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ContentsFeature: Battery makers in battle over costs and raw materialsData: DashboardViews: Investor and startup perspectiveStartups to watch: 12 early-stage companies to put on your radarProfile: AlumaPower looks to power cars with old soda cansAnalysis: VCs pile into gridscale battery technology
Battery makers in battle over costs and raw materials
The US’s Inflation Reduction Act is a piece of gamechanging legislation when it comes to driving demand for electric vehicles. The act, signed into law last year, provides generous tax credits to EV buyers, shaving up to a quarter off the sales price. It is kickstarting demand for EVs in the large US car market and also drives innovation in battery cell technology that powers EVs.
But, while demand for EVs is growing rapidly, the supply of raw materials for battery technology faces large constraints.
And a lack of efficient manufacturing in countries like the US makes it hard for countries seeking to build up their domestic electric car manufacturing capacity to compete globally.
Startups are realising that although they may have the safest and most efficient technology on the market, they will only have a viable business if they can easily keep costs down and can scale up quickly.
Where to source raw materials
“The data shows that we are in raw material distress,” says Roee Furman, managing director at Doral Energy Tech Ventures, a corporate investor of battery technology. In the US market, the Inflation Reduction Act mandates a certain percentage of the supply chain be sourced either internally or from free trade agreement partners such as South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina.
From this year, that amounts to 40% of the supply, but that threshold is being stepped up by 10% each year. It protects the US market from being drowned by Chinese supply but also limits growth domestically – at least in the short term. More than 90% of cars in the US still burn petrol.
Automakers from around the world have announced new battery gigafactories across the US in recent years, but there will likely be delays in their development or they will run at low capacity as the material ramp-up can take between three to four years. The difficulties of extracting raw materials for batteries will also be a big hurdle. China is the biggest supplier of materials that make up batteries but its supply is limited.
“It’s not only the material, it’s also the mining piece. You can source material from China, but even China doesn’t have enough raw material – lithium, nickel, cobalt,” says Katherine He, investment associate at TDK Ventures.
Much of the raw material will come from Latin America or Africa, and their extraction and deployment take time, setting up a multi-continental battle over part of the supply chain. Battery manufacturers and OEMs are pouring billions of dollars into countries like Bolivia, Australia, and Chile, the latter of which has a government trying to nationalise its mining sector.
Recycling material to circumvent these constraints represents a prime investment. Ascend Elements – which has the backing of both TDK Ventures and DoralTech and raised a $542m series D round in September – tackles this problem.
More than half of the electric cars on the road worldwide are now in China, according to the International Energy Agency. In the US, by contrast, EVs only have a roughly 6% market penetration to date. While the US has the advantage in pure tech innovation, it cannot match China when it comes to rigid manufacturing – the large-scale operations, cost-controls and equipment sourcing. The Chinese battery market is heavily saturated as a result, leading to domestic manufacturers finding their factories at between 70% and 80% capacity.
Factories in the US are talking about full automation, while China has already been there for a while. Other built-in advantages include a labour market where it’s common to see thousands of workers housed on-site, working multiple shifts every day, and unlike many of their US counterparts, they don’t tend to be unionised.
“When I used to work on battery manufacturing, we were looking at graphite at $10 per kilogramme, which is already so cheap, right? In China, you can source graphite at $2-3. We’re trying to build some graphite manufacturing in the US, but how can companies survive when you are paying three times more?” says He.
“I think most US startups don’t even know what the state-ofthe-art is. They don’t know China could already be far ahead – they just haven’t seen it.”
The common assumption is that China’s low costs are due to cheap labour. While that is part of it, the broader truth is that cheap labour overlaps with an incredible depth of expertise, knowledge of process engineering, and granular optimisation of each part of the manufacturing process.
The costs mean it may still make more sense for some US companies to source their cells from China to the extent that they can. Even a 25% import tariff can’t fully counteract economies of scale.
“The Chinese manufacturers – CATL and BYD in particular – are highly motivated to get rid of inventory at a very attractive price, probably below cost,” says Robert McIntyre, managing director at LG Technology Ventures.
Investors home in on price
Even if a company is not the most innovative, it can win the day if it’s nearer to market at a more competitive price. Startups have to be much more commercially savvy than two years ago. Some battery startups are even looking at hybrid business models in which they develop technology but also engage in equipment sales to drive revenue in the short term.
