DOE Invests $2.4 Million for Next-Generation Energy Storage Tech

By U.S. Department of Energy | March 21, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $2.4 million in funding for three projects to advance novel thermal and hydrogen energy storage technologies toward increased duration, reliability and affordability. The technologies will initially support transitioning of existing fossil assets to low carbon energy systems, with the long-term potential to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a fully decarbonized electricity grid by 2035.

“The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is investing in projects that will advance thermal and hydrogen energy storage technologies for use during and beyond the electricity decarbonization transition,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of FECM Dr. Jennifer Wilcox. “By validating new options for electricity storage, these projects will move us toward achieving the cost and performance goals of DOE’s Long Duration Storage Shot—to reduce the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90 percent for systems that deliver 10 or more hours of duration in one decade.”

The selected projects also support FECM’s Energy Storage program and DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which seek to develop and manufacture domestic energy storage technologies that meet all U.S. market demands by 2030 and position the United States as a world leader in energy storage.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects: 

Sand Thermal Energy Storage (SandTES) Pilot Design — Electric Power Research Institute (Palo Alto, California) and partners will perform a pre-front end engineering design (pre-FEED) study on the integration of a 10 MWhe (megawatt-hour electricity) SandTES pilot system into Alabama Power’s Ernest C. Gaston Electric Generating Plant in Wilsonville, Alabama. SandTES is a high-temperature thermal energy storage technology operated with sand (quartz or silica) as the storage medium. The use of sand as a heat transfer material offers the advantages of widespread availability, low cost, and high thermal capacity.

DOE Funding: $796,253; Non-DOE Funding: $199,063; Total Value: $995,316

Hydrogen Storage for Load-Following and Clean Power: Duct-firing of Hydrogen to Improve the Capacity Factor of NGCC — Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, Illinois) and partners will demonstrate storage of more than 54 megawatt-hours of energy as clean hydrogen produced using natural gas with carbon capture and storage—and its use for load-following in Southern Company Services’ Washington County Cogeneration Facility in McIntosh, Alabama. Hydrogen storage and discharge rates will be linked to follow daily power demand fluctuations from variable renewable energy, thus increasing plant efficiency while reducing emissions.

DOE Funding: $800,000; Non-DOE Funding: $331,971; Total Value: $1,131,971

Economically Viable Intermediate to Long Duration Hydrogen Energy Storage Solutions for Fossil Fueled Assets — WE New Energy Inc. (Knoxville, Tennessee) and partners will complete a pre-FEED study of a cost-effective steel-concrete composite hydrogen energy storage prototype that is integrated with existing or new coal- and gas-fueled electricity generating units. These units usually are not designed to respond to major shifts in output. This integrated system will enable more flexible operations, helping to manage dynamic changes in electric grid demand and electricity price.

DOE Funding: $798,053; Non-DOE Funding: $211,293; Total Value: $1,009,346

FECM funds research, development, demonstration and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial sources, to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use. Priority areas of technology work include point-source carbon capture, hydrogen with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, critical mineral production and carbon dioxide removal. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements and visit the NETL website.