Energy Vault, Inc. (“Energy Vault”), the company developing sustainable, grid-scale energy storage solutions, have announced a License and Royalty agreement for renewable energy storage with Atlas Renewable LLC (“Atlas Renewable”) and their majority investor China Tianying Inc., an international environmental management and waste remediation corporation engaged in smart urban environmental services, resource recycling and recovery, and zero-carbon clean energy technologies. The agreement supports the deployment of Energy Vault’s proprietary gravity energy storage technology and energy management software platform within mainland China and the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macau. In addition, Atlas Renewable is making a $50 million investment to upsize the current private placement investment (“PIPE”) from $150 million to $200 million, and paying an additional $50 million in 2022 licensing fees for use and deployment of Energy Vault’s gravity energy storage technology.

China has one overarching State-mandated environmental policy: Carbon Peak in 2030 and Carbon Neutrality in 2060 commonly referred to as “30-60.” This policy drives modern China and results from commitments made by the Chinese leadership: 30-60 is an industrial, environmental, energy, social and political policy rolled into one. China will reduce waste, promote renewables and next-generation fuels like hydrogen and reform its electricity grid while increasing wind and solar capacity to 1200 gigawatts by 2030 – all to cut off increased carbon emissions growth. The much harder part is Carbon Neutrality 2060: a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. This phase calls for the reduction of carbon emissions on a societal basis by 2060, essentially phasing out a carbon-based economic model for a non-carbon-based economy. Deployment of economical and sustainable grid-scale energy storage technology is a critical component to accelerating the growth of renewable energy in China and advancing China’s decarbonisation goals.

Atlas Renewable Signs Licensing and Royalty Agreement for Mainland China and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau

Energy Vault and Atlas Renewable have signed a $50 million licensing agreement for the use of Energy Vault’s proprietary gravity-based energy storage technology in China. The agreement includes terms governing volume-based deployment royalties and covers maintenance, monitoring and the beneficial re-use of waste materials within Energy Vault’s composite blocks. The payments of the $50 million licensing fees are scheduled to be made in 2022.

The agreement represents the first gravity-based storage partnership between a U.S. and Chinese company for the deployment of the technology in China. The licensing agreement, which also marks a first of its kind for Energy Vault, is for the use of its EVx™ and EVRC™ product platforms. The companies expect to start construction of the first 100MWh system in Q2 2022 at the selected site in Rudong, Jiangsu Province located outside of Shanghai. The companies will also assess the reuse of available waste materials such as coal combustion residuals, mine tailings, waste fibreglass and concrete debris as a beneficial re-use within the “mobile masses” used in the construction of the gravity energy storage systems. The licensing agreement is separate and additional to Atlas Renewable LLC’s $50 million PIPE investment.

“We are excited to partner with Energy Vault to establish the first commercial licensing agreement of the company’s innovative gravity storage technology platform, which we look forward to deploying in China, the world’s largest market for renewable energy development,” said Neil Bush Chairman of Atlas Renewable LLC. “We see broad applications for implementing Energy Vault’s unique gravity energy storage and power generation system. Energy Vault’s novel solution lifts large mobile masses into position using excess power from solar, wind, or other power generation facilities and generates electricity by lowering blocks using natural gravitational forces when it is needed most.”

Eric Fang, Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Renewable, noted further, “EV’s technology removes a key obstacle to full utilisation of energy produced globally from green energy sources. Following China’s commitment to achieving Carbon Peak in 2030 and Carbon Neutrality in 2060 : Renewable Energy Storage is and will be the answer.”

Chairman of CNTY, Mr. Yan Shengjun, stated, “As China’s new green energy industry is booming, the introduction of world-class innovative energy storage technology this year will be showcased in China by Energy Vault. This effort is of great importance to the nation and to support China’s stated goals of Carbon Peak by 2030 and Carbon Neutrality by 2060. We believe we can help accelerate China’s decarbonisation timeline, and CNTY is privileged to undertake this strategic key to energy transformation as Energy Vault’s partner in China.”

“This key element of storage,” Chairman Yan said, “will allow renewable energy to play an increasing role in providing the people and China, as a whole, with a solution to capturing energy which would otherwise be lost and that non-carbon solution is based upon the natural force of gravity. We have a core strategic synergy with Energy Vault in the sustainable way they have designed their system to take advantage of waste materials for recycling to avoid landfilling these materials, and this will be a strong advantage of our cooperation.”

EIPC Expert Chairman, Former State Counsellor Mr. Shi Dinghuan reflected on the Energy Vault relationship with Atlas Renewable: “This is a bright example of Sino-U.S. cooperation on gravity energy storage technology, which is one of the only proven and sustainable technologies for utility-scale energy storage, and an important achievement in implementing the Sino-U.S. government’s Glasgow Joint Declaration on Strengthening Climate Action in the 2020s: it represents strong cooperation in the field of technological innovation on a cross-border basis. We thank all parties for their efforts in this regard, and look forward to the early success of the demonstration projects of the cooperation between the two parties, making important contributions to the response to climate change between China, the United States and the world.”

