We’re excited to have invested in the Seed round for EnergyBank, a New Zealand startup pioneering a novel battery technology for medium and long-duration energy storage.
EnergyBank will allow energy generators and owners to smooth the supply and demand of renewable energy, reducing the need for fossil fuels to meet peak grid demand and enabling price-optimisation of renewables themselves.
Renewable energy generation is a critical enabler of a net zero-emissions economy. But, achieving 100% renewable energy supply is impossible without adequate energy storage. Storage is needed to offtake supply when renewable sources like wind and solar generate excess energy, and provide supply back to the grid when those generating sources fall short of grid needs.
Today, periods of high grid demand are often met by fossil fuel generation, which is ramped up to manage peak loads. With higher marginal cost, fossil-fuelled electricity supplied in this way demands a price premium. Conversely, renewable energy (which tends to be available all at once when the sun is shining or wind is blowing and has low marginal cost) has much less market value.
EnergyBank will offer a compelling storage proposition to renewable generators, enabling them to efficiently store excess energy not needed at the time it is generated. The technology works by moving multiple thousand-tonne masses back and forth between the ocean floor and its surface over vertical distances of between 4 and 8km. This process requires no land, has little accident risk, and is lower-cost, more scalable and more environmentally friendly than existing solutions like pumped-hydro and lithium-ion batteries. In conjunction with floating offshore wind, it will be scaled to enable the complete decarbonisation of markets like Taiwan, Japan and California.
CEO Tim is exactly the kind of founder we love to back: always questioning the status quo, rapidly testing, taking on feedback, and learning. Tim completed his Engineering degree at The University of Auckland, where he fell in love with the problem-solving process taught as part of the university's Velocity entrepreneurship program. He then moved to San Francisco and lived in his (not-so-elite) car while founding a company that designed ultra-high-end interiors.
Looking for an impactful problem to solve, he turned his engineering prowess to the challenge of large-scale energy storage.
Tim has assembled a complementary founding team to help him achieve this wild mission.
Co-founder Rhys was an early pioneer of utility-scale batteries, having spent the past 10 years working in US renewables. He developed utility-scale Lithium-ion battery technology at A123 before leading sales, engineering and business development for the same technologies at NEC. Their other co-founder Jordan previously worked in offshore oil & gas construction.
This team epitomises the future of New Zealand’s low carbon innovation economy. We’re so excited to be partnering with EnergyBank as they supercharge a decarbonised future for electricity grids everywhere.