Honeywell invests and agrees to buy systems from US flow battery provider ESS Inc

Honeywell is seeking to establish a foothold in the emerging market for long-duration energy storage (LDES) which was described as a “compelling market opportunity in the energy transition” by Honeywell Performance and Technology Materials Group chief growth officer Bryan Glover in an announcement made on Monday (25 September).

The pair will also collaborate on the development of the technology. Most other commercially available flow batteries use metal vanadium as the key element in their electrolyte, although others exist, such as zinc bromine chemistry electrolytes.

ESS Inc meanwhile is the only manufacturer of the iron chemistry due to its hold on the IP. The electrolyte mostly comprises iron and saltwater and the company has claimed that this makes it non-flammable as well as being a less toxic mix than electrolyte used in other flow technologies.

What it does have in common with other flow batteries is that the battery is rugged and durable, designed to experience minimal degradation in the battery stack even over many years and heavy cycling.

These qualities are often touted as advantages over lithium-ion and even other types of electrochemical storage, but also the fact that electrical energy is stored in tanks of liquid electrolyte mean that power and energy can be decoupled.

That allows for scaling up systems to large capacities and durations of energy stored and at the recent RE+ 2023 trade event in Las Vegas, representatives of ESS Inc’s fellow flow battery providers Invinity Energy Systems and Redflow said the levelised cost of storage (LCOS) of the technologies will be lower over a project’s lifetime than comparably sized lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) assets.

One other aspect of the Honeywell-ESS Inc agreement is that they will work together to develop the technology further. Honeywell is already highly active in the battery energy storage system (BESS) integration space, while its expertise spans a broad range of other relevant areas.

A release from ESS Inc said the patented iron flow battery (IFB) design will be brought together with Honeywell’s knowhow in advanced materials and energy systems.

During this year, ESS Inc, which is publicly traded, has announced a handful of key customer deals, the single biggest project among them being a 50MW/500MWh (10-hour duration) project in Germany with utility LEAG. In addition to producing systems at its own factory in the US, the company has licensed its technology to ESI Asia-Pacific, a partner based in Australia.

LDES is an ‘unavoidable topic’ as renewable penetration grows

ESS Inc CEO Eric Dresselhuys, speaking with at the RE+ 2023 trade event earlier this month, said that the energy industry is waking up to both the opportunity and need for LDES. While his comments – to be published in full in an interview in the coming days – pre-dated Bryan Glover’s quote on the market opportunity, they perhaps serve to illustrate the point.

ESS Inc has been in existence for over 10 years and so has its technology. Dresselhuys joined two and a half years ago and in that time “all of the macro things have gotten better,” he claimed.

“We haven’t changed our strategy, our product, which a lot of people have… We’ve stayed with our technology, we like our technology,” Dresselhuys said.

“We think it has great long-term advantages, and all of the macro market drivers have gotten better, substantially better, in the last two and a half years since I’ve joined.”

The CEO referred to the company’s membership of the global trade group Long Duration Energy Storage Council (LDES Council) as helping push forward the collective voice of companies in the space.

Yet impetus for everything from the LDES Council’s formation to the announcement a few days ago that the US Department of Energy (DOE) will put US$325 million funding into supporting nine different LDES projects speaks to the true driver: the energy transition to decarbonise and the growth of renewable energy.

“As we get to higher and higher levels of renewable penetration people are… we said this from the beginning: when you have relatively low, single digit or low teens, renewable energy penetration, storage in general, kind of doesn’t really hit your radar screen that much too,” Dresselhuys said.

“And certainly long-duration storage seems like a [question of], ‘I don’t even know what problem I’m solving [with it]’. As you get to 25% penetration or more and as you start to think about the long term plan, how do I draw a map to get all the way there? It becomes unavoidable. It’s kind of funny to read but it just kind of flips [peoples’ thinking].”

What’s happening with Honeywell’s own flow battery?

One question that regular readers of might be left with is what sort of position this leaves Honeywell’s own proprietary flow battery technology, which it soft launched back in 2021.

After a couple of teasers including mentions of a long-duration technology in development on an webinar, Honeywell officially announced in October 2021 that its flow battery was ready. It would be used in a pilot project by Duke Energy in a 400kWh configuration, to be deployed in 2022, the company said at the time.

