A renewable energy subsidiary of Indian energy and telecom giant Reliance Industries is joining some big names to invest a combined $144 million in a U.S. energy storage startup with strong ties to India.
Reliance New Energy Solar will join Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investors Paulson & Co. to capitalize Massachusetts-based Ambri Inc. The investment will help Ambri commercialize and scale up its long-duration (4 to 24 hours) energy storage systems.
Reliance New Energy Solar’s portion will be $50 million to acquire 42.3 million shares of preferred stock in Ambri.
The startup’s liquid metal battery system is seen as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries typically used in grid-scale stationary storage applications. Reliance Industries 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.
“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,” Ambani said in a statement. “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.”
The company will manufacture calcium and antimony electrode-based cells and containerized systems that it says are more economical and safer than lithium-ion batteries. Ambri’s systems will be designed for high-use, daily cycling to balance daytime solar generation and morning and evening peak load times, according to the company.