Energy Vault Says 100MWh Gravity Storage Project in China to Begin Construction in Q2

The Energy Vault technology has undergone a major overhaul from the design of the overhead crane resembling an amusement park carousel swinging giant 35 ton weights (see image at the bottom of the story) to a square building shape . Image: Energy Vault.

A 100 MWh gravity energy storage system developed by Energy Vault is set to begin construction in China in the second quarter of this year, the Swiss-American startup has announced.

Energy Vault has just received a US$50 million investment commitment as well as a US$50 million license agreement for its technology – which involves mechanically lifting and lowering large weights to release potential energy – Atlas Renewable, a company majority-owned by Chinese environmental services. company China Tianying Inc (CNTY).

Under the terms of the US$50 million license and royalty agreement, Atlas Renewable and CNTY will seek to deploy Energy Vault’s proprietary technology in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

A site has already been selected in Rudong, Jiangsu province, and construction should begin in the coming months on a 100 MWh project. Power output in megawatts was not disclosed.

CNTY, as a waste processing and recycling company, will assess how the waste could be used to form the large blocks used as weights in the Energy Vault systems.

This week’s announcement by the gravity storage company comes as it seeks a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger. SPAC shareholders, Novus Capital Corporation II, will vote on the transaction on February 10.

In October last year, an S-4 form filed by Novus Capital Corporation II revealed that Energy Vault – which to date has only built one system, a 5 MW demonstration project in Switzerland – had not yet perfected its large-scale energy storage system platform technology, called EVx, and had not made any sales.

So far, that hasn’t stopped the company from securing multimillion-dollar investment commitments, the most recent being a US$50 million commitment in Korea Zinc’s SPAC deal. The startup also launched a software services division, called Energy Vault Solutions and led by former Greensmith Energy CEO John Jung.

Energy Vault said the merger and listing of SPAC would value the startup at $1.1 billion.

Atlas Renewable’s new US$50 million investment commitment is an improvement on the company’s previous US$150 million commitment to Energy Vault’s Private Public Equity Investment (PIPE) -Novus.

Energy Vault said the benefits of its technology include scalability and the use of low-cost materials. Some sources, however, expressed skepticism about its reliance on moving parts that could require heavy maintenance, as well as doubts about the systems ability to efficiently store and release large amounts of energy on demand, as required.

Existing 5 MW Energy Vault demonstration project in Switzerland. Image: Energy Vault.