Energy Vault, creator of renewable energy storage products for utility-scale energy storage, has completed a $110 million Series B funding round. The investment for the round was made by SoftBank Vision Fund (Vision Fund) in its first investment in energy storage technology. Energy Vault will use the funds to accelerate global deployment of its technology.
Energy Vault claims that their technology enables renewables to deliver around-the-clock baseload power for less than the cost of fossil fuels. Energy Vault's ready-to-deploy solution combined with low cost solar or wind renewable generation is lower than the most economical existing, fully-amortized fossil fuel-based power plants (i.e. combined cycle natural gas). For more information see the IDTechEx report on Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage 2019-2029.
Energy Vault's technology was inspired by pumped hydro plants that rely on the power of gravity and the movement of water to store and discharge electricity. The company's solution is based on the same well-understood fundamentals of physics and mechanical engineering used in those plants, but replaces water with custom made composite bricks through an innovative use of low-cost materials and material science. The bricks, each weighing 35 metric tons, are combined with Energy Vault's proprietary system design and machine vision software to operate a newly designed crane. The software autonomously orchestrates the energy storage tower and electricity charge/discharge utilizing predictive intelligence and a unique stack of proprietary algorithms that account for a variety of factors, including energy supply and demand volatility, grid stability, weather elements and other variables. As a result, the Energy Vault tower can deliver all the benefits of a large scale pumped hydro storage system, but at a much lower levelized cost, higher roundtrip efficiency and without the requirement for specific land topography and negative environmental impacts.
- 35 ton composite bricks are lifted to create a tower; energy is stored in the elevation gain
- Bricks are then returned to the ground and the kinetic energy generate from the falling brick is turned back into electricity
- Specially engineered control software ensures the bricks are placed in exactly the right location each time
- Modular and flexible with plant capability ranges of 20-35-80 MWh storage capacity and a 4-8MW of continuous power discharge for 8-16 hours
- Ideally suited to long duration storage with very fast response times, The system may also be used to deliver short and medium-term ancillary services
Energy Vault has experienced significant growth since its launch in November 2018. In addition to an agreement with The Tata Power Company Limited, India's largest integrated power company, Energy Vault will be demonstrating the first 35MWh storage tower in the north of Italy in 2019.
"Energy Vault solves a long-standing and complex problem of how to store renewable energy at scale," said Akshay Naheta, Managing Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers. "The company's integration of proven technologies with 21st century material science and machine vision software provides a solution that reshapes the unit economics of renewable energy while being restorative to the environment. Energy Vault is highly complementary to SoftBank's existing energy portfolio and we are pleased to further the company's global development."
"As we pursue our mission to enable renewable energy to replace fossil fuels 24 hours a day, we're thrilled to partner with SoftBank Vision Fund as we expand our global presence," said Robert Piconi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Energy Vault. "The Vision Fund shares our passion to combat climate change through innovation in energy storage technologies and, with its support as a strategic partner, Energy Vault is well positioned to meet the large and currently unmet demand for sustainable and economical energy storage worldwide."
Source and top image: Energy Vault