Quinbrook closes financing on BESS for new ‘Supernode’ data centre in Queensland, Australia

Construction of the battery energy storage system (BESS) is the first stage of a project called ‘Supernode’, a AU$2.5 billion (US$1.63 billion) data centre complex powered by locally generated renewable energy.
The battery storage system’s output is planned to be increased to 2,000MW, while local planning permissions were secured in 2022 for four multi-tenant data centre campuses.
Privately-owned electricity generator-retailer (‘gentailer’) Origin Energy has contracted the full capacity of Stage 1.    
Quinbrook is a specialist investment manager focused on the energy transition through renewables, energy storage and grid infrastructure, headquartered in the US with a total of around US$8.2 billion in equity invested in projects in the US, UK and Australia since its founding in the 1990s.
Its notable investments include Gemini, a solar-plus-storage project in Nevada, US, which features one of the world’s biggest battery storage systems, at 1.4GWh. Earlier this month Quinbrook closed US$600 million financing for its Valley of Fire solar PV and solar-plus-storage projects in three US states.    
‘Responsible emissions targets are key to creating jobs’
The portfolio company behind the new project in Queensland is also called Supernode, and specialises in developing so-called “hyperscale” sustainable data centre campuses on the East Coast of Australia.
Supernode claimed to be identifying sites which have ‘hard-to-replicate’ advantages for placing such campuses, including land, local renewable resources, and fibre internet access as well as water and other utilities and existing infrastructure.
According to a 2022 release from Quinbrook, the Brendale project will benefit from an existing substation at South Pine, which offers up to 800MW power supply capacity from three separate high-voltage connections.
The Queensland ministers said the new BESS will enable the integration of wind and solar PV generation, while displacing the use of coal, still the state’s primary source of electricity, along with other polluting energy sources.
Queensland recently published its roadmap for 12 planned Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) multi-technology generation and storage sites in the state.
It is also supporting or enabling a broad range of energy transition and economic development activities through the state’s Energy and Jobs Plan legislation, including support for local lithium and flow battery supply chain industries, renewables, distributed and large-scale battery storage, pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) and transmission upgrades.
The AU$62 billion plan was introduced by former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2022, and is part of a policy that aims to get the state to 70% renewable energy by 2032. Its other key tenets include that much of Queensland’s energy industry should be in public ownership.
“Responsible emissions targets are essential to jobs in our existing industries like mining, agriculture, and manufacturing, and they’re the key to creating more jobs in the new industries of the future, here in the southeast and right across Queensland,” Premier Steven Miles said.
Miles also noted that the state government in 2017 invested AU$15 million in a landing station for international broadband network cables.
“We know we have the connection with the world to support new data centres, like the one that will be built here, creating high-value jobs that can be powered by renewable energy,” Miles said.
Read more of Energy-Storage.news’ coverage of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan here.
Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Australia, on 21-22 May 2024 in Sydney, NSW. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

Continue reading

VIDEO: How to generate profit from battery storage beyond ancillary services

This is only set to increase, with commitments toward renewable energy adoption coming from nations and corporations. The European Union has recognised the important role energy storage can play in adding flexibility and reducing the curtailment of solar PV and wind.
While the business case for battery energy storage system (BESS) technology often begins with ancillary services, as markets evolve, other applications will become more and more important in the BESS asset revenue stack.
In this webinar, experts will discuss evolution of the revenue stack for batteries in Europe. Our speakers are directly involved in building a business case and optimising income on the market, maximising revenues for energy storage assets.
Taking part are Clean Horizon, an energy storage consultancy that helps build an optimal business case for storage, applying its simulation tool COSMOS, and YUSO, which provides route-to-market and energy optimisation services to BESS assets, operating an energy platform to provide market access.
Topics discussed include:

