Climate and Clean Tech | April 9, 2024

Vietnam’s Alterno raises $1.5 million to store renewable energy in sand batteries

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

More than 80% of Vietnam’s power is generated from fossil fuels, mostly coal. The country’s coal dependence will affect Vietnam’s ability to trade with Europe as the EU phases in a carbon tax on imported goods.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Alterno is making thermal batteries to store renewably-generated energy, primarily to support a renewable transition and reduce the carbon footprint of Vietnam’s agriculture sector.

Local investor Touchstone Partners and The Radical Fund in Singapore led Alterno’s $1.5 million seed equity round.

Sand storage

Renewable sand-based batteries use solar or wind energy to heat air trapped within sand to about 600 degrees Celsius. The sand stores the energy as thermal heat.

Alterno is piloting the technology with tea producer DoTea and Sucden Group, a coffee supplier to Nestle, which are trying to decarbonize their drying processes.

Separately, Finland’s Polar Night Energy raised €7.6 million ($8.3 million) to build industrial-scale sand-battery storage, using crushed soapstone from a nearby fireplace manufacturer.