Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries (RIL), along with strategic investors Paulson & Co. Inc. and Bill Gates and a few other investors, have made an investment of US$144 million in Ambri Inc, an energy storage company based in Massachusetts, US.
The investment, which is being done by RIL’s wholly owned subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar (RNESL), will help Ambri commercialise and grow its long-duration energy storage systems business globally. RNESL will invest US$50 million to acquire 42.3 million shares of preferred stock in Ambri.
Paulson & Co. Inc., founded in 1994, is a private investment management firm headquartered in New York. The firm invests in public and private market securities across different sectors and industries.
Ambri Inc. has developed and is commercialising a new, long-duration battery technology that will enable widespread use of renewable energy sources, reduce electricity costs, and enable power systems to operate more reliably and efficiently. The liquid metal battery project began at MIT in the lab of Professor Donald Sadoway, and the company was formed in 2010 when the project achieved significant technical breakthroughs.
Prior to this capital raise, Ambri’s investors included Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, KLP Enterprises, Total SE and Building Insurance Bern (GVB).
Based on patented technology and designed to last between 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. They will enable a crucial energy storage solution capable of supporting the increasing amounts of renewable energy being integrated into electric power grids.
RNESL and Ambri are also in discussions for an exclusive collaboration to set up a largescale battery manufacturing facility in India, which could add scale and further bring down costs for Reliance’s green energy initiative.
Addressing shareholders in June this year, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced 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.
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.
Ambri systems 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.
RIL is the largest private sector corporation in India. Its activities span hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail and digital services.