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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Heavier electric vehicles increase safety risks, study says

Expand chart
Data: Nature; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Analysis in the journal Nature finds electric vehicles' high weight relative to gas-powered models creates safety risks that can be addressed through design and policy changes.

The big picture: EVs are heavy due to battery weights and heavier equipment to provide "necessary structural support." That's a problem because heavier vehicles mean more deaths in accidents.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

4 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.