Form Energy has announced it is ready to commercialise a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems, using iron-air batteries.
The active ingredients of the system are among the safest, cheapest and most abundant minerals on earth— iron, water and air. The basic principle of operation is reversible rusting, a concept that was developed in the 1970s by Westinghouse for electric vehicle propulsion.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said, “We conducted a broad review of available technologies and have reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid.”
Each individual battery is about the size of a washing machine and batteries can be grouped together to meet the local needs for energy.
For scale, in its least dense configuration, a one-megawatt system requires about an acre of land— higher density configurations can achieve >3MW/acre.
The firm’s rechargeable iron-air battery is capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 10% the cost of lithium-ion.
The front-of-the-meter battery can be used continuously over a multi-day period and will enable a reliable, secure, and fully renewable electric grid even during times of extreme weather, grid outages or periods of low renewable generation.
The first installation, a pilot project with Great River Energy in Cambridge, Minnesota, is due to go online in 2023, with wider deployment the following year.
Series D financing of $200 million was led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb™ innovation fund.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials, which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems.
Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited.
Jaramillo said, “This is an extremely exciting time at Form Energy, and we are pleased to welcome ArcelorMittal as a business partner and investor. ArcelorMittal is a world-leading steel and mining company, and this investment demonstrates their commitment to innovation and deep decarbonisation. We appreciate their confidence in our team and in our technology as we work to reshape the global electric system to enable a clean energy future.”