The Low Down On Nickel-Hydrogen Batteries

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EnerVenue raised $12M in a seed round to commercialize Nickel-Hydrogen based batteries to compete with Lithium Ion for grid scale storage. Nickel Hydrogen offers unique advantages in thermal properties along with a long history of usage in the aerospace industry.

In fact Nickel-Hydrogen based batteries have been used to power the Hubble Telescope and used on board the International Space Station.

EnerVenue is a spin out from EEnotech led by Dr. Yi Cui – a Materials Scientist at Stanford and the company Founder.

Why Does This Matter?

  • Lithium Ion batteries have been long challenged for safety concerns due to the potential issues caused by thermal runaway.
  • Lithium based chemistries have issues due to the toxicity of the materials used in the cell itself
  • Nickel-Hydrogen seems to bring low cost, established chemistry and high safety standards to a market that is begging for more ESS solutions

What’s Next?

  • While lithium ion batteries have the majority of the global market for ESS covered people are actively watching flow batteries and various chemistries to see which one could beat the cost & safety standards Lithium Ion has set so far
  • For any of these solutions to make it into the market cost will be a major deciding factor – unlike flow batteries – Nickel-Hydrogen is a chemistry that has been battle tested in harsh environments making it an ideal candidate to compete with lithium
  • The challenge for EnerVenue will be overall system cost and project financing. If lenders begin to factor for batteries as a stand alone asset as opposed to utilizing it as an accessory to a solar farm to slightly enhance yields.
  • Lifespan will become a huge differentiation in the market if lenders begin to develop and own grid scale ESS assets in regions where demand charges or resiliency is low – longer asset life provides a potential for a lower debt service to finance the batteries

Our Outlook On EnerVenue

There is never a shortage – especially the Summer of 2020 – in new battery storage ventures and chemistries coming to market that promise the world the ability to defeat Lithium Ion for all of its flaws.

EnerVenue has a strong team with a great background, but I believe the only route to success for ESS companies taking a stand as a manufacturer will come if they can pair it with wide scale financing. Utility contracts or POs will not be enough to carve out long term success from a market utilization stand point.

EnerVenue is a moonshot – but one that I believe has legs to become a true player in the global ESS market.

About The Author

Swarnav S Pujari

Swarnav S Pujari

CEO @ TouchLight | Founder of The Impact

Swarnav is the CEO of TouchLight, a utility backed energy company that develops software for nanogrids that accelerates solar payback periods by 1 – 3 years. He currently leads partnerships and product efforts within the company.

Concurrently, Swarnav founded The Impact to help provide open source tools, research and analysis to people passionate about tackling climate change. He also volunteers time with ClimateLink hosting regional meetups and was appointed the Chairman for the Town of Yorktown’s CSC Task Force, where he helps with legislation and sustainability efforts within the town.

Swarnav has a background in building physical products and has been working in the energy space for about 8 years. He also holds 2 patents and is active in the tech, energy and real estate industries.

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