Curtis Tate Published

How Form Energy's Batteries Are Different And What It Means For Electricity

Tesla vehicles sit parked outside of a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2016.

The batteries that will be made in Weirton aren’t like the ones you probably use.

Lithium-ion batteries are good at providing bursts of power for shorter durations. That’s what makes them good in electric vehicles and smartphones.

They’re not as good at releasing energy over a period of days, which is what you need to make solar and wind power as dependable as coal and natural gas.

That’s the problem Form Energy thinks it can solve with its iron-air batteries. They use iron, water and oxygen to store energy. Basically, it’s the process of creating iron oxide — or rust.

Matteo Jaramillo, Form’s co-founder and CEO, said it will be cheaper than fossil fuels.

“At such levels of deployment, Form’s batteries made right in Weirton will catalyze billions of dollars in savings to American electricity consumers while advancing American innovation and renewable energy independence,” he said Thursday.

Before he co-founded Form Energy in 2017, Jaramillo led battery development at electric car maker Tesla.

A state known for its vast reserves of coal and natural gas could soon be making the storage batteries that will replace them for our electricity.