A premium is also placed on manufacturing techniques. Having innovative tech will only take companies as far as their ability to reproduce it at scale, which is harder if assembly lines have to be rebuilt from scratch.
“We do look at how the technologies fit with the existing manufacturing techniques, regardless of where those will be globally, and how easy it will be for those manufacturing partners to adopt these technologies,” says Matt Jones, managing director for North America at Solvay Ventures.
Sepion Technologies, a Solvay Ventures portfolio company that replaces graphite anode with lithium, slots into existing manufacturing infrastructure. If a startup can also demonstrate that it has a shorter route to the end customer or has other commercial agreements in place, all the better.
“People are rewarding the startups that can pull together the full ecosystem,” says Jones.
Large capital raises – like Ascend Elements’ recent round or the listings of companies like SES or Solid Power, which Solvay Ventures invested in – are also encouraging market signals.
“[Huge funding in the market] is showing that there is funding that’s not only private money but also grants, to support their manufacturing investments. This is really important because we invest in new technologies but it needs to scale, and you need a lot of capital to do that,” says Coppelia Marincovic, partner at Solvay Ventures.
Grid storage projects, by contrast, are infrastructure assets rather than consumer products like EVs, with a different business model and development process. Most privately funded clean energy projects are built via project finance – with much, if not most, of the initial capex paid with bank debt. Coupled with sometimes complex procurement processes for energy projects, this means that it’s not just investors that have to get comfortable with new technologies, it’s also the banks, the grid operators, insurers, and the utilities which need convincing in order to break ground.
A project that can attract banks will win over one that has slightly better but more obscure, technology.
No single technology will win out
Plenty of different chemistries – solid state, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur and flow batteries, among others – are under constant diligence, as there is no silver bullet battery that will work optimally across all applications. There will always be trade-offs between cost, durability and safety.
Lithium-ion, however, is likely to remain king for a while. It’s a known quantity and has large economies of scale. Other technologies may be more suitable for different applications in theory, but the vehicle manufacturers alone need hundreds of thousands of tonnes each year. The battery you know – and have ample access to – is better than the battery you don’t.
It’s not just the battery technology itself that is a hotbed for innovation, it’s the accompanying manufacturing processes and the management systems that are getting a lot of attention. Startups like Addionics and AM Batteries, which focus on new manufacturing techniques, or ones like Element Energy and Titan Advanced Energy solutions, which look at inspection and maintenance, have also received investor attention.
What investors would once have seen as small niche pieces of intellectual property are now being seen as potential hundredmillion-dollar opportunities if they make it big. The hard thing, as ever, is picking the winners. Investors are looking at different technologies as well as different levels of market readiness to maximise their chance of choosing a winner.OpinionInvestor viewsKatherine HeInvestment associate TDK Ventures
I think most US startups don’t even know what the stateof-the-art is. They don’t know China could already be far ahead – they just haven’t seen it.Roee FurmanManaging director Doral Energy Tech Ventures
The data shows that we are in a raw material distress.Matt JonesManaging director, North America Solvay Ventures
We do look at how the technologies fit with the existing manufacturing techniques, regardless of where those will be globally, and how easy it will be for those manufacturing partners to adopt these technologies.profilesStartups to watch1 of 12
Funding to date: $1.87m
UK-based startup About:Energy is a battery technology modelling platform. Spun out of Imperial College London, University of Birmingham and the Faraday Institution, the company platform, called the Voltt, provides a library of commercially available cells and attributes which can be used by battery system developers and automotive OEMs to improve battery design.
About:Energy was founded in 2021 by chief executive Gavin White and Kieran O’Regan, chief operating officer. White also serves as an entrepreneurial fellow at the Faraday Institution and is a RAEng Enterprise Fellow at Royal Academy of Engineering.
The startup raised $1.87m in a seed funding round this year. Investors include venture firms HighSage Ventures, Vireo Ventures, and Plug and Play Ventures.2 of 12
Funding to date: $6.7m
Allotrope Energy develops a fast-charging sustainable lithium-ion battery. Based in Basingstoke, the company’s battery technology is made using carbon extracted from the pulp of trees to create products for the mobility, aerospace and robotics industries.
