Gates backs battery company Aquion

Bill Gates has bet on energy storage again. And this time the lucky recipient has been start-up Aquion Energy, which has just picked up USD$35 million from Mr Microsoft plus Bright Capital, Gentry Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Advanced Technology Ventures. Aquion’s win is significant as its product breaks with dominant lithium-ion consensus.

The ‘Aqueous Hybrid Ion’ battery consists of an anode made of activated carbon, a cathode made from sodium and magnesium oxide and a water-based electrolyte. GreenTechMedia reports that the firm wants to build a factory with a capacity of 500 megawatt-hours’ worth of batteries a year in 2013 and 2014. Aimed at grid-scale applications, the batteries provide two to six hours of storage.

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