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ESS Inc.’s long-duration iron flow battery system to power C&I firm

Thu, 08/19/2021 - 10:17 -- Paul Crompton
ESS Inc.’s long-duration iron flow battery system image

ESS Inc. will deliver its long-duration iron flow batteries to TerraSol Energies as part of a solar-plus-storage microgrid. 

TerraSol will install ESS’ Energy Warehouse flow battery to deliver backup power to computer recycling firm Sycamore International’s facility in Pennsylvania.

The Energy Warehouse has a typical power/capacity rating of 75 kW/400kWh and a 25-year design life. 

It can be configured to provide different power ratings for storage durations of 4-12 hours— with durations of 8-12 hours having an incremental cost of storage of <$20/kWh, say the firm.

The system will be used to prevent power outages, which cost upwards of $40,000 per day in lost revenue, said Steve Figgatt, CEO of Sycamore International.

He said: “We needed a solution that would ensure long-duration backup power when needed, with a favourable ROI and no safety issues. 

“We ruled out lithium-ion batteries and other flow battery chemistries due to toxicity and cost. 

“ESS’ iron-based flow battery offers the right combination of safety and sustainability with long asset life to match the expected life of our solar power system.”

Cost advantages

ESS’ iron-flow batteries use iron and salt, which leads to several major advantages over other types of flow batteries with significantly lower costs and major ESG benefits, an ESS spokesman told BEST.

They said: “The pricing of our flow batteries is similar to that of lithium-ion batteries at four hours duration. However, the LCOS  [levelised cost of storage] is almost half of lithium-ion batteries.

“While the material is the biggest differentiator to other flow batteries, there are a few other factors as well.”

“Lithium-ion technologies were then considered as part of the overall evaluation. Eight impact categories were studied to understand the environmental impact of the IFB versus all others on a cradle-to-gate basis. 

“The result? Iron-flow batteries ranked the best in six of the eight impact categories tested.”

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