Founded in 2016, Allotrope Energy’s team consists of Pete Wilson, chief executive, and Tom Avery, head of engineering. Wilson also oversees the technical development of Allotrope Energy’s advanced ionic capacitors. He previously served two years as a senior scientist at MAST Carbon International.
In 2023 Allotrope raised $6.7m from corporate investors, including Suzano Ventures, a subsidiary of Brazil-based paper and pulp producer Suzano Papel e Celulose.3 of 12
Funding to date: $6.7m
Sweden-based startup Cellfion provides sustainable materials for next level clean energy storage and conversion devices. The startup’s technology uses cellulose nanofibrils rather than electrochemical cells in redox flow batteries.
It was founded by Cellfion’s chief executive, Liam Hardey, and chairman of board Magnus Wikström, in 2021. Hardey also founded L.T Hardey, a Swedish consulting firm for startups and new product releases.
In 2022 the Royal Institue of Technology and the Linköping University spinout raised $1.3m in a seed round, led by university investment units such as LiU Invest, KTH Holding and Voima Ventures. Venture capital firms including Almi Invest Green Tech and Klimatet Invest participated in the financing.4 of 12
Funding to date: N/A
Finland-based Celllife Technologies develops a second life battery cell platform for industrial customers with long-lasting battery products. The Tampere University spinout has developed a model to refurbish lithium-ion battery cells on an industrial scale and in a sustainable way that produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions.
Celllife Technologies was founded by partner Roni Luhatala and cofounder Tuomas Messo in 2022. Luhatala spent five years at Tampere University as a postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student. Messo previously worked for GE Grid Solutions as a lead new product engineer and as a lead design engineer.
The spinout’s funding is undisclosed but it has received backing from investors such as Grid. vc, an Espoo-based, energy-focused venture capital firm.5 of 12
Based: South Korea
Funding to date: $5.5m
Enflow is a South Korean developer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. The batteries have a low fire risk and high energy density, allowing EV drivers to drive longer distances.
Founded in 2021, Enflow is headed by chief executive Ryu Gwang-Hyun, who has also conducted several pieces of research for Hanyang University. Other founders or notable team members have not been disclosed.
In 2023 the startup raised $5.05m in a series A funding round. It is seeking investors for its series B round. Corporate investors include Lake Materials, a South Korea-based chemical manufacturing company, and several venture capital firms including AJU IB Investment, LB Investment, Smilegate Investment and BA Investment.6 of 12
Funding to date: $7.6m
EnZinc is an advanced battery developer of rechargeable zinc-air batteries. It has developed a zinc drop-in anode, which allows for rapid deployment of highperforming batteries in existing manufacturing infrastructure. The batteries are nonflammable, have high energy density, and can be used for mobility and stationary uses.
It was launched by president Michael Burz, chief marketing officer, Deborah Knuckey and William Cogen, a company board member, in 2011. Burz spent four years as a programme manager at Nissan Motor and was the president of electric vehicle engineering firm carV3.
The startup has raised $7.6m. In 2022 it raised $4.5m in a seed funding round led by 3×5 Partners. Other investors include Guindy Alumni Angels and the California Energy Commission, which provided $1.8m under the Electric Program Investment Charge programme.7 of 12
Funding to date: $60.2m
GenCell is an Israeli developer of hydrogen and ammonia fuel cell energy solutions. The startup has developed hydrogen alkalinebased fuel cell systems that replace diesel generators with clean backup power.
Rami Reshef, Gennady Finkelshtain and Gil Shavit founded GenCell in 2011. Reshef is the company’s chief executive. He previously founded personalised web messaging app Clip ‘N Touch. Finkelshtain is GenCell’s chief technology officer and holds a Masters from Saint Petersburg State Technological University of Plant Polymers.
The startup has raised $60.2m. It most recently completed a $14.3m funding round in 2021. Corporate investors include BNP Paribas Energy Transition Fund, the corporate venture fund of BNP Paribas, and TDK Ventures, the corporate venture unit of electronics corporation TDK.8 of 12
Funding to date: $7.8m
Inlyte Energy is US manufacturer of batteries based on two low-cost abundant materials: iron and salt. The sodium iron chloride batteries are designed for cost effective grid storage.
