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NYPA, EPRI Awarded US$200,000 to Research Long-Duration Storage

June 10, 2021
Feasibility study funded by DOE to prepare for pilot at NYPA's Astoria plant, help increase flexibility and reduce carbon emissions.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is launching a project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to explore the use of crushed-rock thermal energy storage (TES) to provide reliable and effective energy storage in a market with significant renewable energy resources. The technology holds potential to help transition New York State from fossil fuels to at least 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

The project, led by EPRI and funded by a US$200,000 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant, will investigate the feasibility of a TES technology developed by Brenmiller Energy. Another US$50,000 will be funded by the project participants. If determined to be feasible, the investigation team will pilot the technology and evaluate its ability to provide effective and economical energy storage at NYPA's Eugene W. Zeltmann Power Project in Astoria.

"Investing in research and development to improve energy storage is critical at this moment in time," said Neva Espinoza, EPRI vice president of energy supply and low-carbon resources. "Innovations in energy storage will contribute to a grid that is both reliable and resilient. This is essential to reaching a cleaner energy future, and we look forward to working with NYPA on this feasibility study."

While fossil fuels continue to be the main source of power in the United States, continued growth in power generation from intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, highlight opportunities for energy storage to increase grid flexibility to ensure reliability within the power transmission and distribution systems.

"Integrating energy storage is key if we want to make the most of the increasing use of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind," said Alan Ettlinger, NYPA's senior director of research, technology development, and innovation. "This collaboration with EPRI could potentially perfect an environmentally friendly solution that would provide large-scale, longer-duration energy storage, which would ultimately help renewable energy compete with fossil fuels."

As part of its Vision2030 strategic plan, NYPA is investigating the potential for low- to zero-carbon technologies at several of its facilities to help transition New York State from fossil fuel generation and stabilize the grid as it integrates cleaner sources of energy.

Brenmiller, an Israeli developer and manufacturer of TES systems, has patented a high-temperature crushed-rock TES system, which is being tested in three generations of demonstration units at separate sites globally. As with other energy storage technologies, the system stores excess energy, in this case thermal energy, so it can be used later during peak demand periods.

The first phase of the project will be a feasibility study on the integration of the crushed-rock TES into a range of fossil generation assets, which is expected to be complete in early 2022. A project plan would be developed for a second phase that would evaluate real-world operating conditions and demonstrate the technology's ability to provide effective and economical energy storage at a natural gas combined cycle plant.

The plan is to evaluate the cost and performance of Brenmiller's TES technology to support commercial-scale deployment by 2030. United E&C is also engaged, supporting a techno-economic study.

NYPA is also partnering with Brenmiller on a separate project to develop and demonstrate a TES-based combined heat and power (CHP) system at Purchase College (State University of New York) in Harrison, New York State, to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That unit is expected to be operational later in the summer of 2021.

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