Iron-air battery takes on renewable energy storage challenges

July 29, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Iron-air battery takes on renewable energy storage challenges
Energy storage technology company Form Energy has announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by multinational steel and mining company ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund.

The company, which was founded in 2017, is developing a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems designed to address the challenge of managing the variability of renewable energy - even in periods of multi-day weather events - without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability. The company says that its first commercial product 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 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion solutions.

Made from iron, one of the safest, cheapest, and most abundant minerals on Earth, this front-of-the-meter battery can be used continuously over a multi-day period, says the company, and will enable a reliable, secure, and fully renewable electric grid year-round.

“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," says Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy. "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.”

The company and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials, which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for the company’s battery systems. The company says that it intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Its first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.

ArcelorMittal's XCarb innovation fund was launched in March and seeks to invest in companies developing breakthrough technologies that will accelerate the steel industry’s transition to carbon neutral steelmaking.

Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal adds, "Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome

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