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Softbank Fund Makes Energy-Storage Bet With an Unusual Battery

  • Fund invests $110 million in Swiss startup Energy Vault
  • Energy storage system uses concrete to convert kinetic energy
Energy Vault’s concept uses concrete blocks to store energy.
Energy Vault’s concept uses concrete blocks to store energy.Source: Energy Vault
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SoftBank Group Corp.’s massive Vision Fund is making its first-ever energy storage bet -- and it’s on a rather unconventional type of battery.

The fund, created by Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group Corp., is investing $110 million in Energy Vault, a Swiss startup that’s using cranes and concrete to store energy. An electric crane hoists up blocks of concrete and stacks them into a tower when power is plentiful. When power is needed, it uses gravity to take the structure apart brick by brick. The weight of the descending blocks converts kinetic energy into electricity.