Solar, wind power storage system gets EPA award

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A Washington state company has been honored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercializing energy storage technology developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) of Richland.

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The storage can be used to help make variable wind or solar production more practical for the electric grid.
EPA gave a Green Chemistry Challenge Award to UniEnergy Technologies, which manufactures advanced vanadium redox flow batteries near Seattle using a new electrolyte chemistry developed at PNNL with Department of Energy funding.

The electrolyte can store 70 percent more energy and operates over a wider temperature range than conventional vanadium electrolytes. The cost of ownership is lower than lithium-ion batteries.

“Research at PNNL has led to considerable technical improvements and substantial cost reductions resulting in a commercially viable flow battery,” said Imre Gyuk, director of energy storage research at the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

UniEnergy Technologies recently installed an 8-megawatt-hour system, the largest flow battery system in containers in the world, at the Snohomish PUD in Everett.

It has installed more than 14 megawatt-hours of flow batteries for all its customers and has 155 megawatt-hours of flow batteries ordered. Its customers are in three countries and six US states.

“The battery, when used by utility, commercial, and industrial customers, allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. It also lasts longer and works in a broad temperature range with one-fifth the footprint of previous flow battery technologies,” UniEnergy Technologies said in its website.

“The electrolyte is water-based and does not degrade, and the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable, thus helping meet the increasing demand of electrical energy storage in the electrical power market, from generation, transmission, and distribution to the end users of electricity,” it added.

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