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Startup Unveils Frugal Iron-Based Energy Storage

Form Energy, a startup developing energy storage solutions, said on Thursday that it had developed an iron-air battery chemistry that could help incorporate more renewable energy into the power grid.

Form Energy unveiled today its first commercial product. It is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than one-tenth the cost of the lithium-ion battery chemistry, the company said.

The basic metal for its design – iron – is one of the safest, cheapest, and most abundant minerals on Earth.

Form Energy’s front-of-the-meter iron-air battery can be used continuously over a multi-day period and is expected to enable a reliable, secure, and fully renewable electric grid year-round, the Boston-based startup says.

“We conducted a broad review of available technologies and have reinvented the iron-air battery to optimize it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid,” Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said in a statement.

“With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages,” Jaramillo added.

Form Energy is working with ArcelorMittal on the development of iron materials which the steel giant would non-exclusively supply for the battery systems.

The startup plans to source the iron for its product domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range, it said.

Form Energy’s product could be one of the innovations that could spur greater development of battery storage solutions, without which the rise of renewables and their integration in the power grid wouldn’t be possible.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a new goal to support the increased rollout of more wind and solar power in the grid by reducing the cost of grid-scale, long-duration energy storage by 90 percent within the decade.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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