Evolution of prices for ancillary services and how market saturation impacts prices
Additional fixed revenue streams like capacity mechanisms
Arbitrage and energy trading in different markets such as day-ahead, intraday and aFRR
The evolution of volatility in those markets, revenues that can be earned through different trading strategies in individual markets and cross-market
Fundamental drivers for volatility and liquidity

Presentations from the speakers are followed by a panel discussion-style interview, moderated by Energy-Storage.news editor Andy Colthorpe. As always, the webinar concludes with an audience Q&A session.
Michael Salomon, president, Clean Horizon
Bart Pycke, managing director, YUSO
Amine Benchrifa, senior analyst, Clean Horizon
[embedded content]
You can also register to watch the webinar from the on-demand section of the site, which will also enable you to access presentation slide deck, as well as all other Energy-Storage.news webinars.

Continue reading

Energy storage industry eyes US cell capacity and incentives, domestic content ITC still unclear

Just as we reported from the event last year, exactly how to qualify for the 10% domestic content adder to the 48E ITC for using domestically-produced BESS is still unclear, and further guidance is expected on it soon.
‘Terribly important’ to access 45X credit
The US$35 per kWh 45X tax credit for battery cell manufacturing (45X) and associated US$10 per kWh for module manufacturing is much clearer, and is where BESS companies should be focusing their thinking, consultancy Clean Energy Associates’ (CEA) VP market intelligence Dan Shreve said.
“The need to access that 45X credit at the cell level is terribly important. It’s where most of the money is, and why companies like Kore Power continue to move forward in their plans to localise production in the US,” Shreve said.
He pointed out EV and BESS firm Tesla’s recent partnership with China-based lithium-ion cell manufacturer CATL, whereby Tesla will use the latter’s IP and machinery to build battery cells in Nevada for its BESS assembly plant in Lathrop, California (according to a Bloomberg report in January 2024).
Shreve added that Tesla has made some “…bold claims about satisfying domestic content tax credits, though whether those benefits are passed down to the client is a different question”.
Most capacity announced focus on EVs
The bulk of announced cell manufacturing capacity announced in the US is nonetheless destined for the electric vehicle (EV) market.
Part of this is because US lawmakers are reluctant to let Chinese companies set up local manufacturing and take advantage of the IRA’s incentives, but it is those Chinese companies that have virtually all of the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technology capabilities.
“That is limiting the uptake (of cells manufactured for ESS) in the US market,” said Darrell Furlong, director of product management and hardware for system integrator Wärtsilä ES&O (energy storage & optimisation).
The EV market mainly uses nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) chemistry and this is more diversified outside of China.
Different form factors make accessing capacity designed for EVs difficult too, Shreve added: “There is a lot of talk about how ESS could access that capacity, however ESS mainly uses prismatic while EV packs largely use cylindrical cells, introducing complications.”
System integrators tracking ESS cell capacity availability
Wärtsilä is investigating US manufactured cells for its future BESS products, Furlong added, something echoed by Ray Saka, VP business strategy and services for another system integrator IHI Terrasun.
“We at IHI track this closely and we’re establishing partnerships with a plan in place for US manufacturing so that we have a strong standing to answer those (domestic content) needs. It’s about the tax credit but also potential concerns around forced labour too,” Saka said.
“There are definitely some activities in cell manufacturing for BESS, but most companies are focusing on doing everything else other than cells – module and DC block manufacturing. That is the initial focus, cells require strong technical know-how, and they need the baseline material supply chain too.” 
In related news, another system integrator Nidec ASI announced today that its Cleveland, Ohio, BESS manufacturing facility has now added power conversion system (PCS) and EV charger manufacturing capabilities. The products there will help deliver the equipment for a 75MW BESS project in Texas it won a contract for from energy storage investment fund Gore Street late last year.
System integrators manufacturing their own cells?
The potential of system integrators manufacturing their own battery cells and taking advantage of 45X directly also came up in conversations, but this appears unlikely, with all companies consistently talking about the benefits of being ‘technology-agnostic’.
Setting up in-house gigafactories would require a long-term commitment to a specific cell technology, something they are reluctant to do in a market which moves very fast.
There are companies that do both cells and BESS, but these tend to be gigafactory firms that have moved downstream rather than vice versa.
The exceptions are in China, like Trina Solar’s BESS arm Trina Storage, and we hear other China-based companies might follow. EV firms like Tesla and BYD can afford to make the long-term bet on lithium-ion, which few argue will not be the dominant EV chemistry for years to come.

