Startup Sunday: Alkaline battery tech eyed for large-scale storage

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In this installment of Startup Sunday, we view three companies making potentially disruptive innovation in energy storage, electric vehicles, and solar energy.

AA battery tech aims for scale 

Urban Electric Power (UEP) moved closer to scaling-up as it recently passed a critical heat and fire test for its zinc-manganese dioxide batteries.

UEP’s residential energy storage system.
Image: Urban Electric Power

The battery chemistry takes advantage of already established supply chains, which have serviced smaller-scale batteries (like AA) for years. Alkaline batteries win praise for their safety, having little to no risk of thermal runway, unlike lithium-ion batteries.

UEP said the modular batteries have personal, residential, commercial, and even utility-scale applications. The company said it aims to operate below $50/kWh in the near future, and ultimately below $20/kWh.

EnerVenue secures $100 million 

EnerVenue storage unit.
Image: EnerVenue

EnerVenue is charging up its nickel-hydrogen battery tech business, securing $100 million in Series A funding.

Launched in 2020, the startup said its batteries could become a go-to workhorse for most large-scale solar and wind operations. For now, the company is focusing on use cases that place a premium on capabilities like microgrids or large renewables projects in remote locations.

EnerVenue said its batteries can operate from -40 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius, claim a lifespan of 30+ years, can cycle 30,000 times without degradation, have a 2-12 hour duration, and an 80-90% efficiency rate.

EnerVenue said its cost reduction roadmap charts a course to achieve per kilowatt-hour cycling at $0.01.

EV group transit

San Francisco startup Glydways raised $40 million for its small, autonomous electric vehicle for public use. A Glydways vehicle is 10 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and can carry up to four passengers each.

Concept image of the Glydways transit alternative.
Image: Glydways

The cars would glide along a five-foot-wide dedicated concrete lane separated from (and potentially even elevated above) city streets. Glydways said the track could be lined with solar panels to produce enough power for the whole system.

The company is one of 23 that submitted proposals to the City of San Jose for a transit system that would link places like Cupertino and the San Jose international airport.

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