Commercialization of Lowest-Cost, Long Duration Energy Storage Systems

e-Zinc Inc

Recipient

Parsippany-troy Hills, NJ

Recipient Location

beenhere

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Project Status

Project Update

The e-Zinc team is working to advance product development and testing of their latest cell version. The project team deployed its first demonstration project in late 2022, which yielded a significant amount of field data to guide improvements upon the cell design. Data points obtained included 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 design experiments to ensure that performance requirements are met. This optimization being done by using a combination of instruments that have testing channels to run charge and discharge cycles on the cells to evaluate the cells, in addition to completing smaller benchtop tests.

Additionally, in February 2024, e-Zinc selected the Rapid Integration and Commercialization Unit (RICU) at the Miramar Marine Base in San Diego, California to host the project demonstration. The demonstration will be completed in partnership with Indian Energy who bring expertise in deploying non-lithium LDES systems to the project. The project team will be moving into an upgraded 40,000 sq-ft pilot-scale manufacturing facility in Q2 2024, from which the battery cells for the CEC demonstration will be manufactured.

The Issue

In order for California to achieve its renewable energy goals, affordable long-duration energy storage is a necessity. The storage requirements to meet these goals cannot be accomplished by batteries (i.e. device-based technologies like lithium-ion) alone, given the linear price vs. energy capacity curves for these technologies, leading to very high prices for applications requiring durations of 12 hours or longer. To address long periods of limited solar or wind power generation, as well as seasonal differences, long-duration energy storage technologies that can scale in the energy capacity dimension (kWh) at a super low cost will be required.

Project Innovation

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.

Project Goals

Deploy a fully integrated kW scale energy storage system on a customer’s site behind the meter.
Measure and verify the performance of the system over time (discharge performance, degradation curves, voltage, etc.).

Project Benefits

The project team’s technology is a paradigm shift in energy storage. By storing electrical energy within zinc metal, the system can store hundreds of hours of energy capacity while being significantly cheaper than incumbent battery technologies. This has the potential to dramatically improve the value proposition of intermittent, renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar. In addition, it can provide clean back-up power to provide resilient power for customers experiencing outages during PSPS events and forest fires. The project team’s system uses water-based electrolyte which is non-flammable and has no risk of thermal runaway or igniting in a fire. The system retains 100% of its usable capacity throughout its lifetime.

Lower Costs

Affordability

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.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

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.

Greater Reliability

Reliability

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.

Increase Safety

Safety

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

James Larson CEO

James Larsen

CEO
e-Zinc

Subrecipients

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Penn Power Group, LLC d/b/a Western Energy Systems

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SunGrid Solutions Inc.

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Match Partners

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e-Zinc Inc

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