However, there appear to have been no updates since then on that pilot project, which if all went well would have been scaled up into the megawatt-hour scale later on.

In an interview conducted at that time with this site, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions (Honeywell STS) vice president and general manager Ben Owens said the tech had the ability to scale up, but he and the company never revealed the chemistry of the battery’s electrolyte beyond stating that it was made with abundant, “easy to source” materials. has asked Honeywell representatives for an update on the company’s own flow battery and will update this story in due course. Even at the time it was ‘unveiled’ in 2021 however, Honeywell said that it was entering the space in response to the energy sector’s need for long-duration storage.

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Rimac unveils ‘most technically advanced BESS in the world’, SineStack

The unit, called SineStack, is a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cell-based modular BESS solution with an energy storage capacity of 790kWh and a 400kVa output.

The product’s core differentiating feature is its distributed inverter topology architecture, sometimes called an “AC battery”, where the inverter capability is distributed amongst all of the modules giving independent control over every 18 cells.

“That means more granular balancing, more redundancy, more energy extracted, longer lifetime, and all of that control to really make it a software-defined product,” Moorhouse said.

Furthermore, he claimed the BESS would have the best cycle life in the lithium-ion BESS industry at 12,000 cycles, the highest AC round-trip efficiency at over 92%, and the best energy density at 280kWh per square metre.

Addressing the audience, Moorhouse later said: “If you’re asking how we can achieve this, it really comes back to the point that we are vertically integrated across the whole system, there is virtually no boundary between the battery and the inverter, it’s highly integrated with reduced filtering requirements, which allows us to get the best footprint (energy density) in the industry.”

Rimac plans to start producing its BESS at mass scale from a new facility near Zagreb, Croatia, with an annual production capacity of 300MWh starting in 2025, rising to 1GWh a year later and 10GWh-plus further down the line.

A visualisation from Rimac showing the benefits of the BESS’ design. Image: Cameron Murray / Solar Media.

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New Peacock Solar Project to Bring Energy, Agrivoltaics to Texas

Construction has begun on bp’s 187MW DC Peacock Solar project, located 10 miles north of Corpus Christi in San Patricio County, Texas.

Peacock will sell all of the electricity it generates under a long-term power purchase agreement to Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV), a joint venture between ExxonMobil and SABIC, which produces materials used to manufacture clothes, food containers, packaging, agricultural film and construction materials.

Located near the GCGV complex, Peacock will supply power directly to the facility. Once complete, the installation will generate enough renewable energy annually to power the equivalent of 34,000 homes.

The project is expected to create around 300 jobs during construction and generate more than $25 million in tax revenue over the first 25 years of the project’s life.

“We want to be good stewards of our environment,” says Paul Fritsch, president at GCGV. “Once online, the solar-generated electricity will be used to partially power our plant and help reduce emissions in support of a net-zero future.”

Global solar firm Lightsource bp, the joint-venture partner of bp, is developing the project and managing the construction.

PCL Construction, the main engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project, will install ultra-low carbon solar panels and trackers from U.S.-based manufacturers First Solar and GameChange Solar, respectively.

Peacock will also be home to a range of agricultural and biodiversity activities, including:

Planting vegetation under and around the solar panels, including native plant species beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife.

Improving habitat value, species composition, soil health and overall ecosystem functions at the solar farm.

Promoting agrivoltaics, such as sheep grazing at the site to benefit the local rural economy and keep the farmland in production.

Solar plays an important role in bp’s renewables & power transition growth engine. Peacock is part of bp’s aim to invest in and build renewable energy capacity of 50 GW by 2030.

Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash

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NHOA commissions 107MWh storage system at Chinese cement plant microgrid

The NHOA Energy battery installation is expected to store about 46 million kWh of electricity per year, potentially saving electricity up to RMB21.3 million (US$2.91 million) per year, according to the company. The system will also support the Guangdong Provincial Government’s energy storage development policy, resulting in special subsidies to be granted annually.

“In this critical time of global energy transition, the most important things to focus on are energy efficiency, renewable energies, and circularity. East, West, North, South, Europe and Asia are all integral parts of one Earth,” said Nelson Chang, chairman of TCC Group.

