Nottingham-based Cheesecake Energy has raised £3.5m in a pre-series A round to begin pilot deployments of its green energy storage technology.
Cheesecake Energy is developing modular energy tech that stores electricity as heat and compressed air, which the startup claims can “displace” lithium-ion batteries in applications such as agriculture and transport.
To store electricity, electric motors move compressors that send high pressured air and heat into storage containers. When needed, air and heat are sent back through the compressor, which is used to power a generator and make electricity.
“Compared with battery alternatives, our eTanker solution is lower cost and much more sustainable, with no rare or toxic materials and with a design that can be fully recycled at the end of its 20-year plus life,” explained Mike Simpson, co-founder and CCO, Cheesecake Energy.
It will use the investment for hiring, to trial deployments and to explore possible manufacturing and distribution partners.
“Our system stores much of the energy as heat in inert rock in a way that is passively safe, avoiding the fire risk faced by some battery technologies,” added Simpson.
Cheesecake is a spinout based on a decade of research into thermal and mechanical energy storage at the University of Nottingham.
Its team came together with the goal of creating a cheaper storage solution that has a minimal environmental impact, without the need for high resource or energy-intensive activity.
A representative for the company told UKTN: “The East Midlands is a region with a strong manufacturing heritage and we believe it has the potential to have an equally strong future in enabling the low-carbon economy.
“The transition to a net zero economy is going to have a substantial impact on future employment in regional industries like automotive and oil and gas but we want to be a part of a just transition in the East Midlands by offering alternative employment for these workers.”
The funding round was led by BGF with support from Perivoli Innovations, alongside angel investors such as ex-Jaguar chair Sir John Egan.
BGF says in the first half of this year it invested £60m in London and the South East.
Dennis Atkinson, investor, BGF said: “We see huge potential for Cheesecake Energy’s technology and expect it to be a global leader in the energy transition from its base in the Midlands.”
Last year Cheesecake Energy secured £1m in seed capital led by the Imperial College Innovation Fund.
Cheesecake told UKTN that it is preparing for a Series A round of over £10m in late 2023.
The name Cheesecake stems from the original name of the project – GIESCAES. That name was coined from joining the two types of storage the company uses: generation integrated energy storage (GIES) and compressed air energy storage (CAES). After being spoken out loud many times, GIESCAES became Cheesecake.