Form Energy is a long-duration energy storage startup that remained a secret for quite some time. The Breakthrough Energy Ventures (chaired by Bill Gates) is one of the notable funders of this startup. Form Energy wants to bring change into the world. They want to leverage the abundant materials on Earth to deploy a durable energy solution. They plan to do this by producing a new type of battery that would very much likely remove the need for any other resources, such as gas and coal. The company has recently unveiled the fundamental technology for energy storage, i.e., an aqueous air battery system.
Form Energy aims to devise an energy solution that stands out from others and provide a better, cheaper, and much safer grid that is 100% renewable. They will succeed once they have commercialized long duration, energy storage, and the system level.
However, there is a lot more that you need to know about Form Energy’s energy storage technology. Continue reading this article as we uncover how the company wants to bring the change with the aqueous air battery system in the energy storage sector.
Form Energy – The Secretive Energy Storage Startup
Form Energy founded in 2017 and has managed to raise over $50million funds. Big investment groups are backing up the company. Some of the notable investment groups extending support to Form Energy include Eni Next LLC, Prelude Ventures, MIT’s The Engine, Macquarie Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, and most importantly, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
What is the Main Idea behind Aqueous Air Battery System?
Well, we all know that coal, gas, and solar panels are not cheap. Besides, solar panels are not easy to install or maintain, plus both of these come with costs too. Therefore, Form Energy has presented a brand new idea for storing energy by using an aqueous air battery system.
The company wants to utilize the abundant sources on the planet to deploy a 1 MW grid that could deliver power for 150 hours continuously. Form Energy intends to deploy the unprecedented aqueous air battery system with the help of Minnesota-based Utility called Great River Energy before 2023.
This is definitely a huge change and advancement as the standard lithium-ion batteries are not very impressive in terms of energy storage. These batteries tend to last about 2 to 4 hours only. Form’s focus is on making a low cost and long-lasting energy storage solution.
While experts often debate about long-duration energy storage solutions, other than pumped hydro, there is not much done for commercially deploying energy solutions. Form energy wants to create a battery that is like nothing the world has ever seen. They refer to the aqueous air battery as a “bi-directional power plant” with unbelievable energy storage capacity.
What are these batteries made of?
Interestingly, Form Star has not revealed much about its aqueous battery system. In an interview, Yet-Ming Chiang, a professor of materials science, gave us vital information about the batteries. So what exactly is the chemistry behind these batteries? You might have heard about lithium-ion batteries, but do you know these batteries aren’t 100% lithium?
Nickel, Cobalt, iron, and manganese are a few extra elements added to the batteries’ chemistry to ensure they work properly. However, is there a difference in the battery Form Energy wants to use?
Note that the additional elements in the lithium battery have an extra cost. But the company wants to utilize the safest ad cheapest sources found in abundance. So what elements could they pick? The answer is sulfur and water. They believe these elements can introduce a 150-hour lasting battery. If you don’t know, sulfur is basically a byproduct of the refinery development. This element is not only abundant but also quite cheap.
The aqueous air battery system consists of lithium, which is an aqueous electorate and a combination of a porous carbon cathode. The aqueous electorates join with the lithium salts dissolved in the water. The simple definition of aqueous is “containing water,” mostly as a solvent or medium. This reminds us of Aquion’s saltwater technology.
What Change Will This Battery Bring?
Well, just imaging having a battery that can last 150 hours; it can be a game-changer for the renewable energy industry. Would you not prefer this battery over other sources that you normally use? The main attraction for the consumers is that the battery is not expensive. It will help fill the gaps in intermittent wind and solar energy production. The vision is to provide an affordable, renewable future without compromising on reliability.
Pros and Cons
Since people want to know so much about this product, everyone wants to know whether it has more advantages or disadvantages.
One of the biggest advantages of this battery is that it has the ability to last up to 150 hours. That is quite impressive, and what makes the battery even more special is the pricing. They aren’t expensive and will be available at an affordable price.
The long-duration battery will ensure the availability of power even during extreme weather conditions. The durable energy solution will provide an excellent hedge against fluctuating energy bills.
We do not have solar energy at night, and the wind does not blow throughout the day. But this viable energy solution will not cause any such trouble because of 150-hour storage capacity.
Form Energy seems pretty determined that it will produce a reliable, affordable, and renewable battery. Teamwork is highly important in their line of work since research and experiments, along with opinions, are shared. Thus, they work as a team and aim to extend the transmission capacity; however, they want to do this by not making new wires or by replacing any greenhouse fuels.
To conclude, it is fair to say that the battery does seem promising, and if it does produce what it offers, there will be a definite change in the world of energy resources.