Continue reading

What the BESS industry is doing to ensure safety of projects in the field

As we have seen in numerous territories in the US and UK in particular, battery energy storage system (BESS) is sometimes perceived by local communities as a potential fire and even explosion hazard.
Several jurisdictions in the US have passed moratoria on new developments, with a noted concentration of such rulings in New York State, which follows both a spate of fire incidents at battery storage systems there, and fires caused by faulty or misused micromobility devices. New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul has convened a working group across different state agencies to ensure the rollout of storage can continue, or in some cases, resume.
Meanwhile in one high-profile case from the UK, a solar-plus-storage project deemed a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) has had its fire safety management plan rejected.
Not all local opposition to battery storage is around this safety aspect, there are other cases where changes to the landscape or to wildlife habitats are cited, among other reasons, but these other reasons are often very specific to individual projects.
In contrast, fire safety is a concern that spans a whole range of projects in different regions due to the lithium battery technologies used that most BESS projects have in common.
In this series, we will look at some of the things that companies in the industries are doing to mitigate fire and explosion risk, starting with manufacturing and product design.
Embedded layers of protection
“Quality control of everything,” is critical in designing and making products for the stationary energy storage sector, says Helena Li, executive president at Trina Solar, one of the world’s biggest and most vertically integrated solar PV manufacturers.
Trina Solar has of course launched Trina Storage, a BESS subsidiary which has designed and produces complete energy storage systems as well as components that include cabinets and containerised enclosures.
Trina also makes its own lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cell in-house which Elementa 2, the company’s latest BESS solution for the large industrial and grid-scale markets, is equipped with.  
To best meet customers’ needs, Trina wants to control every step of the manufacturing process that it can, Li says. This need is probably more acute in the storage industry than it is even for solar because the precision required for making batteries and related equipment is “critical” and very closely related to safety and performance of finished products.
Beyond manufacturing quality, which is an essential but often overlooked aspect of safety and not just of performance or bankability, lies product design.
Elementa 2 has multiple levels of safety features in its design. It has four detection systems, including the Li-ion Tamer flammable gas detection hardware from Honeywell subsidiary Xtralis, and smoke and temperature change detection built into the cabinet.
There are also what the company calls a full range of embedded protection layers inside. There are three layers of battery management system (BMS) and electrical protection systems. For example, there are three levels of fuse protection, one installed on the HV cabinet or rack side, and a combined fuse where multiple racks are connected in parallel. Meanwhile, the fuse installed on the DC side of the power conversion system (PCS) is integrated into the protection system.
The company claims that having those fuses at three levels means protection from any short circuit current. In addition, the storage solution comes equipped with a container-level switch breaker and relays on the HV cabinet.
Planning for every safety scenario from daily operation to worst-case
Planning for safety also means planning for worst-case scenarios, and as well as those above components and features for detection or preventative measures, Elementa 2 features an aerosol-based fire extinguisher system.
With certification and standards an evolving piece for BESS, the solution is compliant with NFPA 68, which refers to devices and systems that vent combustion gases and pressures resulting from deflagration events and NFPA 69, which pertains to explosion prevention systems for enclosures.
In those worst-case scenarios, flammable gases can concentrate inside the container, and it becomes necessary to have venting to direct gases out of the container to prevent them building up to cause explosions. Elementa 2 is equipped with deflagration venting on the ceiling of the container, which can release or lower internal pressure.
As an optional add-on, there is also a water-based extinguishing system, for contingencies where there is a possibility of flames reigniting.
Prevention is also part of the regular operation and maintenance (O&M) of the BESS. Increasingly, manufacturers, including Trina Storage and their customers, are turning to liquid cooling systems for thermal management.
Helena Li says the product’s thermal management system keeps the internal temperature within a 2.5°C delta. The liquid flow duct is designed to control the volume and flow rate of the liquid coolant. This makes sure that when the coolant goes to the very bottom of the pack it can still make an impact on the temperature, with the design based on modelling from repeated simulations.      

