ROUNDUP: Solid-state battery co targets BESS market after SPAC listing, CAISO passes 3GW of BESS, Funding for novel battery barge plan

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Dragonfly to go public via SPAC merger: “we are focused longer-term on grid storage”

Dragonfly Energy Corp, an energy storage company which has to-date focused on recreational vehicles (RV), marine and off-grid solar, is going public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Dragonfly entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Chardan NexTech
Acquisition 2 Corp on 16 May in a deal which values the resulting entity at US$500 million, with all existing Dragonfly shareholders rolling in their equity. It will list on the Nasdaq under the new ticker DFLI.

Dragonfly has created lithium-ion batteries equipped with a proprietary battery management system (BMS) that are currently used in RVs, marine vessels, material handling and off-grid residences and solar applications. But the company is keen to expand its penetration into the grid-connected residential and commercial & industrial (C&I) segments.

In an investor call about the transaction, CEO Dr Denis Phares said: “It is worth noting that our future aspirations are not related to electric vehicles. We are focused longer-term on grid storage. We want to make a storage battery that will facilitate the adoption of a smart grid, with a battery deployed in every home or business, on or off the grid.”

Part of this is a new all-solid-state battery technology it has developed in-house, which it said has the characteristics needed for grid-connected storage like low manufacturing costs, long cycle life and non-flammability. It aims to start cell manufacturing of this product line on US soil in the next 12-18 months.

In 2021, Dragonfly Energy Corp had revenue of US$78 million and adjusted EBITDA of US$8.7 million. The company will use the proceeds from the transaction to accelerate the market penetration of existing products and commercialise its solid state battery.

California ISO passes 3GW of grid-connected battery energy storage

In its Key Statistics report for April 2022, the California ISO (independent system operator) announced that 3,059MW of battery energy storage systems (BESS) is now installed on its grid.

The figure is 13-14% higher than March 2022’s c.2,700MW of installed capacity, meaning some 460MW of new BESS was added to CAISO’s reported data. A big chunk of this may have come from the 182.5MW/730MWh BESS at utility PG&E’s Moss Landing substation which was commissioned at the start of the month.

The grid operator expects to have around 4,000MW online by summer 2022. At the end of April, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved another 1.6GW of BESS projects from PG&E to come online from 2023-2026.

April also saw a new record set for the amount of load served by renewable energy sources at 99.87%, at 2.50 pm local time on April 30. The previous record of 97.6% was set at the start of the month.

PowerX raises US$32 million in first half of Series A

In another piece of marine energy storage news, Japanese startup PowerX has raised a 4.15 Billion JPY (US$32 million) in the first half of its Series A.

It will use the money raised to establish a domestic gigafactory assembling batteries to power its Power ARK, a battery storage vessel that would charge from offshore wind and then carry the power back to land. It will also increase its R&D efforts and grow the team from 30 currently.

The gigafactory, Power Base, will also assemble batteries for grid projects and EV fast chargers, the press release said.

Investors that took part in the first part of the Series A are Spiral Capital, Nippon Gas, Imabari Shipbuilding, NYK Line, Mitsui & Co., MUFG Bank, BEMAC Corporation, Japan Airlines & Translink Innovation Fund, Tokyo Century Corporation, Mizuho Capital and Future Creation Capital.

PowerX is hoping to replace fuel carrying ships which today import fossil fuels to Japan, providing almost 85% of the country’s power, and around the world.

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