Kentucky is about to get a huge non-lithium battery gigafactory


EnerVenue is going to open a 1 million-square-foot gigafactory in Kentucky to produce ultra long-life metal-hydrogen stationary batteries.

Metal hydrogen batteries have been used for decades by NASA, in everything from satellites to the International Space Station. They use metal hydrides as active materials for both the anode and cathode. Hydrogen gas is used as the electrolyte, which allows for the reversible storage and release of energy.

Metal hydrogen batteries have high energy density, long cycle life, and they don’t rely on toxic materials such as lead or lithium.

They used to be too expensive to scale until EnerVenue chairman and Stanford University Yi Cui figured out how to adapt the materials and greatly reduce the costs.

However, they’re not perfect: Metal hydrogen batteries have relatively low power density and need specialized infrastructure to store and transport hydrogen gas. But researchers are exploring ways to improve the performance of metal hydrogen batteries for use in a wide range of applications, including EVs and renewable energy battery storage systems. EnerVenue also has residential battery storage in development.

EnerVenue’s new factory in Kentucky

Fremont, California-headquartered EnerVenue says it’s the first company to bring metal-hydrogen batteries capable of more than 30,000 cycles to market. Its new 73-acre site in Shelby County, Kentucky, east of Louisville, will be where the company makes its batteries, which it calls “Energy Storage Vessels.”

EnerVenue’s Energy Storage Vessels can be mounted in racks, containers, or stacked in custom warehousing, and they don’t need preventative fire suppression. They reliably operate in a wide ambient temperature range without supplementary HVAC. The company offers a 20-year, 20,000-cycle warranty extension, at the end of which system owners are guaranteed at least 88% battery capacity.

All design and process validation, manufacturing, and testing will take place at the new Kentucky battery gigafactory. The first phase of the project will encompass 1 gigawatt hour of annual production. EnerVenue expects to invest more than $1 billion to expand to more than 20 gigawatt hours per year across its domestic manufacturing sites in subsequent phases.

The gigafactory, which is expected to create 450 full-time jobs during the initial opening and first phase of the production ramp, is expected to begin production by the end of 2023.

EnerVenue chose Kentucky because it got generous tax incentives from both Shelby County and the state itself.

Read more: West Virginia is getting a big new battery storage factory

Photo: EnerVenue

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