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Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 18th November
Based on its recent analysis of the North American long-duration energy storage market, Frost & Sullivan recognized ESS Inc. with the 2021 North American Technology Innovation Leadership Award for pioneering the design, development, and manufacturing of environmentally friendly long-duration energy storage systems.
Its innovative iron flow battery technology supports renewable energy generation by providing energy storage that can discharge for up to 12 hours, with an operating life of more than 20 years.
Unlike conventional Li-ion batteries, ESS’s iron flow battery offers minimal capacity fade or degradation over its entire operating life. Importantly, the battery is substantially recyclable and uses safe, earth-abundant materials that do not negatively impact the environment during sourcing or production.
“ESS manufactures long-duration iron flow batteries that use food-grade, earth-abundant iron, salt and water for its electrolyte. Long-duration energy storage is widely recognized as a critical enabling technology for a highly decarbonized grid powered by intermittent renewables like solar and wind,” said Sharath Thirumalai, Industry Analyst. “These batteries offer great value to utilities, project developers, and commercial and industrial end users seeking to minimize costs, reduce carbon emissions, and avoid power outages.”
ESS’s proprietary battery module design and control system use the same iron chloride solution at both the negative and the positive electrodes, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination and enabling numerous cycles of operation without performance or capacity degradation. Its innovative flow battery generation process reduces plumbing requirements by 60 percent, doing away with the need for cost-intensive and space-consuming cell stack racking. The closed-loop plumbing also greatly diminishes electrolyte evaporation loss and allows the batteries to function at operating temperatures ranging from -5 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius, and near-atmospheric pressure conditions.
Another key benefit of ESS’s battery chemistry is that its levelized cost of storage (LCOS) is in the range of 0.05 to 0.06 $/kWh, which corresponds to a cost advantage of roughly 3-4 times compared to conventional battery technologies. Unlike conventional Li-ion batteries, ESS’s iron flow batteries contain no toxic materials, face minimal supply chain risks, and are substantially recyclable. These unique properties allow users to become less carbon-intensive across a wide range of behind-the-meter and front-of-the-meter applications. Such an approach is a best practice that differentiates ESS from competitors.
“Going forward, ESS has a clear growth trajectory,” noted Thirumalai. “First, the company’s long-duration battery systems will be a key enabler for unlocking the full range of renewable energy benefits. The expansion of green hydrogen use cases and system deployments could also become a driver for growth – absorbing excess renewable generation to power hydrogen electrolyzers. Another area is energy storage as a service: providing leased systems for short- and long-term use in applications that require more than four hours of daily cycling.”
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing and leveraging new technologies that deliver significant customer value. Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
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