Natron Energy, a developer of new battery products using Prussian blue electrode chemistry, has closed a strategic investment by Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) to support the development of stationary energy storage systems for demand charge management at electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Natron Energy will adapt its battery technology, originally developed for data center and utility-scale applications, to meet the power requirements of the emerging EV fast charging market.
Prussian blue dye, commonly used in blueprints, stores and releases energy in the form of sodium ions. Natron Energy said that, unlike the electrode materials found in most lithium ion batteries, Prussian blue benefits from widespread availability and low cost that make the batteries an economically attractive, environmentally friendly technology.
“Vehicle electrification will be one of the defining economic trends of the next decade. Widespread EV adoption depends in part on technologies that enable ubiquitous fast charging and that mitigate drivers’ range anxiety. As a global leader in transportation energy services, Chevron has recognized this,” said Colin Wessells, CEO at Natron Energy, Santa Clara, Calif. “We are thrilled that CTV has chosen to support Natron. This investment provides a terrific boost to us as we develop and demonstrate energy storage products that will make fast charging stations a reality.”
Natron’s patented technology uses Prussian blue pigments in the positive and negative electrode of the battery. Prussian blue has a unique structure and composition that allow it to store energy much more rapidly and reversibly than other types of battery electrodes, said Natron Energy. Batteries based on Prussian blue can be fully charged and discharged tens of thousands of times at very high power. Natron builds its batteries using commodity materials on existing cell manufacturing lines.
The technology has allowed Natron to reportedly build the first battery in which chemistry does not limit the lifetime of the system, opening new opportunities for energy storage to support EV charging, renewables and industrial applications. In addition, Natron’s batteries are nonflammable during overcharge, hard short circuit, nail penetration and under external heating to over 200° C.
“Chevron Technology Ventures is excited about the opportunity to support Natron Energy’s development of high-performance energy storage systems,” said Jesse Teichman, who led the investment by CTV. “The high-power density and fast charging time of Natron’s unique battery technology make it an attractive storage solution for the EV station of the future.”
Natron was founded as Alveo Energy in 2012 as a spin-out from research originally performed at Stanford University.