Oxford University spin-out Series A funding round led by Legal & General Capital and Barclays
- Breakthrough intelligent battery management system saves money, spares increasingly rare materials and accelerates zero emissions
- Proven technology deployed in enterprise stationary storage and residential battery applications
- Investment will fund team growth and new product development for stationary energy storage and electric vehicles following a series of successful projects
Wednesday July 20,2022. Brill Power, an Oxford University spin-out company, announced the conclusion of its Series A round raising $10.5m today to support their mission to make batteries smarter, cleaner, safer and longer-lasting as a critical element of the shift to zero emissions energy. The funding will support team growth and new product development to expand presence in both static energy storage and the automotive sectors.
The round was led by two new blue-chip investors – Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital Programme and supported by all of Brill’s existing investors including Oxford Science Enterprises, Oxford Investment Consultants and Oxford University. Shell Ventures and Climate KIC have also become shareholders.
The investor confidence is driven by Brill Power’s pioneering development of a new way to manage batteries that suffers none of the limitations of previous methods. Brill’s optimised Active Loading method increases battery life by up to 60% and allows used batteries to discharge up to 46% more energy through a proprietary combination of hardware and intelligent software.
Brill Power’s technology is a key enabler for battery systems in applications including commercial & industrial buildings, on and off grid energy storage, residential homes and electric vehicles in a market estimated to be worth $400 billion by 2030. Brill’s solutions are consistent with their new investor interests in partnering with enablers of clean energy generation, including intermittent renewables, as part of the wider shift to clean infrastructure, businesses and technologies.
Brill Power’s plans following investment round are threefold. The company will double its team size across both engineering and commercial operations, while expanding its product range for both static energy storage and for the world’s largest battery market – electric vehicles – based on successful projects completed with Aston Martin, AMTE Power and Delta Cosworth. Finally, the funding will support the next phase in the development of the company’s data platform (BrillAnalytics) to help customers monitor and predict battery safety, health and performance data remotely.
John Bromley, Managing Director, Clean Energy at Legal & General Capital said, “As we grow our climate and clean energy platform, investing in Brill Power is an exciting move into energy storage technologies that are crucial to enable an increase of renewables on the power grid, electrification of transport, and to power our homes, businesses and key infrastructure. Through extended lifetimes, improved safety, and waste reduction, Brill Power’s work is setting a new standard for how to store and use clean power to accelerate progress to our net zero emissions goals.”
James Ferrier, Head of Sustainable Impact Capital at Barclays said, “Reliable and long-lasting storage solutions for renewable energy are going to be vital for a successful and orderly transition to a low-carbon economy. Pioneering technology, such as Brill Power’s battery management system, will play an important role and we are excited to be supporting them as they scale and extend their product range.”
Dr Christoph Birkl, Brill Power’s CEO said, “Thanks to our exceptional team at Brill, we have made great strides over the past two years. We have a ground-breaking commercial product in the marketplace and a pipeline of new developments and products to address the stationary energy storage and automotive markets. Our progress and our potential has attracted an impressive cadre of both existing and new investors. We are delighted to welcome Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital on board while also enjoying the continued support of all our existing investors for the important journey ahead of us. We now have the means to act on the opportunity to offer the market a step-change in improvements for zero-emissions technologies – for the benefit of our investors, our customers and also the community we serve.”
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Editor’s Note: No Joule Left Behind – An Explainer
Every battery needs a battery management system (BMS) to ensure batteries operate safely and effectively.
Until now, BMS have fallen into two broad categories, both of which impose limitations on battery system operations. One approach – active balancing battery management systems – are inherently expensive and therefore not a scalable proposition for mass application, whereas more affordable passive balancing solutions introduce operating inefficiencies and wider safety considerations into battery control. Brill Power’s approach offers a third way that overcomes the limitations of these traditional BMS architectures.
Brill Power’s Active Loading method represents a step-change for BMS through proprietary algorithms that determine the state of health and power capability of every parallel-connected cell block in the battery with novel control circuitry to regulate the electric current accordingly. Stronger cell blocks are exposed to higher currents and weaker ones to lower currents. This ensures that every joule of energy is extracted from each individual cell during every discharge cycle. As a result, no single cell becomes the limiting factor in the energy storage capacity, power capability or lifetime of the battery system.
Brill’s proprietary Active Loading method BMS offers significant performance, cost of ownership, durability and safety benefits that are available to battery systems developers immediately, negating the need for expensive R&D into new battery chemistries.
The benefits of Brill Power’s BMS technologies include:-
- Up to 60% increase in battery lifetime
- Up to 46% more energy for used batteries
- BMS provides fully regulated output voltage, removing the requirement for costly DC/DC converters or charge controllers
- BMS allows for battery maintenance and augmentation without shutdown
- The BMS is future-proof for new battery chemistries and 2nd life batteries
- The BMS provides a cloud-based analytics platform for remote system analysis and optimisation
About Brill Power
Brill Power’s mission is to harness the potential in novel battery management systems to improve the performance and reduce the costs of ownership of stationary & motive power batteries as an enabling and sustainable technology for society. The company has been founded on world-class research pioneered at the University of Oxford and has closed a Series A round led by led by Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital.
About Legal & General
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.4 trillion in total assets under management* of which a third is international. We also provide powerful asset origination capabilities. Together, these underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions: we are a leading international player in pension risk transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone.
*at 31 Dec 2021
About Legal & General Capital
Legal & General Capital (LGC) is Legal & General Group’s alternative asset platform, creating assets for Legal & General Retirement and third-party clients in order to achieve improved risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders.
LGC has built its market leading capabilities in a range of alternative assets, delivering depth of resource, track record and intellectual property. Investing in the real economy and creating alternative assets that deliver a tangible societal impact, its purpose is to invest society’s capital for society’s benefit. LGC’s investments have been vertically integrated and include: residential property; specialist commercial real estate; clean energy; alternative credit; and venture capital.
As LGC’s capability to create alternative assets continues to grow, it will not only continue to grow its balance sheet alternative assets but also create alternative assets for third party investors. Many of these investors have the same aims, namely to create assets to back pensions with an improved yield or to create assets with strong growth prospects but with low correlation to equities.
L&G has invested around £30bn in levelling-up regional economies, including through major regeneration schemes in Cardiff, Newcastle and Salford. Legal & General recently made a commitment to enable all new homes across its portfolio to operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2030, including Legal & General Modular Homes, CALA Group, Legal & General Affordable Homes, Build to Rent and Later Living.
About Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital Programme
As part of the firm’s broader commitments, Barclays will invest £175m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, innovative, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement. Investments will be strategic to Barclays, its clients and the communities it serves, with clear scalable propositions that deliver both environmental benefits and economic returns. To find out more, click here
For Brill Power: Liam Clogger at Whistle Ignite
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For Barclays: Holly Brown, Group Media Relations
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