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SRP plans to test a new kind of battery storage

Phoenix-area electric provider Salt River Project will be the first U.S. utility to adopt a new kind of battery technology at large scale. 

SRP announced Thursday it was planning a new battery project using Organic SolidFlow batteries made by German manufacturer CMBlu Energy. 

In the future, SRP wants to meet most daytime energy demand with solar power. That means the utility will need more battery storage for when the sun goes down, said Chico Hunter, SRP’s manager of innovation and development.

"We can store the energy during the day and then discharge these batteries overnight to enable keeping the grid going without solar," Hunter said.

But Hunter said traditional lithium ion batteries are getting harder for utilities to come by, since they’re being used more frequently in cars.

"We’d like to have an option that could be used for longer duration storage that’s lower cost and not in as much competition," Hunter said.

The Organic SolidFlow batteries SRP will use in its new pilot project run on a mix of solid electrolytes and water-based electrolytes. 

SRP expects the batteries will be able to power about 1,125 homes for 10 hours at a time. The project is expected to come online in 2025. 

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.