Executives with Vionx Energy and National Grid celebrated the completion and commissioning of Vionx’s 3-MWh storage unit at Worcester, MA’s Holy Name Jr./Sr. High School. Designed for a lifetime of over 20 years, the system will store energy from the school’s own utility-scale wind turbine and a variety of sources of power generation from the surrounding community, and discharge it for up to six hours per day. The end result being that power normally lost from intermittent sources will now be stored in the Vionx unit on Holy Name’s campus. The energy storage system is one of the largest energy storage systems in Massachusetts and one of the largest flow batteries installed in the United States.
“We are delighted to play a key role in Holy Name’s efforts to reach into the future of power generation and help students learn more about our renewable energy future,” said Dr. Randhir Thakur, PhD, Vionx Energy’s Lead Director. “Vionx Energy’s unique Vanadium Redox Battery system represents a revolutionary, safe and reliable new path in grid storage solutions for the long-run for both utility and distributed scale applications.”
“This partnership represents a significant commitment to storage technology and we are pleased to help in enhancing the capabilities of the local energy delivery system,” said Bill Jones, Director Solutions Delivery, National Grid. “There is no question that storage will play a pivotal role in the future of our power grid given the need for flexibility with a significant expansion of renewables and distributed systems. We are excited to see this project come online.”
“Previously, the principal obstacle to our meaningful global transition to renewable power was the absence of economically viable long-duration energy storage,” added Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who serves on Vionx’s Board of Directors. “Vionx’s breakthrough solution completely changes the ballgame — affording utilities of all sizes greater efficiencies in managing their generating assets; enabling home and business owners to reliably generate and store their own power and presenting never before known options to policy-makers to rationalize our nation’s and states’ outdated energy policies. Renewables can now provide baseload power everywhere. The consequences of that new reality cannot be understated.”
Developed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy, the project drew praise from US Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents Worcester and has been a leader in support of the advancement of renewables in Congress. “Smart partnerships like this that invest in innovation are why Massachusetts continues to be a leader in renewable energy. I am proud to support this important collaboration and thank all the partners who came together to make this possible,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “This is a critical step forward for renewable energy and a powerful example of why Massachusetts is a model for sustainability that states around the country will continue to look to for inspiration.”
The system, which was constructed as part of a partnership with Vionx, National Grid and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will be used to test and operate in 13 specific use case applications providing National Grid with valuable data in helping to optimize their grid operations for renewable energy assets. Not only does a grid-scale battery provide renewable energy when the wind is not blowing or the sun not shining, it also acts much like a shock absorber when the electrical grid becomes overly congested, eliminating the need for costly expenditures managing grid overloads.
Vionx’s unique battery stack design was developed and engineered by researchers at the United Technologies Research Center division of Connecticut’s United Technologies and commercialized by Vionx Energy. It is designed to make a long-duration, long life grid-scale battery practical, resilient, and cost-efficient. The storage system will help the school meet its goal of going off-grid by providing a critical energy storage component and will offer a valuable learning tool for students involved in the STEM Initiative. Vionx will also provide an “Energy Learning Station” on site for students interested in learning how the system works in conjunction with on-site sources of power generation.
Vionx’s Vanadium Redox Battery system boasts an in-situ process that maintains full storage capacity over a 20-year lifetime – unlike other grid storage solutions such as lithium-ion or lead-acid. The result is a safe, long-run, affordable, and flexible grid storage solution that provides utilities with added infrastructure resiliency and defers aging asset replacement costs. Vionx Energy partners with world-class organizations including United Technologies Research Center, 3M, Siemens, Starwood Energy Group and Vantage Point Capital Partners to deliver its unique Vanadium Redox Battery offering. Vionx has also recently delivered a storage system to the U.S. Army at Fort Devens in Massachusetts and is poised to announce additional projects in the coming weeks.