A safer, zero maintenance and lower cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries is a sought-after storage future / dream, but startup EnerVenue says it’s close to reality right now. The company is promoting a metal-hydrogen battery technology it has in development for large-scale stationary energy storage applications that can withstand literally any earthly climate. As proof they point to space. Like, outer space.
EnerVenue is a spinout of EEnotech, a materials-focused startup foundry that incubates and accelerates solutions in everything from water purification to smart wearable textiles. EnerVenue launched today with $12 million in seed funding, ready to accelerate development of its metal-hydrogen energy storage solution, which is based on technology proven to work in extreme aerospace conditions – including powering the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope.
“As an example of metal hydrogen batteries, nickel-hydrogen batteries have proven to be an incredibly powerful energy storage technology – albeit an expensive one – for the aerospace industry over the past 40 years,” said Dr. Yi Cui, a Professor of Materials Science at Stanford University, and Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Advisor, EnerVenue. “The performance and longevity of nickel-hydrogen batteries is well-established and second to none. We’re now able to deliver the same performance and durability at a breakthrough competitive price using new low-cost materials.”
The seed round is led by Dr. Peter Lee, Chairman of Towngas, a leading energy company in Asia with 158 years of history, and includes Doug Kimmelman, founder of Energy Capital Partners.
We all know the plusses and minuses of lithium-based batteries at this current moment — it could be safer, it could be cheaper, it could last longer. Alternatives are often either more expensive or require more maintenance. The EnerVenue team says its metal-hydrogen batteries can last more than 30 years, with cost-per-kilowatt-hour cycles as low as a penny.
“We expect to be able to comfortably match Li-ion battery cost curves on CAPEX (even the aggressive ones), with far better OPEX due to our lifespan and zero maintenance cost,” CEO Jorg Heinemann tells us. “That results in a substantial levelized cost advantage for system owners.”
• Durable: Operates in -40° to 140°F ambient temperatures; 30+ year lifespan; 30,000+ cycles without degradation; excellent overcharge, overdischarge, and deep-cycle capabilities.
• Safe: No fire or thermal runaway risk; no toxic materials; easy to recycle.
• Flexible: Broad charge/discharge range of C/5 to 5C; future-proof with no limitations on use cases; scalable form factor for grid-scale implementations
• Maintenance-free: No moving parts; 30+ year lifespan with no routine maintenance or augmentation.
• Affordable: Low-cost materials; CAPEX that beats lithium-ion learning curves; no ongoing maintenance costs.
• Proven: Nickel-hydrogen batteries have completed more than 200 million cell-hours in orbital spacecraft and more than 30,000 charge/discharge cycles.
Heinemann says they are targeting large commercial and utility-scale renewable + storage applications and looking to change the game in hot desert environments, wind farms and microgrids in difficult-to-reach locations.
The timeline right now is to deploy its first pilot projects in early 2021, go larger scale in 2022 with a full commercial launch beginning in 2023. It’s an exciting pitch, and we’ll keep you posted on any further milestones along the way.
— Solar Builder magazine