Point-of-use battery storage company Viridi closes $95m funding round
Battery energy storage company Viridi Parente said it raised $94.695 million in a Series C funding round. The latest funding round boosts Viridi’s value to $700 million, and supports the company’s aim to manufacture point-of-use lithium-ion battery technology at scale.
The Series C round was led by existing investor B. Thomas Golisano, a philanthropist and founder of Patchex Inc. New investors included Ashtead Group/Sunbelt Rentals and National Grid Partners, the investment arm of investor-owned energy company National Grid.
Buffalo, New York-based Viridi said that point-of-use energy storage has the potential to more than double the delivered capacity of the existing energy transmission system without additional investment in new infrastructure. It said that while most of the innovation around battery technology is focused on battery-powered vehicles, technology designed for cars does not necessarily translate into other sectors of the economy that have different design requirements.
Viridi said that its Green Machine brand is a lithium-ion pack system intended to meet demands of the construction and heavy industrial markets. Viridi said that brand has more than 250,000 hours of field in a market that it said could reach $205 billion in North America by 2025.
The company’s Volta Energy brand is a stationary lithium-ion battery pack system for installation in occupied spaces. Systems can be configured to provide from 50 kWh to 5 MW of distributed energy storage at the point-of-use.
The chemistry is standard li-ion battery chemistry that includes a carbon fiber thermal management technology developed by KULR. That technology along with the battery design are intended to eliminate cell-to-cell propagation creating what Viridi said is “a true failsafe battery system that can be installed anywhere.” KULR supplied identical passive propagation resistant technology to U.S. space agency NASA for use on the Mars Rover vehicle.
Thermal runaway can occur spontaneously in a Li-ion cell due to a short, potentially triggering an explosive release of electric energy that can rupture the end cap resulting in a flare and combustion of cell materials. KULR said its runaway shield acts as a heat sink during normal lithium-ion battery pack operation and also prevents thermal runaway propagation.
Its technology includes a vaporizing thermal capacitor that passively prevents thermal runaway propagation (TRP) in lithium-ion battery packs. It said that temperatures above 130°C increase the chance for a short in adjacent cells and result in TRP. The KULR product is intended to keep neighboring cell temperatures from rising above 100°C and prevents TRP.
Viridi said that applications of its battery technology include data centers, manufacturing, medical and research facilities among others. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, energy storage installations are on track to grow to more than 1 GWh by 2030 and will require more than $262 billion of investment, with about one quarter of installations located at homes and businesses.
Sunbelt said its investment would help Viridi Parente bring products to the market that meet the increasing demands for non-fossil fuel dependent equipment that customers want in order to achieve their carbon reduction commitments.
Silicon Valley-based National Grid Partners said it was particularly interested in the company’s focus on industrial vehicles.