Ambri launches its first factory to make liquid metal batteries

Battery startup Ambri has officially cut the ribbon on its first ever battery manufacturing factory in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The company (formerly called Liquid Metal Battery) and backed by Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and oil giant Total, will use the factory to make its first prototype battery systems for deployment next year and in 2015.

Ambri has developed a battery for the power grid that uses molten salt sandwiched between two layers of liquid metal. The company is the brainchild of MIT Professor Don Sadoway and the idea is to create a battery that uses super low cost materials but is stable and scalable at an acceptably low cost to enable grid storage and renewable energy storage applications.

Ambri won’t build a full scale commercial battery factory until 2015. But this factory in Marlborough will build prototype batteries that will land at the Joint Base Cape Cod and at a project in Hawaii in conjunction with First Wind.

Sadoway met Bill Gates after the Microsoft-co-founder took an online class of his at MIT. Gates ended up investing in the company, and the Department of Energy’s high risk early stage ARPA-E program also gave Ambri a $6.9 million grant.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at the factory on Thursday.