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Form Energy to pilot iron-air battery in Minnesota

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 13:10 -- Vic
Iron air battery charge discharge cycle

Form Energy has announced it is ready to commercialise a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems, using iron-air batteries.

The move follows a broad review of available technologies which led to the development of the firm's iron-air battery for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid.

The active ingredients of the system are iron, water and air.

The firm claims its rechargeable iron-air battery is capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 10% the cost of lithium-ion. 

The basic principle of operation is reversible rusting, a concept that was developed in the 1970s by Westinghouse for electric vehicle propulsion. 

Each individual battery is about the size of a washing machine and batteries can be grouped together to meet the local needs for energy. 

For scale, in its least dense configuration, a one-megawatt system requires about an acre of land— higher density configurations can achieve >3MW/acre.

The front-of-the-meter battery can be used continuously over a multi-day period and will enable a reliable, secure, and fully renewable electric grid even during times of extreme weather, grid outages or periods of low renewable generation.

The first installation, a pilot project with Great River Energy in Cambridge, Minnesota, is due to go online in 2023, with wider deployment the following year.

Series D financing of $200 million was led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb™ innovation fund.

Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials, which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form's battery systems. 

Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited.

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