The nation’s largest utility holding company and a major lithium supplier are partnering up to create a new company designed to connect investors with well-researched opportunities in the energy storage sector.
Exelon Corp. and Albemarle Corp. announced Wednesday that they were founding investors in Volta Energy Technologies. The new Napierville, Illinois-based firm seeks to connect technical and product development know-how with investment mechanisms.
“The energy sector is undergoing a transformation,” said Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon. “We must help lead the nation through this change by investing in the next big innovations that provide the best commercial and customer solutions. Exelon launched and invested in Volta because we operate at the forefront of energy innovation, and energy storage represents an important next frontier.”
Exelon owns and operates utilities which provide electric and gas service to millions of customers in the Midwest and eastern U.S. Units include Commonwealth Edison, Baltimore Gas & Electric and PECO, among others.
The worldwide advanced battery and storage market is projected to rise to more than $100 billion within a decade, according to some reports. Over the next year, Volta will seek other investors who have energy storage as a key element of their business strategy.
“Investing in Volta is a strategic priority for us,” said Luke Kissam, CEO of Albemarle Corporation. “Many expect that there will be exciting innovations in lithium battery technology in the future, and we want to be a part of any process that might identify new technologies to power the potential of clean energy solutions. We are excited about ultimately creating value in the markets, and for Albemarle, through our partnership with Volta.”
Traditional venture capital funds often lack the expertise and patience required to advance innovations from lab to market, and public research institutions are not charged with commercializing their work. Volta’s model bridges these gaps and offers a solution.
“Volta’s model is built to identify the winning technologies and businesses in the rapidly evolving battery and energy storage sectors. This enables major, market-moving companies and other investors to choose wisely the technologies that will shape our future energy system,” said Volta founder and CEO Jeff Chamberlain.
“During my 24 years in the private sector and at national labs, I saw firsthand how challenging it is for a single entity to develop a new physical technology–or for a single investor to identify the right opportunity, let alone take it to market,” Chamberlain said. “Volta brings together a team of battery storage and investment experts to tap into the unmatched capabilities of the U.S. national laboratory system to identify and overcome deal-killing technical challenges.”
Volta’s release says it will leverage relationships with U.S. national laboratories and global research institutions to source and validate the most promising energy storage technologies. For example, Volta’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Argonne National Laboratory allows the group to validate emerging technology and solve technical challenges that pose barriers to transforming valuable technology into new products for consumers.
“Argonne National Laboratory’s expertise and capabilities in energy storage and battery testing will be a tremendous asset to the entrepreneurs, technologists and companies that are creating new economic opportunities in the energy system,” said Argonne director Paul K. Kearns. “Volta will complement Argonne’s other substantial efforts to enable successful entrepreneurial efforts. We look forward to working with Volta’s team and support ongoing innovation in this critical energy sector.”