Flow battery will support hydropower-based microgrid in Chile’s Patagonia

Chile map

ESS Inc. announced a new contract with Chilean utility Edelaysen, a GRUPO SAESA company, to provide a flow battery system to support a hydropower-based microgrid in Chile.

Edelaysen’s grid is served by run-of-river hydropower, which varies daily and seasonally, meaning the company operates supplemental diesel generators to meet customer demand when it exceeds hydro output. With Chile implementing cleaner forms of generation and aiming to reduce CO2 emissions across the country, a sustainable alternative to continuous diesel dependence in its operating area was essential.

Edelaysen will deploy ESS’s 300-kW/2-MWh Energy Warehouse in a microgrid system in the environmentally pristine Patagonia area of Chile. The company said the microgrid will displace three-fourths of diesel generator use in the region, saving about $3 million in diesel fuel and maintenance over the system’s 25-year life. In addition, the equivalent of 12 years of diesel emissions (8.8 GWh) will be avoided.

“ESS Inc.’s long-duration iron flow battery will greatly reduce the need to run generators to meet demand,” said Marcelo Bobadilla of SAESA. “We also highly value that the system is safe, earth-friendly, and will operate at full capacity for at least 20 years without replacement – these were critical decision factors.”

“Our analysis showed that if they used lithium-ion batteries, Edelaysen could only shut down their diesel gensets for about three months per year,” said Eric Dresselhuys, ESS chief executive officer. “Instead, our long-duration iron flow storage system will reduce the need to run them by three times as much – the equivalent of nine months a year. That’s a huge reduction in emissions, noise and cost.

“As the global energy transition unfolds, its effects will be felt not just in the world’s population centers, but also in its vast remote regions. Patagonia is one of the most remote and pristine areas of the planet, and we are pleased that SAESA has entrusted our clean and safe long-duration battery technology to provide vital grid support. Their use of iron flow batteries will save millions of dollars, avoid thousands of tons of CO2, and help ensure that the country’s spectacular landscapes and vistas remain unspoiled.”

Work on this project is under way and is expected to be commissioned later in 2021.

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