“Our agreement with Atlas Renewable and broader relationship with China Tianying marks a significant new milestone representing the company’s first licensing agreement and also the expansion of our global footprint into what will become the largest renewable energy storage growth market in the world over the next 10 years,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and Co-Founder, Energy Vault. “While entering the China market was not originally a part of our five-year business plan, the global imperative to arrest the growth of GHG’s in a country which releases the highest amount of CO2 emissions in the world by a factor of two required our action and priority. The incremental investments and licensing fees of $100 million this year create tremendous financial flexibility for Energy Vault to execute our plans across the globe to progress our mission of decarbonising the planet. I applaud the leadership of Atlas Renewable and Chairman Yan of China Tianying in moving with speed and agility to forge a partnership with Energy Vault that seeks to minimise the current planned growth of GHG’s through 2030 in China while accelerating China’s broader transition to full net carbon neutrality.”

Mr. Piconi concluded, “Much like the global COVID pandemic, the climate change crisis knows no borders and compels us to set aside our political biases and unite as a global community to solve this problem. What we are announcing today represents a first step toward this goal and was achieved through the leadership, courage, fortitude, and humility of all those involved. Energy Vault is privileged to be a part of this group and will act swiftly to deliver on our commitments.”

New Investment from Atlas Renewable LLC Upsizes Novus Capital Corporation II PIPE to $200 Million

In conjunction with its previously announced business combination with Novus Capital Corporation II (NYSE: NXU), Energy Vault announced this private placement investment. In addition to the strategic partnership and licensing agreement announced today, Atlas Renewable has executed a subscription agreement committing a $50 million investment to Novus’s PIPE.

The new commitment announced today brings proceeds from the PIPE transaction to $200 million and follows the previously announced $50 million upsize investment from Korea Zinc. These proceeds, combined with up to $288 million in Novus’s cash trust account, will be used to fund Energy Vault’s operations and support new and existing growth initiatives. Additionally, as a result of this increased PIPE investment, the minimum cash condition for the business combination has been satisfied, clearing an important milestone for the closing of the business combination.

Atlas Renewable LLC joins several other leading investors committed to participate in the Business Combination by investing in the PIPE. The PIPE is anchored by strategic and institutional investors, including funds and accounts managed by Adage Capital Partners LP, Pickering Energy Partners, Sailingstone Capital Energy Transition Strategy Fund, SoftBank Investment Advisers, CEMEX Ventures (NYSE: CX), Korea Zinc, and other investors. Affiliates and associates of Novus Capital also participated in the PIPE investment. This follows the recent Series C funding round previously announced on August 28, 2021, which closed at $107.5 million and included strategic investments from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, BHP Ventures, +Volta Energy Technologies and Softbank Vision Fund, among others.

Completion of Energy Vault’s Business Combination with Novus II Capital Corporation is expected in the first quarter of 2022 and is subject to approval by Novus’ stockholders, the Registration Statement on Form S-4 relating to such business combination (the “Registration Statement”) being declared effective by the SEC, and other customary closing conditions.

Demand for clean energy is growing globally and exponentially, with renewables expected to become 90% of total energy generation by 2050. To support this transition, grid-scale energy storage capacity would need to increase tenfold in the next ten years, with over $270 billion of investment expected over that timeframe. Current storage solutions are insufficient; pumped hydroelectric energy storage (pumped hydro) – which is currently 90% of the market – and chemical batteries, both face significant issues with scalability, economics and environmental risks. Energy Vault has designed a cost-efficient, reliable and environmentally sustainable system that outperforms alternatives and is best-placed to fulfil this unmet market demand.

Energy Vault’s gravity-based, long-duration storage technology is aimed at transforming the way electricity is stored and distributed, making it possible – for the first time – for renewable energy to be dispatchable and competitive with fossil fuels all day, every day. The company’s advanced gravity energy storage solutions are based on the proven physics and mechanical engineering fundamentals of pumped hydro but replace water with custom-made, environmentally-friendly composite blocks which do not lose storage capacity or degrade over time. The blocks can be made from low-cost and locally sourced materials, including the excavated soil at customer construction sites. Importantly, waste materials that traditionally must be remediated at considerable cost, such as mine tailings, coal combustion residuals (coal ash), and fibreglass from decommissioned wind turbine blades, can also be used to make the blocks, creating a circular economy that is both more economical and sustainable.

The company’s EVx™ product platform is designed to be a highly scalable and modular architecture that can scale to a multi-GW-hour storage capacity. EVx™ is the natural evolution that leverages all current performance attributes of Energy Vault’s proven technology including zero degradation in storage medium, high round-trip efficiency, long technical life, a sustainable supply chain, and composite bricks.

The Energy Vault Resiliency Center™ (EVRC™) is designed to be a highly scalable and modular system architecture that is built to scale to manage energy disruptive climate events such as wildfire or extreme weather. Using the EVx™ design as a building block, the EVRC™ can be built out in 10MWh increments that can scale to multi-GW-hour storage capacity.

Image source: Courtesy of Energy Vault; image cation:  Energy Vault Resiliency Center™

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