Cellcube’s ‘highly vertical’ ambitions for long duration redox flow batteries

Date: Aug 22, 2018

The fortunes of Gildemeister’s redox flow battery energy storage have been an interesting mirror to those of the technology class overall in some ways. One of the most talked-about flow energy storage providers during the 2010s before a wave of consolidation shook out the industry, the assets developed by DMG Mori that became Gildemeister Energy Storage were almost sold in 2016 to American Vanadium, an upstart company with ambitions to vertically integrate with mining operations in the Nevada Desert.

It was then taken over by junior mining entity Stina Resources, putting it in the hands of subsidiary Enerox and rebranded as CellCube – the name Gildemeister had given the vanadium redox flow storage units – the dream of vertical integration is once again alive, as Energy-Storage.news heard from CellCube Energy Storage company president, Stefan Schauss.

A few days ago we reported Schauss’ view that some of the longer duration lithium projects coming online in regions such as California represent merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of peaking capacity that can be provided by a combination of energy storage and renewable energy. Here are Schauss’ views on some other current topics and insights into CellCube’s history and strategies.

There’s a fair bit of background to CellCube, some of which Energy-Storage.news has covered in the past. How have you come to be involved (Schauss was appointed in June) and what are some key milestones in the evolution of CellCube to date?

I come from a semi-conductor industry background. I joined the company before it was Gildemeister about a decade ago. We have installed over 130 projects in a diverse field. DMG Mori decided to sell the business due to the fact that Mori has a core business in machine tools. Their paradigm was always that “we will fund the operations but you have to start and grow yourself”.

Now people are saying, “Ok, we have long duration energy storage projects, which technology are we using? Are we doing this with lithium or are we looking at other more-or-less proven technologies that are better in the economics for this long duration storage system area?”

Fast forward to 2016, the company then said “we understand you guys need to grow, we need to get an outside investor in.” Since DMG Mori is not a company which takes a minority ownership or retains a stake, they wanted to find a good new home. Lo and behold, 2016 ended and the chairman got a little bit nervous and said “either one of our three potential investors comes to the table by 31 December 2016 or unfortunately we have to pull the plug”.

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