Khosla Ventures Bets on Liquid Metal Battery’s Energy Storage Tech

5/30/12Follow @xconomy

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intense engineering to arrange the different membrane layers,” he says.

Or, as Chung explains: “It’s filling canisters with a type of material, letting it settle for the different layers, and having a working battery.” He says the cheap manufacturing process was a big draw for his firm.

The technology could be used to store and bring energy from renewable sources like wind and solar to the grid, and also bring electricity to parts of the world that don’t have it. Chung says this is key for countries like India and China, “where the growth in energy demand has gone up tenfold in three decades,” and causes power outages.

Customers would be electric utilities, power producers, and even large commercial users. Giudice says putting the storage technology in the hands of the end user will allow big cities to manage energy demand and supply. Electricity is most expensive to bring in around times of peak demand like late afternoon, but the storage technology would enable users to transport electricity during slower and less expensive times, like the dead of night, for later use during peak demand hours.

The Series B funding will help Liquid Metal Battery in its pre-commercial stage, as it tests out the technology at scale and tests battery runs and charging cycles, Giudice says. The goal is to have commercial modules on the market by 2014.

He says his company chose Khosla because the firm “sees the world as needing big things to change—they’re investing in companies they think are going to have a big role to make big changes happen.”

Chung concurs. “We like to look for black swan type of opportunities that have the ability to overturn an industry,” he says.

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