Future-oriented: Many companies and organizations are actively looking for sustainable and efficient alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. For example, Eos Energy is proposing a zinc-based energy storage system that has received conditional approval from the US Department of Energy for a loan to develop gigawatt-class storage capacity.
The US Department of Energy recently announced a conditional commitment to provide a loan of approximately $400 million to Eos Energy Enterprises. This loan will be used to build four new, state-of-the-art production lines to produce Eos Z3 battery systems. These batteries are based on “Znyth” technology, which Eos claims is based on readily available raw materials and is designed to overcome the most pressing limitations of traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Eos specializes in zinc-bromine batteries, which represent a promising alternative to lithium-ion technology. These batteries are known to be safer, more affordable and more environmentally friendly as rechargeable energy storage solutions. Zinc-bromine batteries work through a chemical reaction between zinc metal and bromine to produce electrical current. They use an aqueous electrolyte that is less prone to overheating and fire hazards compared to lithium-ion counterparts.
The DoE’s conditional commitment is intended to support 80 percent of this Eos’ project Amaze, an ambitious $500 million initiative aimed at increasing production of Eos Z3 batteries and expanding the company’s manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania. If successful, this loan will enable Eos to increase Z3 battery production to a capacity of 8 GWh per year by 2026. Additionally, this project will create new job opportunities and reduce the U.S. energy market’s dependence on foreign supply chains.
Zinc-bromine batteries offer significant advantages over lithium-ion systems, including improved stability, reliability and a longer lifespan. zinc, a key component of these batteries, is one of the most abundant materials in the world and is the 23rd most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Currently, the Eos plant in Pennsylvania has a production capacity of approximately 540 megawatt hours per year, although the capacity is currently not at full capacity.
The energy storage market is experiencing rapid growth, as highlighted in the Department of Energy announcement. However, this market is largely dominated by lithium-ion and lithium iron phosphate battery technologies, which are primarily suitable for short-term applications. In contrast, the Eos Z3 technology is designed for long-term applications, such as energy storage systems that can help grid infrastructures cope with the increasing influx of renewable energy sources.
The Defense Department expects Eos to source “almost all” of its materials from the United States in the future. This strategy aims to strengthen the domestic market against external volatility and supply chain disruptions. According to Eos CFO Nathan Kroeker, the DoE loan is a key part of a larger plan that envisions a manufacturing facility with the potential to serve a significant “200 GWh market opportunity.”