Fourth Power

Thermal energy battery storage

🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week:

Fourth Power

✍️ Notes from the Editors

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Energy isn’t easy.

In world where energy is needed for most of our daily functions, we haven’t really optimized how we store it for consumption. Renewable energy might be all around us, but a lot of it goes to waste without the proper batteries. Fourth Power is building the solution we need to keep that waste from ever becoming waste in the first place.

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Thermal energy battery storage

Fourth Power provides battery storage units that store renewable energy to municipalities and utility companies. Using its proprietary, world-record setting technology, Fourth Power can store energy generated by renewables at a fraction of the cost, with clean and safe outcomes. Whereas current solutions might let excess renewable energy go to waste, Fourth Power looks to bridge the gap between the supply and demand of renewable energy.

🔗 Check it out:

💰 Business Model

Cities and utility companies use Fourth Power to help power their utility grid. Fourth Power sets up contracts for each municipality or company.

📈 Traction and Fundraising

  • Raised $19 million from DCVC, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (Bill Gates’s VC Fund), and Black Ventures Capital Consortium

👫 Founders

  • Arvin Ganesan,  CEO: Previously Head of Global Energy and Environment Policy @ Apple, Deputy Chief of Staff @ Environmental Protection Agency

  • Asegun Henry,  CTO: MIT Professor and Director of Atomistic Simulation & Energy (ASE) Research Group, PhD in Mechanical Engineering

📖 Founder Story

Fourth Power is one of the stories so good it feels like destiny. 

Arvin Ganesan and Asegun Henry have combined their monumental experience to build Fourth Power. Ganesan brings decades of experience with the environment, from the public sector, working as a Deputy Chief of Staff to Gina McCarthy at the Environmental Protection Agency, to the private sector, working as the Head of Global Energy and Environmental Policy at Apple. Henry brings decade-long research in mechanical engineering & thermodynamics from Georgia Tech and MIT into Fourth Power, with multiple awards and a Guinness World Record for good measure.

Together, they’ve combined their backgrounds to address one of the most pressing problems of our time: Sustainable energy storage.

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🔮 Our Analysis

Did you know 7 of the 10 largest companies in the world by revenue are energy companies?

Energy is the lifeblood of our world. It’s a precursor to all other parts of our life, from housing to clean water. But it’s also killing us. 

Our dependency on fossil fuels has been a known problem for decades, but weaning ourselves off coal and gas is easier said than done. 

Over the last 50 years, solar and wind energy has become laughably cheap, but finicky. Renewable energy has always had a supply and demand problem. On the days where it is extra cloudy, or after the sun goes down, we’ve had to continually rely on fossil fuels. 

But during the peak of the day, renewable energy is often wasted, a phenomenon commonly called curtailed energy. When solar and wind produce more energy than is needed, the excess energy becomes curtailed energy.

This gap between supply and demand has been a huge problem for every city and utility company around the world. 

Since 2020, the US market for energy storage has doubled, year over year, just passing $68 billion in 2023. 

It is forecasted to continue to do so in 2024 as many states such as California, Texas, and Hawaii continue to invest more into energy infrastructure. But investment into this energy infrastructure comes with its own challenges. Lithium has become a new gold, as every company looks to mine more lithium for their own batteries.

With CTO Asegun Henry’s groundbreaking technological advances, Fourth Power has engineered a different energy storage answer. 

By using a system that is 95% carbon, the 10th most abundant solid element on earth, they’ve been able to make a storage system that is more than 10x cheaper than the traditional lithium-ion batteries. The graphite blocks used in storage are built to scale with demand, being able to store energy from anywhere between 5 to 100 hours. 

Henry’s world record energy transfer has set the basis for Fourth Power. With a photovoltaic efficiency of 40% and looking to get to 50%, the company is only set to grow even more. 

As they finish testing in the Northeast, there are many cities and utility companies that are in dire need of Fourth Power’s world record batteries.

📚 Further Reading

Written by Derek Wong

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