Aquion Energy Bankruptcy: "Did the "Breakthrough Energy Ventures" shut it down?"
Aquion Energy is filing for bankruptcy. The technology had major promise as being a viable balance of systems component in renewable energy and distributed generation markets.
The statement coming from Aquion is officially...
"Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern,"
stated Scott Pearson, Aquion's outgoing Chief Executive Officer and Suzanne Roski, who is the now Company's Chief Restructuring Officer.
The timing seems very odd however when you look at who Aquion has gotten their funding from, including Bill Gates. Gates, who has formed a coalition of 20 billionaires from around the world now suddenly seems unwilling to fund the operation's growth and see to it that these make a real impact in the renewable energy market. It makes you wonder what the real strategy is from the investment tycoons.
Just last December of 2016, a very short period ago, Gates claims to have launched a $1 Billion Dollar "Energy Investment Fund". His strategy to pool billionaire's money into one pot is called the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund. It is a combination of his coalition and also a partnership of the Mission Innovation, which is a group of 20 countries and the European Union that is pledging to double their investments in clean energy research over 5 years.
The Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund is, according to Forbes Magazine
"The investors in Breakthrough Energy Ventures have a high tolerance for risk and are willing to wait longer than typical venture funds for a return on their investment -- they're calling it a 20 year fund."
So, incredibly in less than 3 months since they make these very public and aggressive claims, they are planning to put this saltwater battery technology to rest? Lets take a look at some of the comparisons being made to it's closest technological competitors.
First we'll look at a simple comparison of "Saltwater" vs "lead acid"
This battery demolishes the lead acid competition in all of those criteria. What's interesting to look at is how well the saltwater battery does under higher ambient temperatures compared to the lead alternative and actually, the standard as it stands today. Yet when you look at all of this from the prospective of the developing countries like Latin America, The Caribbean, and South America, they would have a tremendous amount to gain from this form of battery storage. There are actually places where recycled batteries go (far from the US) where, fishermen use them for anchors. It doesn't come as a surprise that much of the 3rd world faces toxicity far beyond levels seen in the states. So from an environmental stand point, these batteries offer a solution to develop a distributed grid and micro grids where power was scarce before, and without the waste of lead acid batteries. This could be achieved through proper distribution chains that ensure the Saltwater batteries have somewhere to go after their lifespan. Hey, don't those Global Super Hero Environmentalists have 20 year plans???
However, balance of systems components need to start compete better with the price of the old lead acid battery that is absolutely everywhere. Yet, as you'll begin to recognize from reading my take on journalism, the price of things and cost of things are two very different subjects. An example is the hidden cost of lead on the environment that might not be in the price of the battery itself. Technology has also a wide range of value based on its available locations globally.
Again, if you look at these benefits of this technology from a stand point of off grid or grid-interactive systems in rural areas of the globe, you can see it just pulverize Lithium Ion in a 'Risk Reward' disappointment for LI.
If you look at the operating temperature you'll also notice how well the batteries do in a tropical climate such as Latin America.
This is particularly interesting from the standpoint of shipping. Since the shipment is classified as Standard goods then you must presume in the vast container ships all over the world that these would be relatively difficult for governments to stop or really track without the special handling classifications that other batteries have. This aspect would make them ideal for deployment, however their physical size is the drawback.
Think the Breakthrough Group doesn't understand shipping? Quote from Forbes
"The group has spelled out five “grand challenges” which it says are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions around the world: electricity, buildings, manufacturing, transportation and food. On its website the group spells out more specific technologies within each of these challenges in what it calls the "The Landscape of Innovation."
Who are the Breakthrough Energy Ventures?
According to forbes and their website
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, U.K. hedge fund manager Chris Hohn, Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, Chinese real estate developers Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, French telecom tycoon Xavier Niel, South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, German software entrepreneur Hasso Plattner (cofounder of SAP), U.S. finance titan Julian Robertson and Japanese entreprenuer and telecom investor Masayoshi Son
Many of these people have ties to the running pyramid scheme known as Tesla. Much of their public and private agendas involve some form or another or centralization and you'll notice quite a lot of energy failures among many of their past investments. This week following the announcement by Aquion, Musk also announced that he would again be issuing more stock for venture capital to flow into his abyss of funds for centralization.
Musk will be favored no doubt by these investors as his product of Lithium is related to power as opposed to long term storage. You'll also find many connections to the military and various government agencies when it comes to lithium batteries and the plan for humanities future. The main focus of many of the elite investors is not to develop disruptive technologies that allow for peace to break out and sustainability to reign. All of this advancement in technology for the future is over-seen by the movers and shakers of our time. Many of these issues overlap into areas of currencies, energy, and various other technologies and resources that serve the western business model. Technologies such as clean batteries with a 3,000 cycle life is inherently opposed to the western business model of centralization. It will be interesting to see where the technology goes after it is sold, my bet it will go to a private unknown little firm who then mothballs it.
Ideally, it should go to someone or some organization who is dedicated to distributed generation from the bottom up.