Bill Gates Backed Iron Battery Firm ESS Listed on NYSE

Highlights :

  • ESS went through the SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) route with Acon S2 Investment Corp for its listing.
  • It has a market cap of $325 million now, with revenues yet to start.
Bill Gates Backed Iron Battery Firm ESS Listed on NYSE

Large Battery firm ESS, with its listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), can now claim to be the first publicly traded long duration storage company in the world.

The firm, which went public through a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) with Acon S2 Investment Corp. has started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday under the ticker symbol GWH

For ESS, whose  battery is made primarily of iron, salt and water, the public listing is a high visibility option to make a case for its batteries, which besides using easily available materials, are also claimed to be able to last upto 12 hours, making them a strong candidate to provide back up for renewable energy like Solar and wind power.

ESS Claims to be LCOE

Pic Courtesy: ESS

The company is backed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ clean energy investment firm; SB Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of SoftBank; and multinational chemical company BASF, among other investors. The SPAC comes through a reverse merger with ACON S2 Acquisition Corp., run out of private equity firm Acon Investments.

With no lithium or cobalt being used, the battery potentially skirts some of the biggest challenges on cost and sustainability. At a closing price of $10.42 yesterday, it has a market cap of $325 million.

The firm, while it has not shown any revenues yet, claims to have shipped its batteries for pilots with multiple utilities, besides a large order from Softbank backed SB Energy itself.

For ESS, the closest competitor in the storage market using Iron is Form Energy, which has also managed some very strong investor backing for its project.

The global battery storage market seems to be pushing for a clear break between battery storage for EV’s and storage options for renewable energy options. While Lithium Ion technology options are clearly favoured for EV’s, for renewable energy, many other technologies, of which Iron based batteries have started to get ahead suddenly.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International