Tesla, watch out — you’ve got company

    Photo: ambri.com

    Donald Sadoway’s Ambri signs agreement with NEC to develop energy storage system.

    Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

    With Tesla installing its Powerpack and Megapack systems across the world, the potentially vast global market for stationary batteries is becoming more crowded. Delivering on its earlier promises, Ambri, which has sprung out of professor Donald Sadoway’s MIT liquid battery lab, is going to deliver its calcium || antimony long duration cells to an energy integrator NEC in the fourth quarter of 2019.

    It was announced on September 23, that NEC and Ambri signed a joint development agreement in which NEC will design and develop an energy storage system based on Ambri’s Liquid Metal Battery technology. NEC will use Ambri-based energy storage systems for its customers that could include utilities, independent power producers and project developers.

    By 2022, according to the agreement, NEC will purchase a minimum of 200MWh of Ambri cells for its commercial systems. This compares to 129MWh at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the largest lithium-ion battery in the world built by Tesla in South Australia.

    Donald Sadoway. Photo: ambri.com

    Sadoway told NP-UN that Ambri expects that systems based on its cells will be targeted at projects of 10MWh and larger with no limit on the high end.

    These systems will be targeted at applications with durations of 4-hours or more. These kinds of systems will help fill the gap in the flow of energy from such renewable sources as wind and solar.

    Ambri’s liquid metal cells have several advantages over lithium-ion ones, including lower cost and better safety. The cells can operate safely under all environmental conditions without the need for air conditioning or fire suppression equipment – while Li-ion cells can catch fire at about 65 degrees Celsius.

    Unlike Li-ion cells, Ambri’s cells do not suffer from degradation due to usage. They can deliver daily 100% depth of discharge cycling performance for over 20 years.

    The total cost of NEC’s energy storage systems based on Ambri’s cells is not known at present but potentially will be the lowest in the industry. In his earlier interview for NP-UN, Sadoway provided an estimate that the all-in cost for this kind of system will be less than USD100/kWh. This is below the average USD176/kWh in 2018 reported by Bloomberg and USD500/kWh for Tesla’s battery at Hornsdale Power Reserve.

    Donald Sadoway is a Canadian-born grandson of Ukrainian immigrants. He was born in Toronto and attended the University of Toronto for his undergraduate and graduate studies, ultimately earning his PhD in Chemical Metallurgy in 1977.