A novel low-cost zinc-based battery that offers up to ten hours of storage is to be deployed at scale in the US after New Jersey-based Eos Energy Storage announced deals to deploy 1.5GWh of its non-flammable technology.

The two orders — 1GWh from International Electric Power (IEP) in Texas and 500MWh from Carson Hybrid Energy Storage (CHES) in California — are a breakthrough for Eos’ zinc hybrid cathode battery technology, also known as Znyth. The company's previous largest order was back in 2015 for a 10MW/40MWh system that is yet to be built.

The fireproof nature of the battery — which does not require heating or cooling and works in “extreme temperatures” — is appealing to developers after a lithium-ion battery fire in Arizona last year caused an explosion that hospitalised several first-responders — particularly in places such as California that are prone to high temperatures and wildfires.

“Choosing Eos was easy, as their zinc aqueous technology is safe from fire, made in the USA, and provides green jobs,” said CHES president Peter Reardon.

“California needs fire-safe, large-scale energy storage located in our cities and towns to provide grid reliability as we move towards our zero carbon future. The recent blackouts showed that California cannot rely on out-of-state imports during climate-induced heat waves.”

The 500MWh CHES project — the power capacity of which has not been revealed — would be situated in the Los Angeles Basin and help local utility Southern California Edison balance the grid.

IEP’s 1GWh of batteries will be used across multiple projects in the Texas-based ERCOT grid.

“ERCOT offers perhaps the most interesting opportunity for battery plays in the US, including hourly energy arbitrage, ancillaries and congestion revenue rights,” said IEP chief executive Peter Dailey.

The cost of storage has not been revealed, but Eos declared in 2017 that its technology was 30-40% cheaper than lithium-ion.

“With 3-10 hours of discharge capability, immediate response time, and modular construction, the Eos Aurora DC [modular] battery system can be scaled and configured to reduce cost and maximize profitability in utility, commercial and industrial, and military market segments,” Eos says.

“Eos’ Znyth technology requires just five core commodity materials, all of which are Earth-abundant, non-conflict minerals, and are 100% recyclable. Eos batteries are not to be confused with flow batteries, as Eos does not require any moving parts or pumps, making for simple upkeep and market-leading low-cost O&M.”

The batteries will be built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Hi Power, a joint venture between Eos and Holtec International, a manufacturer of high-precision energy industry equipment.

The order from IEP will begin to be delivered in Texas in the third quarter of 2021, while batteries for the CHES project will not start to arrive in California until the first quarter of 2023.