The startup was founded by Antonio Baclig in 2021. He also serves as Inlyte Energy’s chief executive. Baclig spent seven years at Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar and graduate research assistant and spent three years as a scientific and business analyst at C12 Energy, an oil and gas company.
Inlyte Energy raised $7.8m from GS Futures, the corporate venture arm of South Korean conglomerate GS Group.9 of 12
Funding to date: $31m
Liminal is a California-based battery intelligence provider that combines ultrasound imaging and machine learning analytics for greater process control in battery manufacturing. Its technology, dubbed EchoStat, analyses in seconds each battery cell’s physical condition during production. The technology will be used to promote clean energy for electric vehicle batteries, which the company claims will make EVs safer, reliable and affordable.
The company was founded in 2015 by chief executive Andrew Hsieh and cofounder Barry Van Tassell. Hsieh worked for seven years at Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate.
Liminal has raised $31m. This year it completed a $17.5m series A round with investors, including Sweden-based battery developer Northvolt and a range of venture capital firms such as Volta Energy Technologies and Chrysalix Venture Capital.10 of 12
Funding to date: N/A
Peak Energy develops giga-scale energy storage technology. Its sodium-ion based energy storage solution aims to be cost effective, durable and easy to mass produce. It also provides an alternative to lithium-ion for stationary applications.
The startup was founded by Landon Mossburg, chief executive and president, and chief commercial officer Cameron Dales, in 2023. Mossburg previously spent five years at Sweden-based battery developer Northvolt. Dales served 14 years at US-based silicon battery manufacturer Enovix where he held positions such as chief commercial officer and chief operating officer.
Peak Energy’s total funding has been left undisclosed, but it recently announced that TDK Ventures and venture capital firm Eclipse provided a $10m investment.11 of 12
Funding to date: $10.4m
Belgian research university IMEC spinoff Solithor develops solid state lithium battery cell technology for high energy storage solutions. The Belgium-headquartered company uses nano solid composite electrolytes to improve the energy density, charging speed and volume performance of classical battery systems.
It was founded by Huw Hampson-Jones, chief executive and chief technology officer, and Fanny Bardé in 2021. Bardé was programme manager for solid state battery’s at IMEC and spent 14 years as a technical manager at Toyota Motor Group. Hampson-Jones was the chief executive at Oxis Energy.
Solithor raised $10.4m in a seed funding round in 2022. It was led by venture capital fund Imec.xpand and included support from investment firms LRM, Nuhma and FPIM.12 of 12
Funding to date: $10.2m
XL Batteries is developing the world’s largest batteries for grid scale energy storage. The company’s technology relies on salt waterbased flow batteries, which do not corrode like conventional flow batteries. XL Batteries products have a 20-year life span.
The US-based startup was founded by Thomas Sisto, chief executive, in 2019. Sisto has a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Oregon. XL Batteries has raised $10.2m.
In 2023 it raised $10m in a seed round that was led by venture firm Catalus Capital. Corporations also provided investment, including Xerox Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Xerox Holdings Corporation, and angel investors such as Joel Greenblatt and Robert Goldstein.
Startup profilePowering cars with used soda cans?
Canadian startup AlumaPower believes it has solved the problems that have held back the development of aluminium batteries.
Turning old drinks cans into a clean energy source sounds like a far-fetched idea, but new technical advances are turning an old idea — aluminium-air batteries — into a viable commercial proposition.
It is time to rethink aluminium batteries, says Ingrid Thompson, vice president of communications for AlumaPower, a Canadian startup with a patented spinning disc technology that addresses most of the problems that have up to now stopped aluminium batteries from becoming a mainstream solution.
Aluminium-air batteries have been around since the 1960s, and initially held a lot of promise. They have one of the highest energy densities of all batteries and use a power source that is cheap and abundant on every continent — no dependencies on rare metals needed here.
But aluminium-air batteries had several downsides that meant they remained a power source only for very niche applications, mainly in the military, for functions such as powering torpedoes.
Classic aluminium batteries are hard to switch on and off and can produce unwanted hydrogen as a by-product if the aluminium is not entirely pure. Producing pure aluminium, in turn, is a very energy-intensive process which negates any environmental advantages. Most difficult of all, the batteries had to be completely disassembled to recharge them. Aluminiumair batteries are so-called “primary batteries” meaning that the aluminium in them is used up in the reaction, and old aluminiumair batteries had to be entirely rebuilt to be used again.
