Iron Batteries – Could This Be The Commercial Storage Solution?

Bloomberg recently reported that ESS Inc’s iron-flow storage technologies could be the long-duration storage technology that we have been looking for. ¬†The company claims that the technology can not only store renewable energy longer, but help overcome some the reliability issues causing blackouts in California and the record-high energy prices currently seen in Europe.


iron battery storage

The batteries rely on “iron-flow chemistry” which differs than than the currently popular lithium-ion battery. And while lithium-ion battery pricing has decreased 90% over the last 10 years, their ingratiates contain rare precious metals including cobalt and nickel. These batteries are made of iron salt and water – both of which are cheap and plentiful.

Genie Solar’s resident battery¬†expert, Bill Schmitz, tried out this technology in the past and found a few issues companies will have to contend with: 1. they tend to get very hot, so there are concerns about placing them inside without a cooling mechanism; 2. They need pumps to have the electrolytes flow between the cathode and anode and the pumps take a lot of current and would fail; 3. The batteries need maintenance by adding electrolyte; 4. They don’t have a high rate discharge so not ideal for shaving peak demand 5. On a per kW basis, they take a significant amount more room than lithium.

With the right conditions, and the right use, the positives are significant: They are at least half the cost of a lithium ion battery and they are significantly safer.

Like solar panels and system design – finding the right solution for the right application is key to a financially viable and overall successful application. Genie’s experts are here to help their commercial and industrial clients face the coming energy challenges.

Iron Batteries – Could This Be The Commercial Storage Solution?

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