses on sectors like battery and energy storage, electrolyzers, fuel cells, grid technologies, and decarbonized electricity generation. Both governments committed to promoting commercial and industrial collaborations, accelerating cleantech investments, and supporting education and skills development for the green transition. France's expertise in decarbonized electricity and green industry pairs well with Estonia’s dynamic cleantech start-up and scale-up ecosystem.
The vehicles are part of the help package that Skeletonians are delivering to Ukraine.
Supporting Ukraine remains a priority for Skeleton. Our employee-driven initiative regularly delivers life-saving supplies to the war-torn country. Currently, we’re organizing donations for our 11th help package. Additionally, before Christmas, we celebrated the official kickstart of the "Seeds of Bravery" project. This European Innovation Council (EIC) endeavor, initiated by the EIC board member and our CEO Taavi Madiberk, aims to support Ukrainian deep-tech startups with a €20 million fund. The project will assist 200 startups, focusing on training entrepreneurs, promoting projects, and integrating Ukrainian innovation into the European network.