Swedish deep tech startup Sinonus selects the first CEO to launch energy-storing carbon fiber composites

Swedish deep tech startup Sinonus selects the first CEO to launch energy-storing carbon fiber composites

Chalmers Ventures new portfolio company Sinonus, a spin-out from Chalmers technical university, has hired ex- Maurten and SKF manager Markus Zetterström as its new CEO. The company’s unique carbon fiber material can store electrical energy, enabling energy storage in existing structures for a variety of industries – from EVs to airplanes.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden  Markus Zetterström has been appointed CEO of Sinonus, a spinout from Chalmers technical university and KTH, and part of  Chalmers Ventures portfolio. At Sinonus, Markus Zetterström will be focusing on commercializing the groundbreaking technology of carbon fibers that double as battery electrodes, which the company is currently developing.

Sinonus has already demonstrated the potential of its technology by replacing AAA batteries in low-power products in its lab. The goal is to expand the technology to larger applications such as IoT devices, and eventually to drones, computers, larger vehicles, and even airplanes.

Carbon fiber is a strong and light construction material that can store energy electrochemically. Sinonus uses this multi-functionality to make true carbon fiber-based structural batteries that not only store energy but also become an integral part of the product’s structure. This patented innovation represents a significant step forward in streamlining batteries and how they can be used.

The carbon fiber technology in Sinonus originates from Oxeon, another of Chalmers Venture’s portfolio companies. The carbon fiber was used in the propeller blades for NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, chosen by the engineering team due to their ultralight weight and thinness.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Sinonus as CEO. The company’s innovative breakthrough in adding the dimension of electrical energy storage to carbon fiber has the potential to be truly transformative across a wide range of industries. I’m excited to work with the talented Sinonus team to unlock the full potential of this groundbreaking technology,” Markus Zetterström says.

For passenger aircraft to be powered by electricity, they need to be much lighter than they are today. A weight reduction is also very important for road vehicles, allowing to extend the driving range per battery charge. ​

The batteries in today’s electric cars constitute a large part of the vehicles’ weight without fulfilling any load-bearing function. EVs can weigh almost 50 percent more than regular cars due to their lithium-ion batteries, causing damage to roads, bridges, and parking garages.

A true structural battery can function as both a power source and as part of the structure, for example, in a car body. 

“Storing electrical energy in carbon fiber may perhaps not become as efficient as traditional batteries, but since our carbon fiber solution also has a structural load-bearing capability, very large gains can be made at a system level,” Zetterström explains.

The development of structural batteries at Chalmers University of Technology has proceeded through many years of research, including previous discoveries involving certain types of carbon fiber. According to a study from the same university, the introduction of carbon fiber-based structural batteries could increase the driving range for lightweight EVs by 70 percent. In addition, the lower energy density of structural batteries would make them safer than standard batteries, especially as they would also not contain any volatile substances.

”With his prior experience at Maurten and from leading strategy and transformation at SKF Group, Markus Zetterström is a valuable asset to Sinonus. His expertise will be instrumental in bringing their product from development to successful market launch. Chalmers Ventures are venture builders, meaning that in addition to funding, helping Sinonus find the perfect CEO matched our strategy perfectly,” says Pontus Ottosson, CEO at Chalmers Ventures.

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