Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
PNNL has designed and is testing a modular 1kW/1kWh vanadium redox flow battery with an optimized stack design.

DOE Funds Long Duration Energy Storage Projects with $15 Million

May 17, 2024
The projects will not only advance energy storage technologies for commercialization but also validate their cost and performance in the field .

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity (OE) has selected three demonstration projects to receive $15 million for focusing on the role of new Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) technologies in transforming the electric grid to meet the nation’s growing need for clean, reliable, efficient, cost-effective energy.

The opportunity feeds into OE’s Rapid Operational Validation Initiative (ROVI), which will validate the reliability of new technologies faster as compared to real time and help new energy storage companies introduce their innovations to market soon.

Jeremy Twitchell, an energy research analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a leader for its energy storage program, said long-duration energy storage, which is usually defined at longer than 12 hours of storage, will be needed in the hundreds of gigawatts.

At the IEEE Power Engineering Society’s Transmission & Distribution Conference & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif. last week, Twitchell said there is currently have less than 40 MW capacity, which is mostly tied up in pumped-storage hydropower — a technology limited by geology and location.

The shortfall between what is already installed and what will be needed is so steep that utilities won’t be able to issue flex warnings or invest in energy efficiency enough to overcome it, nor can enough power plants be built in a short enough time, he said. However, Twitchell said he remains optimistic.

“We will absolutely see long-duration energy storage. It’s not just something that would be nice to have. We will have it because we need it, and the technology is there,” Twitchell said.

Most battery energy storage today is lithium ion, which is a technology he said was developed for consumer electronics like cell phones and children’s toys. LDES lacks a major market driver outside of the electric power industry because only this industry is looking for a battery that can store huge amounts of power at low density in a large and heavy form factor. So, lithium ion remains the largest market share of battery storage because the market and regulators incentivize the qualities it has.

The projects selected through the funding opportunity announcement will not only advance energy storage technologies for commercialization but also validate their cost and performance in the field.  

OE has selected the following projects with each receiving about $5 million in federal funding:

•              DTE Electric 

Project Title: Fully Hybrid Li-Ion as LDES and Second Life Batteries Demonstration

DTE aims to demonstrate the benefits of LDES storage through adding a lithium-ion phosphate battery to its planned hybrid Pine River Park wind and solar electric generation site.  

Federal funding: $5,000,000

•              CapyBara Energy 

Project Title: Empowering Sustainable Community Revival Through Innovative Long Duration Energy Storage and Resource Reclamation (ESTER)

CapyBara’s project will provide clean electricity to fully power the environmental remediation of mining waste. It will integrate renewable energy sources with an LDES system to support the heavy industrial processes that constitute tailings remediation.

Federal funding: $4,914,285

•              muGrid Analytics

Project title: Project VITALITY: Vanadium Innovation to Advance Long Duration Energy Storage & Impact Tribal Sovereignty

muGrid Analytics is teaming with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribe on a microgrid project to demonstrate the benefits of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) at commercial and industrial scale.

Federal funding: $4,708,00544

These projects will support DOE priorities such as the Long Duration Storage Shot and the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which uses the extensive research capabilities of the DOE National Laboratories, universities, and industry.

The projects will also address challenges identified in the Long Duration Energy Storage Pathways to Commercial Liftoff report, the Electricity Advisory Committee’s (EAC) 2022 Biennial Energy Storage Review, and the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) blueprint for lithium batteries. This comprehensive set of solutions requires concerted action, guided by an aggressive goal of developing and domestically manufacturing energy storage technologies meeting all U.S. market demands by 2030.

(Editor's Note: T&D World Managing Editor of Energy, Jeff Postelwait contributed to this report.)

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