US military to test mission critical ability of dry deployment flow battery

Energy Storage Systems Inc’s (ESS) battery will have its ability to handle long-duration storage in Forward Operating Bases (FOB) tested as part of an integrated microgrid.
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This story originally published on Energy Storage Publishing on 11/25/2016

The US Army Corps of Engineers is to test an all-iron flow battery (IFB) to its limits after a firm delivered a 60kW/225kWh system.

Portland, US-based firm Energy Storage Systems Inc’s (ESS) battery will have its ability to handle long-duration storage in Forward Operating Bases (FOB) tested as part of an integrated microgrid.

The US chose the battery because it can be shipped to the destination in a dry state, with water added on location. This reduces the weight of the transported battery by 60% compared to other flow or traditional batteries, said ESS.

The firm also claims its battery can reach more than 20,000 cycles at more than 80% depth of discharge during a 25-year-life because the battery’s electrolyte operates within a benign pH range of 1 to 4.

The technology also uses earth abundant iron chloride (FeCl2) as its electrolyte, as well as salt and water, to keep costs below $20/kWh.

If the test proves successful it could pave the way for introducing renewables and reducing reliance on generators in FOBs, said Tom Decker, program manager, US Army Corps of Engineers.

The IFB will serve the FOB, with the generator only be called upon to recharge the battery when needed.