|EnerVenue announces non-lithium battery gigafactory in Kentucky|
With generous incentives from Shelby County and the state of Kentucky, EnerVenue plans to invest in a one-million square-foot facility to produce metal-hydrogen batteries.
March 28, 2023 Anne Fischer
A rack of EnerVenue nickel-hydrogen Energy Storage Vessels.
EnerVenue, a nickel-hydrogen battery development company, announced that it will open a one million square foot gigafactory on a 73-acre site in Shelby County, Kentucky, where it will design, manufacture and test its nickel-hydrogen Energy Storage Vessels.
The first phase of the project will provide 450 full-time jobs and is aiming for 1 GWh of annual production. EnerVenue says it expects to invest in excess of $1 billion to expand to more than 20 GWh per year across its domestic manufacturing sites in subsequent phases. The company currently has manufacturing facilities in Fremont, Calif.
“Locating EnerVenue’s gigafactory in Kentucky is a win for the commonwealth,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “Our leadership has prioritized bringing high-quality jobs to the region and this is yet another example of those efforts paying dividends.”
Shelby County offered EnerVenue a generous 25-year incentive package that includes property and wage tax rebates totaling $20 million. The state of Kentucky also offered EnerVenue more than $10.3 million in tax incentives for the first phase of the company’s ramp up. The tax rebates are intended to support growth in the county and incentivize future development as the gigafactory expands and adds additional jobs.
“As customer interest in EnerVenue’s storage technology soars, we’re excited to significantly scale battery production with our new state-of-the-art gigafactory in Shelby County,” said Jorg Heinemann, chief executive officer of EnerVenue. “Following a nationwide vetting process, Kentucky emerged as the ideal fit to build our new facility. The state and county governments were committed to bringing manufacturing and clean energy jobs to the region, and we look forward to working with them as we build out operations.”
EnerVenue, established in 2020, uses a nickel-hydrogen technology originally developed for aerospace applications. In 2017, Stanford researchers redesigned the nickel-hydogen vessel, moving it toward commercialization by improving performance and reducing cost. EnerVenue claims costs per kilowatt-hour for its nickel-hydrogen batteries as low as one penny, and capital expenditure costs are better than lithium-ion battery cells. The company raised $125 million in a December 2021 Series A equity offering from Schlumberger, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and Stanford University, and advised by Barclays. The funding round follows an earlier $12 million seed round that year.
What further sets nickel-hydrogen apart from lithium-ion is that the EnerVenue batteries excel in extreme heat and extreme cold. The company said its batteries operate best in ambient temperatures from -40 F to 140 F. The battery purportedly comes with no risk of fire or thermal runaway and includes no toxic materials, so it is also recyclable.
The company claims that its batteries have a more than 30-year lifespan, can go through more than 30,000 cycles without experiencing degradation and offer exceptional overcharge, over-discharge, and deep-cycle capabilities. In October 2022 the company announced Capacity Assurance, which offers a 20-year/20,000-cycle warranty extension at no less than 88% capacity. While the batteries are designed to last 30 years, EnerVenue says that the extended warranty covers a project while it’s in its most critical payback phase and is offered with no hidden exclusions and simple operating terms.
EnerVenue reports that it has more than 7 GWh of customer commitments, including from Pine Gate Renewables, Nicon Industries’ Green Energy Renewable Solutions, and Schlumberger New Energy, among others.