A 100kW/1MWh zinc-air battery is to demonstrate the potential for long-duration storage at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.
The initiative will see the deployment of Canadian zinc battery startup Zinc8 Energy Solutions’ zinc-air battery storage system on the University’s campus.
The primary functions will be to provide peak shaving capability by levelling out peaks in electricity consumption, increase campus resiliency and assist in training campus utility staff with new energy storage technology.
The deployment, the outcome of an innovation challenge from the New York Power Authority, is significant for two reasons.
One is the growing interest in the role of long duration storage – in the case of zinc-air, longer than 8 hours – in supporting the integration of growing renewables to the grid.
The other is the potential of the technology itself, with zinc-air expected to offer a lower cost option than other long duration options such as vanadium redox flow technology.
The Buffalo deployment, the first long duration use in New York State, should serve to demonstrate the long-duration aspect of the energy storage system, validate its performance reliability and determine the O&M and estimated life cycle costs.
“It is rewarding to see the project begin to take shape,” said Gil C. Quiniones, President and CEO of NYPA.
“The collaboration with Zinc8 and the University at Buffalo bodes well for a successful demonstration project that addresses the need for reliability of renewable energy resources and will help achieve New York State’s targets for energy storage.”
New York State has an energy storage goal of 3GW by 2030 to support its commitment of 100% electricity from zero carbon emission sources by 2040.
The storage system also will be connected to the campus chilled water plant, which provides a cooling capacity of 168 million BTUs per hour, equivalent to 21,000 typical window air conditioning units. This facility provides service to most areas of the university’s North Campus, which consists of over 120 buildings.
For Zinc8 the project is an important step in the development of the technology.
“This is a major milestone for Zinc8 on its path to our full commercialisation target in early 2023,” comments President and CEO, Ron MacDonald.
Zinc8’s patented technology has energy is stored in the form of zinc particles, which are combined with oxygen drawn from the air when the system is delivering power. When the system is recharging, zinc particles are regenerated and oxygen is returned to the surrounding air.
Other benefits stated are a modular architecture, readily scalable by increasing the size of the zinc storage tank, non-flammability and zero capacity fade over a 20,000 hour operating lifetime.