The project team has submitted the draft system design report which outlines the preliminary specifications of a pilot system, which is expected to be a kW scale system with upwards of 24 hours of duration. The current focus is on progressing product development and testing of the project team’s latest cell version. The project team deployed its first demonstration project in late 2022, which has provided a significant amount of field data to improve upon the cell design. Data points obtained include charging and discharging performance, voltage curves, degradation of key components, reactions to ambient temperature swings, and transportation of the cells. The project team is currently optimizing the functional parameters of the cell in a design of experiments to ensure that performance requirements are met. This optimization is done by using a combination of ARBIN instruments to evaluate the cells, in addition to completing smaller benchtop tests. The project team intends to complete the build of the pilot system to deploy in early 2024 with Western Energy Systems for back-up power and daily cycling use cases. Finally, the project team is completing the upgrades of a 40,000 sq-ft pilot scale manufacturing facility.
This project will demonstration an e-Zn long-duration energy storage system, and test and validate the e-Zn technology at the commercial scale. e-Zn's technology is material based, as adding more hours of runtime does not require an additional device (or battery), but only additional zinc, potassium hydroxide (the electrolyte), and plastic (for containment), at a material cost of approximately $20/kWh. This makes e-Zn's technology exceptionally well suited for long-duration energy storage applications, particularly greater than 24 hours duration (at rated power), and at a power node size of 1 kW to 10 MW.
In addition to increased resiliency, e-Zn technology could be cycled daily to reduce costs through demand charge reduction, energy use shifting (i.e. time-of-use arbitrage), or by capturing excess onsite solar generation. Given its large energy capacity, an e-Zn system could do this while still reserving enough energy to supply the customer in the case of an unexpected outage.
By discharging during peak periods, an e-Zn energy storage system can offset electricity otherwise supplied by fossil-fuel utility peaking units. The approximate savings per system are shown in Figure 2, with CO2e reductions of ~5000 lbs/year for a residential system and ~100,000 lbs/year for small scale commercial/industrial system.
e-Zn technology, given its ultra-low cost of energy capacity, can provide an affordable and reliable source of backup power for 1-2 days or longer (vs. only a few hours for commercially available batteries), in the case of a grid outage or fire-prevention public safety power shutoff.
Given that e-Zn technology inherently has no risk of fire, explosion, or thermal runaway, it would be a lower risk option for Californians compared to lithium-ion, particularly fire prone areas.
Key Project Members
Penn Power Group, LLC d/b/a Western Energy Systems
SunGrid Solutions Inc.