BASF Acquiring Seattle Energy Storage Materials Maker EnerG2

[Updated 6/21/16, 10:15 a.m. See below.] EnerG2, which spun out of the University of Washington in 2003 to commercialize novel carbon materials for use in energy storage, is being acquired by an arm of German materials giant BASF.

EnerG2 has had a strategic partnership with BASF since 2014. The terms of the acquisition, announced Monday, were not disclosed.

EnerG2 was co-founded in 2003 by CEO Rick Luebbe and CTO Aaron Feaver. It raised about $30 million in venture capital over its 13-year run as a private company. Investors in the company include OVP Venture Partners, Firelake Capital, WRF Capital, Element 8 (formerly known as Northwest Energy Angels), the Frontier Angel Fund, and Yaletown Venture Partners. The company also collected significant government grants. [An earlier version of this paragraph said the total venture capital raised was about $24 million. EnerG2 provided an updated amount.]

In addition to its Seattle headquarters, EnerG2 operates a production facility in Albany, OR (pictured above), which it opened in 2012, after receiving a $21.3 million Department of Energy stimulus grant.

The company has nearly 50 employees, Luebbe said in a recent interview.

“It is the intention of BASF to continue operations of EnerG2, to grow the business and to keep the know-how and spirit of the company,” Luebbe says via email Tuesday. “No job cuts, in fact new job creation is anticipated.”

EnerG2 recently announced a spin-out company called Group14 Technologies focused specifically on using silicon in the negative electrode of lithium ion batteries. It won a $2.8 million Energy Department grant to support the work.

“Group14 is not part of BASF’s acquisition of EnerG2,” Luebbe says. “However, in conjunction with the acquisition, BASF has provided independent financing to Group14.”

BASF Venture Capital America managing director Guido Voit says the company intends to continue developing EnerG2’s materials.

“Combining the strengths of both companies unlocks the full potential of EnerG2’s engineered carbons and allows us to grow the business further,” Voit says in a news release announcing the acquisition.

Rick Luebbe

Rick Luebbe

Luebbe says the partnership with BASF “led to technological advancements and commercial success.” In joining the company, he says in a news release, “we have the opportunity to expand our operations to support customers on a global scale.”

Meanwhile, here’s Xconomy’s coverage of EnerG2 back to 2008, when the company raised a Series A financing round.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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