Form Energy’s new aqueous air battery provides a whopping 150 hours of storage
The only thing standing between mankind and the next industrial revolution is the battery. We have learned to transfer power over high tension cables but we are yet to develop a battery to store such high-capacity electricity. Over the years many researchers have tried various means of storing such vast amounts of electricity but without much success. Now a company from the United States, Form Energy has claimed it has developed a battery with a capacity of 1 MW/150MWh offering a whopping 150 hours of storage.
Form Energy intends on deploying a 1 MW/150 MWh system with a Minnesota utility before 2023. If the battery is successful as they claim, it will be a very big achievement for humankind.
Who is Form Energy
Form Energy is a rather secretive research institution formed in 2017 and funded by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Other investors include Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, and Macquarie Capital who have invested $50 million in the company.
Form Energy’s new battery
Form Energy has developed what it calls an “aqueous air battery system” that “leverages some of the safest, cheapest, most abundant materials on the planet” in order to commercially deploy a 1 MW/150 MWh long-duration storage solution.
The biggest Lithium-Ion battery available right now can provide only four hours of storage compared to Form Energy’s battery with 150 hours of storage. Form Energy has entered into a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, Minnesota.
Great River Energy is Minnesota’s second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the U.S.
This system will be the first commercial deployment of Form Energy’s aqueous air battery system. The project with Great River Energy will be a 1-MW, grid-connected storage system capable of delivering its rated power continuously for 150 hours, far longer than the two to four hour usage period common among lithium-ion batteries being deployed at utility-scale today.
Form Energy is led by CEO Mateo Jaramillo who is an energy storage veteran. Jaramillo says that the battery is a “bi-directional power plant” and claims that this level of duration allows for “a fundamentally new reliability function to be provided to the grid from storage, one historically only available from thermal generation resources.”
Commercially viable long-duration storage could increase reliability by ensuring that the power generated by renewable energy is available at all hours to serve our membership. Such storage could be particularly important during extreme weather conditions that last several days. Long-duration storage also provides an excellent hedge against volatile energy prices.
Great River Energy VP Jon Brekke, in a release.
If Form Energy’s aqueous air battery system does work, it will be quite an achievement for humankind. Hospitals in remote areas that have power shortages can save valuable human life with this kind of battery storage. Other applications include cars and trucks and even railways without electrification, which could kill pollution totally from Planet Earth.