With US demand for long-duration energy storage to balance power supplies increasing, Zinc8 Energy Solutions is building a battery manufacturing facility in Kingston, New York, and Form Energy is partnering with Xcel Energy on two multi-day energy storage projects in the Western US.
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Jan. 26 that Zinc8 Energy Solutions will relocate its $68 million manufacturing facility and US headquarters to Kingston, at the former Tech City, IBM Ulster campus, now known as iPark 87 business park, according to an emailed statement.
Zinc8 Energy develops battery technology that uses zinc and air as fuel, with Zinc8 committing to creating up to 500 jobs. The long-duration batteries will support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts, the governor's office said.
The company's move to Ulster County will also help support Hochul's recently released framework for the achieving 6 GW of energy storage capacity by 2030, the statement said.
"Zinc8's cutting edge, clean energy storage technology is another tool that will allow us to achieve our bold climate agenda and continue to make New York State a leader in advancing the green economy," Hochul, a Democrat, said.
Zinc8 is a technology developer and manufacturer of zinc-air long-duration energy storage systems for utilities, commercial and industrial facilities, and remote microgrids. The company's technology has been developed using zinc as the anode fuel, "which is expected to offer advantages over other metals due to its high energy density, abundant availability, low cost, and ease of storage and handling," the governor's office said.
When the system is delivering power, the zinc particles are combined with oxygen drawn from the surrounding air, and when the system is recharging, zinc particles are regenerated, and oxygen is returned to the surrounding air. The regenerative system does not need fuel replacement and "offers scalable energy capacity through the simple introduction of additional fuel tanks," the statement said.
The company has said it will invest roughly $68 million over five years to build out the site, making the region Zinc8's US headquarters and a "major hub of manufacturing operations, research and development," according to the statement.
The US will see battery capacity approaching 45 GW by 2027 with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, California Independent System Operator, New York Independent System Operator and PJM Interconnection markets leading the way, according to S&P Global Commodity Insight's latest US Power Storage Outlook.
Iron-air battery systems
Form Energy, a US-based technology firm developing and commercializing a new class of multi-day energy storage systems, said Jan. 26 that it has entered into agreements with US utility Xcel Energy to deploy its iron-air battery systems at two of Xcel Energy's retiring coal plant sites, according to an emailed statement.
"The storage technology will allow Xcel Energy to integrate more low-cost, renewable energy into its system and maintain reliability as it retires the coal plants in the coming years and transitions to a highly renewable future," the statement said.
Xcel Energy-Minnesota will deploy a 10 MW / 1,000 MWh multi-day storage system at the Sherburne County Generating Station in Becker, Minnesota, and Xcel Energy–Colorado will deploy a 10 MW / 1,000 MWh multi-day storage system at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colorado, the companies said.
Both projects are expected to come online "as early as 2025" and are subject to regulatory approvals in their respective states, according to the statement.
The challenge for the power grid markets is that lithium-ion batteries are too expensive for long-duration applications. Lithium-ion has been playing a role in replacing lower capacity factor peaking power plants that typically have a less than 5% utilization rate, Mateo Jaramillo, Form Energy's CEO and co-founder told S&P Global in a recent interview.
Interest in alternative battery types, like iron-air batteries, has grown amid the pricing volatility of metals used in more dominant battery chemistries. For instance, lithium carbonate prices have held above $70,000/mt on a CIF North Asia for most of 2022, according to S&P Global data. Prices did not exceed $20,000/mt before September 2021.