Energy Storage Tech Ramps Up
From demand forecasts to new technologies, here’s the latest news in the energy storage market.
Energy storage technology is a critical tool to balance electricity supply and demand, supporting the transition to renewable energy resources.
Allye Energy’s MAX system was installed to support an airfield’s EV and electric aircraft charging systems. Image used courtesy of Allye Energy
This basic advantage supports the market’s continued rise, as evidenced by three recent developments in battery energy storage use. Recent projects highlight the technology’s flexibility, from multi-day backup power and large-scale energy storage systems to repurposing electric vehicle batteries.
Iron-Air Battery To Provide Resilience in Multi-Day Grid Events
Washington-based utility Puget Sound Energy (PSE) agreed to launch a multi-day energy storage pilot with a 10 MW iron-air battery supplied by energy storage firm Form Energy. The pair will also develop a project configuration slated for deployment by late 2026.
Multi-day batteries like Form Energy’s 100-hour product enable extended power, while conventional batteries only offer about four hours of supply. With more energy storage resources, PSE can avoid building additional generation to offset volatile supply from wind and solar installations. As utilities replace fossil fuel generation, they must address reliability needs with storage resources providing on-demand services.
Form Energy claims its iron-air battery can store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with traditional power plants. The product comprises cheap and abundant materials, including iron, water, and air.
Unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries that use anode and cathodes to transfer ions, Form Energy’s battery follows a simpler concept based on a reversible rusting process. While discharging, the battery draws oxygen from the air and converts iron metal to rust. When charging, a current converts the rust to iron, and the battery releases oxygen. Each module contains a 50-cell stack with water-based electrolytes and iron and air electrodes.
Form Energy’s iron-air battery concept. Image used courtesy of Form Energy
Commercial and Industrial Energy Storage Demand Heats Up
EnergyTrend, an arm of market research giant TrendForce, anticipates a massive surge in large-scale commercial and industrial energy storage this year. The firm projects 53 GW/128.6 GWh, surpassing installed capacity across household, commercial, and industrial energy storage markets.
The global rise in wind and solar projects underlies much of this demand. As more countries phase out fossil fuels, energy storage resources are necessary to provide backup power usually handled by dispatchable coal or natural gas generation.
In China, baseload power installation isn’t enough to meet the maximum load gap, increasing the demand for large-scale energy storage systems to boost installed capacity. EnergyTrend estimates new installations could hit 24.8 GW / 55 GWh. Meanwhile, the European market will benefit from a rise in U.K. installations, reaching 4.2 GW/6.4 GWh in 2024.
In the U.S., large-scale installations represent solid profitability, partly due to investment tax credit subsidies from the federal government. Last year, though, installations fell below expectations because of ongoing supply chain pressures and grid connection delays. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, over 680 GW of storage capacity is waiting in the interconnection queue.
America’s aging transmission and distribution infrastructure equates to weak integration with the growing share of wind and solar in the energy mix. EnergyTrend notes that installed demand growth will likely slow in 2024, but new installations will retain a strong performance, reaching 11.6 GW / 38.2 GWh.
Projected energy storage installations for 2024. Image used courtesy of EnergyTrend
In a separate report, EnergyTrend also predicted that global installed energy storage capacity would reach 71 GW / 167 GWh in 2024, up 36% and 43% year-over-year, respectively.
Repurposing EVs for Energy Storage Systems
Two British companies recently partnered on a project to turn end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries into energy storage systems. Battery storage tech developer Allye Energy will source used EV batteries through Synetiq, a vehicle salvage and dismantling service working with insurers and vehicle leasing providers.
Allye will repurpose the old EV battery packs from off-lease plug-in vehicles and incorporate them in new units of its modular, 300 kWh MAX Battery Energy Storage System. Each unit will include four salvaged battery packs, serving Allye’s industrial and residential customers.
Allye’s MAX Battery Energy Storage System. Image used courtesy of Allye Energy
Synetiq regularly sees EV batteries suitable for a “second life” in new applications. The operation received thousands of plug-in EVs in 2023. Allye plans to test its technology on EV batteries with different chemistries, including non-lithium and solid-state batteries.