A Houston developer of cryogenic compressed air stored in vacuum-insulated pressure vessels, a Los Angeles long-duration energy storage company that integrates with offshore renewables and a Massachusetts company making a battery that converts and stores renewable electricity as high-temperature heat are among 10 winners of a federal innovation prize recognizing grid-scale energy storage ideas and products.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity announced Monday the winners of its American-Made Energy Storage Innovations Prize, awarding a total of $300,000.
The award focuses on emerging technologies that disrupt or advance state-of-the-art energy storage research. As part of DOE’s Storage Innovations 2030 initiative, the prize helps industry develop new technologies with the potential to meet grid reliability, equity and decarbonization goals, DOE said.
“Cost-effective, long-duration and grid-scale energy storage is essential to supporting the nation’s electric infrastructure in the transition to clean energy,” said Gene Rodrigues, assistant secretary for electricity.
The Energy Storage Innovations Prize showcases U.S. innovation across a “wide spectrum” of energy storage research, he said.
DOE announced five “Storage Innovations Champions” to receive $50,000 each and five “Storage Innovations Finalists” to receive $10,000 each.
Storage Innovations Champions:
- Cryostone, Houston: A developer of cryogenic compressed air stored in vacuum-insulated pressure vessels.
- RCAM Technologies, Los Angeles: A long-duration energy storage company that uses concrete spheres on the seafloor to store mechanical energy in the form of pressure.
- Gravity Power, Santa Barbara, California: After digging a shaft, the company builds a piston of reinforced rock in the shaft, adds water and caps it, creating a closed-loop system. A pump/turbine forces water down the penstock into the shaft, lifting the piston and storing thousands of MWh in each plant.
- Electrified Thermal Solutions, Medford, Massachusetts: The company makes a battery that converts and stores renewable electricity as high-temperature heat.
- KineticCore Solutions, Loveland, Colorado: The company manufactures a 50 kWh storage package in a five-foot by four-foot portable cylinder.
Storage Innovations Finalists:
- Rondo Energy, Alameda, California: Its battery uses electric heating elements to turn power when it’s available into high-temperature heat.
- Thermal Battery, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Liquid metal is pumped at extreme temperatures using all ceramic or graphite mechanical pumps, allowing solar and other renewable energy to be stored and used at night or at times of demand.
- THEMES, Houston: Information was not immediately available for the THEMES project.
- NerG Solutions, Knoxville, Tennessee, says its storage technology is modular and scalable from 1 MW to1,000 MW and more, can last 40 years or longer and can be sited anywhere.
- Cache Energy: The Champaign, Illinois, company is developing a heat battery that can store energy as heat indefinitely and release when needed as heat or electricity.
Submissions were judged on the innovation’s quality, including a pathway to DOE’s levelized cost of storage goals, strength of the plan and other benefits such as supply chain considerations and equity, DOE said.
The Energy Storage Innovations prize also supports the Energy Storage Grand Challenge and Long Duration Storage Shot, which aim to reduce by 2030 the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% for systems that deliver 10 or more hours of electricity. DOE said it is considering all types of technologies, including electrochemical, mechanical, thermal, chemical carriers, and more.
At a virtual networking event on Wednesday, winners will have five to 10 minutes to introduce their technology proposal to industry experts and potential collaborators.