Long-Duration Off-Grid Energy Storage Gains Momentum

The demand for long-duration energy storage (LDES) beyond traditional power grids is increasing rapidly, according to a new report from Zhar Research.

Dr Peter Harrop, CEO of Zhar Research, said that it is important to note that the technologies used for LDES beyond grids are different from those used for grid storage.

“While most investors and manufacturers are chasing the herd into the grid LDES market, it is already clear that some of their technologies are best repositioned into beyond-grid applications,” said Harrop. “For example, the fundamentals dictate that redox flow batteries (RFB) can never be more than an also-ran for the requirements of giant grid LDES. In contrast, they can dominate the emerging market of over $50 billion for beyond-grid LDES. Part of the reason is that beyond-grid sites are too small for massive earthworks.”

The Central Coast Community Energy in the US has contracted three flow battery projects, including one of 16MW/128MWh with an 8-hour duration that is expected to be operational in 2026. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has also committed US$31 million funding for a microgrid project pairing a 1MW/10MWh 10-hour vanadium reflow battery (VRFB) with a 35MWh zinc hybrid cathode battery LDES storage system.

Harrop added that it is not just vanadium RFBs that are in demand.

“Big names such as BASF and Lockheed Martin sell RFBs that do not need vanadium. Their sales can grow even faster than vanadium versions: some are half the size and others are already well-proven in military facilities at 8-10 hours duration,” said Harrop. “We have projections for them overtaking the fast-growing VRFB beyond-grid sales from 2024-2044.”

Zhar Research’s 377-page report, “Long Duration Energy Storage LDES beyond grids: markets, technologies for microgrids, minigrids, buildings, industrial processes 0.1-500MWh 2024-2044”, analyses all the options for beyond-grid LDES, including RFBs, ACCBs, liquid air and liquid carbon dioxide energy storage.

With an increasing number of orders for LDES beyond-grid coming in, the report provides detailed profiles and prioritising of 43 RFB manufacturers as well as 11 of the most promising ACCB and liquid gas LDES companies, along with roadmaps and 26 forecast lines.

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