- An energy storage company focused on developing saltwater batteries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection despite a slate of high profile investors and awards that appeared to herald its success, Greentech Media reports.
- Aquion Energy cut roughly 80% of their staff, halted factory operations and stopped marketing and selling its assets.
- The company, known for its aqueous hybrid ion battery technology, already had developed a microgrid for a California winery and just announced a partnership with Adara Power to make its storage systems remotely dispatchable. It's unknown how Aquion's bankruptcy will affect those projects.
Less than two months ago, Aquion Energy was heralding awards and its salt-based long-duration batteries. Today, the company is selling its assets and getting out of the game, highlighting the vagaries of an evolving industry and the power of a single entrenched technology.
"Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern," Aquion CEO Scott Pearson said in a joint statement, joined by Suzanne Roski, the company's Chief Restructuring Officer.
The company said that selling its assets will allow it to "maximize returns available to its creditors and stakeholders."
Aquion tried to provide a longer-term alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Last year, the company partnered with Ideal Power to provide storage capability to a microgrid at a California winery. Aquion supplied batteries for the project, connecting them with Ideal Power's grid resilient 30-kW multi-port power conversion system at Stone Edge Farm.
Looking ahead, Aquion will be working to secure a bidder to purchase "substantially all of its operating assets." Aquion will also seek bankruptcy court approval for a competitive bidding and auction process allowing a wider range of bidders to potentially purchase its assets.
The company's CEO said he is optimistic that Aquion can complete a Chapter 11 asset sale in the coming months."We have appreciated the tremendous support of our employees, investors, customers, and vendors throughout our history and look forward to maintaining positive relations during this important phase," he said.
At least a part of the problem, despite promising technology, is the declining cost of lithium-ion storage. Greentech Media's Director of Research Ravi Manghani said the industry is "not for the faint-hearted."