Project at NYPA will test new lithium-ion technology

American Public Power Association

Peter Maloney

Cadenza Innovation was awarded $1 million in funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for a project that will demonstrate a behind-the-meter energy storage system using an innovation in lithium-ion battery technology.

“We are determined to drive down costs, increase safety and energy density,” Christina Lampe-Onnerud, the CEO and founder of Cadenza said.

The project calls for a 50 kW, 200 kWh battery storage system to be installed at the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) headquarters in White Plains, N.Y. The project is designed and operated to perform peak demand reduction. In addition to hosting demonstration of the system, NYPA engineers will participate in testing and operation to evaluate system use and performance.

The total cost of the demonstration project is projected to be $2 million, split evenly between the NYSERDA funding and Cadenza.

Lampe-Onnerud called it a “marquee” project that will test Cadenza’s compact and low-cost battery architecture and help further New York’s clean energy goals and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy storage target of 1,500 MW by 2025.

“This innovative battery technology will take us another step closer to greater integration of intermittent renewable resources and serve as yet another compelling example of New York State’s commitment to its citizens and a cleaner environment,” Gil Quiniones, CEO and president of NYPA, said in a statement.

The project, which will use Cadenza’s lithium-ion super cell technology, is expected to be completed by fall 2019.

Cadenza’s technology uses a new type of architecture to more efficiently package components into a cell, Lampe-Onnerud said. “Our technology takes a chemistry agnostic view of the world.” It can use the “whole first row of transition metals.” That means it could use more common elements such as nickel or zinc, instead of cobalt, which is facing rising cost and possible supply constraints. About half of world supplies of cobalt come from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lampe-Onnerud does not see a problem in getting battery manufacturers to retool their factories in order to accommodate the use of elements other than cobalt.

She compared it to making bread. The recipes are different, but it is relatively easy to switch from whole wheat flour to rye flour, she said.

Lampe-Onnerud said Cadenza’s other innovation is an advance in lithium-ion cell safety. The technology essentially incorporates a heat sink and fire retardants into the cell architecture. “We put safety on the inside, instead of as an afterthought,” she said.

In terms of cost, by and large, compared to most systems, Cadenza’s technology is 30% more compact and can be deployed at 30% lower costs, Lampe-Onnerud said.

A report Cadenza prepared for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program found that its super cell technology would cost less than $125/kWh.

The average price of a lithium-ion battery pack is about $209/kWh. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey prices are estimated to fall to below $100/kWh by 2025.