Range anxiety remains one of the major hurdles to a wider adoption of electric vehicles, and New York-based anode developer GDI says it is gearing to “put range anxiety in the rear-view mirror.”

Silicon-based anodes are expected to revolutionise EV batteries, providing higher energy density and faster charging capability than graphite-based anodes. GDI says its patented 100% silicon anodes can increase energy density by 30% and charging time by three times.

Its technology is designed to adapt to any lithium battery architecture and is engineered for mass manufacturing that can scale. The company plans to use existing fabrication equipment to make its silicon anodes cost-efficient, and a versatile solution for different applications.

Kallanish spoke with GDI founder and chief executive Robert Anstey for an insight on the company’s roadmap to commercialisation and future plans. The executive also shared his views on recent developments affecting the anode and EV battery supply chains.


➡️ Can you tell us about GDI, its plans and its purpose?

At GDI, we believe in a future that is powered by clean, sustainable energy. Our mission is to accelerate the energy transition by developing and manufacturing, at volume, the most advanced 100% premium silicon anodes for our customers.

Anodes that can be the platform for safer, higher energy and faster charging batteries, for electric mobility, the defence industry, Medtech, construction, and the broader high-end Li-ion industry. Exactly why the world needs GDI.


➡️ How do GDI’s silicon anodes compare with those already in the market and currently under development?

At GDI, we have 16 issued patents and 38 pending across the world for a 100% conformal silicon anode that is bonded directly to copper foil. This enables the highest energy density anode (volumetrically) in the world, and significantly increases the safety, energy density and fast charging capabilities of Li-ion batteries that leverage this technology.

Leading battery manufacturers have been using silicon in the anode for over a decade, yet have been unable to achieve more than 10% silicon content in commercial cell designs. New silicon technologies are starting to enter the market, but they will be very difficult to scale, and very expensive, as most of these technologies still have many non-silicon anode components, such as graphite, conductive carbon, binders, or silicon oxide, which is only 45%  silicon and 55% oxygen.

Our 100% active silicon anode material features no binders, carbon, or inactive anode materials. We have partnered with AGC, a global leader in plasma deposition and manufacturing, and together we will be able to scale this anode to gigawatt scale. GDI will be able to produce its anode at a cost that will be attractive to multiple segments of the Li-ion battery industry. Our approach will have dramatically lower CAPEX and OPEX because it replaces the factory that makes the silicon and carbon powders used today. This is a balance sheet reduction to cell manufacturers costs, and a solid unique selling point [USP] for investors.


➡️ When does the company expect to reach commercialisation? Where does it plan to build its giga-scale manufacturing capacity?

We expect to be in defence battery cells by 2026, and some other high-performance Li-ion cell designs later that year. With AGC, and support from private investors and the European Investment Bank, GDI will achieve 100 megawatt-hour scale in 2027; 500 MWh in 2028; and giga-scale manufacturing by 2030.

Initially, this manufacturing capability will be built in Germany inside an AGC facility. However, since it is modular and self-contained in design, it can also be installed in available factory space anywhere in the world. As a key partner for cell manufacturers, GDI intends to create a network of manufacturing locations for supply chain resilience.


➡️ The company recently received a €20 million loan from the European Investment Bank. How are these funds being used? Are there any plans for further fundraising?

Along with the EIB funding, GDI is currently raising a Series B Venture capital round. The funding will be used to build out three manufacturing lines over the next four years to achieve the 500 MWh of manufacturing capacity mentioned, at the German AGC facility.

As GDI silicon anodes enter the market, more funds will be raised to scale production further as adoption and demand for GDI anodes accelerate.


➡️ GDI’s anode recently passed nail penetration testing and other milestones. What are the next development steps? When do you expect customer EV tests?

The next development step is to integrate GDI’s anode into industrial pilot production of cells, continue to increase energy density, and cycle life. The goal is a commercial cell with GDI’s anode entering the Li-ion marketplace in 2026. Our electric vehicle A-samples will be sent to several OEMs in 2025, with B-sampling beginning in 2026.


➡️ How is the alliance with AGC Glass Europe and Carl Schlenk progressing? Are the companies still on track to reach 100-MWh anode production capacity this year in Germany?

The alliance is progressing well, and the development of the advanced copper alloy foil, adhesion layer, and silicon active layer coating is yielding impressive results. However, the Silicon Alliance has slowed down its ramp-up plans because of the change in the macroeconomic environment and changes in OEM electrification targets since 2022. The significant increase in interest rates has resulted in a dramatic decline in private and corporate funding for next-generation battery companies. Venture capital investment is far below the peaks of 2022, and OEMs have slowed down and delayed their plans for full electrification of their fleets.

As a result, the current climate is no longer one of growth by any means necessary, and pragmatism is far more prevalent. GDI is targeting its silicon anode for introduction into OEM EV platforms by 2029, and thus the Silicon Alliance has recalibrated its scale up plans.


➡️ Do you believe Chinese graphite export restrictions will have an impact on the global supply of graphite for anode production? Could the policy offer a stimulus to silicon-based anodes?

If you look at China’s 2030 plans for EV build-out, they will not have enough graphite production for export regardless of an escalation in geopolitical conflict. Reviewing China’s Made in China 2025, they are ahead of schedule in the transition from a raw material provider, into a dominant force in the sales of Li-ion batteries and EVs. Rather than being a supplier of battery-grade graphite to global markets, once the vertical integration and manufacturing targets are reached, China will likely consume all the graphite it produces. By 2030, the only way to get Chinese graphite in the US or Europe is through the purchase of Chinese batteries, or electric cars. These objectives are clear from the plan, in my opinion. Smart, strategic planning is clearly delivering results for China.

This should be a huge incentive to the West to develop and scale up new silicon anode technologies as fast as they can. But is very similar to what happened in Europe with cheap Russian natural gas. When you can get graphite from China for under 10/kg and Western battery-grade synthetic graphite and next-generation silicon carbon powders are over 100/kg, no one is in a hurry to switch. By the time China is no longer exporting enough graphite for the West to make its own batteries we may be years behind scaling up substitutionary anode materials such as more expensive synthetic graphite, silicon carbon composites and silicon dominate anodes. EV companies need to realise they need to support this and pay a premium or they will not have a supply chain to compete against the wave of Chinese imports.


➡️ The US has recently approved a two-year extension to graphite sourcing from China, by deeming the mineral as currently impracticable to trace. What do you think about this decision?

To me, this is simply kicking the can down the road. I would not be surprised if the US continue to extend it, as in two years there still will not be US produced source at the scales necessary. Which then makes it impossible for US synthetic graphite companies to get the customers or investments needed to set up their factories. This feedback loop will continue until China consumes all graphite or Western silicon anode technologies reach the market to replace graphite. If Western governments do not understand this strategy – or put huge tariffs in place to protect its battery and automotive industry – they will not survive Chinese competition.