SoftBank's vision fund has made its first steps in the world of energy storage technology with a $ 110 million investment in the Swiss company Energy Volt. Many countries are eager to use renewable energy in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. In the fight against climate change, the main challenge is to find a way to store energy for later use, especially at night or during periods of high demand.
Energy Volt says its technology, inspired by the physics and mechanical engineering of hydropower plants, allows the storage and use of renewable energy at less than the cost of fossil fuels at any time of the day. Most competing solutions focus on some form of battery storage, whether you use lithium-ion, sodium sulfate, lead, etc.
Although spending has fallen by about 40 percent since 2015, Wood Mackenzie says, most of them have worsened over time. "The Energy Volt solves an old and complex problem of how to store renewable energy on a large scale," said Akshay Nahita, Managing Partner at Softbank Investment Bank. "The Energy Volt perfectly complements current investments in Softbank and we are pleased to promote the company's global development."
Energy Volt began work in late 2018 and partnered with Mexico's CEMEX and India's Tata Power to work on completing the testing phase and then building its first commercial site. Nahita said that while Softbank usually invests later in corporate development, it believes the Energy Volt can grow rapidly and may not need to organize a follow-up round of funding.
The potential gains are significant: the global energy storage market is expected to reach 22.2 gigawatts in 2023, up from about 5 gigawatts by the end of 2018, according to data from Global Data in May. "A vision fund that shares our passion for combating climate change through innovation in energy storage technologies," says Robert Baconi, CEO and co-founder of EnergyVolt.