Form Energy’s Rust-Powered Batteries

Concept: Form Energy’s batteries are designed to store renewable energy using iron, one of the most common elements on earth. The batteries discharge energy from pellets of iron as they “rust” or oxidize in oxygen from the air. The reverse chemical process, effectively “de-rusting”, then uses electric current to recharge the battery.

Duration: These batteries can store energy for extended periods, potentially hundreds of hours. This long-duration storage capability is crucial for ensuring a consistent energy supply, especially during periods when renewable sources like solar or wind are not generating power.
Cost: The batteries are expected to be cost-effective. Form Energy’s COO, Ted Wiley, mentioned that in full production, the modules would be one-tenth the cost of any technology available today for grid energy storage.
Environmental Impact: Using iron as the primary material avoids the environmental concerns associated with mining lithium, which is commonly used in other battery technologies.

Current Projects:
A pilot facility in Minnesota is being developed to store enough energy to power about 400 homes for several days.
Another facility in Georgia could be ten times larger than the Minnesota project.

Development Stage: Form Energy is rapidly advancing its technology. They have announced two projects, with more on the horizon. They are actively signing contracts for delivery starting in a couple of years and will soon announce their manufacturing location.

Support: Both Form Energy and another company, Malta, Inc., which is working on an energy storage technology based on molten salt, are funded by Breakthrough Energy Ventures. This venture capital firm’s investors include notable figures like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.