Energy Vault, Inc. (Energy Vault), the company developing sustainable, grid-scale energy storage solutions, announced a strategic partnership for renewable energy storage with Korea Zinc Co., Ltd. (“Korea Zinc”, KRX 010130) the global leader in non-ferrous metal smelting production including leading positions in Zinc, Lead, Silver and rare metal Indium. The partnership supports Korea Zinc’s strategy to decarbonize their refining and smelting operations focused initially under wholly owned subsidiary Sun Metals Corporation Pty. Ltd. (“Sun Metals”). The companies expect to begin project deployment in mid-2022.
Energy Vault Enters Into Strategic Partnership with Sun Metals
Sun Metals, an Australia-based zinc refinery and a wholly owned subsidiary of Korea Zinc, aims to deploy Energy Vault’s storage and energy management software technology to support renewable power supply and optimization to support their refining infrastructure. The scope of the partnership also includes the potential sustainable and beneficial re-use of tailings and other refining waste materials within Energy Vault’s eco-friendly composite blocks.
Sun Metals is targeting to become one of the first zinc refineries to produce “Green” Zinc in support of their broader strategy to shift to 100% renewable power by 2040 with an interim target of 80% renewable by 2030. Sun Metals’ mission is to be the safest, most environmentally-responsible, and most competitive zinc refinery in the world. In November 2020, the zinc refining leader joined the RE100 Climate Group initiative as part of its commitment to 100% renewable power by 2040. Korea Zinc recently announced Ark Energy Corporation Pty. Ltd. (“Ark Energy”), another wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Korea Zinc, will acquire a 100% interest in a leading utility-scale wind and solar energy developer (Epuron) in Australia which brings more than 9 GW of wind and solar projects with it that will play an important part in meeting or exceeding Sun Metals renewable power goals and supporting Ark Energy’s plans to become the most competitive producer of green hydrogen in the world. Sun Metals is currently the second largest consumer of electricity in Queensland, Australia with greater than 1 terawatt hours of consumption per annum.
“Energy Vault’s innovative storage technology and energy management software platform can play a key role in enabling and accelerating our decarbonization strategy as we enhance our ability to power our operations with renewable energy,” said Yun B. Choi, Vice Chairman of Korea Zinc.
“We are proud to partner with Korea Zinc and Sun Metals to broadly support their clean energy transition within their refining operations,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and Co-Founder, Energy Vault. “Korea Zinc has demonstrated tremendous global leadership as a company in setting aggressive decarbonization targets and then investing significant capital to make sustainable, decarbonized energy a reality for their operations, and that certainly is the case here with their investment in Energy Vault.”
“We look forward to collaborating with Energy Vault in pursuit of our goal to become the first refinery in the world to produce green zinc made entirely from renewable energy,” said Kiwon Park, CEO of Sun Metals. “As the second largest consumer of electricity in Queensland, Sun Metals has a strong focus on being both environmentally responsible and the most competitive zinc refinery in the world.”
New Investment from Korea Zinc Upsizes Novus Capital Corporation II PIPE to $150 Million
In conjunction with its previously announced business combination with Novus Capital Corporation II, Energy Vault announced a $100 million private placement (“PIPE”) investment. In addition to the strategic partnership announced today, Korea Zinc 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 $150 million. 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, approximately 90% of the minimum cash condition has been satisfied.
Mr. Choi continued, “Our investment in Energy Vault underscores our commitment to advancing the production of metals that are essential for human life in a sustainable way.”
Mr. Piconi added, “This investment from one of the world’s largest metal producers and our partnership agreement with Sun Metals will further accelerate the global scale-up of our innovative energy storage infrastructure and software platform within one of the most important global markets of Australia. Importantly, with the majority of the minimum cash condition satisfied, it also significantly enhances deal certainty, thus allowing the Energy Vault team to remain hyper focused on deployment execution across the globe.”
Korea Zinc 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), Palantir Technologies Inc., (NYSE:PLTR) 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 being declared effective by the SEC, and other customary closing conditions.