The title for the world’s largest energy storage project has volleyed from company to company in recent months. The latest record holder is Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems’ Advanced Clean Energy Storage project (ACES), slated for deployment in central Utah.
In partnership with Magnum Development, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will develop 1,000 megawatts of 100% clean energy storage. And it plans to do so without a single lithium-ion battery.
The keystone of the ACES project is an advanced natural gas turbine, able to also burn renewable hydrogen. The project will also utilize four energy storage technologies: renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage (CAES), large-scale flow batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells. MHPS has indicated that it will be able to deliver 1 GW of power, but has not specified about how the project will be rated in terms of gigawatt-hours.
"There is definitely a larger message here," explains Daniel Finn-Foley, Principal Analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. "While lithium-ion has been king as projects have been installed in the 30-minute to the 4-hour range, it simply does not compete as well for longer-duration systems or systems that want to store energy for longer periods of time. Flow batteries, despite being more expensive, become the better option at longer durations as they scale easily for duration. Compressed air and pumped hydroelectric are promising long-duration technologies, but these systems have been limited by the need for existing geological features."
The ACES project’s geographical location, near clean energy generation plants, and its unique geology create the ideal energy storage environment. Salt caves controlled by Magnum Development provide space for CAES with their ability to contain pressurized gases within a natural enclosure. The company explains that caves will be used for both compressed air and hydrogen storage. Furthermore, the caves’ location near the Intermountain Power Project interconnection is an added advantage.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has developed a turbine that operates on a blend of natural gas and hydrogen that will enable power generation without carbon emissions.
“When we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome,” said Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems CEO Paul Browning, “we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”
The technology mix has captured the attention of a number of industry professionals interested to learn what impact the project will have on energy storage markets. What market shifts do you foresee? Do you predict an uptick in flow batteries in future project deployments?