“You have to literally unbolt it, take it all apart, disassemble, reassemble,” says Thompson.
AlumaPower’s founder and chief technology officer, Geoff Sheerin, came up with a solution for these issues by adding a mechanical component for the battery — instead of having fixed plates of aluminium bolted together in it, the aluminium disc spins.
It was, says Thompson, a “face-palm moment” for the industry.
“Chemists have spent 30 years working to get over those last hurdles using electrochemistry. But our CTO, who is not an electrochemist or engineer, but an industrial designer, didn’t come with that bias. He put in a mechanical component. It’s that spinning disc, and that bringing of a moving part into the concept of aluminium-air battery is really the simple secret sauce,” says Thompson. “It’s just one of those in plain sight, simple, elegant solutions.”
One of the best things about the spinning technology is that it allows even very low-grade aluminium to be used for the reaction.
“Because it’s spinning, the anode is being scanned very evenly. It knocks off those impurities that were causing that parasitic hydrogen reaction in a legacy system. And so, it allows you to use impure aluminium. We can take low-grade post-consumer scrap and it’s absolutely fine for our system.”
Even scrap metal from drinks cans could be used as a feedstock, or, better yet, batteries could use the scrap aluminium from the casings of decommissioned internal combustion engines. There will be many of these needing a second life as old petrol and diesel cars come to the end of their lifespans. Old internal combustion engine casings used to be melted and recast for new ones but cannot as readily be used in newer electric vehicles.
“We have this really elegant thing where our fuel will be created proportionately to the market we’re going to be selling into,” says Thompson.
The spinning function also makes the battery easier to start and stop. Stopping an old-style aluminium battery used to mean draining off all the electrolyte and getting the battery dry, something which took considerable time. A spinning aluminium anode, on the other hand, can spin dry itself rapidly, like drying salad in a spinner.
A few other startups are working on aluminium battery technology, including UK-based Metalelectrique, a business started by a retired naval officer who believes the batteries can be used to power electric vehicles. Israeli cleantech company Phinergy, which had backing from Doral Energy Tech Ventures before listing on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, is also developing aluminium batteries, but neither of these companies has the spinning disc concept of AlumaPower.
AlumaPower prefers to call itself a generator rather than a battery company, but it certainly represents an energy storage solution that can sit alongside and enhance other batteries. One of the first pilot products it is planning to bring to market, towards the end of 2024, is a mobile charging station for electric fleets. Thompson says AlumaPower is in talks with a last mile delivery company which is looking for additional ways to recharge its electric delivery trucks.
Pairing the aluminium-air battery with a lithium-ion battery would provide a much longer-duration charging solution than a lithium battery can provide by itself. Lithium-ion batteries discharge power to cars relatively quickly but don’t hold as much energy. The energy-dense aluminium-air battery would be used to keep the lithium battery topped up for much longer periods of time, and can provide a significant amount of waste heat like and internal combustion engine which can warm the driver and the Li-Ion batteries in cold weather.
In the same way, the AlumaPower batteries could be paired with nickel-metal hydride batteries to make power last longer in refrigerated air cargo containers.
“We can increase the time that that container can remain unplugged, going from two to seven days, which is a real gamechanger,” says Thompson.
The company is also talking to a potential customer about using the technology as a mobile power source in oil fields, as the battery poses no spark risk.
Further into the future, AlumaPower units could become mobile power sources for trucks or even electric aircraft — being many times lighter than lithium-ion batteries they may be ideal for powering flight.
The first minimum viable products are expected to be out at the end of 2024, but the startup is starting to get noticed by investors. Starbridge Venture Capital, a New York-based VC fund that has also backed Commonwealth Fusion Systems, invested in the company’s seed round in 2018. The company is just about to close a $7m series A funding round — and has set a date of 31st of October for the last potential investors to be in touch with serious expressions of interest.
Sector deep diveVCs pile into gridscale battery technology
There is an old joke about a parent buying their kids a set of batteries for Christmas, with a note saying: “Toys not included”. Today´s world has more of the classic problem of having gotten “toys”, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and clean energy sources, but not necessarily the batteries to power them.
