In what has become the summer of battery storage, a new chemistry has entered the fray, with battery startup EnerVenue launching today with $12 million in seed funding.
The company is betting on the success of metal hydrogen batteries, specifically nickel-hydrogen batteries. This chemistry has proven to be an incredibly powerful energy storage technology for the aerospace industry for quite some time, but was always held back from greater commercial success due to its high price.
According to Dr. Yi Cui, chief technology advisor with EnerVenue, the company has been able to achieve commercialization via “a breakthrough competitive price using new low-cost materials.” The company was able to do this by working with EEnotech, a startup that incubates and accelerates nanotechnology-driven solutions to, among other things, grid-scale energy storage.
That’s the key with the company: entering the storage market specifically with metal-hydrogen batteries developed for large-scale renewable and storage applications.
Unlike lithium-ion, the company claims that metal-hydrogen batteries excel operating in conditions of extreme heat and extreme cold. Specifically, the solution operates optimally from -40° to 140°F ambient temperatures. Because of this, the battery comes with no risk of fire or thermal runaway and also includes no toxic materials, making it recyclable, a huge tip in its favor, as recycling of materials is only going to grow in importance as the renewable energy industry grows and evolves.
EnerVenue claims that the company’s batteries have a more than 30-year lifespan, can go through more than 30,000 cycles without experiencing degradation and offer exceptional overcharge, overdischarge, and deep-cycle capabilities.
The company also claims cost-per-kilowatt-hour as low as a penny, as well as capital expenditure costs that beat lithium-ion. The company stresses its use of low-cost materials.
EnerVenue is looking to develop large-scale renewable-plus storage applications, whether they be for utilities or big commercial applications. To prove the ability of its batteries to excel in all climates, the company is specifically focused on hot desert environments, and wind farms and microgrids in difficult-to-reach locations.
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