The core technology for Ambri was developed about ten years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Professor Don Sadoway and his PhD student David Bradwell. Ambri has been overcoming various technology and manufacturing hurdles and is now focused on scaling the development and deployment of its liquid metal batteries. The batteries are low cost due to the use of inexpensive, earth-abundant materials, and the straightforward manufacturing process that largely relies on welding steel. The liquid metal storage cells are small metal boxes filled with molten metal and vacuum sealed. The battery is about 900 degrees inside, but very well insulated and cool to the touch.
The technology is highly flexible as units range from 100 kilowatt-hours to hundreds of megawatt-hours, can respond to grid signals in milliseconds, and store 4-6 hours of energy with 80% roundtrip efficiency. The liquid metal battery technology has minimal cycle-by-cycle capacity degradation, which means that the battery could potentially last 15 years and tens of thousands of cycles without much loss in efficiency.
Ambri partnered with utilities, renewable energy developers, and the University of Hawaii to evaluate the economic and operational impacts of a the liquid metal battery solution in Hawaii – especially focusing on the potential to reduce energy costs, increase electric reliability, and enable further adoption of renewable energy across the Hawaiian Islands.