Continue reading

Tesvolt breaks ground on 4GWh BESS manufacturing plant in Germany

As Energy-Storage.news reported when Tesvolt announced the new plant, it will grow the company’s manufacturing capacity 10-fold and is set to enter operation in 2025.
The company calls it a gigafactory, although Energy-Storage.news reserves this term for facilities building lithium-ion battery cells, which Tesvolt will need to buy from abroad – most likely China. Europe is hoping to build its own lithium-ion cell manufacturing capacity, but this will mostly be used for EVs. A second construction phase will see a research and development (R&D) centre built at the site.
The company is the largest supplier of BESS to the C&I market, which is much larger in Germany than many other countries. C&I customers can use the BESS units to increase solar self-consumption – distributed solar is heavily incentivised in Germany – and reduce electricity bills in other ways like peak shaving.
Tesvolt recently said in February 2024 that it also aims to ‘conquer’ the C&I energy storage market in Italy, setting up an office in Milan to facilitate market access.

Continue reading

‘World’s largest’ compressed air energy storage project connects to the grid in China

It is the largest grid-connected CAES project of its size in the world, engineering firm China Energy Engineering Corporation claimed in its announcement of the project (or specifically, the first in the world of that scale).
The project is owned by China Energy Construction Digital Group and State Grid Hubei Integrated Energy Services Co. Both China Energy Engineering Corporation and China Energy Construction Digital Group are part of government-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
The project was built three to four times quicker than a pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant would need (6-8 years), China Energy Engineering added.
CAES technology works by pressurising and funnelling air into a storage medium to charge the system, and discharges by releasing the air through a heating system to expand it, which turns a turbine generator.
The CAES project is designed to charge 498GWh of energy a year and output 319GWh of energy a year, a round-trip efficiency of 64%, but could achieve up to 70%, China Energy said. 70% would put it on par with flow batteries, while pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) can achieve closer to 80%.
Primarily, the project will improve the peak shaving capacity of the regional power grid, or in other words improve the provision or balancing of supply/demand during peak demand hours. More generally, it will help the grid integrate more renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) was provided by the Zhongnan Institute of EPC while other contractors were Hunan Thermal Power and Nanfang Construction. Zhongneng Equipment supplied the main and auxiliary core equipment as well as equipment manufacturing and management services, while a firm called Losda provided the ‘whole process data’.
A page from the Hubei Provincial Development and Reform Commission describes the project as belonging to a company called Hubei Chuyun Energy Storage Technology Co, but its role in it is not clear.
It said the project will help the nearby Xiaogan City to implement its plan to both increase energy consumption and decarbonisation.
The project is similar in size and investment to one which started construction in 2022 Energy-Storage.news reported on at the time, but it is not clear if it is the same one. That came shortly after a 60MW/300MWh one was completed in Jiangsu province.
CAES and advanced-CAES (A-CAES) technologies are being used for the world’s largest non-lithium, non-PHES energy storage projects in advanced development or construction today.

