Why we Invested in OffGrid Energy Labs
Green is the color for the next decade. The clean energy transition forms the backbone of our sustainable future. Solar has become cheaper than coal — at least in India. But to effectively utilize it, we need to manage the intermittency that comes with renewables. Batteries have become a burning topic on the path to net zero. While much of the focus has been on performance batteries for mobility, the need for battery chemistries that can deliver on end-to-end sustainability and meet market demands for stationary storage is huge — it is expected to grow to 1000GWh by 2040.
We see a quiet revolution taking place in harnessing renewables and more efficiently managing global energy needs. Offgrid Energy Labs fits neatly into this thesis.
Offgrid Energy Labs is developing foundational battery chemistry. Its zinc-based technology would enable batteries to hold a large volume of charge for long periods of time in a manner both stable and cost effective. Given its high roundtrip efficiencies, fast charging and discharging capabilities, and long cycle life, it can effectively be used for a range of applications. Offgrid’s batteries can impact grid balancing, rapid charging for EVs and power mobility needs where energy density requirements are relatively low such as in scooters, auto rickshaws, and tempos — a mainstay of transport for much of the world.
Our investment will help the company transition from the lab to the market. We met founders Tejas and Brindan at the annual ISHOW hosted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Both of them had been PhD students at IIT-Kanpur. They were unquestionably passionate about clean energy. This passion had taken them from biofuels to their current focus on ZincGel. As we dug deeper into the technology with experts from around the world, we realized that the ZincGel electrolyte they engineered has many advantages over existing electrolytes. It’s a low cost, commonly available, and eco-friendly material which can meet the technical requirements for various applications. Even better, production can happen on the back of existing battery manufacturing infrastructure.
Foundational technologies are often led by researchers who struggle to manage the commercial aspects of the business. To deal with this, Tejas and Brindan supplemented the team and onboarded Rishi Srivastava as a co-founder to help the company work through full commercialization. We were sold on backing Offgrid given the potential of the technology, the hustle of the team to build a scalable company, and their clear-sighted strategy to get there.
Technologies that can enable us to accelerate the shift to net zero will be winners. We are honored to partner with the Offgrid team on their journey to build sustainable batteries for tomorrow.