Energy: Pantelleria


GTI Awards 2019 – Energy

“Blue Acid/Base Battery” (BAoBaB): Electrical Energy Storage (EES) system, Pantelleria

General information:

Island (Region, Province, Country):
Pantelleria (Italy)


Budget / cost of the project:
€ 200.000


Project objectives:

Our goal is to research and develop a totally new, environment-friendly, cost-competitive, gridscale Electrical Energy Storage (EES) system, and apply this system in the existing electricity grid. This technology, called “Blue Acid/Base Battery” (BAoBaB), stores electrical energy using pH and salinity gradients in water solutions. The principle of BAoBaB is to use an excess of available electricity to dissociate water molecules obtaining acid and base solutions from its salt.


Project description of activities and specific interventions:

The project proposed here is divided over seven activities. The target of the first activity is to establish early stage assessments of the prospective of BAoBaB to support decisions and analysis that contribute knowledge and basis for efficient development in the other activities. The second activity aims to improve the power density and the efficiency of the membrane stack. This can be obtained from studies on the ion transport and polarization phenomena across the membranes in the charge and discharge phase and investigating how these mechanisms can be handled to raise the round trip efficiency and net power density of the BAoBaB. The acquaintance from the second activity will be used in the third one to design the key-components, particularly the membranes and stacks. Input from the first three activities will be exploit in the fourth activity to integrate the developed system components into an optimized BAoBaB system and to study the inclusion of this battery in the electrical grid. The goal of the fifth activity is to attain a technical, economic and environmental assessments based on real conditions.


Public outreach, education and awareness efforts and results:

This innovative system is a complete new battery with location independence, thereby directly enlarging the portfolio. The BAoBaB system can be applied in all member states of the EU. Moreover the BAoBaB can be used within a wide range of purposes because of its scalability , including affordable small systems. This includes time shifting (i.e. matching production and consumption), increasing the grid efficiency, supplying storage for isolated grids and increasingly self-sustained electrical energy supply. BAoBaB works as a different option to other EES technologies as well as it covers a region where no alternative EES is available. The BAoBaB system can be applied typically for kWh-MWh-scale systems thanks to its features, its low cost and the widely available storage solutions.


Economic value added and how calculated:

The economic value added is assessed in term of levelized cost of storage This parameter incorporates all the elements required to determine the full lifetime cost of an electricity storage technology: capital investment, operation and maintenance (O&M),charging, and end-of-life costs divided by electricity discharged during the investment period. It assumes all investment costs are incurred in the first year and sums ongoing costs in each year up to the system lifetime, discounted by the discount rate. Within the next 10 years the LCOS of the current most used technologies (i.e. pumped hydroelectric systems and compressed air energy storage) will be of about 0.13 € per kwh and cycle. The same parameter for the Blue Acid/Base Battery will be lower than 0.09 € per kwh and cycle. Therefore, the projections show a reduction of 30% of the LCOS with a with a significant economic benefit.


Ecological and social project outcomes:

Within the group of the EES technology, BAoBaB system represents a safe and environmentally friendly way to store electrical energy. Its lower cost per kWh and better performances makes it competitive in the market. Confronted to a classical chemical storage system, the storage price is lower given that no costly materials are employed (i.e. water and salt instead of rare metals or chemicals), which strongly reduce the environmental impact simultaneously. If compairing mechanical EES as PHS and CAES, the BAoBaB system has theoretically lower costs because of no presence of high pressure equipments and higher performance (e.g. in term of energy density). BAoBaB will influence par excellence a wider incidence of distributed and intermittent renewable energy sources. This sustainable battery is easily scalable, allowing the operation within the household scale and grid-scale storage solutions. In addition, it has a potentially large storage capacity, it uses basic resources and, more important, the environmental risk is negligible. Due to its location independence and the non-toxic nature of the materials used, the penetration rate can be high.