The gas storage containers at the site. Image: China Energy Construction Digital Group and State Grid Hubei Integrated Energy Services.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 2nd Energy Storage Summit Asia, 9-10 July 2024 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

Continue reading

Australia installed 2.5GWh of battery storage in record-breaking ‘Year of the Big Battery’

For context, 2021 was the first year ever that total installations had exceeded 1GWh, with an estimated 1,089MWh recorded by Sunwiz.
Grid-scale projects ( >10MWh) dominated the market, with 1,410MWh brought online during the year, but 656MWh of residential installs and 402MWh of C&I joining the National Electricity Market (NEM) also made significant contributions, with their respective best-ever tallies.
Furthermore, Sunwiz said that while it had found more than 1,900MWh of utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in construction in Australia as of the end of 2022, that number had leaped to more than 12GWh by the end of last year.
While those projects will not all be completed and brought online during 2024, Sunwiz said it is confident this will be another record-breaking year for these so-called ‘big batteries.’ The consultancy and analysis group’s numbers are slightly higher than those released by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) trade association, which said in its own annual report that it counted around 11GWh under construction by the end of 2023, but nonetheless, again, a record-breaking year ahead looks more than likely.
The consultancy expects 23% growth from 2023-2024 in the residential segment, which has grown 21% year-on-year. It predicts that about 70,000 home storage systems will be installed over the 12 month period totalling about 788MWh.
The addition of community battery—or ‘neighbourhood battery’ projects around Australia, classified within the C&I segment—will help drive a 50% growth in C&I installs. After years of slow growth, the C&I market has “now become material,” Sunwiz said, with 600MWh forecast for 2024.  
Stressing that it remains “our best estimate,” Sunwiz said utility-scale could add about 4GWh in 2024, although the company said there might be hold-ups relating to grid connection.
Overall, hinged largely on how much grid-scale storage can come online on time, Sunwiz forecasts estimated total installations at 5,388MWh across all scales for 2024.
Nearly 6GWh of cumulative installs in Australia by end of 2023
In all, Sunwiz called 2023 “the year of the big battery,” with government tenders a major factor. This is again likely to grow as a driver across Australia as the Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS)—coordinated federally and administered state-by-state—solicits an initial 6GW of energy storage to back firm renewable energy this year, pursuing a total of 32GW by 2030.
The first tranches of tendering under CIS took place this year in Victoria and South Australia, awarding long-term energy service agreement (LTESA) contracts to six projects, including three large-scale BESS and three aggregated virtual power plants (VPPs).
Some interesting trends were observed in the market. These included increase in interest in electrification at mining sites, expanding investment in local battery production and the supply chain, pilots and tests for non-lithium technologies, particularly vanadium flow batteries, as well as increased attention for battery reuse, recycling and repurposing.
As Energy-Storage.news readers will know, 2023 also saw Australia’s first-ever tender for long-duration energy storage (LDES), which was held in New South Wales (NSW) and won by RWE with an 8-hour lithium-ion (Li-ion) BESS project, Limondale. This was followed by a further 4GWh of LDES resources winning another NSW tender in December, including a large-scale advanced compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) project and other 8-hour Li-ion projects.
In all, Australia’s total cumulative installed battery storage capacity by the end of 2023 was counted at 5,966MWh. Interestingly, residential still made up the largest share of that, with 2,770MWh accounting for 46% of the total, while utility-scale had a 44% share with 2,603MWh online and distributed C&I taking just a 10% share, with 593MWh.
Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Australia, on 21-22 May 2024 in Sydney, NSW. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

Continue reading

Maryland is first US state to pass vehicle-to-grid legislation, alongside virtual power plant tariff rules

