ESS Inc., a manufacturer of long-duration energy storage systems, has secured $30 million in a Series C investment round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and SoftBank Group’s SB Energy. The new funding will be used to expand and automate the manufacturing process of ESS Inc.’s second-generation iron flow battery technology.
The new module design is incorporated into the company’s Energy Warehouse (EW) containerized storage product and introduces its utility-scale product platform, the Energy Center (EC). The company, which is now shipping to customers on four continents, is leveraging the capital efficiency of its advanced technology to enable a ramp-up to 1 GWh per year production capacity at its Wilsonville, Oregon facility.
“There is tremendous need for low-maintenance storage technology that can extend the availability of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “Remarkably, ESS Inc. uses low-cost, safe and effective materials – iron and water – to deliver a long-duration storage solution in several applications, even high-temperature climates where there is significant need for off-grid energy. We’re excited about the near-term opportunity for at-scale deployments of the ESS technology.”
The funding group includes new investors Evergy Ventures and leading Southeast Asia-based chemical company PTT Global Chemical (GC), joining earlier backers who also invested in this round: BASF Venture Capital, Cycle Capital Management, Presidio Partners Investment Management, IPM Group, and Pangaea Ventures.
“Cost-effective long-duration energy storage is becoming a reality, and is needed to improve grid resiliency and enable the high renewables power system of the future,” said Rich Hossfeld, Senior Vice President, SB Energy. “As a global leader in renewable energy, we are very interested in long-duration energy storage technologies and see great potential to deploy ESS Inc.’s iron flow battery technology. This investment reflects our belief that ESS Inc.’s technology will be a clean, safe and low cost storage solution that can be deployed at scale to complement renewable energy resources.”
What’s cool about iron flow?
ESS Inc.’s iron flow battery technology is a safe (no hazardous chemicals) and sustainable (fully recyclable) storage solution that is ideally suited for time-shifting renewable energy, managing a facility’s demand charges, providing ancillary grid services with unlimited cycling, and smoothing the intermittency of renewables on a constrained grid. The EC is a “battery-in-a-building” platform based on the same second-generation module used in the EW, with a design-build approach that enables systems to be tailored to meet virtually any project size with storage durations ranging up to 10 hours. These wide-ranging capabilities make the EC suitable to support large-scale renewable energy projects, as well as transmission- and distribution-level services, without cycling limits.
To support all ESS Inc. deployments, the company has partnered with Munich Re to implement an industry-first insurance-backed warranty on its flow batteries. This investment-grade warranty coverage enables ESS Inc.’s long-duration storage solutions to be more readily financed by project owners and developers.
— Solar Builder magazine