Emission Control: Origin’s trial could be the boost redox flow batteries need
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Emission Control is Stockhead’s fortnightly take on all the big news surrounding developments in renewable energy.
Flow batteries of various stripes (and there are several) have been touted as the ideal alternative to lithium-ion batteries for grid energy storage applications over the years due to their greater safety, much longer lifespans and ability to operate under a greater range of temperatures.
They are also better capable of providing long-duration storage.
Use of vanadium redox flow batteries – the most common variety – is already rising (though still a long way from displacing their lithium-ion counterparts) while other types such zinc-bromine flow batteries, touted by Redflow (ASX:RFX), are also starting to gain visibility.
However, it is Origin Energy’s (ASX:ORG) agreement to carry out a long-duration storage trial using flow batteries supplied by Allegro Energy that could really bring the grid energy storage hopefuls into mainstream use, despite Allegro’s use of a mystery ‘water-based’ electrolyte.
Under the agreement, which includes the power generator acquiring a 5% stake in Allegro, Origin will install a small initial 100kW (800kWh) module that is capable of holding eight hours of power at the site of its Eraring coal-fired generator.
Should this be successful, it will install a 5MW (60MWh) redox flow battery with 12 hours of energy storage – though the location of this larger system has yet to be determined.
“Long duration storage could supplement the high demand peak period covered by the 460MW Eraring battery currently under development and add to the overnight generation availability provided by the Shoalhaven Hydro Scheme,” Origin head of energy supply and operations Greg Jarvis explained.
“We believe long duration storage will ultimately play an important role in the energy mix, and we look forward to watching the progress of this trial and seeing how this technology could complement other storage projects within Origin’s portfolio.”
Success will also provide Allegro with the impetus to progress plans to build a local manufacturing facility, which could in turn perpetuate the cycle of greater redox battery adoption.
Meanwhile, renewable energy generator Genex Power (ASX:GNX) has entered into a series of agreements with Japan’s Electric Power Development (J-Power) for a funding package worth a total of $44.5m, most of which will be used to replenish the contingency for its 250MW/2,000MWh Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (K2-Hydro).
The agreement grants Genex a buffer big enough to complete the construction of K2-Hydro, which had experienced a water ingress event in November last year that incurred additional costs resulting in the company using up its remaining project contingency.
J-Power will also provide an upfront $2.5m in funding (and a further $6m in upfront funding for third party development costs) to help develop the Bulli Creek Solar and Battery Project, which could have capacity of up to 2GW, in return for a 50% interest.
The Japanese company’s investment comes as its shareholders once again voiced a lack of confidence in its current decarbonisation strategy.
Meanwhile, Genex has achieved energisation for its 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe battery project near Rockhampton, Queensland, paving the way for the commissioning phase to begin.
Take a look at Jesssia Cummins’ The Ethical Investor: Australia’s hydrogen bubble is growing and the stocks making waves in the sector this week for the details and more about Australia’s moves to push hydrogen to forefront.