Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is one of the six founding members of One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Initiative, a fund established in order to encourage green technology with long-term value and sustainable market outcomes. As of Wednesday last week, QIA has agreed to invest $125 million in the energy storage company Fluence through a private placement transaction for a 12% stake in the company. The company’s technologies provide storage solutions for the energy produced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar farms. The sovereign wealth fund’s investment will be vital in allowing Fluence to address the giant global market for large-scale battery-based energy storage and to innovate at a faster rate in order to keep up with competitors. QIA’s investment will also value the company at over $1 billion, making it a ‘unicorn’ among the many other energy storage companies. Fluence was started in January 2018 by the AES Corporation and Siemens, two of the most experienced companies in energy storage. They will each maintain a 44% stake in the company.
Fluence had a busy year in 2020, deciding on new CEO Manuel Perez Dubuc in the Spring and showing off its sixth-generation Tech Stack over the summer. The new Tech Stack consists of enhanced operating software, integrated hardware, and digital intelligence engines. It claims to be highly customizable, have a faster deployment of standardized, modular systems, and have a lower balance of system costs. The company also acquired Advanced Microgrid Solutions in October in order to gain access to AMS’ AI-driven software and digital intelligence platform for use in energy storage and renewables.
Though Fluence has had a successful year and continues to show growth, it has yet to publish a patent. Siemens, however, was recently granted its eighth (8) patent in the Flow Battery Energy Storage sector, with five (5) patent applications pending. Its most recent patent application, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 20200411893, teaches a redox flow battery flow field. It will be interesting to see what innovations come out of the new Fluence team, now that it has expertise from three diverse companies. Be sure to keep an eye out for unicorn Fluence and other energy storage companies’ patent activity by subscribing to the Energy Storage: Flow Batteries Patent Forecast®.