Calcium-antimony liquid metal battery to be commercialised by US company

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From pv magazine USA

Ambri Inc., an MIT-spinoff long-duration battery energy storage system developer, secured US$144 million (AU$195 million) in funding to advance calcium-antimony liquid metal battery chemistry.

The investment round was led by Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd, a unit of Reliance Industries Limited; Paulson & Co. Inc., a group that includes Ambri’s largest shareholder, Bill Gates; and new investors, including Fortistar, Goehring & Rozencwajg Associates, Japan Energy Fund, and others.

The company plans to use proceeds to commercialise and grow its long-duration system technology and to build manufacturing facilities, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Ambri also entered into a long-term antimony supply agreement with Perpetua Resources.  The agreement helps secure a domestic source of antimony for its supply chain.

Chemistry

The liquid metal battery is comprised of a liquid calcium alloy anode, a molten salt electrolyte, and a cathode comprised of solid particles of antimony, enabling the use of low-cost materials and a low number of steps in the cell assembly process.

The company said that the active materials in its cells reversibly alloy and de-alloy while charging and discharging. The electrolyte is thermodynamically stable with the electrodes, avoiding side reactions such as film-formation that can lead to performance degradation. The negative electrode is fully consumed when discharged, and reformed on every cycle, resulting in what the company said is a “highly repeatable process with no memory effect.”

Ambri’s chemistry is being developed to meet the demands of large industrial energy customers, such as data centres. Late last year, Ambri agreed with TerraScale, a clean infrastructure design and development firm, to deliver  250 MWh of Ambri systems to TerraScale’s Energos Reno data center project. The site’s battery will be bolstered by a reported 500 MW of on-site renewable generation.

Ambri said that following the funding round it now is able to scale for projects from 10 MWh to over 2 GWh around the globe, with durations ranging from 4 to 24 hours.

Author: Tim Sylvia 

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