Ambri director of cell development Greg Thompson with one of the firm's prototype energy storage systems (courtesy of the company).
Ambri director of cell development Greg Thompson with one of the firm's prototype energy storage systems (courtesy of the company).

Cambridge’s Ambri on Wednesday said it’s raised $35 million from investors including Bill Gates to develop and manufacture its new energy storage technology, which aims to solve key challenges of the world’s electrical grids.

The company’s power storage system — based on MIT-invented technology — is relatively inexpensive to produce and, as a result, has the potential to lower the cost of electricity, said Ambri chief executive Phil Giudice.

That’s especially the case in areas that don’t currently have power and would rather use renewable sources such as solar and wind than erect huge transmission lines, he said. The Ambri technology can provide more reliable and longer-lasting storage for intermittent sources such as renewables than current options, Giudice said.

“This can radically change how we build out electricity systems,” he said.

Ambri’s first target markets are areas that are dependent on diesel fuel for electricity, including islands. One of the company’s upcoming pilot projects is in Hawaii, while Ambri also plans to install a prototype at the military’s Joint Base Cape Cod.

The new funding will go toward further development of the Ambri storage system and will also pay for the firm’s first full-scale manufacturing facility, which will require only $10 million in capital costs, Giudice said. The facility is expected to begin construction in the fall of 2015 and open by the end of 2016. A location hasn’t been chosen yet.

Ambri opened a prototype manufacturing facility in Marlborough in November, and employs 42.

Along with Gates, the new funding round included KLP Enterprises, Swiss Insurance firm Building Insurance Bern, Khosla Ventures, and energy firm Total. Ambri has now raised $50 million since its launch in 2010.

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