Natron Energy Awarded California Energy Commission Grant to Pair Energy Storage with EV Fast Charging

By Battery Power Staff

June 18, 2019 | Natron Energy, a provider of battery products using Prussian Blue chemistry, has been awarded a $3 million grant by the California Energy Commission (CEC) for “Advanced Energy Storage for Electric Vehicle Charging Support” the company announced last week. Natron will use the funds to manufacture and install a high powered, long cycle life energy storage system at an EV Fast Charging station.

“We are thrilled that the CEC selected our proposal to showcase the benefits of Natron technology for EV Fast Charging,” said Colin Wessells, CEO of Natron Energy in a press release announcing the award. “As the adoption of EV’s continues to grow in California, Natron’s batteries can provide rapid, high power charging while minimizing stress on the grid.”

The project will result in a cost-competitive, at-scale alternative to Li-ion batteries, and offer superior performance for the high-power/short-duration dispatch and long cycle life requirements of the EV Fast Charging market. Natron’s patented technology uses Prussian blue pigment which stores and releases energy in the form of sodium ions. Unlike electrode materials found in most Lithium-ion batteries, Prussian blue enjoys widespread availability and low cost that make batteries using Prussian blue electrodes economical, safe, and environmentally friendly.

Meeting California’s goal of 5 million EVs by 2030 and electrifying rideshare (SB 1014) will require a dramatic acceleration in the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, particularly workplace and EV Fast Charging stations. Energy storage made from Prussian blue chemistry is more cost-effective and durable than the prevalent battery chemistry of Lithium-ion.

According to the company, Natron’s Prussian blue technology advantages can address the market’s primary business challenges, including:

  • Expensive utility distribution upgrade and customer interconnection costs at higher concentration and charging levels
  • High and uncertain customer bills with demand charges
  • Maximizing the number and level of chargers at each site given escalating customer acquisition and site preparation costs.

“The Energy Commission’s EPIC research program accelerates innovative technologies to drive the scale of change needed to address the serious impacts of climate change,” said California Energy Commission vice chair Janea Scott in the same press release. “Projects like Natron Energy’s sodium-ion battery system, which pairs energy storage with electric vehicle infrastructure, can help smartly integrate vehicles with no tailpipe pollution into the electric grid.”

The system will be installed on the University of California San Diego’s campus. UCSD is a national leader in microgrid and EV Fast Charging installations.