Millions of dollars are being ploughed into advancing the development of primarily longer duration energy storage technologies.
In the last few days three companies, FlexGen Power Systems, Malta and Energy Vault, have reported new venture investments.
FlexGen, a North Carolina based developer of integrated storage solutions, has announced a $150 million equity commitment led by asset management company Apollo Global Management.
FlexGen’s secret sauce is a proprietary energy management software platform, which has been widely deployed in more than 1.2GWh of utility-scale and microgrid projects in the US and elsewhere in the world. The new funding is intended to accelerate the company’s growth and capabilities going forward.
Malta, a Massachusetts based developing molten salt storage technology, has announced that its oversubscribed Series B funding exceeded $60 million with the joining of Chevron Technology Ventures and VC firm Piva Capital alongside Breakthrough Energy Ventures and others.
Malta’s system, which was spun out of Alphabet’s Moonshot factory X, is intended to provide cost-effective long-duration storage, i.e. 6+ hours, with up to 200 hours of energy. In addition to dispatchable renewable energy, the technology can generate heat for industrial and district heating applications.
In July Malta entered into a partnership with Siemens Energy to develop heat pump and heat engine components to support a utility-scale 100MW pumped heat storage system for 10-200 hours of storage and further scaling to GW power range.
In addition, the company plans to develop its first 100MW long-duration storage project in the 2024-2025 timeframe and asserts a pipeline of projects in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
Energy Vault, the Swiss, US-based developer of gravity storage, has announced a $100 million Series C funding round led by start-up funder Prime Movers Lab and including Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and other existing investors.
The investment is intended to support the rollout of its technology, a crane-like structure from which composite blocks are suspended, starting in the US in Q4 of 2021 and then into Europe, the Middle East and Australia in 2022.
In a partnership with Enel Green Power, Energy Vault is recycling used wind turbine blades alongside other materials into its 35t composite blocks.
Storage VC investment
Mercom Capital Group, which monitors funding and M&As in the energy sector, reported a massive $4.4 billion in venture capital funding in battery storage companies in the first half of 2021, with 106 investors in 33 deals. This compares with $536 million in 14 deals in the same period of 2020.
A major contributor was the $2.75 billion raised by Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt to expand its manufacturing capacity. Thus, whether this level of funding is sustained remains to be seen. However, clearly there is a significant appetite for investment in storage in its different forms as an increasingly important integral component in the electricity grid.