With 120 MWh Storage Win, Israel’s Augwind Challenges Lithium-ion Storage

Yakum, Israel-based Augwind has been claiming that its Air Battery energy storage system will be superior to Lithium battery storage. The firm got a big boost earlier this month when Israel’s Electric Authority awarded a big tender for 609 megawatts of solar and 2.4 gigawatt-hours of energy storage, of which at least 120 megawatt-hours of storage will be from Augwind’s compressed air energy storage systems. The project is due to be completed by July 2023. That’s early enough to provide Augwind a shot at the huge storage opportunity that is expected to open up between now and 2030, worldwide. With a turnover of just over NIS  6.8 million (Rs 15.3 crore) in 2019, this Israeli firm has huge ambitions.

Israel is targeting 16 GW of solar capacity and at least 8 gigawatt-hours of energy storage by 2030.

Augwind will be working with another Israeli solar developer, Solegreen Ltd, which won 95.6 MW of solar capacity in the tender. Augwind’smost notable achievement till now had been a deal with EDF Renewables to build a 5 MW solar plant along with a 20 MWh AirBattery energy storage system.

Augwind Air Battery process

Courtesy Augwind Company Presentation

Augwind’s AirBattery system is claimed to have an overall efficiency of 75-81 percent on facilities above the 5 MW scale. The firm claims their solution is greener as it doesn’t need any chemical elements unlike lithium-ion batteries and also doesn’t suffer from the flammable risks of batteries. In fact, the firm has likened its solution to pumped storage systems, the oldest and most dominant storage system in use worldwide, with the added caveat that Augwind systems, being underground, take up even smaller footprints on the land. 

The company is also developing the AirSmart system that it claims can be applied to many industrial processes that rely on compressed air, by optimizing compressor run times, stabilizing the air pressure in those systems, and reducing power consumption for air compressor systems by up to 40%, along with reducing operating costs. The system will also allow firms to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates to fill their compressed air storage tanks instead of running compressors based on demand, which could be during peak hours.

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