Aquion to Begin Commercial Battery Shipments This Year, CEO Says

Aquion Energy Inc., the energy-storage developer backed by Bill Gates and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, expects to begin commercial shipments of batteries in mid-2014.

“We’re looking to start scaling the business,” Chief Executive Officer Scott Pearson said today in a telephone interview. “We’re going to be shipping megawatt-hours per quarter this year and tens of megawatt-hours next year.”

The closely held company, based in Pittsburgh, makes aqueous hybrid ion batteries that use saltwater to conduct electricity. The stackable units each hold 1.7 kilowatt-hours of energy. They’re designed to hold charges for several hours and may be drained and recharged daily. The technology is based on research conducted at Carnegie Mellon University.

Energy-storage systems may be installed with renewable-energy projects to offset the intermittent generation of wind and solar farms. Homeowners may combine the batteries with rooftop solar panels to store power for use at night, reducing the amount of electricity they purchase from utilities. A typical residential installation would need between four and 12 batteries, Pearson said.

“Ideally, you discharge the battery down to zero overnight if you’ve sized it correctly,” he said.

Pearson declined to say how much the batteries cost or who’s ordering them.

Aquion has raised almost $100 million in equity and “certainly next year” will pursue another funding round, Pearson said.

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