Batteries

Published on November 7th, 2014 | by James Ayre

14

New Battery Startup, Alevo, Has Raised $1 Billion In Private Funding, Looking To Blow Up US Energy Storage Industry

November 7th, 2014 by  

A new battery startup based out of Martigny, Switzerland — the Alevo Group — has, reportedly, raised over $1 billion in funding from anonymous Swiss investors, and is now aiming to “revolutionize” the US energy storage industry/market.

The company has created a new battery that lasts notably longer than the current industry standard, according to the company, as well as being considerably cheaper to manufacture.

Alevo Group Gridbank

The company’s plan is to sell the batteries as grid-scale energy storage devices. The battery has been in development for about a decade, in secret, according to those involved.

“We’ve been very stealth,” stated Jostein Eikeland, a Norwegian entrepreneur backing the company. “We didn’t know if we were going to succeed.”

The Alevo Group is currently aiming to begin manufacturing the batteries in 2015, at a large ex-cigarette-plant near Charlotte, North Carolina. The company’s expectation is that it will employ around 2,500 people within three years of opening.

Interestingly, the battery — developed by Alessandro Volta — will be produced without any state funding or incentives, but financed entirely through anonymous investors. Hmmm.

One billion dollars is a significant amount of money for a cleantech startup. Given the company’s plan of going straight into full production, and skipping the pilot project phase, the funding is, I suppose, necessary. But it certainly remains to be seen if the strategy will be a successful one.

The advantage of such an approach is obviously that economies of scale will be in play from the start — potentially allowing for “low-costs” from the start of production.

The company is aiming to produce and deliver roughly 200 MW worth of batteries in 2015.


 

Here’s a bit of an explanation of the company’s technology, via Reuters:

The company has created what it calls GridBanks, which are shipping containers full of thousands of battery cells. Each container can deliver 2 MW of power, enough to power up to 1,300 homes for an hour.

The batteries use lithium iron phosphate and graphite as active materials and an inorganic electrolyte — what Eikeland called the company’s “secret sauce” — that extends longevity and reduces the risk of burning. They can be charged and discharged over 40,000 times, the company said.

If everything is as the company claims, this is a very significant development.

Something sounds perhaps too good to be true though, doesn’t it?

We’ll find out soon enough though. Along with the construction of Tesla’s Gigafactory and a bunch of grid storage pilot projects, this development means that 2015 should make for an interesting year in the battery industry.

Image Credit: Alevo Group


Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • moneydown

    How is the battery charged? From the present day technology?

  • Jouni Valkonen

    40 000 cycle life is not that surprising. Even standard lithium ion batteries do not have observable degradation if discharge cycles are shallow enough, something around 60%.

    However for your standard battery bullshit, this one has quite considerable financing.

    • The cited battery life is based on full practical charge/discharge cycling. I think the hydrogen-free electrolyte has a huge effect on this.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Interesting that the first plant isn’t in Europe.

    • jim c

      Yeah you think Germany could really use this.

  • Atticus

    “… the battery — developed by Alessandro Volta ..”
    You’re kidding, right? Might want to read that press release again.

    • OnionMan77

      Good catch of poor transcription:
      Company name derives from name of the inventor of first battery.
      Ale(ssandro) Vo(lta) ==> Alevo

  • Kevin McKinney

    Yes. And there’s Imergy, too–I’m really watching to see how rapidly the adoption of their vanadium flow batteries proceeds.

    • jeffhre

      “Something sounds perhaps too good to be true though, doesn’t it?”

      LOL, ya think?

      Hope it works though 🙂

    • It is NOT a vanadium redox battery. It is an improved lithium ion battery. There are quite a few mistakes in there. The modules are sized for 2 MW, containing one MW-hour of energy. In fact the batteries are capable of much more than 2 MW of output, but are limited by the size of the AC/DC converters.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “Imergy Power Systems specializes in a proprietary, vanadium based flow battery system ”

        http://www.imergy.com/technology

        The article talks about Alevo’s lithium iron phosphate batteries. Kevin expands the discussion.

        • Kevin McKinney

          Thank you, Bob. Just so.

  • joshua

    “blow up” – word choice

    • Joseph Dubeau

      I don’t think we want any ” batteries as grid-scale energy storage devices” to blow up.

      That would not be good. 😉

Back to Top ↑