ESS, SB Energy reach major deal for flow battery technology, with 2 GWh agreement

Diving letter:

  • SB Energy, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group, has entered into a purchase agreement 2 GWh iron flow energy storage from Oregon-based ESS – a major deal for emerging technology.
  • Under the agreement, SB Energy will deploy iron-flow battery systems to complement solar energy projects in Texas and California through 2026. The first system has already been shipped to a solar power plant site in Davis, California and will be installed this month.
  • ESS produces river batteries in various sizes that are built only from iron, salt and water and offer a capacity of up to 12 hours. The company also has one Large battery system from 3 MW with running times between 6 and 16 hours for energy suppliers and large manufacturers.

Dive Insight:

The deal is a significant volume for flow battery technology. The vast majority of battery storage systems on the market – 85% of the world’s newly installed storage systems, according to a Navigant Research 2020 report – based on lithium-ion technology. While this technology is relatively cheap and well tested, the batteries have concerns about their risk of fire, slow charging time, and the impact of mineral extraction on the supply chain.

The flow batteries from ESS, on the other hand, are based on common materials and do not involve the same safety risks. The five-year partnership with SB Energy is a great vote of confidence in the technology, said ESS CEO Eric Dresselhuys.

“This deal is really the culmination of years of work to show that there is a better mousetrap out there, that solves more problems and is better where the net goes,” said Dresselhuys. “When people see that we’ve been audited, tested and approved by partners like SB, it gives them a lot of confidence.”

ESS went public this spring through a purpose-built acquisition company that is part of a push to expand manufacturing to systems that can produce 16 GWh per year on three continents.

In September the company also announced 17 ESS Energy Warehouse battery systems with a combined capacity of 8.5 MWh to. for sale Enel Green Power España to support a solar park in Spain.

A June 2021 study by Global Industry Analysts predicts the worldwide flow battery market of an estimated 290.5 million startup based out of Massachusetts Shape energy announced in July that it is working on an iron-air exchange battery that can deliver up to 100 hours of electricity at a cost of less than $ 20 / kWh, which analysts say could revolutionize the storage industry.

SB Energy, headquartered in the Bay Area, is developing the use of renewable energies on a utility scale in the USA. The company has five solar projects operating or under construction in Texas and California with a total of 1.7 GW. The company also says it is working on a “multi-gigawatt pipeline” of solar and storage projects for the next five years. The company had previously invested $ 110 million in Energy safe, an alternative storage company that relies on gravity to store and deliver energy.

Dresselhuys said SB Energy’s commitment to “looking to the future of renewable energy trends” has made them a valuable partner, especially on a multi-year contract that can add security to the market.

“A lot of long-term storage has been added, but not all of these companies have established themselves in the market,” said Dresselhuys. “The sheer scale of this deal, along with Enel, can change people’s minds about what’s possible for storage and renewables.”