Form Energy: Energy Storage Supported by Bill Gates

Form Energy, a long-term energy storage startup funded by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, has identified and is developing a new approach that is low-cost, safe and scalable. This long term energy storage solution would allow the implementation of a 100% renewable and carbon free network.

Form Energy’s solution

The aqueous air battery system will be the first commercial deployment of Form Energy’s patented long-term energy storage system, PR Newswire notes. This system harnesses some of the safest, cheapest, and most abundant materials on the planet and offers a clear pathway to long-lasting energy storage at low processing cost.

The project with Great River Energy will be a 1 MW grid-connected storage system capable of delivering its rated power continuously for 150 hours, well beyond the typical two to four hour runtime of lithium ion batteries deployed at utility scale today. This duration provides a fundamentally new reliability function to the grid from storage, a function that was previously only available from thermal generation resources.

Form Energy
Form Energy’s team working on a new long-term storage system (Source: Business Inisder)

A new technology

Form Energy doesn’t share many details about its technology, but according to Recharge News Form Energy’s technology uses sulfur as the main ingredient. Form Energy explained that it is an “aqueous air battery system” and that its cost is “ultra-low” compared to lithium-ion batteries. Typical lithium-ion battery storage systems offer four hours of storage. So Form Energy’s 150 hours of storage represents an exponential leap in technology.

“What we’re looking for are batteries that can use either metals or other elements that are much less expensive. An example of that would be sulfur. In fact, the irony is that fossil fuels, which we want to get rid of, are one of the big sources of sulfur,” chief scientist and co-founder of Form Energy Yet-Ming Chiang told Recharge News.

Form Energy and Great River Energy

PV Magazine reports that Form Energy’s first commercial project is a 1 MW grid-connected storage system capable of delivering its rated power continuously for 150 hours with Minnesota-based Great River Energy.

Great River Energy is a non-profit wholesale electric power cooperative that provides electricity to 28 member-owner distribution cooperatives, serving 700,000 families, farms and businesses. It is the second largest electric utility in Minnesota.

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