Energy Vault, the creator of renewable energy storage products that are transforming the world’s approach to utility-scale energy storage for grid resiliency, has received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), on June 2.
Energy Vault will use the funds to accelerate global deployment of its technology, which is designed to enable intermittent renewable energy generation to be stored at GW-hour scale both economically and sustainably, to deliver dispatchable power on demand. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Energy Vault’s breakthrough 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 blocks through an innovative use of local, low-cost materials and sophisticated material science. The blocks are combined with Energy Vault’s proprietary system design and machine vision, AI-enabled software to operate a specially designed crane which uses proprietary technology to autonomously orchestrate the lifting and lowering of the blocks, thus storing the potential energy at height and then discharging electricity as the blocks are lowered and generating electricity.
Importantly, the blocks are made from locally sourced soil, sand or waste materials, including outputs of fossil fuel production, such as coal combustion residuals, and end of life energy components, such as wind blades. Energy Vault's first 5MW / 35MWh commercial scale system achieved mechanical completion in July 2020, concurrent with its connection to the Swiss national utility grid. The system has since been utilized by Energy Vault customers around the world for direct application testing and ancillary services protocols.
Over the last two years, Energy Vault has worked closely with the largest utility and energy companies in the world to further optimize its energy storage technology platform to be more flexible and address both higher power and variable duration needs. The result is the EVx product platform that sets a new industry benchmark in energy storage economics.
The new platform is a natural evolution of the company’s proven technology, leveraging all current performance attributes of zero degradation in storage medium, high round-trip efficiency, long technical life, a sustainable supply chain, and composite bricks. EVx introduces a highly scalable and modular architecture that can be built out in 10MWh increments that can scale to multi-GW-hour storage capacity.
In addition, EVx offers full flexibility in terms of duration because energy and power are decoupled, allowing deployments for both high power/shorter duration needs (two to six hours) in addition to longer duration storage applications (six to 12 hours+). Importantly, the new platform is 40% lower in height and utilizes the same composite block weights that can be made from waste and remediation material for beneficial re-use, such as coal combustion residuals (coal ash), fiberglass from de-commissioned wind turbine blades and waste tailings from mining processes. The result is unprecedented economics that are significantly lower than any other energy storage technology on a levelized cost of storage basis.
Energy Vault’s energy storage system is ideal for companies in many industrial verticals that have 24/7 power needs and are making a transition to clean energy. Other regional examples include desalination plants, which require around the clock industrial power to reliably and economically deliver clean drinking water.
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