Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), the recently floated subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), announced it will invest $50 million to acquire 42.3 million shares of preferred stock in Ambri Inc, an energy storage company based in Massachusetts, U.S. Along with strategic investors Paulson & Co. Inc. and Bill Gates, and a few other investors, the total investment of RNESL will be $144 million.
The calcium and antimony electrodes in Ambri cells cost less than a third of the lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt in most lithium-ion cells. Ambri cells are projected to be priced lower than lithium-ion cells for commercial deliveries starting 2022.
The battery has been designed to last 4-24 hours. It offers over 20 years of life with minimal fade. The company claims the battery won't generate any gas and there is no thermal runaway.
At the recent RIL annual general meeting, chairman Mukesh Ambani announced ambitious plan to build a Giga factory and the whole ecosystem for renewable energy with an investment of Rs 75,000 crore. The battery manufacturing unit is expected to be part of the ecosystem at Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex in Jamnagar. The complex is designed as one of the largest integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities in the world.
Ambri batteries provides low-cost, long life, long duration, minimal degradation energy storage for carbon-free energy across each day, according to the company. "For island nations, and hard-to-reach areas, the Ambri-based battery system makes distributed energy generation affordable and long-lasting. Onsite Ambri-based battery systems store and deliver power within microgrid energy systems and avoid the need for expensive and disruptive transmission and distribution infrastructure," it said on its website.
Donald Sadoway, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and David Bradwell, Co-founder and CTO, Ambri jointly developed the Liquid Metal Battery technology at GroupSadoway lab. They conducted electrochemistry research into dozens of different battery technologies, including the formula that became the Ambri Liquid Metal Battery.
Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft, knew about the work of Sadoway, as he had been watching his freshman chemistry lectures online, and in 2009 came to visit him at his office at MIT. In 2010, Sadoway, Bradwell and Luis Ortiz co-founded the Liquid Metal Battery Corporation with seed money from Bill Gates and the French energy company, Total S.A.