“We are proud to support with our project TCC and the Guangdong region in pursuing their carbon reduction goals. NHOA Energy’s proprietary energy management system (EMS) will optimise the generation and consumption profile of the industrial microgrid, while also supporting the regional grid towards its 100% green energy objective, taking the energy transition in the area one step forward in total accordance with NHOA Group’s and TCC’s shared mission of fostering a positive change for the future of our planet,” added Giuseppe Artizzu, CEO of NHOA Energy.

NHOA (New HOrizons Ahead) Energy is the battery and energy storage arm of NHOA Group, previously owned by French energy major Engie and acquired by TCC in 2021. NHOA is forecasting EBITDA for this year of between €5 million (US$5.27 million) and €10 million.

Earlier this year, NHOA set out plans for NHOA Energy to target 1.7GWh of deployment by 2025 – ten times what the company installed between 2015 and 2021.

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EDF signs 20-year PPA for New Mexico solar-plus-storage project

This marks the first solar-plus-storage project in New Mexico for EDF Renewables, a subsidiary of French multinational power company EDF, with the battery storage side sized at 75MW output and 300MWh capacity (4-hour duration).

Matthew Beltz, director of origination & power marketing at EDF Renewables, said: “We are excited to build our first solar-plus-storage project in New Mexico and to support EPE as the project delivers long-term price stability, stimulates economic growth, and reduces emissions.”

In the neighbouring state of Texas, EDF Renewables sold a 200MW solar PV plant to energy company Southern Power – a subsidiary of utility the Southern Company – last week. The project has the potential to increase its power capacity to 500MW and is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2025.

Earlier this month the French utility inked a similar PPA in South Africa for a 115MW solar PV plant and 30MW battery energy storage system (BESS) output.

This story first appeared on PV Tech.

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Tesla Megapack on fire in ‘minor incident’ at battery storage site in Australia

While the publicly traded company said in its announcement that the fire incident which began at around 7:45pm local time was “minor” and involved a “low intensity fire”, broadcaster ABC said police had urged nearby residents to “stay indoors and keep respiratory medication close by”.

The ABC report noted officers said hazardous smoke was spread across the local area – although this was not alluded to in the brief statement by Genex.

Genex did say however that Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advised that the fire be allowed to burn out under its supervision, without water being applied. “Let it burn” is one of the industry-accepted (and fire service-approved) strategies for coping with fires, particularly for those involving high energy density nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) lithium batteries.

Meanwhile the fire did remain contained to the single Megapack without propagating to other units and the BESS – Genex’s first – was disconnected from the grid. Genex energised the project in June as it entered commissioning, having reached financial close on it and begun construction in early 2022.

Genex said it would be working with Tesla and high-voltage solutions provider Consolidated Power Projects to determine the root cause of the fire.

The incident marks the latest unfortunate occurrence of fire at a large-scale battery storage facility this year with perhaps the most notable being the spate of three that happened in the space of a couple of months in spring and summer in New York, US.

Those prompted New York State governor Kathy Hochul to convene a working group across various state agencies to tackle concerns around BESS safety as New York looks to significantly ramp up its deployment of the technology.

Just over a week ago, a fire occurred at developer Terra-Gen’s Valley Center 140MW/560MWh BESS site in California, resulting in four-hour shelter in place and evacuation orders for residents nearby.

It is also thought to be the second fire to occur involving Tesla Megpacks, with the first, also in Australia, happening during pre-commissioning testing at the Victorian Big Battery, the country’s biggest lithium-ion battery project to date at 300MW/450MWh.

As with Genex’s Bouldercombe project the Victorian Big Battery fire did not propagate beyond the initially affected units.

However The Guardian newspaper reported today that the Bouldercombe incident has already instigated a political debate over the use of battery storage technology.

The Bouldercombe project is nearing the final stages of commissioning, due to be completed in October, Genex said.

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SUNation Energy Moves Into the Sunshine State

SUNation Energy, a subsidiary of solar energy service provider Pineapple Energy Inc., has expanded to Tampa and Central Florida.

