Princeton NuEnergy, a clean-tech startup spun out from Princeton University in 2019, announced May 11 it closed a seed funding round at $7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The round was led by Wistron Corp. and also included Shell Ventures, Greenland Technologies, CleanTech Open, AIBasis Fund, WorldQuant Ventures and the angel round investors.
“We are beyond excited to have the support of our investors trusting our idea and backing our mission to revolutionize the lithium-ion battery recycling industry,” Yan Chao, CEO and co-founder of PNE, said in a statement. “The capital, knowledge and network our investors bring to PNE will enable a full-scale development of the company and accelerate our production line development.”
Headquartered in Bordentown, PNE focuses on the direct recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles and consumer electronics. Its mission is to deliver an affordable, eco-friendly method of recycling these batteries.
In August 2021, the Murphy administration awarded the company, among other clean-tech startups, $75,000 in grant seed funding. Earlier this year, PNE also pitched its idea to a team of investors during Pitch Stop, a Shark Tank-like event hosted by the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce. PNE posted on its LinkedIn page that Chao’s pitch made it to the final round of the event.
In March, PNE announced a partnership with Greenland Technologies Holding Corp., headquartered in East Windsor, to create a sustainable recycling solution for the lithium-ion batteries used in Greenland’s electric industrial vehicles.
PNE said its patented low-temperature plasma-assisted separation, or LPAS, recycling process can recover up to 95% of all constituent materials found in lithium-ion batteries and can significantly reduce CO2 emission, energy consumption and water usage, bypassing landfills.
In addition to Chao, the founding team includes co-founder and Chief Technical Officer Yang Xiaofang, who has a Princeton University research background; and co-founders and technical advisors Yiguang Ju and Bruce Koel, also Princeton University researchers.