Reliance New Energy in talks with Ambri to set up battery manufacturing plant

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 11, 2021

To invest $50 m in the Gates-backed firm

Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd said on Tuesday it is in talks with American energy storage company Ambri Inc for an exclusive collaboration to set up a large-scale battery manufacturing facility in India. As part of the deal, Reliance is investing $50 million in the Massachusetts-based company.

The battery manufacturing facility could add scale and further bring down costs for Reliance’s green energy initiative, a Reliance Industries statement said.

$144-million investment

Reliance New Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, along with strategic investors Paulson & Co. Inc. and Bill Gates, as also a few other investors, will invest $144 million in Ambri Inc. The Reliance arm will invest $50 million for 42.3 million shares of preferred stock in Ambri. The investment will help the company commercialise and grow its long-duration energy storage systems business globally.

Based on patented technology and designed to last 4-24 hours, Ambri’s long-duration energy storage systems will break through the cost, longevity and safety barriers associated with lithium-ion batteries used in grid-scale stationary storage applications. Ambri is designing 1MWh long-duration DC battery system, based on calcium-antimony liquid metal cell technology for 4-24 hours daily energy storage applications. This will enable a crucial energy storage solution capable of supporting the increasing amounts of renewable energy being integrated into electric power grids.

In June Mukesh Ambani had announced a ₹75,000-crore investment over the next three years into RIL’s new energy business. “We are exploring new and advanced electro-chemical technologies that can be used for such large-scale grid batteries to store the energy that we will create. We will collaborate with global leaders in battery technology to achieve the highest reliability for round-the-clock power availability through a combination of generation, storage, and grid connectivity,” Ambani had told shareholders in June, while announcing plans to build a Giga Factory in Jamnagar for the storage of intermittent energy as part of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex project.

New energy storage tech

Ambri can cater to projects that require energy storage systems from 10 MWh to over 2 GWh. “The company will manufacture calcium and antimony electrode-based cells and containerised systems that are more economical than lithium-ion batteries, capable of operating safely in any climatic condition without requiring supplemental air conditioning and meant to last for over 20 years with minimal degradation,” said a press release.

Ambri systems, it added, are particularly suited for high-usage applications, such as shifting energy from daytime solar generation to evening and morning peak load times. “The company is securing customers for large-scale projects with commercial operation in 2023 and beyond.”

Published on August 10, 2021

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