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Form Energy Co-Founder Says Long-Duration Batteries Show Promise



Form Energy is developing a long-duration, low-cost battery that the company CEO says could set California a decade ahead of clean-energy goals.

Form Energy CEO and co-founder Mateo Jaramillo shared his vision at a California Energy Commission talk in April.

After leaving his position at Tesla, where he started and led the company’s stationary energy storage program through launch, Jaramillo was motivated by a question: “What kind of storage would it take to replace natural gas and cost effectively enable the 100 percent renewable grid?”

In further pursuit of the question, he served as executive-in-residence at the Cyclotron Road Fellowship Program, which received funds from the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge program for its efforts to help innovators turn their ideas from concepts to a viable first product.

Today, he believes long-duration batteries are a critical part of the answer. Bulk energy storage would enable the use of clean energy throughout the year, bridging gaps in renewable electricity supply that can last days or even weeks, while also playing a complimentary role in the intra-day storage needs as well.

Jaramillo said Form Energy’s batteries, which are currently entering the engineering phase, will be able to cost effectively store and disperse energy across these timespans.

To do that, the batteries would need to be about 10 times cheaper than lithium ion batteries and to truly be able replace natural gas, the battery elements must also be in great abundance, and the plant designs must be able to achieve large-scale production from the outset, he said.

Jaramillo said batteries like Form Energy’s could help California reach Senate Bill 100’s carbon-free goals 10 years ahead of the 2045 target date.

Form Energy expects to have a battery design ready for pilot plant demonstration in several years. Jaramillo said the company, which is currently working with stakeholders throughout the state, hopes to apply for funds from EPIC, which funds energy innovation research and deployment.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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