That said, the economics of batteries have been kind to us. The cost of lithium-ion batteries per kWh has fallen by 97% over the past three decades, as shown on the chart, while powering a wide range of applications from mobile electronics to EVs and stationary storage facilities. There is, however, no consensus on the weight of the contributing factors for this cost decline – such as economies of scale or commodity prices. There are only some attempts to estimate the proportion of such contributing factors.
It is, therefore, hard to predict how much more the costs of lithium-ion batteries could go down in the future, if it all. With global emissions reduction goals set for the mid-century, tech and venture capital communities have become increasingly aware of the acuity of the ever-growing need for innovation in battery technologies. Battery technology has a crucial role to play, especially on a larger scale, as many of the clean energy sources are not able to produce energy continually.
Today the innovation community is working not only on improving the odds for lithium-ion batteries but on numerous alternatives like sodium-ion, lithium-sulphur, solid-state, hydrogen fuel cells, aqueous magnesium and graphene batteries.
Market size hard to determine
The world’s market for batteries was estimated to be nearly $112bn in 2021, according to data cited by Statista. It is expected to nearly quadruple up to $424bn by 2030.
The global market for grid-scale batteries, however, is hard to estimate as we are witnessing the increasing electrification of vehicles alongside a push for energy from cleaner and more sustainable sources as well as the rise of decentralised energy systems. Current market size estimates appear modest given the critical role such technologies are set to play.
A report by Markets & Markets, for example, estimates the global market for grid-scale battery tech at just $5.4bn as of 2023 but projects it to grow to more than triple to $17.4bn in the next five years, implying a compound annual growth rate of 26.4%. It is important to keep in mind that working definitions of this particular market may also vary, as battery storage systems require a fair bit of supporting infrastructure, including power conversion, thermal management, safety and control systems.
VC markets growth in recent years While the total market size may be hard to estimate, there has been a clear uptick in VC-backed deals in grid-scale battery technologies, especially between 2018 and 2022. VC rounds rose in number from 129 in 2018 to 224 in 2021 and 191 in 2022.
The rise was even more pronounced in total dollar value – from just north of $1bn in 2018 to $11.67bn in 2022. The rising interest in such technologies, which is instrumental for the decarbonisation of industries and economic activity in general, is also evident in the growing median size of deals and respective median post-money valuations, as per PitchBook’s data.
Median deal size in the grid-scale battery tech space stood at $1.3m in 2019 but had risen to $4.82m by 2023, albeit having dropped from a peak of $5.42m in 2022. Similarly, post-money valuations rose $22.8m in 2019 to $63.82m this year.
This suggests that the space, like any other in venture capital, has experienced some correction, too, though probably not as sharp as in other areas.
Corporates cautiously involved
Corporate investors have also jumped on the bandwagon but seem to have done so somewhat more cautiously than their VC peers overall. As of 2023, about one in every five deals features a corporate backer on the cap table, according to PitchBook´s data. This is up from one in ten in 2020-21 or fewer in previous years.
The majority of top investors in grid-scale battery technology over the past decade have been traditional VC firms. But corporate investors such as Eni Next, Shell Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures have also been active in this area.
Funding for every stage
Some of the technologies have also been advancing in maturity, at least as far as fundraising is concerned. While still nearly half of all deals tend to be in early-stage, seed or pre-seed stage, it is notable that the share of later-stage deals seems to have increased from about a fifth of deals to over 30% last year and even over 40% in 2023. This also indicates willingness of venture capitalists to finance at every stage a technology that is capital intensive and requires longer horizon.
As grid-scale battery tech tackles a truly global issue, its geographical extent is rather wide, too. In recent years, around half of all VC deals have taken place in the US and Canada. The proportional share of Europe has remained relatively stable, fluctuating between 25% and 30%. It is in Asia where we have seen it pick up drastically from between 10% and 15% before the pandemic to more than 25% in the postpandemic years.
There is no lack of investor interest in the VC sector for gridscale battery technologies, as the stakes are high and this is evident in the data. Corporates, which have more technical expertise than their traditional VC peers, have taken a more cautious approach but are definitely also in the game. Only the future will tell what technology will solve the crucial problem of successfully and economically storing vast amounts of energy
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