Form Energy has been approved for a $30 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build a long-duration energy storage project capable of continuously discharging energy to the grid for up to 100 hours.
The 5 MW/ 500 MWh iron-air battery storage project will be built at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company substation in Mendocino County to help support grid reliability and provide power to area residents.
Iron-air battery technology operates under the principles of reversible rusting – the battery cells containing iron and air electrodes are filled with a water-based, nonflammable electrolyte solution. During discharge, the battery absorbs oxygen and converts iron metal to rust. During charging, an electrical current is applied to convert the rust back to iron, causing the battery to emit oxygen.
Once operational at the end of 2025, the project will be the largest long-duration energy storage project to be built in California.
“A multiday battery system is transformational for California’s energy mix,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild. “This project will enhance our ability to harness excess renewables during nonpeak hours for use during peak demand, especially as we work toward a goal of 100% clean electricity.”
Form Energy’s grant is one of three approved awards provided under the CEC’s Long-Duration Energy Storage program – a part of Governor Gavin Newson’s multi-billion-dollar commitment to combatting climate change within the state. The program centers around investing in demonstrations of non-lithium-ion technologies to create a diverse portfolio of energy storage technologies.
The final two awards approved under the CEC’s program include a $31 million grant for a 60 MW renewable backup power microgrid in San Diego County and a $32 million grant for a 20 MW microgrid project in Tehama County.