Recognized for its customer service, SUNation will now serve Central Florida homeowners with solar installations, battery storage and EV charging services in addition to SPAN Smart Electrical Panel installations. As a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer, the SUNation team has helped hundreds of homeowners keep the lights on during power outages with their solar and storage installations, which will prove especially useful during the summer months when air conditioning use is highest and when hurricane season is in full swing.

“The central Florida region has been on our radar for a few years,” says Scott Maskin, SUNation’s founder and CEO. “We’ve witnessed a strong demand being driven by the need for energy independence and power reliability. What’s been missing is a high-quality experience. That’s what we are all about.”

The solar company, whose flagship office is in Ronkonkoma, New York, employs about 170 New Yorkers and has been recognized as a NYSERDA Gold Status Quality Installer for several years. All this experience and dedication to providing the best possible customer experience will be brought to a new community of homeowners to help them save on their energy bills while also decreasing their carbon footprint.

For its new location, SUNation has already hired local Florida residents as new employees along with transferring one of its New York leaders with over 10 years of experience with the company and in the solar energy industry. This expansion will create more jobs for Florida residents in the growing renewable energy field with long-term career paths and opportunities to grow with SUNation.

While the company is expanding its reach to help more homeowners save with solar, its dedication to the customer experience remains the same. In addition to Florida, SUNation’s team continues to serve Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island and looks forward to this new opportunity to help homeowners and the planet for a cleaner, greener future for all.

Image by Freepik

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Arctech, Technical University of Madrid Unite for Wind Tunnel Studies

Recently, two professors from the Technical University of Madrid, in Spain – Mikel Ogueta Gutiérrez and Omar Gómez Ortega – visited Arctech and have joined in an agreement on deepening cooperation with the Wind Tunnel Laboratory.

Professor Gutiérrez is an internationally renowned wind tunnel expert who has participated in more than 70 wind tunnel studies in fields such as building aerodynamics, bridge aerodynamics and aeroelasticity, wind and solar energy. He has also led multiple wind tunnel experiments on photovoltaic trackers in Spain.

Professor Ortega is a member of the National Association for Wind Engineering (ANIV) and the International Association for Wind Engineering (IAWE). As an influential wind tunnel expert in Spain, he has participated in the research and development of wind tunnel engineering in over 30 civil engineering, wind engineering, aerospace and other projects worldwide.

As a manufacturer and solution provider of photovoltaic trackers worldwide, Arctech regards innovation as the fundamental driving force for enterprise development, empowering customer value and leading industry progress. To this end, Arctech has cooperated in-depth with well-known universities, jointly promoting the implementation and transformation of scientific and technological achievements, and accelerating the modernization process of the photovoltaic industry chain.

In 2021, Arctech became the only photovoltaic enterprise in the world to have its own wind tunnel laboratory. The Arctech Wind Tunnel Laboratory can simulate the site environment and conduct tests from five stages: static, dynamic, CFD stability, aeroelasticity and Aero Plus. Based on test data, structural calculations are made to obtain accurate aerodynamic information on the solar tracking system, ensuring its stability.

In 2022, Arctech established a Numerical Wind Tunnel CFD Calculation Center. By selecting appropriate air turbulence mathematical models and using computers as tools, various discrete mathematical methods are applied to conduct numerical experiments, computer simulations and analysis research on various problems in fluid mechanics. An intelligent design platform for photovoltaic structural systems in complex terrains is then established, providing support for Arctech to improve product solutions.

Relying on its strong research and development capabilities, Arctech has pioneered the multi-point parallel drive tracking technology, leading the technological leap of solar trackers and solutions from single-point drive to multi-point drive. The exclusive development of the 3D Geographic Information System (GIS) + Numerical Wind Tunnel CFD Simulation application technology provides a theoretical basis and technical support for improving the reliability and structural optimization design of trackers in complex terrain.

So far, Arctech Global R&D Center Laboratory has obtained the qualification of the Photovoltaic Tracker TMP Laboratory issued by TUV SUD and the laboratory accreditation certificate issued by CNAS.

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New York Solar Farm Project Serves Community in Two Ways

Lightstar Renewables, a greenfield community solar developer, is about to break ground on its Old Myers solar project, the first agrivoltaics (dual-use) project in New York.

