Urban Electric Power (UEP) partnered with the City University of New York (CUNY), Con Edison and the New York State Energy Research & Development Agency (NYSERDA) to develop a 100 kW zinc-nickel oxide, lead-free battery system that can undergo 5,000 deep discharge cycles while retaining 80 percent of their capacity.
The GreenCat Zn-NiO battery can match the performance of a lithium ion battery but costs only as much as a traditional lead acid battery per kWh, because it can achieve more discharge cycles, New York-based UEP says. It is non-toxic, and 100 percent recyclable, can operate without capacity loss for many years and does not require special handling or cooling equipment, according to UEP.
UEP says this is the first battery to reach demonstration stage that can store energy at the grid scale and is cost-competitive, twin goals that researchers have been working on for a decade. The zinc-nickel oxide flow-assisted technology prevents the zinc dendrite growth and electrode deformation that have led to premature battery failure in the past.
A 30 kW pilot system was installed one year ago on the CUNY campus. The new 100 kW system will be scaled up to a 200 kW system by July 2013 and will help reduce peak hour load at the school, as well as peak shifts, solar and wind power mitigation and power protection.
UEP also has a second battery in its pipeline, the GreenCat Eco MnO2 . The DOE’s ARPA-E sponsored research that led to a less expensive manganese dioxide cathode which lowers the battery price to under $100/kWh, and has stable performance for over 2000 cycles. This is the DOE’s target cost to unlock the market for grid-scale energy storage, and UEP says at this price it can also compete with lead acid batteries for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) applications and automotive starting, lighting, and ignition, which represents the largest existing rechargeable battery market.
Last month in California, PG&E and the state’s energy commission unveiled a 4MW battery storage pilot system in San Jose that will better support the grid.