Salt River Project (SRP) and CMBlu Energy have announced a pilot project called Desert Blume that will provide long-duration energy storage in the Phoenix area. Desert Blume will use non-lithium battery storage to house 5 megawatts, or 10 hours, of energy.
Designer and manufacturer of long-duration energy systems, CMBlu, was selected by SRP largely for its sustainable approach to energy storage. The company’s Organic SolidFlow battery uses solid and water-based electrolytes with high energy density instead of rare materials often used in batteries, such as lithium and cobalt. The technology allows for a fully recyclable system that may be safely housed inside buildings. The cost-effective technology can store and deliver energy for two to three times longer per cycle than traditional lithium-ion technology, according to the company.
The battery storage system will help SRP, a not-for-profit utility serving the Phoenix area, as they work towards a low-carbon resource portfolio.
“We are privileged to work with CMBlu and gain experience with their extremely innovative technology,” said Jim Pratt, CEO of SRP. “This resource will supplement SRP’s power system helping provide stored power for longer periods, especially in times of fluctuating, high energy demand from customers in the Valley. It will be a helpful addition to SRP’s significant number of renewable resources and storage projects, which generally only store energy for up to four hours.”
Batteries will be operated by CMBlu at SRP’s Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center in Florence, Arizona. Desert Blume will mark the third phase of development at the center, following the first and second phases that will add two natural gas turbines and an advanced solar generation facility.
Pilot Project Marks Expansion of Renewable Energy and Energy Storage in Arizona
Salt River Project has planned this pilot project in order to improve grid resiliency and to test innovative technologies amidst Arizona’s hot and dry climate. The storage system would store energy taken mostly from the state’s solar generation during the day, then disperse stored energy to power buildings throughout the night.
The pilot project is accompanied by continued developments of renewable energy and energy storage in Arizona, including a recent storage facility announced by Recurrent Energy and Arizona Public Service. The state also currently ranks second in the nation for solar energy potential. Overall, the state used renewable energy for 17% of its overall electricity generation in 2022, and energy storage can help further increase this percentage.
Construction of SRP’s pilot project is expected to begin in early 2025 and should be operational by the end of the year. The Electric Power Research Institute will help provide performance monitoring throughout the pilot project and will evaluate the performance of CMBlu Energy’s innovative battery technology at the site.