Big Bets on Energy Storage so far in Q1

Just over a month into the first quarter, it’s becoming clear venture investors are renewing their bets on energy storage in 2014.

Within the first week of January, we’d learned of Aquion Energy‘s second, $20 million closing of its $55 million Series D round and of Amprius‘ $30 million Series C round.

Aquion Energy

Aquion Energy’s Series D, opened in April 2013, saw new investors including Bill Gates, Yung’s Enterprise, Tao Invest, Bright Capital, and Gentry Venture Partners join previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, and Advanced Technology Ventures to help the company pursue commercial deployment of its sodium-ion battery technology in 2014. The company’s technology is reportedly already addressing an off-grid application in conjunction with a solar array for lighting and air conditioning, with a planned grid-tied deployment for demand-side energy management for a commercial customer.

AmpriusAmprius’ high-energy and high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, based on the use of silicon nanowire anodes, will initially target consumer electronics applications and could be scaled for use in electric vehicles. SAIF Partners led the company’s Series C round and was joined by all the company’s previous investors, which include Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, and IPV Capital.

Primus PowerAnd on Tuesday we learned that Primus Power, a developer of zinc-halogen flow battery technology for multi-megawatt-hour grid applications, had raised a $20 million Series C round from new strategic investor Anglo American Platinum, and existing investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, DBL Investors, I2BF Global Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company has planned commercial deployments in 2014 with Puget Sound Energy in Seattle, and Miramar air base in San Diego.

Notably, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is an investor in all three companies. The venture firm’s current and former investments in the energy storage space also include Zettacore (nanomaterials – out of business), eSionic (energy storage based on proprietary molecular systems), EEStor (ultra-capacitor company tied up with ZENN Motor Company), and QuantumScape (electron/hole redox).

Attend the grid energy storage session at our upcoming Cleantech Forum San Francisco, March 11-13 for a chance to hear from stakeholders like the California Energy Commission, Flextronics, ARPA-E, and LightSail Energy.