Battery Startups Are Working To Disrupt More Than Just Cars and Trucks

Battery Startups Are Working To Disrupt More Than Just Cars and Trucks

Everyone is presenting their cells as the ones to get people to trade in their gas-guzzling SUVs for stylish, quick-charging electric cars with cross-country range, even if they’re actually aiming something different, according to an open secret in the battery startup industry. Certain businesses will undoubtedly surpass the consistent 5 percent yearly advances made by lithium-ion batteries over the past few years. (While most won’t, businesses shouldn’t stop trying nonetheless!). The EV pitch, though, isn’t always anything more than that. It’s practically required for battery companies to include it in their press releases and pitch decks. Startups would be negligent if they failed to at least acknowledge the large potential market. Investors like the growth possibilities that EVs represent.

Money has been flooding into battery firms as investors have recognized the EV market’s limitless potential. According to a TechCrunch and PitchBook report, the industry has received $42 billion in venture capital and growth equity investments just in the previous five years. EVs are only one aspect of the story, though. The truth is that firms like Form Energy and EcoFlow no longer need to pretend that they’re going to be the Next Big Thing in electrified mobility since batteries have significantly improved in the past 10 years. Instead, they might admit that other sectors of the economy are much more vulnerable to disruption from them.

Natron Energy is one of the most recent instances. After its CEO, Colin Wessells, developed a battery that employed Prussian blue—the colour that transformed the art world in the 18th and 19th centuries—instead of nickel or cobalt, Natron was created a decade ago. Wessells discovered a method to create a commercially viable cell utilizing a variation of the pigment combined with a sodium-based electrolyte. Other researchers have investigated the use of Prussian blue in batteries for decades. 

The materials it doesn’t use, like as lithium, cobalt, nickel, or other rare elements whose prices have soared in recent months, may be more significant than the resources it does use. But aside from a brief, virtually insubstantial reference to EVs in a recent press release, Natron has refocused the business to better capitalize on other industries where its cells are more competitive.