DOE awards nearly $18 million for flow battery R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $17.9 million in funding for four research and development projects to scale up U.S. production of power batteries and long-term storage systems. DOE also launched a new $9 million effort – the Energy Storage Initiative for Social Equality — to help as many as 15 disadvantaged and frontline communities to harness energy storage as a means of increasing resilience and reducing energy burden.

Flow battery design from Primus Power

“We are moving at lightning speed to harness renewables, and access to long-term storage is critical to sending this clean energy for use when and where it’s needed,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investment to drive battery storage technology, combined with our first-ever Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative, will help create jobs, build more resilient communities, and ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans.”

While shorter duration storage is currently being installed to support current levels of renewable energy generation, longer duration storage technologies – such as power batteries – are needed as more renewable energy sources are deployed on the grid. Cheaper and more efficient storage will make it easier to capture and store renewable clean energy for use when power generation is unavailable or below demand.

Flow batteries are electrochemical batteries that use externally stored electrolytes, making them less expensive, safer, and more flexible and adaptable. DOE has selected four research, development, demonstration and implementation (RDD&D) projects for a total of $17.9 million in federal funding to advance power battery technologies. Selected projects will work to improve manufacturing processes for individual power battery components and integrate those new or improved components into a medium-capacity prototype system for grid and industrial applications.

This investment is part of DOEs Big challenge for energy storage and will be critical to achieving the department-wide Long-term storage recording target to reduce the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% within ten years.

Selected projects include:

  • Largo Clean Energy and Partners (Wilmington, Massachusetts) will receive $4.19 million to develop and demonstrate highly efficient production processes for affordable grid-scale power batteries.
  • TreadStone technologies. and partners (Princeton, New Jersey) will receive $4.99 million to develop roll-to-roll technology for manufacturing metal electrodes and bipolar plates, which are essential components of power batteries.
  • OTORO Energy and Partners (Broomfield, Colorado) will receive $4.14 million to improve the cost, scalability and performance of existing power battery technology through a metal chelate flow battery system.
  • Quino Energy and Partners (Menlo Park, California) will receive $4.58 million to strengthen the U.S. domestic power battery manufacturing ecosystem by developing and executing a scalable, cost-effective, and continuous process for the production of aqueous organic power battery reactants.

DOE also launched the Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative – a $9 million program designed to help communities better assess storage as a solution to increasing energy resiliency while maintaining affordability and combating high energy insecurity. Nationally, more than 65% of low-income households face high energy burdens and more than 30% of all households experienced some form of energy insecurity – sometimes even without food, medicine and comfort to pay an energy bill. .

Selected communities will have access to DOE’s technical experts for assistance in conducting energy, economic and spatial analysis, as well as assistance in developing and deploying locally tailored energy storage projects.

News item from DOE

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