Energy Vault asks investors to bet on pre-commercial gravity storage tech ahead of NYSE listing

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Energy Vault’s existing 5MW demonstrator project in Switzerland. Image: Energy Vault.

Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Novus Capital Corporation II chose to merge with novel gravity and kinetic energy-based storage company Energy Vault after receiving target proposals from more than 100 different firms. 

Energy Vault has been valued at more than US$1.1 billion and the merger would list the combined business — effectively continuing to trade as Energy Vault — on the New York Stock Exchange, reported in September as the proposed deal was announced

Delaware-incorporated blank cheque corporation Novus Capital has filed a Form S-4 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), outlining the terms and details of the transaction, which will follow a meeting of the SPAC’s shareholders and the passing of regulatory approvals. 

Energy Vault has only built one energy storage system to date, a 5MW commercial demonstrator project in Switzerland and is yet to sell secure any sales. Indeed, according to the Form S-4, the company has also yet to perfect the design of the large-scale systems it is marketing.

Yet Novus Capital leadership found the high growth potential of the renewable energy storage market and Energy Vault’s “competitive approach” to address this global need, based on its potential to deliver storage with lower levelised costs to operate and higher efficiency than competing mechanical and thermodynamic technologies among compelling reasons to propose the merger transaction. 

Novus was looking for opportunities across a range of industries and technologies, originally seeking to acquire a high growth company but decided instead on the merger strategy once Energy Vault had been identified and engaged with.

Despite the lack of sales, Energy Vault has found some high profile investors, among them Saudi Aramco, Softbank Vision Fund and Enel Green Power, the latter a strategic partner. In August it closed a Series C funding round which raised US$100 million.

It has also got an experienced management team and the principles of its technology, which involves hoisting 35 tonne weights on cranes and lowering them to release energy, could offer a high level of sustainability, being made using abundant and recyclable materials, Novus said. 

The energy storage company made losses of around US$25 million last calendar year and admitted it faces the challenges of developing the final design of its platforms to be cost-competitive with other technologies over a number of years, which will make it challenging to turn a profit and maintain that status. 

Assuming no public stockholders exercise redemption rights and no earn out shares are issued following the combination, Energy Vault stockholders will own 70.7% of total shares in the combined company, subscribers to a private investment in public equity (PIPE) commitment will own around 6.5%, public stockholders will own around 18.6%, holders of initial stockholder shares will own about 3.8% and holders of Novus Capital Corporation II shares will own approximately 0.4%. 

Energy Vault will be the latest novel energy storage tech provider to public list through a SPAC merger if the deal goes through: iron flow battery company ESS Inc got its NYSE listing a few days ago, while zinc battery storage provider Eos listed on NASDAQ just under a year ago.

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