Form Energy’s iron-air battery on pace for 2024 launch with $450M Series E

Form Energy closed a $450 million Series E fundraising round yesterday to continue its work turning iron into rust.

The round was led by TPG Rise Climate and joined by new investors GIC and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Existing investors ArcelorMittal, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, Coatue, Energy Impact Partners, The Engine, NGP ETP, Temasek, Prelude Ventures and VamosVentures provided follow-on capital.

Such large rounds are becoming commonplace in the battery industry as startups transition from research and development to manufacturing and commercialization.

Form is one of many battery tech companies that have popped up over the past decade, though it’s taking a different tack from many others. Where most companies are focusing on lithium ion-related chemistries, the startup has been pursuing iron-air batteries. That means its cells don’t rely on expensive and supply-constrained minerals like lithium, cobalt or nickel. Form will start commercial production in late 2024, and it’s aiming to eventually produce its battery packs for less than $20 per kWh.

If the company can hit its target, it would hasten the shift toward renewable power. Already, solar and wind are price-competitive with fossil fuel plants, and in some cases they’re cheaper than running existing natural gas-fired plants. Adding inexpensive storage to contain cheap power would make renewables competitive in more locations.

Form already has a contract with Great River Energy in Minnesota to install a 150-MWh battery, and it’s working with Southern Company to explore a similar pilot in Georgia.

It’s one of a growing number of battery companies that are ignoring EVs in favor of other markets that are key to the energy transition. Form’s batteries are heavy and large, but also inexpensive and long-lasting, all qualities that are ideal for storing excess renewable energy.