By Jason Deign
Eos Energy Storage, the New York, US, grid-scale battery manufacturer, is planning to expand internationally in the second half of 2016.
Philippe Bouchard, vice president of business development, told Energy Storage Report the company was looking at opportunities in Australia, India and South Africa. “You could also add Europe to that list,” he said.
The news follows two additions to the Eos executive team in July, when former Aquion Energy man Donald Humphreys joined as vice president of manufacturing and Jim Morgenson, ex of SMA, took over sales.
At the same time, the company confirmed it had taken more than 8GWh of qualified pre-orders for its Aurora 1000/4000 containerised 1 MW DC battery system, which it says will sell for USD$160/kWh ‘in volume’.
This is “capacity that we could deliver over the next four to five years,” Bouchard clarified. “Even if we only convert a portion of that it still puts us in a position to be a leading supplier of energy storage.”
Two cash injections this year
Eos’s commercialisation plans have been boosted by two cash injections this year. In the first quarter of the year it finalised the second closing of a $25m private placement led by the investment firm AltEnergy.
January press reports stated the cash would go to build a megawatt-per-month production capability, with a goal of 100MW of annual capacity next year.
Eos is banking on the fact that its ultra-low cost Znyth battery technology, which includes an aqueous electrolyte and zinc-hybrid cathodes, will help it head off competition from lithium-ion grid-scale battery competitors.
Besides having a low manufacturing cost, the technology is being promoted as having a 10,000-cycle, 30-year lifespan. “We believe it makes it the least-cost energy storage resource on the market,” said Bouchard.
Compelling for many in the sector
Eos’s argument seems compelling for many in the energy storage sector.
Hugh Sharman, principal at the energy consulting business Incoteco, points out that the metal-only cost of zinc is currently around $2/kWh, whereas “lithium battery material costs are somewhere between $70 and $120/kWh.”
The problem facing Eos, and indeed other admired non-lithium players such as Aquion and Ecoult, is whether they can really attract big utility customers without having an established track record and the bankability of a major brand.
“We are very focused on the bankability issue,” admitted Bouchard.
In fact, the company is working on two fronts to convince risk-averse utilities that Aurora is worth a go. On one hand, it is looking to amass plenty of third-party-validated technical data to back up its claims for the battery system.
A try-before-you-buy option
On the other, it is giving a number of large power companies a try-before-you-buy option through Genesis, a utility partnership programme that has signed up names such as ConEdison, Enel, GDF Suez, NRG, PNM and National Grid.
Ultimately, though, what the company is hoping is that grid-scale storage purchasers will see the value of buying a product that has been developed specifically for their needs.
“Eos is unique in that our company is a story of business-case focused development,” said Bouchard.
“We wanted to understand what application energy storage would be valuable for on the grid, and that application is locational capacity. That’s the use case for which our battery has been designed.”
As Eos eyes global expansion next year, it will be hoping its customers see Aurora in the same light.