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Huge iron batteries could hold the key to displacing natural gas from the grid – londonbusinessblog.com

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VoltStorage’s iron-salt batteries help land the $24 million Series C of Cummins, the diesel engine giant

With the approaching approval of the Inflation Reduction Act, renewables are about to take another shock in the U.S. They are already some of the cheapest sources of electricity to build and use, but they haven’t taken over because they often depend on the weather.

The simple solution is to store excess power generated, but that increases the overall cost of renewable energy. That’s the start of a race among startups to find the cheapest way to do this, from batteries to compressed air and even giant concrete blocks.

The frontrunner so far appears to be batteries, many of which use the same lithium-ion chemistry found in EV batteries. The scale of EV battery production makes lithium-ion readily available, giving it a foothold in the industry, but the long-term prospects for grid-scale storage are murkier given the high cost of materials.

Competition for battery materials is increasing and there are many uses for batteries outside of EVs. That is why some companies, such as the German VoltStoragetrying to build batteries using the cheapest, most available materials – mainly iron.

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