ESS Inc All-Iron Flux Battery to Add Long-Term Storage to Microarray in Patagonia, Chile
Published: April 28, 2021, 3:38 PM
ESS Inc, currently the world’s only manufacturer of a commercially available flux battery using iron electrolytes, will deploy an energy storage system lasting more than six hours on a micro-grid in Chile.
The company’s flux battery will be integrated with renewable energy in the micro-grid, to help a local utility reduce its dependence on diesel generators in the unspoiled Patagonia plateau that stretches from southern Argentina to Chile . ESS Inc will install a 300kW / 2MWh version of its recently launched Energy Warehouse Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) for the Edelaysen utility.
The Edalaysen grid is served by run-of-river hydroelectric turbines, but their performance varies seasonally and is not sufficient to meet customer demand throughout the year, so diesel is put into service several times a year. ESS Inc has claimed that installing its battery as part of the renewable micro-grid will allow Edelaysen, a subsidiary of Chilean utility group GRUPO SAESA, to reduce three-quarters of the use of the diesel generator it currently uses. Work is already underway on the project and is expected to be completed later this year, with the battery storage system expected to last 25 years in operation.
“Our analysis showed that if they used lithium-ion batteries, Edelaysen could only shut down their diesel generators for about three months a year. Instead, our long-lasting iron flow storage system will reduce the need to run them three times as much – the equivalent of nine months a year. That’s a huge reduction in emissions, noise and costs, ”said Eric Dresselhuys, CEO of ESS Inc, who joined the northwest US-based company earlier this month.
ESS Inc has long argued that its systems pose a much lower fire risk than lithium-ion batteries, but that the iron solution used for the electrolyte is cheaper than the vanadium used by rival battery companies at flux. Even if the electrolyte were to leak, the company said third-party safety studies have shown that the contents of the battery are essentially fertilizer. The company scored a notable victory for its bankability when the Munich RE insurance company backed a 10-year warranty extension it is offering to its customers. Former CEO Craig Evans, a co-founder of the company and now its chairman, said Energy-Storage.news in a previous interview that “it’s not that other companies don’t want to make iron electrolyte batteries, but that they can’t”, due to the fact that ESS Inc holds key patents and of intellectual property.
“ESS Inc.’s Long Life Iron Flux Battery will dramatically reduce the need to run generators to meet demand. We also like that the system is safe, environmentally friendly and will operate at full capacity for at least 20 years without replacement – these are critical decision factors, ”said Marcelo Bobadilla, Marketing Director of GRUPO SAESA.
The project is actually the second run-of-river hydropower battery storage system in the Patagonia region that this site has reported on in recent months. Two hydro turbines and a 115kWp AC coupled solar photovoltaic system were paired with a 144kWh lithium-ion battery storage system from German technology provider Tesvolt at Patagonia National Park, founded by team husband and wife Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, who respectively founded North Face and was the former CEO of Patagonia.
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