A new US start-up featuring two Tesla veterans is planning to challenge the dominance of lithium-ion batteries with its “safer” and “reliable” sodium-ion alternative that it claims could halve the cost of energy storage for generators such as wind and solar.
Peak Energy launched today saying it aims to roll out its sodium-ion batteries by 2025 and open a giga-scale manufacturing plant the following year.
Its launch follows a $10m funding round led by California-based Eclipse Ventures and strategic partner TDK Ventures.
“Sodium-ion is the key to unlocking the potential of renewable energy and will finally enable power providers to fully decarbonise the grid,” claimed Peak Energy co-founder and CEO Landon Mossburg, who previously worked at US electric vehicle and storage giant Tesla and Swedish battery developer Northvolt.
“The timing could not be better to build a company in this space,” he said, adding Peak Energy already has “momentum with key customers and partners” like Israeli solar and energy storage developer Doral Energy.
“There is a massive opportunity for the United States to emerge as the global leader in sodium-ion production and deployment, and Peak Energy is at the forefront of that effort,” he said.
The other Peak Energy co-founder is Cameron Dales, previously of battery manufacturer Enovix and Lockheed Martin, who will act as its president and chief commercial officer. Greg Reichow, another Tesla veteran who now works at Eclipse, will be a non-executive director.
Their new company is one of a plethora of start-ups looking to challenge the supremacy of lithium-ion batteries, which have long dominated the energy storage market as they are both lightweight and extremely powerful.
But lithium-ion batteries have also been the subject of concern over fires at facilities, with New York earlier this year setting up an inquiry into battery storage safety.
The lithium-ion supply chain has also been cornered by China, which has led to nervousness of dependency on the country in the West, especially given Europe’s recent traumatic experience of going cold turkey on Russian gas.
There has been an increasing buzz around sodium-ion batteries as a potential challenger. Although they lack the punch of lithium-ion, their output is not incomparable. They are also much safer and the key ingredient – sodium – is abundant worldwide.
Peak Energy is by no means the first to develop sodium-ion batteries, with a host of other battery developers having entered the market in China, the US and the UK among other places vying to get ahead of future competition.
Battery developers are also dabbling in other chemistries including zinc-ion and “iron-air” technology. The broader long-duration energy storage sector is replete with announcements of using everything from molten salts, superheated bricks and gravity as means of energy storage.