Touchstone Energy NET17

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Touchstone Energy NET17 provided a fantastic week of co-operative networking with inspiring conference agenda and speakers. Well done to Touchstone Energy NET 17 for all their hard work in making it such a great success.

Keynote speaker MIT Professor Don Sadoway provided a look into the future of affordable battery storage using liquid metal technology.  Sadoway is also co-founder of Ambri Inc. (formerly Liquid Metal Battery Corporation), which is commercializing the liquid metal battery technology for grid-scale energy storage. In addition to his work with Ambri, he is a co-founder of Boston Metal (formerly Boston Electrometallurgical Corp.), which is commercializing molten oxide electrolysis for the production of metals.

Dealing with the “Duck Curve” is a big challenge for utilities coping with gigawatts of renewable energy generation removing kWh’s from the grid. Wind and solar generation provide clean power when the sun shines and the wind blows, but this weather dependence is less reliable and leaves a big gap “Duck Curve” to be filled by traditional generation sources when it’s offline. This capacity hole needs to be filled seamlessly as customers demand 100% reliability 24/7.   The cost of this reliability has turned tariff structures on their head, unable to recover the cost from a kWh charge due to lower grid provided consumption, the emphasis has shifted to higher capacity charges, something most evident in California.

Low-cost grid-scale storage is seen by many as the silver bullet to smooth the curve, and liquid metal technology is certainly one which appears to be rising to the challenge.  As Don Sadoway said in his talk, “if you want to make a battery dirt cheap, make it out of dirt”, so Ambri utilized elements that are abundant in the soil. Liquid technology improves cycling, where lithium starts to degrade over time, liquid technology is able to provide 99% of capacity after many thousands of cycles.

New to NET? Take a look at our short video of Touchstone Energy NET17 to see what goes on. We are already looking forward to next years conference in St Petersburg, FL – and we hope to see you there.

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