Bill Gates Leads $10M Investment in Quidnet’s Long-Duration Geomechanical Pumped Storage

on June 24, 2020

Quidnet Energy, a startup developing a long-duration energy storage technology, just closed on a $10 million series B financing round. Additionally, the firm announced a contract with the New York State Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a 2 MW/20 MWh demonstration project of its geomechanical pumped storage (GPS) technology.

That’s ten hours of storage versus the four hours typical of the predominant lithium ion battery technology.

Existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures (founded by Bill Gates in 2015) and Evok Innovations participated in the round, along with new investors Trafigura and The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.

Quidnet aims to develop an efficient cost-effective alternative to traditional pumped hydro.

The missing piece

True low-cost, long-duration energy storage has always been the missing piece in making intermittent wind and solar act like baseload thermal generation year-round.

Quidnet looks to use “excess” renewable energy to store pressurized-water under ground at dry oil and gas wells. The startup is aiming to work with electric utilities and deliver commercial-scale projects across the North American electric grid.

“Quidnet’s GPS technology is a novel form of hydroelectric energy storage. It uses time-tested well-drilling and construction technologies to pump water under pressure into subsurface geological reservoirs to store energy. When variable renewable energy is not available, this water is released to drive hydroelectric turbines to power the electric grid,” said Quidnet CEO Joe Zhou.

Zhou noted, in an interview with pv magazine that the company was “building off of known supply chains: pumping, wells, drilling, piping, etc.”

He added, “Today, the duration is ten hours but we can get to tens of hours, maybe hundreds of hours, dependent on the volume of the cavern.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBill Gates Leads $10M Investment in Quidnet’s Long-Duration Geomechanical Pumped Storage