Wednesday 17th September 2014                 Change text size:

Bill Gates-backed renewables storage battery begins production



Photo: Department for International Development/Russell Watkins via flickr

A start-up company in the US has said that it may be able to address one of the biggest problems facing renewable energy, as it begins the next steps in the production of its low-cost storage battery.

Aquion is backed by a number of investors, including philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. The firm has taken over a disused factory near Pittsburgh, where Sony TVs were once made, to begin the rollout of its product.

An investment of $55m from venture capitalists will be used to bump up production of the battery to full speed early this year.

Invented by Jay Whitacre of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the Aquion battery costs the same as a lead-acid battery, but lasts twice as long, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Ray Lane, partner emeritus at Kleiner Perkins, the first firm to invest in Aquion, said, “We are expecting Aquion Energys commercial launch in 2014 to be disruptive to the world of stationary energy storage.

It is a testimony to Aquions team and innovative technology that it has been able to attract these high-quality investors.  The company is well positioned for impressive growth in the burgeoning global market for energy storage. 

Critics of renewable energy often cite that in periods with little or no sunlight or wind, energy production halts. If successfully implemented, storage batteries will be a major step forward for the industry, providing a means to store excess energy generated through periods of optimum production.

Further reading:

Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla among investors in US cleantech firm

Cleantech venture investment at $6.8bn in 2013, led by energy efficiency

Bill Gates joins investors in renewable energy storage firm

Global cleantech industry worth $170bn after growing 18% in 12 months


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