In a world where traditional startups often spend a decade in the laboratory perfecting their innovations, Peak Energy takes a different approach. Veterans of the battery industry have joined forces for Peak Energy’s launch, a groundbreaking initiative with a mission to revolutionize renewable energy storage through the mass production of giant batteries.
“A normal Silicon Valley startup is 10 years in the lab, comes up with a better mousetrap, and goes to market. We’re completely the opposite.”
– Cameron Dales, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Peak Energy
These batteries to store solar energy, are designed to address the inherent fluctuations in power generation from renewable sources like solar and wind. Peak Energy’s primary objective is to rapidly scale up the production of sodium-ion batteries within the United States.
Peak Energy Launch: Emerging From The Depths Of Stealth Mode
Unlike many startups, Peak Energy isn’t focused on inventing a new technology from scratch. Instead, it aims to collaborate with a technology company (which is yet to be selected) already well-versed in battery technology but lacking the capacity to scale up manufacturing.
Landon Mossburg, the CEO of Peak Energy, highlighted the rarity of manufacturing scalability in the battery market.
“The difficulty of manufacturing scale-up is one of the reasons you see so many ‘breakthrough battery technology’ announcements but very, very few companies who actually reach the market.”
Peak Energy emerged from stealth mode in June and has already garnered significant attention, announcing a $10 million funding round led by Greg Reichow at Eclipse, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Reichow, a former Tesla executive, was responsible for battery, motor, and electronics manufacturing during his tenure at the Elon Musk-led automaker, making him a valuable addition to the Peak Energy team.
TDK Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the multinational electronics company TDK, also joined the funding round.
Challenges For Making Batteries To Store Solar Energy
The central challenge facing the expansion of renewable energy sources is grid-scale battery storage.
Existing technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, have not yet reached a price point that allows for the required scaling across various sectors. The United States Energy Information Administration forecasts substantial growth in battery storage capacity, from 9 gigawatts in 2022 to 247 gigawatts in 2050. Peak Energy aims to play a pivotal role in meeting this demand.
While still in its nascent stages with around 10 employees and a San Francisco office, Peak Energy has ambitious plans. The team is set to triple in size in the coming months, with the goal of producing prototype battery systems by 2024. By 2030, the company envisions producing “double-digit gigawatt” quantities of battery cells for both its proprietary battery systems and other applications.
Why Peak Energy’s Launch Has Driven Leaders
Building gigawatt-scale battery factories requires substantial investment, ranging from $50 million to $100 million per gigawatt. Such factories typically employ thousands of people and occupy immense spaces. However, Mossburg, who previously worked at Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing company, has experience in rapidly scaling production and securing substantial financing. Northvolt, founded by a former Tesla executive, Peter Carlsson, experienced remarkable growth during Mossburg’s tenure.
Peak Energy Inspires From Northvolt, Tesla
Peak Energy’s launch intends to follow a similar playbook to Northvolt, starting with a small seed round of funding and subsequently raising substantial amounts of equity and debt.
“Peak Energy’s team comprises two industry veteran leaders who have scaled a battery company before.”
– Anil Achyuta, TDK Ventures
What Is Peak Energy’s Vision For Batteries To Store Solar Energy?
Peak Energy’s primary focus is on the development of large sodium-ion battery systems tailored for integration with wind and solar energy production facilities. These grid-scale batteries store excess energy generated from renewable sources and release it during periods of low generation.
The company manufactures individual battery cells, which are then combined into modules, further assembled into batteries the size of tractor-trailer trucks, and deployed alongside renewable energy farms in batches of 50 to 100 units. Remarkably, 100 such blocks can power 62,500 homes for four hours.
Compared to the conventional lithium-ion batteries used in consumer electronics and electric vehicles, sodium-ion batteries are less energy-dense and heavier. Peak Energy believes that sodium-ion batteries will eventually surpass lithium-ion in cost-efficiency, potentially halving the cost of systems like Tesla’s Megapack.
Moreover, lithium-ion batteries present fire hazards, and the growing electric vehicle market consumes a significant portion of the available supply. As Dales pointed out, utilities often face supply constraints because automotive manufacturers prioritize lithium-ion battery production.
Peak Energy’s decision to manufacture in the United States not only mitigates the geo-political risks but also aligns with climate-conscious practices.
By harnessing the expertise of industry veterans like Greg Reichow and Cameron Dales, Peak Energy aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, renewable energy future powered by large-scale sodium-ion batteries.