Demand for clean energy is growing globally, with renewables expected to become 90% of total energy generation by 2050, according to a recent IRENA report. To support this transition, grid-scale energy storage capacity will need to increase tenfold in the next ten years, with over $270 billion of investment expected over that timeframe. While demand is expected to continue to grow, current storage solutions are insufficient; pumped hydro - which is approximately 90% of the current global storage capacity market - and chemical batteries, both face significant challenges with scalability, levelized economics, safety and environmental risks.
Energy Vault has developed a gravity energy storage platform that is designed to be cost-efficient, reliable, safe to operate and environmentally sustainable in order to outperform alternatives and be well-positioned to meet market demand. It is inspired by pumped hydro plants that rely on the power of gravity to store and discharge energy, combined with Energy Vault’s own material science and software innovations: it has replaced water with custom-made composite blocks, made with locally sourced soil or waste material, which are lifted and lowered to store and release energy on-demand.
This proprietary system is orchestrated by Energy Vault’s AI-enabled software platform that incorporates advanced computer control and machine vision. The end result is a resilient supply of power and storage capacity with a system designed to have greater operational flexibility for both short and long duration storage, high round-trip-efficiency, lower capital and operating expenses, and an overall higher asset efficiency than competitors given the lack of degradation in the storage medium over time.
Over the last two years, Energy Vault has worked closely with large, global utilities and independent power producers to optimize its energy storage technology platform, ensuring additional flexibility and addressing both higher power and flexible duration needs.
After successfully connecting its first commercial scale, 5 MW energy storage system to Switzerland’s national grid in 2020, Energy Vault completed comprehensive operating due diligence with some of the largest utilities and independent power producers in the world, with a specific focus on ancillary service performance, system round trip efficiency, and continuous power dispatching protocols. All of these core and proven technology elements were incorporated into its latest design of a modular, flexible, higher power and compact product architecture, the new EVx™ platform, which was announced earlier this year with Saudi Aramco. The EVx™ is forecasted to have a 35 year technical life, 80-85% round-trip efficiency and flexibility to address the need for both higher power and shorter duration storage applications while seamlessly supporting longer duration needs, in both cases at low levelized costs.
In the near term, Energy Vault has a strong pipeline of customer engagements and letters of intent for its new platform, including eight executed agreements and letters of intent totaling more than 1,200 MW hours of storage, with additional projects under negotiation for multi-GW hours of energy storage expected to begin deployment in the next 12-24 months. The combined company currently expects to start generating recognized revenue in 2022 and in the intermediate to longer term, positive impacts on its operating results from volume deployments, further technology integration and economies of scale.
The company’s technology is capable of recycling waste materials - such as coal combustion residuals and glass fibers from decommissioned wind turbine blades as previously posted jointly with Enel Green Power - that would otherwise end up in a landfill. By utilizing advanced material science in collaboration with CEMEX’s material science lab,
Energy Vault can sequester these waste materials within the composite blocks of its gravity-based energy storage systems. Energy Vault’s pipeline of customers includes many that are also trying to address the problem of sustainable disposal and/or beneficial re-use of coal combustion residuals, which is the largest industrial waste stream generated in the U.S. every year.
Finally, the supply chain and construction of these systems are primarily localized, inclusive the on-site block fabrication, which de-risks the overall material supply and minimizes green house gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, thereby reducing Energy Vault’s carbon footprint while maximizing the positive impact to local economies and new job creation.
Robert Piconi, CEO & Co-Founder of Energy Vault stated, “Energy Vault is re-defining the role that energy storage companies can and should play within a circular economic framework. We are excited to announce our business combination with Novus and look forward to becoming a public company given our recent advances in commercial scale technology validation and rapid customer adoption, which require additional capital to meet the global, multi-continent demand. As we focus now on the execution and deployment phase of the technology, we are thrilled to partner with the team at Novus who fully supports our mission of decarbonization and brings a deep experience set in new technology market development on a global scale.”
Robert Laikin, CEO of Novus added, “Energy Vault is bringing an entirely new energy storage solution to the energy market and will lower the costs for utility companies and power producers that are transitioning to renewables but who need to maintain consistent energy supply to deliver dispatchable power. Since our IPO in early 2021, we looked at over 100 companies and we found a fantastic company, with a public company ready management team addressing a massive global market need that is underserved with existing solutions today. In our view, Energy Vault is the only grid-scale pure ESG energy storage company that exists in the market today.”
The boards of directors of both Energy Vault and Novus have unanimously approved the proposed transaction. The closing is subject to the approval of Energy Vault’s stockholders, Novus’ stockholders and other customary closing conditions, including Novus’ registration statement being declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and the expiration of the HSR Act waiting period. It is currently anticipated that the transaction will be completed, assuming satisfaction or waiver of such closing conditions, in the first quarter of 2022.