Bill Gates Puts Money Into Storage Startup Aquion

Bill Gates is investing in battery maker Aquion Energy Inc., marking the third time the founder of Microsoft has put money into energy storage in less than two years. Other investors include Bright Capital, Gentry Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Advanced Technology Ventures. So reports Bloomberg.

Gates was among the investors in Pittsburgh-based Aquion’s recent closing of $35 million in Series D financing, though the company’s CEO, Scott Pearson, would not say how much Gates invested. Gates has also invested in the sector through his fund Cascade Investment LLC.

Aquion is not the only battery maker in which Gates has invested. The world’s second richest man has also put money into LightSail Energy Inc. and Ambri Inc., formerly Liquid Metal Battery Corp. So reports Bloomberg.

Launched in 2008, Aquion is trying to create batteries that can store power for stationary applications. The goal is to provide back-up electricity for wind and solar projects. The company’s batteries use saltwater to conduct electricity rather than acid or alkaline. So reports Bloomberg.

Aquion’s batteries are not flammable, explosive or corrosive, and they are better for the environment than conventional batteries, Pearson said.

By the end of the year, the company expects to begin production of batteries that have at least 500 megawatt-hours of storage capacity a year, Pearson said.

Russian venture investor Bright Capital led the Series D round, with Gentry Venture Partners participating as a new investor. And Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Advanced Technology Ventures, all of which were in previous rounds, once again put money into the company, Aquion said.

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