It’s hard to bring new battery types to market, and many battery startups have folded under the demands of scaling up production of a new chemistry. Form Energy has yet to start commercial manufacturing in its factory or install any commercial systems with customers. Getting those systems built, installed, and running will be crucial to reveal how well iron-air batteries work in real-world conditions.
Plenty of other technologies are also out there vying for a spot on the grid. From other iron-based batteries, like those from ESS Inc., to zinc-based options from Eos, to the incumbent lithium-ion batteries of all shapes and sizes, there’s a wide range of competition in energy storage. There are even physical systems that go beyond batteries. Iron-air batteries will need to meet promises for cost and performance to carve out a section of the growing market.
Form Energy started building a new factory in May in West Virginia, on the site of an old steel mill. The company plans to start making batteries there in 2024 and scale to its full capacity by 2028.
In addition to building and starting up its factory, the next few years could see Form install its first commercial projects. First on the schedule is the company’s project with Great River Energy, a pilot system that can store 150 megawatt-hours of electricity. That’s expected to come online in late 2024.
The company recently announced plans for two larger energy storage systems that can store 1,000 MWh of electricity each, one in Minnesota and another in Colorado. Those facilities could come online as early as 2025, though the site in Colorado still need state regulatory approval. A third system is planned for New York, due to start operations by 2026.
Correction: This story was updated to accurately reflect the state of the company’s regulatory approvals for its systems.
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