In addition to its “first-of-a-kind” treatment of bidirectional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, the act also enables the creation of distributed energy resource (DER) virtual power plants that pool the capabilities of home solar PV, batteries, smart thermostats, and other equipment.
The legislation also expands utility time-of-use tariffs to allow drivers to charge their EVs at off-peak rates. The utility rules will apply to investor-owned utilities (IOUs), which are distinct from municipal utilities or cooperatives.
The General Assembly first heard the bill in late February and went through three readings in total before passing it with amendments. It now passes over to Governor Wes Moore, who is reportedly set to sign it in the coming days, although as Maryland struggles with the impact of the 26 March Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster, the timing is apparently a little unclear.
Once signed, the state’s regulatory Public Service Commission will be required by 1 May 2025 to put forward new regulations that will allow EVs to inject energy into the grid as well as drawing energy out.
As trade association Advanced Energy United pointed out, this makes Maryland the first state in the nation to adopt such legislation. Efforts are underway in California to also enable widespread bidirectional charging, with California Senator Nancy Skinner attempting to pass a bill that would require the majority of EVs and EV charging equipment in the state to allow bidirectional charging.
However, that California bill, SB-233, which would have gone into effect in 2027, was defeated in the state assembly. It is not classed as ‘inactive’ on the state’s legislative information site, although an order was made to study the issue further.
It is worth noting that various pilot programmes and studies are being carried out in California, such as launched by IOU Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in 2022.
Elsewhere, V2G and its cousins vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-building (V2B), which all fall under the helpful umbrella term of vehicle-to-everything (V2X), are making progress in fits and starts around the world.
Ford is apparently scaling back production of its new F150 Lightning truck, on which the carmaker has partnered with residential solar provider Sunrun to make it V2H compatible and V2G-ready.
In the UK, energy supplier Octopus Energy has launched what it called the first “mass market” V2G tariff, with the company’s head of flexibility Alex Schoch recently speaking with our UK energy transition site Current about it. Schoch claimed the technology offered “huge opportunity for consumers switching to EVs to save even more money whilst also balancing the grid”.
‘Big step forward for Maryland’s energy transition’
The Maryland legislation follows a series of pilot projects in the state which explored a range of technologies, applications and perhaps most notably, ownership structures for energy storage, from distributed to grid-scale.
Meanwhile the new virtual power plant (VPP) legislation, which will come into effect later this decade, brings Maryland on a par with VPP leaders like California, Texas and Massachusetts, Energy-Storage.news heard.
“The DRIVE Act is a big step forward for Maryland’s clean energy transition as it joins states like Texas and California in leveraging virtual power plants to stabilise the grid when demand surges,” Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) mid-Atlantic senior manager Leah Meredith said.
“Harnessing distributed solar and storage systems and using their collective energy will relieve strain on the grid, add resiliency, and expand access to low-cost clean energy for residents across Maryland.”
Sunrun director of public policy Thad Culley described the DRIVE Act as “a massive step forward in Maryland’s commitment to clean energy and building a resilient grid in the face of extreme weather events.”
“By leveraging clean energy technologies in people’s homes, including home solar and storage systems, the DRIVE Act helps us wean off dirty and costly fossil fuels while managing the impacts of electrification on the grid,” Culley said.
Read more of Energy-Storage.news’ coverage of activity in the vehicle-to-grid space.

Continue reading

UK: Battery storage could help reduce wind curtailment costs by 80%

However, according to Field’s analysis, the cost of curtailment to billpayers could be trimmed by approximately 80% if existing technologies like battery storage are used more effectively on the current grid.
Increasing the number of intertrip services the National Energy System Operator can buy and using grid booster batteries would both help tackle the problem. The latter technology is already being deployed in continental Europe and Australia. 
Field said that the B6 boundary, a pinch point between the Scottish and English borders, caused most curtailment costs across the year. The B6 boundary was explored in a previous blog post on Current±, in which Matthew Boulton, director of solar, storage, and private wire at EDF Renewables UK, similarly argued that battery storage could help mitigate curtailment costs.
See the full original version of this article on our sister site Current.

