Koch Strategic Platforms Invests $30 Million in Manufacturing Facilities; Ben Eiref Joins as CEO from Amazon Web Services
HAYWARD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blue Current today announced that it has named a new CEO, Ben Eiref, former Worldwide Head of Automotive Solutions at Amazon Web Services (AWS). Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP) has invested $30 million to accelerate commercialization of the company’s technology and build its first megawatt-scale factory in California.
Solid-state batteries are expected to be the energy storage foundation for the new energy economy that includes electric vehicles, grid storage, and consumer electronics. In 2016, Blue Current imagined the possibility of combining the mechanical elasticity and adhesive capabilities of polymers with the ionic conductivity of glass ceramics to maximize safety, temperature, performance, and scalability. In 2018 the company used this approach to create a fully dry solid-state battery with a high silicon content anode to increase energy density. The company refers to this combination of properties together as a “silicon elastic composite” battery.
“Customers want completely safe batteries with a big boost in capacity and performance,” said Ben Eiref, Blue Current CEO. “Through independent validation, we have demonstrated that our silicon elastic composite solid-state cells are resistant to fire and provide high energy density and long cycle life. Now we’re focused on scaling the technology and furthering innovations that improve system-level energy density. This is a critical enabler for our customers to build lighter and more space efficient electric vehicles and consumer electronics.”
The Company is in early-stage testing with automotive customers and will expand to consumer electronics and other market segments. In Hayward, California, Blue Current is utilizing a 22,000-square-foot production-ready facility with state-of-the-art wet and dry labs, battery cycling and high-bay logistics space.
“Solid-state battery technology will play a pivotal role in global energy transformation,” said Jeremy Bezdek, managing director for KSP. “Our extensive diligence indicated that Blue Current has an advantaged intellectual property position that has the potential to be disruptive in the solid-state battery space.” Koch Strategic Platforms is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest private companies in the United States with over 120,000 employees globally. KSP has invested over $1.2 billion in energy transformation since 2021.
“We’re excited to have Ben join us at Blue Current as CEO. He brings to the company deep industry insight and the discipline to translate successful R&D and prototypes into winning products at scale,” stated Blue Current’s cofounders Nitash Balsara, PhD, the Charles W. Tobias Professor of Electrochemistry in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD, the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University.
Ben Eiref has decades of experience building new businesses in the electric vehicle and technology industries. At AWS, Eiref started the company’s cloud solution business supporting autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. Prior to AWS, he led U.S. strategy and business development for electric powertrain technology at NIO, overseeing innovation and partnerships with top automakers. He was previously a member of the engineering team that built the original prototype of the General Motors EV1 electric car.
About Blue Current
Blue Current strives to provide the safest and highest performance solid-state battery storage for the new energy economy including electric vehicles, grid storage and consumer electronics. Blue Current leads with science, data and thoughtful IP across the full solid-state battery stack. The Company is based in Hayward, California. www.BlueCurrent.com @Solid_Battery