Located in Wappingers Falls, Poughkeepsie, Old Myers is a 2 MW dual-use community solar project that spans a 15-acre family owned site. The project will facilitate the Thompson family’s ability to keep the site in agricultural production while generating stable lease income over 25 years. Construction on the project will begin during autumn 2023 and is expected to reach completion by summer 2024.

Agrivoltaics (AgPV) projects are dual-use solar installations, meaning crop production and grazing can happen in and around the solar array. Solar panels are mounted at enough height and space to allow adequate space for crops to grow and livestock to graze. The solar panels also provide protection to crops from extreme weather events, including storms, early and late frosts, and heat waves.

The Old Myers project will harvest strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and lavender, among other produce, resulting in active market produce production for this agrivoltaics project in New York. Lightstar will be working with local institutions to study the produce grown and document the financial and agricultural case studies that will be disseminated widely.

“What many don’t realize is that solar and agriculture are perfect partners — their synergies are crucial to the security and resiliency of our community for green power as well as localized food sources. Lightstar’s Old Myers agrivoltaic project is a solution to this challenge — it combines crop production and sustainable energy production, proving harmonious coexistence is possible,” says Paul Wheeler, Founder and CEO of Lightstar.

Lightstar has been engaged with the farm owners since early 2022 to help rezone the property at no cost to the farmers. As a result, the farm encompasses a greater solar and crop use case, further improving productivity and efficiency. The company will support the full lifecycle of the project by continuously working with the farmers and community members to ensure long-term success.

Lightstar has partnered with American Farmland Trust (AFT) to drive regenerative agricultural practices, and lead projects using AFT’s Smart Solar Siting Principles as a cornerstone of its solar and farming.

Solar Agriculture Services (SolAg) has also been a key partner for Lightstar on the project, offering knowledge, oversight, consultation and advisory.

Residents and businesses will have access to electricity bill savings through discounted community solar subscriptions. The project will also create tax revenue for the local municipality.

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Redflow Provides Batteries for LDES Project Awarded DOE Funding

Tim Harris

Redflow Ltd., a global clean energy storage company, has been named as the battery provider for a 34.4 MWh long-duration energy storage (LDES) microgrid project that was just awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The project is part of the DOE’s new $325 million LDES program which seeks to advance critical clean energy technologies, expand the adoption of renewable energy resources and strengthen America’s energy security.

The Children’s Hospital Resilient Grid with Energy Storage (CHARGES) project will enable the Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California to replace diesel generators with cleaner, more cost-effective resources, and provide a roadmap for hospitals and critical infrastructure throughout the country to implement similar projects. Redflow will collaborate on the system with its project development partner, Faraday Microgrids. The project is being sponsored, and expected to be co-funded by, the California Energy Commission (CEC).

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera is the only full-service pediatric facility in California’s Central Valley and regularly faces extreme heat conditions, drought, coastal smog and poor air quality. The 34.4 MWh long-duration energy storage and solar microgrid will enable the hospital to better serve the region’s residents, even during power interruptions.

“Our batteries are ideally suited for daily use in the Central Valley’s extreme heat, and we’re proud to provide the resources the hospital needs to ensure safe, reliable operations,” says Tim Harris, Redflow CEO and managing director. “This combination of our technology leadership, Faraday’s trusted microgrid solutions and the funding provided by the CEC and DOE all assist in transitioning communities to a cleaner, more energy-efficient future.”

The system is expected to maintain critical hospital operations during utility outages or shortages not attributable to earthquakes. In the event of obligatory natural gas or fuel cell shut-offs during seismic events, the systems will maintain facility operations for at least 18 hours after earthquakes.

In addition to Redflow batteries, the microgrid will be paired with other renewable energy resources to support decarbonization, result in cost savings for the hospital, provide resilient infrastructure for the facility in case of natural disasters and power outages and provide overall grid benefits.

“We’ve set strong performance goals for this installation,” says Faraday CEO, David Bliss. “We’re confident in our partnership’s capabilities to successfully deliver large, resilient, dispatchable 24/7 clean energy microgrids to health care facilities, tribes and other large-grid customers throughout California and the United States.”

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