Alevo, The Other Energy Storage Gigafactory, Begins To Stir

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In late 2014, a virtually unknown company called Alevo announced it was entering the energy storage market with a new inorganic, sulfur-based lithium ion battery technology that it had acquired from the bankrupt German company fortu PowerCell. Alevo entered the U.S. with a big splash, investing over $68 million in the 3.5 million-square-foot former Philip Morris tobacco factory in Victory, North Carolina, outside Charlotte. It also announced that it would hire up to 2,500 workers over three years, with a potential maximum workforce of 6,000 capable of turning out thousands of megawatts of electricity storage products annually. In other words, Tesla would not be the only storage company with a gigafactory.

Unlike many of the major storage manufacturers of the world – the Panasonics and the LG Chems – Alevo wasn’t simply going to sell its product into a competitive market. Instead, the plan was to become a developer as well, deploying its own technology. This was in contrast with most of the other energy storage developers (RES and AES are technology agnostic and deploy different storage technologies from multiple companies – AES, for example, tests and certifies various technologies at its own lab). By contrast, Alevo’s stated goal was to package its cells into two-megawatt, one megawatt-hour GridBanks and offer them turnkey into the marketplace.

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