Gates, Bezos bet on flow battery technology, a potential rival to big bets on lithium-ion

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H/O ESS containers

The U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow by a factor of 12 in the next five years, from 430MW deployed in 2019 to more than 5GW and a value of more than $5 billion by 2024, says Wood Mackenzie Energy Storage Service.

Tesla and GM are making big bets on lithium-ion batteries for energy storage systems and electric vehicles, but billionaire investors and venture capital firms are investing in competing battery technology, such as flow batteries.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the group of private investors led by Bill Gates and fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and Jack Ma, invested in iron-flow battery maker ESS in November.

ESS, which makes long-duration, iron flow batteries, secured $30 million in a Series C investment round from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), the group of private investors led by Bill Gates and fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and Jack Ma, among others.

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Battle for Mars: Planet Bezos, Planet Musk, Planet Branson, or Planet New America?

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On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” becoming the first human being to walk on the moon. NASA reported to Congress that the Apollo program cost $25.4 billion ($176 billion in 2019 dollars). At the time, there were only two entities with the resources to accomplish a mission of this scale: America and its cold war rival, the Soviet Union. America won.

Through the lens of history, the Apollo program had less to do with our innate curiosity, our need to explore, or our quest for knowledge than it had to do with proving to the Soviets that America had “space superiority” and could efficiently deliver weapons of mass destruction at will.

As the cold war drew to a close, NASA did its best to convince our military-industrial complex that we needed to continue to explore “the final frontier.” It has been an uphill battle, and today, NASA’s budget is a fraction of what most scientists believe it should be.

Continue reading… “Battle for Mars: Planet Bezos, Planet Musk, Planet Branson, or Planet New America?”

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