Quinbrook eyes 16-hour batteries for Sun Cable in massive storage deal with China’s CATL
Australian renewable energy investor Quinbrook says it is looking to deploy 16 hour battery storage technology as part of a massive supply deal with China battery giant CATL, and could use the technology at the Sun Cable solar and storage project in the Northern Territory.
The two companies announced the signing of a “global framework” agreement in station storage that will aim to deploy more than 10 gigawatt hours of CATL’s advanced storage solutions over the next five years.
These included projects that Quinbrook is developing in Australia, the US and the UK, and in particular the Sun Cable solar and battery project, where Quinbrook is taking on responsibility for managing the initial stage that will focus on supplying new green industries in Darwin.
The two companies said that they will also assess the viability of using CATL’s groundbreaking eight hour and 16 hour discharge energy storage solutions for the Sun Cable project.
The ultimate aim of the 20GW Sun Cable project – controlled by billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures – is to deliver steady green power to Singapore via a 4,300kms high voltage sub sea cable, but the first stage will aim to deliver around 1GW of green power supply into Darwin.
However, because this will rely on solar power, battery storage will be required to smooth out the delivery of green electrons to industrial customers throughout the day, and into the nigh if need be.
Brian Restall, the head of Quinbrook’s Australian operations and the co-chair of the company’s Global Procurement Committee said the company had worked with CATL for some time.
“We are impressed by the quality of CATL’s technology that consistently tops DNV’s annual Battery Scorecard report, their robust product supply chains and the company’s commitment to investing in research and development to maintain their cutting edge technical advantage,” he said in a statement.
“We look forward to continuing our working partnership and assessing the viability of CATL’s ultra long duration storage solutions as well.”
The longest duration big battery in Australia is currently two hours, although several four hour batteries are being built in Western Australia, with the specific purpose of time shifting the output of solar from the middle of the day to the evening peaks, and one eight hour battery is planned in NSW by German energy giant RWE.
A 16-hour battery is generally regarded as the province of the so-called “flow batteries”, although none have been deployed at this scale. But improvements in lithium-ion based chemistries is also lengthening the storage duration of those technologies.
“We are excited to strengthen partnership with Quinbrook, which is experienced in leading investments and initiatives that support a stable transition to a decarbonized power system,” said Tan Libin, vice president of CATL.
“Together with Quinbrook, we look forward to implementing more large-scale battery energy storage projects globally with our innovative solutions, so as to help addressing climate change and move towards a clean and sustainable future.”
Quinbrook says it has more than 50GW of renewable and storage projects in the pipeline, and is looking to deploy “mega-scale renewable supply projects that are teamed up with large scale storage solutions.
“The long-term partnership includes the design, optimization, and supply of the most advanced storage solutions available from CATL in today’s market,” the statement said.
It said Quinbrook and CATL are assessing together the first 1GWh plus project using CATL’s EnerC Plus technology platform in Australia and the UK.
Quinbrook has already used CATL technology at its Project Gemini in Nevada, which was the largest solar and storage project in US history when first announced. That project will shift solar energy into the evening to power the entire city of Las Vegas.