Reliance Industries & Other Investors Pump $144M into New Battery Startup Ambri

August 28, 2021 by Shannon Cuthrell

Backed by Bill Gates and other high-profile investors, Ambri plans to use the new funding to commercialize its long-duration battery system and build a high-volume manufacturing facility.

Massachusetts battery startup Ambri recently raised $144 million from a mix of high-profile investors to take its liquid metal battery and energy storage system to the market and build a high-volume manufacturing facility.

Ambri’s liquid metal battery product. Image courtesy of Ambri

The round was led by Reliance New Energy Solar, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, along with New York-based hedge fund Paulson & Co. It also included Ambri’s largest shareholder, billionaire, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and a handful of new investors, including New York investment firm Fortistar, natural resource investor Goehring & Rozencwajg Associates, and the $100 million Japan Energy Fund.

Reliance New Energy Solar will develop and manufacture Ambri’s batteries in India as part of the newly-announced Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex, a 5,000-acre integrated renewable manufacturing facility to produce solar units, batteries for energy storage, fuel, and green hydrogen.

Ambri also signed a long-term supply agreement with Paulson & Co. backed natural resource firm Perpetua Resources, which will provide antimony from its Stibnite Gold Project in central Idaho. With antimony being a key mineral within Ambri’s battery system, the agreement would help to secure a domestic source for its supply chain, the announcement said.

Ambri’s weatherproof liquid metal battery and storage product contains shelves of cells, a battery management system, and thermal management capabilities designed for high-energy applications that require frequent cycling, long battery life, and high efficiency. The company touts its zero-maintenance and low-cost selling points.

In announcing the fundraise, Ambri said it would manufacture calcium and antimony electrode-based cells and containerized systems that are lower cost than lithium-ion batteries, operate in any climatic environment, and last over 20 years with little degradation. As it secures large-scale project customers, the company expects commercial operations to kick off in 2023.

Ambri is tapping heightened demand from the grid-scale energy storage market and large industrial energy customers, such as data centers. Last year, the company signed an agreement with data center firm TerraScale to integrate its energy storage system into the 3,700-acre Energos Reno data center project in Nevada.

Ambri was founded in 2010 as a spinout of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, starting with a 2007 project to build a high-amperage energy storage device. The company has since raised over $211 million through five funding rounds, according to Crunchbase data. Gates was an early investor, joining its first Series A round in 2011.

Another firm backed by Gates, KoBold Metals, recently announced a $15 million project in Greenland to search for nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum—all metals used in electric vehicle production. Gates funded the company through his Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, which includes participation from other prominent investors like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg.