CEMEX Ventures, the open innovation and Corporate Venture Capital unit of CEMEX, announced today its investment in Energy Vault, an Idealab company that has developed a transformative technology to store energy. The new investment is further reinforced by plans to support rapid market adoption and deployment of Energy Vault’s technology through CEMEX’s strategic network.
Energy Vault’s transformative energy storage technology solves a key challenge for renewables, which have struggled to replace, in a significant manner, fossil fuel power due to production unpredictability and intermittency of wind and sunlight. Consequently, energy storage solutions that can harness energy from renewable sources become vital if cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy are sought.
In the absence of longer duration and more cost-effective energy storage, the amount of electricity that can be delivered to the grid from renewable energy sources, even though now widely affordable, has been limited.
For the first time, Energy Vault’s system enables renewables to deliver baseload power below the cost of fossil fuels 24 hours a day.
This investment follows a previously announced technology partnership with CEMEX to provide concrete and other composite material technology for Energy Vault’s storage towers.
Energy Vault’s breakthrough technology was inspired by pumped hydro plants that rely on the power of gravity and the movement of water to store and discharge electricity. This solution is based on the same well-understood principles of physics and mechanical engineering used in those plants. Energy Vault’s system replaces water with custom made concrete bricks through an innovative use of low-cost materials. The massive bricks are combined with its patented system design and proprietary algorithm-based software to operate a newly designed crane. The crane orchestrates the energy storage tower and electricity charge/discharge while accounting for a variety of factors, including energy supply and demand volatility, weather elements and other variables such as inertia and system deflection.
As a result, Energy Vault can deliver all the benefits of a gravity-based pumped hydro system with lower price, higher round trip efficiency, without the requirement for specific land topographies and negative environmental or wildlife impacts. Importantly, with Energy Vault’s longer duration and more cost-effective energy storage, electricity from renewables can be delivered for less than the price of fossil fuels 24 hours a day for the first time. In April 2019, Energy Vault won the World Changing Idea Award from Fast Company in the Energy category for the unprecedented economic and environmental benefits its technology provides.
“Energy storage that enables power to be delivered for less than the cost of fossil fuels is critical as the world shifts away from its reliance on carbon-based fuels to renewable energy,” said Gonzalo Galindo, CEO of CEMEX Ventures. “Energy Vault’s storage technology is transformational, and we’re extremely pleased to broaden our relationship and support the company’s efforts. The investment is also important because it complements the CEMEX R&D partnership and will accelerate our corporate objectives to achieve a carbon-free industrial footprint.”
“CEMEX is a key strategic partner that adds critical innovations in material science that enhance both the economics and longevity of our energy storage system, and we’re thrilled to expand our partnership to welcome CEMEX Ventures as an investor,” said Robert Piconi, chief executive officer and co-founder, Energy Vault. “The combination of CEMEX’s smart concrete solutions, significant global infrastructure and now its strategic investment will accelerate our ability to enable renewable energy to replace fossil fuels 24 hours a day.”
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