Eos looks to scale up storage product

Eos Energy Storage, a New York-based start-up differentiating from other grid storage firms in its use of low-cost zinc-based batteries, is looking to grow its product scale.

The news comes in the same week as the World Energy Council recognised storage’s status as a ‘pivotal’ technology in the global transition to a cleaner energy future.
Eos Aurora electricity storage
T&D World reports that Eos is raising money to build more of its batteries, and to get those units out in the field. Deployments are needed to prove the company’s bold claims of multi-hour, long-lasting energy storage at a cost of $160 per kilowatt-hour.

On Tuesday, Eos announcedà‚ the initial closing of a sale in a private placement of approximately $23m. The company previously raised $23m in May 2015 in a round led by AltEnergy, and about $27m in two previous funding rounds from investors including OCI, NRG Energy and Fisher Brothers.

The money will fund the scale-up of contract manufacturing and commercial deployment of its Eos Aurora batteries. These cargo-container-sized, 1-MW, 4-MW-hour units use cathodes made from zinc, a much cheaper metal than lithium, but one that’s proven to be a challenge for rechargeable batteries.

Eos says it’s solved these problems through a proprietary coating that reduces corrosion over multiple charge-discharge cycles, as well as other materials and design improvements, to yield a battery with 75 percent round-trip efficiency and a 10,000-cycle, or 30-year, lifetime.

In terms of price the company is targeting $160 per kilowatt-hour, which is about half the cost of the cheapest lithium-ion batteries on the market — although lithium-ion’s massive manufacturing base is sure to drive down those prices in the years to come.

Eos’ batteries sacrifice round-trip efficiency in comparison to lithium-ion, which is in the 90 percent range. But they have a better profile for multi-hour discharge cycles, particularly in the 4- to 6-hour range, where lithium-ion batteries really struggle.

The World Energy Council, meanwhile, says the next five years are likely to see growth in small-scale battery storage in conjunction with solar PV; in utility-scale electricity storage.

In the concluding chapter for the World Energy Council’s World Energy Resources 2016 report, DNV GL’s Paul Gardner (lead author) asserts, “Energy storage is pivotal to meeting the challenges facing economies worldwide.”

A chapter in the report looks at the impact of increasing amounts of battery storage, and battery capacity in electric vehicles. Information gathered directly by PwC shows the levelised cost of storage in 2015 compared to the cost of 2030 in a bar graph, showing a projected decrease in future prices.à‚  The chapter develops three major conclusions:

  1. The main areas of growth in the next five years are likely to be in small-scale battery storage in conjunction with solar PV; in utility-scale electricity storage; in electric vehicles; in commercial, communications and software capabilities to allow DER to be aggregated, in a ‘virtual power plant’ or ‘swarm’; in pumped storage hydro; and in islanded use cases integrating renewables.
  2. Most commercial interest is in battery storage and the costs of several storage technologies will fall as production volumes increase.
  3. The future outlook for energy storage markets is good due to an increasing need, but the regulatory and legal frameworks are failing to keep pace.

According to the World Energy Council, the investment community has good reason to be excited about the innovation and business models that will emerge from new opportunities. With the cost of capturing and storing wind and solar energy coming down, its deployment across the world will increase.

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