What do you do with a 100-hour battery?

Form Energy’s Mateo Jaramillo argues that utilities can use multiday storage to do more than balance intermittent renewables.

On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

It’s time to get specific. In the power industry, long-duration energy storage” could mean anything from 4 to 10 to 100 hours of energy. But Form Energy’s Mateo Jaramillo argues that batteries in the ballpark of 100 hours hit a sweet spot, and he thinks that sweet spot deserves its own name: multiday storage.”

In the 15-minute to 12-hour range, lithium-ion batteries shine, effectively displacing the natural-gas peaker plants that run less than 5% of the year. But they don’t displace higher-capacity generation. Nor do they meet the needs of the grid during significant weather events, like heat domes, nor’easters and freak Texas winter storms that can last upward of 75 hours. And for that, Mateo says we need multiday storage. 

Form Energy’s iron-air batteries made headlines back in 2021 for promising to deliver tens of hours of storage at a low cost per kilowatt-hour. (Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner, invests in Form Energy.) So what role could multiday storage play on the grid?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Mateo about real-world examples from Form’s experience with utilities Xcel and Georgia Power. They also cover topics including:

  • The strengths and limitations of lithium-ion batteries on the grid today, and why Mateo thinks lithium-ion is here to stay.

  • The competitive landscape for multiday storage, including iron air, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and transmission.

  • The roles multiday storage can fulfill for utilities beyond balancing renewables, such as meeting load growth and resilience goals.

  • Bonus: Shayle’s idea for bitcoin mining on a barge.

Recommended resources:

  • Canary Media: Form Energy closes its biggest deal yet for long-duration energy storage

  • Carbon Copy: A groundbreaking long-duration battery nears industrial scale

  • Wall Street Journal: Old West Virginia steel mill becomes a green-energy powerhouse

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Catalyst is a co-production of Latitude Media and Canary Media.

Catalyst is brought to you by BayWa r.e., a leading global renewable energy developer, service supplier and distributor. With over 22 gigawatts in its project pipeline, BayWa r.e. is rethinking energy every day and at every level. Committed to being a solid partner for the long run, BayWa r.e. wants to work with you to help shape the future of energy. Learn more at bay.wa-re.com.

Catalyst is brought to you by Sungrow. Now in more than 150 countries, Sungrow’s solutions include inverters for utility-scale, commercial and industrial solar, plus energy storage systems. Learn more at us.sungrowpower.com.