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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The startup Form Energy says it has developed cost-effective battery chemistry for long-duration storage using abundantly available iron.

Why it matters: Batteries that can hold and discharge energy for many hours or days are key to enabling very high levels of intermittent renewable energy penetration on power grids.

Driving the news: "Form Energy’s first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion," Form said.

What's next: Via the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news in a deeply reported behind-the-scenes feature, reports that Form says its product will be ready for commercial deployment in 2025.

The big picture: Various investors of the company based in Somerville, Massachusetts include Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Italian oil giant Eni and Energy Impact Partners.

  • Form yesterday announced a $200 million series D funding round led by metals giant ArcelorMittal.
  • The companies are "working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems," Form said.

Catch up fast: The Energy Department last week unveiled an initiative aimed at cutting the costs for grid-scale, long-duration energy storage by 90% within this decade.

  • Companies are developing competing battery chemistries but also other technologies like thermal systems using molten salts and other materials, compressed air and several other concepts.

What they're saying: "There is a Cambrian explosion of new storage technologies and in a Darwinian sense, they are not all going to survive. But the prize is huge both for investors and for society," clean energy expert Ramez Naam tells the WSJ.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on powering up clean energy jobs

On Friday, September 17, Axios Climate & Energy reporter Andrew Freedman and Energy reporter Ben Geman hosted a virtual conversation on what building a fair economy with quality clean energy jobs could look like, featuring The Honorable Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and BlueGreen Alliance executive director Jason Walsh.

Sen. Alex Padilla explained how the infrastructure bill puts forth investments toward the environment, the urgency of acting on climate change at a legislative level, and how recent climate emergencies have underscored that urgency. 

  • In response to questions about climate investments in the infrastructure bill: “We need to act with urgency, we need to act boldly, that’s half the equation. It’s okay to have questions on what the price tag is, but of equal importance is knowing that we’re doing this in a fiscally responsible way.” 
  • On garnering necessary bipartisan support for the infrastructure bill to pass: “I do believe we’re going to get to yes at the end of the day, and that end of the day is going to be in the weeks ahead, not the months ahead, because of the urgency that I just laid out.” 

Jason Walsh highlighted the important intersection between climate action and clean energy jobs, the challenges of creating high-quality jobs in the power sector, and how budget reconciliation would help to meet clean energy job goals. 

  • On addressing crises relating to job creation, economic and racial inequality, and the climate emergency: “We have the ability with budget reconciliation to advance solutions to these crises that are as mutually reinforcing and intersecting as their causes. We feel like we can’t afford not to take advantage of this opportunity.”
  • On why budget reconciliation must address the lack of high-quality clean energy jobs: “Not enough of the clean energy jobs that have been created are high quality and union. They have not been created at scale in some of the communities and parts of the country that need them the most, and the lived experience of workers dislocated from incumbent industries, coal mining and power plants, doesn’t meet any reasonable standard of fairness and justice.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Column / Harder Line

Poor countries push for lenience in banning fossil-fuel financing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The growing urgency of tackling global warming is colliding with the world’s deeply uneven use of the heat-trapping energy resources that are causing it.

The big picture: The long-simmering debate over the role rich and poor countries should fill in tackling climate change is reaching a boiling point.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.