Continue reading

‘Non-lithium, cobalt-free’ ESS battery startup Alsym Energy tight-lipped on product chemistry

The company has developed a technology free from cobalt, nickel, and lithium that it claims is not derived from or based on improving anything else available on the market today.
According to Alsym, the battery will be suitable for applications requiring discharge durations of between 4 and 110 hours and can be fully charged in just 4 hours. The company describes this versatility to go from short to long-duration and beyond to multi-day storage as characteristic of the battery being so-called “wide-duration storage”.
Alsym said in a statement sent to Energy-Storage.news in response to our enquiries that the potentially disruptive battery is its “core intellectual property,” of which the company has to be protective. The company stated that while it has “a number” of patents pending review, even patents may not offer sufficient protection, especially in markets outside Europe and North America.
“Once we get to the point where we’re ready to start high-volume manufacturing we know that we’ll have to be less guarded, but until that point, we prefer to keep some things under wraps,” the company said.
Others have chosen similar route
To be clear, this approach is not unprecedented for the energy storage industry. Numerous other companies, including startups emerging from stealth mode and big corporations developing products in-house, have used it.
Multi-day energy storage company Form Energy went for several months after emerging from stealth touting its novel battery tech’s claimed advantages and capabilities, and even announcing a first pilot project with utility Great River Energy in Minnesota shortly before its CEO Matteo Jaramillo gave his first interview for this site.
Eventually, Form made a ‘big reveal’ that the chemistry was based on iron and air. Having scored several more pilot project contracts with utilities since then, it is now building its first factory in West Virginia.
In the flow battery space, US corporates Honeywell and Lockheed Martin have both ‘launched’ technologies without revealing their exact chemistry, with Lockheed’s flow battery being piloted at a US Military facility microgrid.
Honeywell, meanwhile, has since partnered with ESS Inc., the holder of another proprietary technology, an iron electrolyte flow battery. It isn’t clear if Honeywell’s own product is linked to that or is a separate technology.
Mechanism, manufacturing: ‘similar to lithium-ion’
Alsym did give Energy-Storage.news a few details around the technology: how it works, its claimed and expected performance levels, and the applications and markets it will be aimed at.
The mechanism of the battery is “analogous to lithium-ion, with the working ion shuttling between the anode and cathode,” the company said, and the manufacturing process is apparently also similar to those of Li-ion batteries, meaning that equipment and processes from that industry can be used.
And while the materials within cannot be disclosed at this time, Alsym said both electrodes are made using metal oxide formulations that “take advantage of low-cost materials,” mined and processed in regions that include both US and EU territories as well as countries with free trade agreements to both.
Alsym claimed the battery materials are non-flammable and non-toxic, while the electrolyte is water-based. The chemistry is “immune to dendrite formation,” according to the company.
Alsym CEO Mukesh Chatter previously blogged for Energy-Storage.news on why the company feels it is important for the energy storage industry to have alternatives to lithium-ion, especially as stationary storage systems are getting to increasingly larger scales.
“When considering battery technologies, the energy industry should keep in mind the old adage, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’,” Chatter wrote in his February 2024 Guest Blog.
“Lithium-ion is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and giving attention to new, non-lithium battery chemistries and expanding the range of options is essential to ensuring battery self-sufficiency and promoting a clean energy future that is safe and sustainable for everyone.”
Alsym product puts 1.7MWh into 20-ft container format
Alsym Green, the company’s first product for the grid-scale BESS industry, can achieve a system-level energy density of 1.7MWh per 20-ft container, and up to 3.4MWh in a 40-ft container. While that is far below the energy density lithium-ion can get to, with a number of leading providers now touting 5MWh capacity in 20-ft containers, it compares very favourably to other non-lithium chemistries, Alsym claimed.
Similarly, while claimed round-trip efficiency (RTE) of Alsym’s mystery battery is 85%, much lower than lithium-ion, it again compares favourably with most available flow batteries at 70-80% and is much higher than green hydrogen electrolysis, which is below 50%.
The company said its levelised cost of storage (LCOS) is low, and “industry-leading,” a claim that, like the others above, it now must prove out to the wider industry if not to its investors.
All sorts of end-users are interested to see if it can do what Alsym says it can. Partnerships have been formed with an undisclosed automaker based in India as well as shipping company Synergy Marine, while Alsym also claimed customers from the stationary storage industry for the grid, large industrial users with remote microgrid operations, and even home energy storage manufacturers are taking an interest.   

Continue reading