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Energy Storage: ARPA-E CHARGES



In 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) selected Group NIRE and DNV-GL to evaluate energy storage systems over the next four years. Methods for storing electricity for the electric power system (i.e. the grid) are developing rapidly, but widespread adoption of these technologies requires real-world data about their performance, economic benefit, and long-term reliability.


The CHARGES program, short for "Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage," establishes two sites where DOE-funded battery technologies will be tested under conditions designed to represent not just today's applications, but also the demands of tomorrow's electric power system. The program will establish realistic duty cycles for storage devices on a microgrid, and test them in both a controlled environment and under realistic microgrid operating conditions. The objective of the CHARGES program is to accelerate the commercialization of electrochemical energy storage systems developed in current and past DOE-funded research efforts. The program aims to help DOE-funded battery development teams improve their storage technologies to deliver substantial economic benefit under real-world conditions, both now and in the future.

DNV-GL and Group NIRE will provide a unique combination of third-party testing facilities, testing and analysis methodologies, and expert oversight to the evaluation of ARPA-E-funded energy storage systems. The project will leverage DNV-GL's deep expertise in economic analysis of energy storage technologies, and will implement economically optimized duty cycles into the testing and validation protocol. DNV-GL plans to test DOE storage technologies at its state-of-the-art battery testing facility in partnership with the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium. Those batteries that pass the rigorous evaluation process will be adapted for testing under real world conditions at Group NIRE's test facility in Texas. Testing will show how well the DOE storage technologies can serve critical applications and will assist DOE-funded battery developers in identifying any issues with performance and durability. This testing will also deliver performance data that buyers of grid storage need, enabling informed choices about commercial adoption of grid storage technologies.

DNV-GL and Group NIRE's testing of DOE funded storage systems could identify performance issues and assess the economic value of systems for end-users. The development of economically optimized testing protocols can have an industry-wide impact as it may reduce the testing and validation cost burden faced by young companies with new technologies. Through ARPA-e CHARGES, the DOE will have a way to evaluate their technologies in both controlled environments and under realistic grid operating conditions early in their development cycle. Further, this testing and validation will provide grid operators and utilities with reliable information about the performance characteristics, operating requirements, and life expectancy of emerging technologies.

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