Sodium battery start-up LiNa Energy names Will Tope as new CEO

LiNa Energy is pleased to announce the appointment of Will Tope as Chief Executive Officer. Tope previously served as Chief Commercial Officer and is charged with accelerating commercialisation progress. With over 14 years’ experience in the energy industry, including at senior positions in ExxonMobil, Tope has played a critical role at LiNa for the last two years securing strategic partners, pilot projects and building a pipeline of future customers.

“Since joining LiNa in November 2021 as Commercial Director, Will has demonstrated remarkable dedication and leadership, transforming our IP and technology capabilities into a compelling business. We are extremely excited to welcome Will as the new CEO of LiNa as we accelerate our revenue generation and commercialisation journey” Arvind Sabharwal, Chairman of the Board at LiNa Energy.

Emerging in 2017, LiNa has pioneered the development of their solid-state sodium battery platform which enables high performance from abundant raw materials such as salt and iron. Since demonstrating their first working battery cells in 2021, LiNa has gone on to commercialise their cells in battery energy storage system which offer distinct advantages in cost, safety, and environmental resilience.

As energy storage markets rapidly expand, industry is seeking more affordable and safer options. This is particularly pressing for the global south, where solar energy growth has been remarkable. Grids in these countries continue to rely heavily on polluting fossil fuels like coal during peak hours due to the lack of cost-effective energy storage solutions that can withstand the harsh tropical climate.

2024 marks an exciting new chapter for LiNa as it scales production and sends systems to customers, with the first unit already piloting with a strategic partner in Mumbai, India. Tope’s experience makes him the ideal leader to guide LiNa through this pivotal phase of scaling and commercialisation.

Founder and former CEO Gene Lewis remains an active part of the team, supporting as technical advisor. In this capacity he will continue to bring his extensive material science experience and knowledge to bear in LiNa’s technical programme.

“LiNa made huge technical and commercial strides through 2023. I have been fortunate to work closely with Will for over 2 years, and now is the right time to bring Will into the CEO position. Combining a highly relevant corporate experience with a burning passion to commercially drive the company forward, Will is perfectly poised to lead LiNa at this exciting phase in its growth. Go Will!” Lewis said.

Tope said: “LiNa is and always will be a tech-led organisation, it is the heart of what we do. We are now at an exciting inflection point: we have begun piloting our systems and we have an overflowing pipeline of opportunities ahead. Our focus now is on how we successfully scale our technology to have a real impact in the market and the critical path to Net Zero. I could not be more excited to be working alongside the bright brains at LiNa, who are a shining example of the true grit needed to drive deeptech success.”