Form and iron-air batteries

Form Energy, a Boston-based startup, announced a fascinating breakthrough in battery technology recently (WSJ article – paywalled). They claim to have built an inexpensive “Iron-air” battery.

Iron-air batteries are attractive for several reasons. We have plenty of iron and know how to extract it cheaply ($200/ton of ore compared to $12-15k per ton for Lithium salts).

While these will be too heavy for electric cars, they will help solve a much bigger problem – energy storage on the electric grid. These batteries will enable us to store large amounts of renewable electricity. Current estimates are that Form’s batteries should be able to operate at around $20 per kWh, sufficient to compete with fossil fuel systems. 

The progress on this one felt is similar in nature to the likes of mRNA. It is technology that has been in development for nearly 50 years. But, progress in nanotechnology and catalysts have enabled the path for Form. 

This could be huge. Fingers crossed.

(H/T: Azeem’s Exponential View)