Battery developer Aquion Energy will build its first full-scale manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania the company has announced.
This signals the latest step towards bringing Dr. Jay Whitacre's vision of bringing low cost electricity storage to market. What started as a research and development project at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 has grown into a company standing on the doorstep of production.
What is Dr. Witacre's vision based on? In Aquion's words the technology utilizes "an innovative hybrid energy storage chemistry." At the heart of the technology is an "electrochemical couple that combines a high capacity carbon anode with a sodium intercalation cathode capable of thousands of complete discharge cycles over extended periods of time."
Aquion claims that not only is this technology safe, reliable and affordable but when compared to the "dominant storage system for off-grid solar," its batteries have at least three times the life without the maintenance requirement.
But the batteries are not being created soley for the solar market. The technology can be applied to multiple stationary energy sources and can be used by integrated utilities, transmission operators, independent power producers and centralized and off grid renewables.
Investors have begun to fund Witacre's vision. Sparked by a $5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Advanced Technology Ventures have since invested in the burgeoning company.
This news comes just weeks after the DOE pledged $120 million to fund its fourth Energy Innovation Hub -- Batteries and Energy Storage -- which will research "cutting-edge" battery and energy storage technologies.
Commenting on his state being selected as the home of Aquion's production facility, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said, “My administration is committed to making Pennsylvania an economic leader by investing in the growth of companies like Aquion that are on the cutting edge of technology development and creating the next generation of jobs.”
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