Ore Energy Innovates Long-Lasting Utility-Scale Batteries

In the Netherlands, where sunny days can be few and far between, solar energy output often falls short. Wind turbines can help bridge the gap, but what happens when both the sun and wind are elusive? Enter Ore Energy, a startup poised to revolutionize long-duration energy storage with utility-scale batteries designed to last days, not just hours.

Ore Energy, led by Aytac Yilmaz, has emerged from stealth mode with €10 million in seed funding from Positron Ventures and other investors. This funding will drive the development of grid-scale batteries that are not only more affordable but also offer extended duration storage capabilities. Yilmaz envisions a future where these batteries are made from abundant and inexpensive iron instead of costly lithium-ion.

Currently, lithium-ion batteries dominate the market, largely due to high demand from the automotive sector. However, they are still expensive and have limited duration. Yilmaz’s vision is to create batteries capable of storing energy for up to 100 hours, thereby addressing longer gaps in renewable power generation. “The more renewables you have in the grid, the longer duration you will need,” Yilmaz explains.

The core technology behind Ore Energy’s batteries was developed at TU Delft in the Netherlands, where Yilmaz conducted research on corrosion during his PhD and postdoctoral studies. These innovative batteries generate energy through a process involving the rusting of iron and store energy by reversing this corrosion. Unlike traditional batteries, Ore Energy’s iron-air batteries draw oxygen from the atmosphere, a feature that inspired the company’s name. “The batteries actually inhale and exhale oxygen, enabling these reactions,” Yilmaz says.

Ore Energy is already collaborating with utility companies and plans to use part of the new funding to build a megawatt-scale factory. By the end of the decade, Yilmaz aims to have a gigawatt-scale factory operational, with the ultimate goal of significantly decarbonizing the grid by the 2030s.

While Ore Energy is making waves, it isn’t the only player in the iron-air battery space. In the U.S., Form Energy is a notable leader, having raised $928 million with a post-money valuation of $2.06 billion. Form Energy is on the verge of completing its first large-scale factory in West Virginia, set to begin production later this year. Despite Form Energy’s head start, Yilmaz believes there is ample room for multiple innovators in this burgeoning market. “Form Energy is doing a great job in the U.S.,” he acknowledges. “We share the same goal of transforming the electricity grid, with our focus on Europe.”

Ore Energy’s breakthrough technology and strategic funding position it well to make significant strides in the energy storage industry. As the world increasingly turns to renewable energy sources, the need for efficient and long-duration storage solutions becomes ever more critical. With its innovative approach to iron-air batteries, Ore Energy is set to play a pivotal role in this energy revolution, paving the way for a more sustainable and reliable electrical grid.