USTDA gives grant for South African VRFB storage demo
Jessye Lapenn, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Mission in South Africa, signing the grant with Bushveld Energy's CEO.
The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) yesterday announced a grant for an energy storage demonstration project in South Africa relying on the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) technology of Washington-based firm UniEnergy Technologies LLC.
The grant has been awarded to Bushveld Energy, which is working on the project together with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC). The pilot aims to show how the battery can cut energy costs for commercial and industrial operations, eliminate the need to burn diesel and other fossil fuels for peaking power, boost the capacity of the South African grid to integrate renewables, and enhance the operating efficiently of existing baseload plants.
Bushveld Energy, a unit of Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN), announced near the end of 2017 that the 120-kW/450-kWh VRFB will be deployed and tested at the Research, Testing and Development (RT&D) Centre in Rosherville of South Africa's grid operator Eskom. After the 18 months of testing, the battery is to be moved to a commercial site.
“The VRFB to be piloted with Eskom and the additional work that will be done thanks to USTDA’s support will provide data and build the capabilities of our team in deploying these batteries not just with Eskom but also municipal power systems in South Africa and across the continent,” said Mikhail Nikomarov, chief executive of Bushveld Energy.
The USTDA did not provide details on the grant amount.