Augwind To Build 120 MWh Of Compressed Air Energy Storage For Solar In Israel

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In Israel’s second renewable energy tender, this time for solar-plus-storage projects, Israel Electric Corporation awarded 609 megawatts of solar and 2.4 gigawatt-hours of energy storage, and at least 120 megawatt-hours of that storage will be from the compressed air energy storage systems built by Augwind.

The country’s first tender was just held back in July of 2020, with some 168 megawatts (MW) of solar and 672 megawatt-hours of energy storage awarded, so the huge jump in capacity for both energy production and energy storage is a very promising sign for the country in its quest for 16 gigawatts of solar capacity and at least 8 gigawatt-hours of energy storage by 2030. The tariff set at this latest auction was ILS 0.1745 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (US$0.0544/kWh) for 23-year government-backed power purchase agreements through Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), with projects required to be grid-ready by July 2023.

Augwind’s AirBattery energy storage system will be put to work at solar plants to be built by Israeli solar developer Solgreen Ltd, which won 95.6 MW of solar capacity in the tender, and Augwind also recently announced an agreement with EDF Renewables Israel Ltd. to work together on a 5 MW solar plant coupled with a 20 MWh AirBattery energy storage system from Augwind. EDF will secure the land and construct and operate the solar facility, while Augwind will handle the energy storage side of things and see to the engineering, construction, operation, and maintenance of its AirBattery storage system.

According to Augwind, the AirBattery system has an overall efficiency of 75-81% (as applied to commercial facilities with a capacity above five MW), and the adoption of compressed air energy storage systems like this is much greener than battery storage systems, due to their high efficiency, longer lifecycles, and the avoidance of any additional chemical components beyond water and air (some of which in battery systems are flammable and either non-recyclable or hard to recycle at end of life). The AirBattery system also doesn’t require the high level of temperature control systems that battery storage systems need, and the company compares their compressed air energy storage system’s efficiency to pumped hydro storage systems, but with much lower physical footprints due to their installation under the ground.

Augwind AirBattery energy storage system
Image: Screenshot of Augwind’s AirBattery process

“Compared to a storage system based on lithium batteries, despite their higher initial efficiency, lithium batteries have an obvious disadvantage in that their efficiency and structural capacity fade over the years and necessitate replacement and upgrade for a new storage system every few years or cycles. In addition, lithium-ion systems contain chemical components, some of which are not recyclable, while Augwind’s solution is designed for decades, while also being green, environmentally friendly, and based solely on water and air.” – Or Yogev, CEO and Founder of Augwind

“Any entrepreneurial company setting up solar farms must today address the huge environmental damage caused by using polluting storage systems that are dangerous to the environment compared with the tremendous advantage of AirBattery. A storage solution based on lithium batteries is an environmentally polluting system in the process of manufacturing the batteries, the use of metals that are not readily available, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, and above all the inability to recycle the batteries at the end of their lifecycle.” – Yogev

It’s worth noting here that Augwind is not only working toward cheaper, cleaner energy storage, but also better energy efficiency with its AirSmart system. The AirSmart system can be applied to many industrial process that rely on compressed air, by optimizing compressor run times, stabilizing the air pressure in those systems, and by reducing power consumption for air compressor systems by up to 40%, along with reducing operating costs. The system also allows for companies 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. The video below is a good overview of that particular application.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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