August 15 (Renewables Now) - Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (TYO:9984), through its SoftBank Vision Fund, has invested USD 110 million (EUR 98.7m) in energy storage company Energy Vault in a move marking its foray into the global energy storage market.
The Series B funding was announced on Thursday by Energy Vault, which said the funds will support the rapid global deployment of its technology. According to the statement, the Switzerland-based company currently has agreements with customers on four continents.
Set up in November 2018, Energy Vault is an IdeaLab-founded portfolio company that has developed a pumped hydro-inspired system enabling renewables to deliver baseload power below the cost of fossil fuels 24 hours a day. The firm’s technology relies on low-cost, custom-made concrete bricks rather than water. These bricks are being lifted by a crane to create a tower and in the elevation gain energy is being stored. Then, the bricks are returned to the ground, turning the kinetic energy from the fall into electricity. The company says this technology enables renewables to deliver baseload power for less than the cost of fossil fuels 24 hours a day.
The size of the ownership SoftBank will get in return for its investment was not announced. As part of the deal, Andreas Hansson, Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join the Energy Vault’s board of directors.
“The Vision Fund shares our passion to combat climate change through innovation in energy storage technologies and, with its support as a strategic partner, Energy Vault is well-positioned to meet the large and currently unmet demand for sustainable and economical energy storage worldwide,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and co-founder of Energy Vault.
Energy Vault is currently building a tower for India’s Tata Power that will have a peak power capacity of 4 MW and will be capable of storing 35 MWh. It also has a technology collaboration and development agreement with Mexican cement producer Cemex SAB de CV (BMV:CEMEXCPO), whose corporate venture capital arm in May became an investor in the company.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.897)