Will 2014 be a big year for next-gen batteries?

Venture capital continues to flow toward new battery technology for the most basic reason that the potential payoff is so large. From grid storage to mobile to EVs, we are hugely dependent on batteries. And a breakthrough, even a 30 percent energy density improvement would completely disrupt the market. This is why batteries may be the last capital intensive investment in cleantech that VC’s will consider.

So with that in mind, Gigaom’s Katie Fehrenbacher took a look at why 2014 could be an inflection point in the battery industry. Most of the breakthrough promising companies, like Envia, are fizzling. But others, that have had consistent financing, like Aquion and Ambri will find this year and next as the years in which these batteries finally get to market.

Can these companies build enough revenue to sustain them as they scale production? Time will tell but companies like Amprius, which has a lithium ion battery the company says lasts 25 percent longer between charges, should be able to sell into a vast market. Companies that are targeting grid storage, a market that will take a bit longer and will require utilities to begin moving on solutions to renewable energy intermittency may take longer to build revenue. But even on that front, the market timing is actually pretty decent as we see the first wave of renewable energy deployment start to take hold in states like California.

As is always true with capital intensive startups, surviving the valley of death is the critical piece.