Helena Announces Strategic Partnership With Energy Vault
Global problem-solving organization Helena and Energy Vault, the creator of renewable energy storage products that are transforming the world’s approach to utility-scale energy storage for grid resiliency, today announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s breakthrough waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its innovative energy storage system worldwide.
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Energy Vault Commercial Demonstration Unit - Arbedo-Castione, Switzerland. (Photo: Business Wire)
While supporting Energy Vault’s expansion through Helena’s vast network, the strategic partnership will focus on accelerating adoption by global energy providers of the company’s transformative technology, in particular its advanced material remediation innovations. The unique application of material science to the main energy storage medium – the composite blocks – enables the use of alternative materials to replace environmentally unfriendly substances like concrete, which accounts for 7-8% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the technology can accommodate the recycling of various pre-existing waste materials, which in return helps large utility and industrial companies transform financial and environmental liabilities into infrastructure assets to support their transition to a fully circular economic approach. For example, coal ash waste and retired wind turbine blades can be re-directed from landfills into its custom-made composite blocks that anchor the company’s gravity-powered systems. By maximizing the use of locally sourced soil, sand and waste materials, including outputs from fossil fuel production, Energy Vault’s supply chain design reduces the impact of GHGs from the transport sector while increasing jobs for local economies, the end result being an end-of-life solution for materials that are difficult to break down and can have negative environmental consequences. This beneficial reuse eliminates waste and enables the continual use of local resources within the framework of a circular economy.
This work will build upon the technology and commercial partnership that it previously announced in 2019 with CEMEX Research Group, a subsidiary of global building materials company CEMEX, and supports the collaboration Energy Vault most recently announced earlier this month with leading global energy powerhouse Enel Green Power.
As part of the partnership, which began in late 2020, Helena also announced that it completed a $20 million investment in Energy Vault. Helena’s investment and partnership with Energy Vault is conducted through Helena’s for-profit arm, Helena Special Investments, which operates projects that implement solutions to societal problems through for-profit means. Helena has joined other investors including Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund, CEMEX Ventures, Idealab, and Neotribe Ventures. As part of its investment, Helena Founder and CEO Henry Elkus joined Energy Vault’s board of directors.
"Our job at Helena is to identify and implement solutions to the critical global problems of the next 50 years. It doesn’t get much more critical than radically improving energy storage. It is both a short-term solution to the problems we have seen recently in areas like Texas and a long-term necessity for the world to sustainably transition away from fossil fuels. We believe Energy Vault will play a fundamental role in furthering that transition,” said Helena Founder and CEO Henry Elkus. “We are also supporting Energy Vault’s strategy in addressing another essential problem – remediating waste. The company’s ability to use massive quantities of waste material to construct its systems only makes the impact more real and the business case more viable while also providing utilities a streamlined method to transition out of fossil fuel-based energy production and recycle legacy assets.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Helena in pursuit of our shared mission and mutual passion in accelerating the decarbonization of our planet,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and Co-Founder, Energy Vault. “Given Helena’s focus in taking on the most significant global challenges – in this case the global transition to clean energy production – we are grateful to have them alongside us as both strategic partner and investor. Helena and its global network are already making an impact toward our technology adoption, and our continued work together will help the world to take a vital step towards combating the negative impacts of climate change.”
Helena is a global problem-solving organization. Through Helena Projects, Helena seeks to implement solutions to critical societal problems. Since its founding in 2015, Helena Projects have included: America In One Room, which garnered the attention of President Barack Obama and The New York Times for one of the most significant political experiments in U.S. history; Factory in the Sky, which supported the development and construction of the world’s first carbon capture factory; Shield, which worked to protect the electrical grid from foreign and domestic threats; and most recently The Covid Project, which supplied tens of millions units of medical supplies and personal protective equipment to frontline responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about Helena, visit helena.org.
About Energy Vault
Energy Vault is the creator of renewable energy storage products that are transforming the world’s approach to utility-scale energy storage for grid resiliency. Applying conventional physics fundamentals of gravity and potential energy, the system combines an innovative crane design that lifts specially designed, massive composite blocks with a proprietary, cloud-based software platform which orchestrates the storage and discharge of electricity. Utilizing 100% eco-friendly materials at unprecedented economics, Energy Vault is accelerating the shift to a fully renewable world.
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