Gates-backed battery firm gets funding from Reliance, others

Image: Ambri

Ambri Inc., a Bill Gates-backed venture that makes batteries for power grids, said it secured $144 million to build production plants in funding led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. and Paulson & Co.

Plans include a pilot facility and a subsequent commercial-scale site in the U.S., followed by two more abroad in yet-to-be-determined locales. Reliance, India’s most valuable company, is in discussion to form a joint venture to make and distribute Ambri’s batteries as part of the transaction, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company said in a statement Monday.

Demand for battery storage is growing as climate change fuels a push for low-carbon energy sources such as solar and wind.

Reliance will invest $50 million to acquire 42.3 million preferred shares in Ambri, allowing the Indian company to expand its long-duration energy storage business globally, it said in a separate statement. Reliance and Ambri are in talks to build a large-scale battery manufacturing facility in India, which could add scale and further bring down costs for Reliance’s green energy initiative, the Mumbai-based company said.

In June, Reliance announced a $10 billion investment into clean energy, including four giga factories, one of which would build an advanced energy storage battery factory.

Ambri, which can supply energy storage systems between 10 megawatt-hours to more than twogigawatt hours, will make calcium and antimony electrode-based cells that can last over 20 years with minimal degradation and are considered more economical than lithium-ion batteries.

In addition to Gates, the Microsoft co-founder who is Ambri’s largest shareholder, investors in the latest round also included Fortistar, Goehring & Rozencwajg Associates and Japan Energy Fund, Ambri said.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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