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Geomechanical pumped storage technology secures $10 million, begins commercial demonstration with NYSERDA

Two Quidnet engineers at the wellhead of a Quidnet Facility.

This week Quidnet Energy announced the closing of its $10 million Series B financing and the execution of a contract with the New York State Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA) for commercial demonstration of its Geomechanical Pumped Storage (GPS) technology.

The project in New York State will be a 2 MW scale implementation of GPS, supported through NYSERDA’s High Performing Grid Program, which makes investments in research and development that accelerate the realization of an advanced, digitally enhanced and dynamically managed electric grid.

The company said that even at this modular scale, per-kilowatt installed costs are expected to be less than 50 percent of traditional pumped storage due to simpler civil construction scope. This facility is planned to be configured for applications involving 10-hours of storage duration.

“While traditional pumped hydro has provided over 95% of the world’s grid-scale storage, that approach faces significant siting and cost limitations going forward,” said Quidnet Energy CEO Joe Zhou.

Zhou explained that the GPS technology uses well-drilling and construction technologies to pump water under pressure into subsurface geological reservoirs to store energy. The water is released to drive hydroelectric turbines to power the electric grid when needed.

Diagram of the Quidnet Technology

Existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Evok Innovations participated in the round, as well as new investors Trafigura and The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. Funds from the Series B financing will be used to expand the team and infrastructure necessary for full-scale commercial deployments, as well as fund the construction of near-term projects, including 2-MW project with NYSERDA.

“Energy storage has a critical role in the low carbon economy. It is essential in integrating intermittent renewable energy into grids by aligning peaks and troughs in power generation with changing patterns of demand,” said Robert Gillon, Senior Manager from Trafigura’s Power and Renewables Trading Division.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is investing in the technology research and development needed to advance a 21st electric grid that can support the State’s growing influx of renewable energy. Congratulations to Quidnet on this opportunity to develop and demonstrate the value that this innovative technology can bring to New York as we work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a 100 percent clean electric grid,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.