A fundamental problem in the field of renewable energy is being addressed by ESS. That problem is how to store energy generated by solar and wind installations when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. It is the company’s suggested solution to employ long-duration energy storage batteries consisting of iron, salt, and water, which are far less expensive and more commonly available than the materials that are currently used in batteries, like lithium and cobalt, to store energy.
As a result of ESS’s early success, major investors such as Bill Gates and Softbank invested $57 million in the company, according to CEO Eric Dresselhuys, speaking to CNBC. It will begin trading on New York Stock Exchange under a ticker symbol GWH, after going public through SPAC. It expects to generate $308 million as a result of the transaction.
After decades in the energy and technology industries, Dresselhuys took over as CEO of ESS earlier this year. “There have been few solutions for such a long period up until now, and this is largely due to the fact that we did not rely on energy storage as a significant solution for hardening the system,” he said. The company was founded in 2011 in the garage of the co-founders Julia Song and Craig Evans, who are also married and business partners. Julia Song and Craig Evans are from Portland, Oregon. It began by relocating to Portland State Business Accelerator before growing to its present 200,000square-foot headquarters in downtown Portland.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ clean energy investment organization, SB Energy, a fully owned subsidiary of SoftBank, and the multinational chemical corporation BASF, among others, have invested in the company. The SPAC was formed as a result of a reverse merger with the ACON S2 Acquisition Corporation, which is based on the private equity company Acon Investments.
According to financial papers dated September 8, ESS has not yet generated any income for the year. Dresselhuys, on the other hand, claims to have sent goods to customers such as Siemens-Gamesa in Denmark and TerraSol Energies in Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other unnamed utilities, according to investor documents. Enel Green Power Espana and SB Energy have both placed orders with ESS in the last few months.
The firm lost about $245.3 million in the very first six months of 2021, but only $18.4 million of it was attributable to operating losses; the remainder was attributable to losses on revaluations of a warrant and derivative obligations. The company’s operating losses totalled $17.4 million in 2021, and it hopes to turn a profit for the first time in 2023. For ESS, the most significant accomplishment is the development of a long-duration iron flow battery that can be constructed from commercially available materials, according to Carmichael Roberts, who is the co-chair of the investment committee at the Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
A battery’s electrolyte is a chemical medium that joins the two ends of the battery, the anode, and the cathode, and allows the battery to function. The electrolyte in ESS batteries is composed of iron, salt, and water. “Compared to conventional lithium-ion storage, the flow battery is less expensive, safer, and has a longer operational life,” Roberts stated. Iron, salt, and water are used to create a battery, which means “there is no toxicity, and the technology we develop does not ignite fires or explode when exposed to fire,” according to Dresselhuys.