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Koch Industries subsidiary invests US$100m in zinc battery energy storage company Eos

Inside zinc hybrid cathode battery cell stack, shown on display by Eos at the Solar Power International show in California in 2018. Image: Andy Colthorpe / Solar Media.

NASDAQ-listed zinc-based electrochemical battery storage provider Eos Energy Enterprises has said that a subsidiary of Koch Industries has committed to investing US$100 million into the company.

Koch Strategic Platforms, one of six subsidiaries of Koch Investments Group, which in turn is owned by Koch Industries, will purchase convertible senior notes worth that amount at an initial conversion price of about US$20 per share of Eos’ Common Stock.

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The convertible notes mature in June 2026, unless they are repurchased, redeemed or converted before that time, with interest to be paid semi-annually. Eos is to pay cash interest rates of 5% per year, or payments with 6% interest rates per year if made in additional note issues.

Koch Industries was for a long time primarily associated with the oil industry. Brothers Charles and the late David Koch who founded the company were accused by environmental groups including Greenpeace of funding millions of dollars worth of campaigns to “make Americans doubt the seriousness of global warming,” often through secretive and opaque non-profit organisations.

Koch Industries has diversified to be involved in numerous sectors, from packaging and industrial glass to cattle, through the various companies it owns, while Koch Investments Group claims to have deployed more than US$60 billion globally across public and private capital markets over the past decade through its subsidiaries. Koch Strategic Platforms is its subsidiary launched in 2020, for investing in innovative companies in “new economy” industries that are focused on growth and are of strategic importance.

Meanwhile, Eos Energy Enterprises, known as Eos Energy Storage prior to its merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) B Riley Financial Corp, which led to its public listing earlier this year, manufactures Znyth, an aqueous zinc battery storage technology which the company claims is suitable for long-duration applications requiring 3-12 hours of energy. Eos has manufacturing facilities in Pittsburgh and recently bought out its manufacturing joint venture (JV) that was set up with nuclear equipment and services group Holtec.

In Eos’ most recent quarterly financial results, published in May, the company noted that it had booked US$33 million of orders — 141MWh of systems — in the year to date, part of a total order backlog of about US$50.5 million. reported at the time that while the company’s order book and project pipeline had grown significantly, the company also incurred significant costs associated with its efforts to scale up both manufacturing and deployments, signifying both the potential for the technology as well as the commercialisation challenges ahead.

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