West Virginia governor Jim Justice has signed off on a US$105 million grant to Form Energy for its iron-air battery plant in the state in a ceremony.
The signing ceremony on 24 February saw Justice officialise House Bill 2882, which appropriates US$105 million to the West Virginia Economic Development Project Fund to be used for the startup’s first manufacturing facility.
Form Energy will invest a total of US$760 million in the plant, which will begin construction this year for a 2024 commercial manufacturing start date.
The factory will be on the former site of Weirton Steel, founded in 1909 and at one time the largest producer globally of tin plate products. Former industrial locations that have been in steady decline for decades like Weirton characterise what is known as the ‘Rust Belt’ of the US, and project’s like Form Energy’s – whose battery technology is based on iron rusting – are aimed at revitalising such places.
Speaking at the ceremony, Justice said: “Today, we’re landmarking a new day where this community will thrive beyond belief. It’s incredible this is going to bring 750 great-paying jobs. I thank the West Virginia Legislature for appropriating the necessary funds to make this happen. We all see the potential of this area and company, and I’m thankful we can celebrate another step in this transformational project.”
The company claims its battery technology, which oxidises metallic iron to discharge and converts it back into iron during charging, can offer durations of up to 100 hours.
Mateo Jaramillo, co-founder and CEO of Form Energy noted at the ceremony, “It is exciting to be here today at the home of our first commercial battery manufacturing facility where we will soon break ground on construction.”
The company is in talks with utility Xcel Energy to deploy 100-hour projects at retiring coal plants and raised US$450 million to commercialise its technology in October last year.
CEO Jaramillo did a year-in-review Q&A interview with Energy-Storage.news for the turn of 2022/23.
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