Eos’ Joe Mastrangelo: ‘Multiple storage technologies are needed’

BY BEN COOK

  • Eos listed 15 months ago and now has booked orders of $137.4 million
  • Its technology has 3-12 hours discharge capability
  • But CEO says market will need a range of storage technologies

Though Eos Energy has grown dramatically since it became a listed company, CEO Joe Mastrangelo won’t be making any outlandish claims about how Eos’ technology is going to dominate the industry.

His assessment is that there will be a need for a variety of storage technologies in order to meet the differing demands of the market.

But what he does say is that Eos will have a major role to play in the evolution of the storage sector.

It’s 15 months since the New Jersey-headquartered company listed on Nasdaq, raising around $126 million.

Since then, the company has grown to more than 200 employees and, as of November last year, had booked orders of $137.4 million in 2021, resulting in a backlog of $151.8 million.

Recent highlights for Eos have included the development of a manufacturing facility in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, 12 miles south-east of Pittsburgh. The company is currently at 200MWh of production capacity but hopes to hit 800MWh by the end of the year.

Eos’ energy storage systems – which, it says, utilise “accessible non-precious earth components” – have 3-12 hours of discharge capability and have what the company describes as a “wide operating temperature range to enable deployment without the use of dedicated heating or cooling”.

Energy Storage Report spoke to Mastrangelo about recent developments at Eos, the market segments the company is targeting, the biggest challenges the company faces, and the emerging trends in the storage sector.

In what is becoming an increasingly competitive energy storage market, what would you say distinguishes Eos Energy’s offering?

Joe Mastrangelo: First, the flexibility of how the technology operates, and this is flexibility in a few forms. You can discharge anywhere from three to 13 hours of energy, you can operate anywhere from minus 20C up to 50C. That flexibility and robustness of design is very important. You’ve got a very cost-competitive product from the standpoint of accessible earth components that are abundant and a very simple capital-efficient manufacturing process. It’s also a safe product, so you don’t have the thermal runaway risk that you see with lithium-ion. At the same time, there’s nothing toxic in the battery. Every material in the battery is fully recycled at the end of its useful life.

What would you say have been the key developments at Eos in the last 12 months?

JM: I’d highlight three things. We’ve now got a fully functioning operating factory that’s delivering product to the field. When you look at alternatives to lithium-ion technologies, we’re the one that is installing and operating assets out in the field. Secondly, we’re building up our backlog – to go from when we went public with $5 million in the backlog to above $130 million now, that’s quite an accomplishment in a very short period of time with a very robust pipeline. The third thing, which is the most important thing for the future of the company is the leadership team and the talent that we’re attracting to the organization to be able to position it for future success.

The company has gone public, its attracting new talent, how has all this impacted on the way Eos functions?

JM: I think every company goes through this evolution as you go from R&D experimentation, fast iteration on designs to being a commercialized industrial company that consistently delivers. We don’t want to lose the first part because that made us very successful. But that R&D experimentation heritage is not going to make you successful and you’ve got to consistently deliver. When you look at what we’ve done, we’ve supplemented the great people that we had that developed the product with great talent with deep industrial expertise to be able to grow the company and deliver for the future. 

What market segments are you targeting?

JM: We’re in two main segments. Firstly, front-of-the-meter, utility scale storage, that’s a lot of solar plus storage and what I would call locational capacity storage that’s not associated with a generating asset, but takes power off the grid when there’s excess supply and puts it back on when you have increased demand. That’s a market that’s growing for us and we’re able to scale quickly.

At the same time, we’re developing our behind-the-meter strategy – commercial, industrial, inside buildings and urban settings. We’re going to have to do that with partners in different industry verticals, but the beauty of our product is it’s very simple. You don’t need ancillary systems, you don’t need complex control systems to run – the system can sit at zero charge for extended periods of time and operate. In the behind-the-meter market, where you’re going to have people who say ‘I just want to use a system, I don’t have a large team of engineers’, we offer a simple, robust, safe, reliable solution for that.

Where do you conduct most of your business?

JM: The lion’s share is in the US. However, when you look at the backlog, we do have a system that we’re commissioning in Nigeria, we have a system in Greece and we have two pilot projects in India that we’re bringing into operation.

Do you think non-US business will become a bigger share of what you do?

JM: It will grow. But when you look at where the majority of the opportunities are right now, a lot of them are in the US. And then, given the size of our company, we’ve got to be very thoughtful about what we do internationally because you don’t want to stretch your supply lines so much as a small company.

Will there be any significant developments at the company in the coming 12 months?

JM: We’re at around 250MWh of production and by the end of the year we want to be at 800MWh and then we want to expand beyond that. So that’s a big project that we have underway. You see the production rates going up and the yields on the product going up, which will allow us to expand and grow more orders.

You mentioned solar and storage earlier, do you see any opportunities in wind and storage?

JM: There are opportunities. I think it will be different to the way solar works, but there is a lot of potential there. Solar is relatively predictive, you know when the sun’s going to be out, when it’s going to be dark, whereas wind, there’s a lot more variability and we’re working with people to show them how being able to charge at different speeds and discharge at different speeds marries up well with wind.

What would you say are the biggest challenges in the day-to-day running of the business?

JM: This is the most challenging global supply chain environment that I’ve seen. Every day, a challenge pops up and you’ve got to overcome the challenge to keep running. You have to have strong relationships with your supplier base and you can’t think of them as suppliers. They’ve truly got to be partners – we’re bringing in all of our main suppliers to walk them through what our demand looks like for the year, so they can get lined up.

What do you think will be the emerging trends in the storage industry in the coming year?

JM: I think we’re going to need multiple technologies to meet the demand out there. I’d love to tell you EOS’ technology is going to be 50%, 60% of the market, but that would be disingenuous. Energy is going to be a mix. It always has been, and it always will be. I think we play a large role in that mix given the flexibility that we have – no other technology that we see on the marketplace offers that.

I think the other thing is, although renewables are growing, I don’t discount the fact that natural gas is going play a large role in the energy mix as we move forward. And I think you’re going to increasingly see a marrying up of storage with gas turbines, making them more flexible and greener.

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