Renewable energy-based microgrid in Patagonia to use iron flow battery

national park
Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Image by Edson Wunderlich from Pixabay .

Long-duration iron flow battery manufacturer ESS Inc announced a new contract with Chilean utility, Edelaysen, a GRUPO SAESA company, to provide a flow battery system to support a renewable energy-based microgrid in Chile.

Edelaysen will deploy ESS Inc.’s 300-kW/2-MWh Energy Warehouse, integrated with renewable resources in a microgrid system in the environmentally pristine Patagonia area of Chile. The company said the microgrid will displace three-fourths of diesel generator use in the region.

Edelaysen is expected to save approximately $3 million in diesel fuel and maintenance over the system’s 25-year life. In addition, the equivalent of 12 years of diesel emissions (8.8 GWh) will be avoided.

“ESS Inc.’s long-duration iron flow battery will greatly reduce the need to run generators to meet demand,” said Marcelo Bobadilla of SAESA. “We also highly value that the system is safe, earth-friendly, and will operate at full capacity for at least 20 years without replacement – these were critical decision factors.”


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Edelaysen’s grid is served by run-of-river hydropower that varies daily and seasonally, which means the company operates supplemental diesel generators throughout to meet customer demand when it exceeds hydro output. With Chile implementing cleaner forms of generation and aiming to reduce CO2 emissions across the country, a sustainable alternative to continuous diesel dependence in their operating area was essential.

“Our analysis showed that if they used lithium-ion batteries, Edelaysen could only shut down their diesel gensets for about three months per year,” said Eric Dresselhuys, ESS CEO. “Instead, our long-duration iron flow storage system will reduce the need to run them by three times as much – the equivalent of nine months a year. That’s a huge reduction in emissions, noise and cost.”

Dresselhuys continued, “As the global energy transition unfolds, its effects will be felt not just in the world’s population centers, but also in its vast remote regions. Patagonia is one of the most remote and pristine areas of the planet, and we are pleased that SAESA has entrusted our clean and safe long-duration battery technology to provide vital grid support. Their use of iron flow batteries will save millions of dollars, avoid thousands of tons of CO2, and help ensure that the country’s spectacular landscapes and vistas remain unspoiled.”

Work on this project is underway and is expected to be commissioned later in 2021.

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