Ambri’s liquid metal battery to be used at desert data centre in Nevada
‘Liquid metal’ battery technology developed as a potential low-cost competitor for lithium-ion looks set to be used at a data centre under development near Reno, Nevada.
An agreement has been made to deploy energy storage systems using the novel chemistry batteries between manufacturer Ambri and TerraScale, a developer of sustainable infrastructure solutions for the energy and digital technology sectors.
Co-founded by MIT materials chemistry professor Donald Sadoway and part-funded to get off the ground by Bill Gates, Ambri has designed a battery that uses a liquid calcium alloy anode, molten salt electrolyte and a cathode made of solid particles of antimony. The company claims this enables a low number of steps in the cell assembly process while the materials are low-cost. Ambri also integrates the batteries into a containerised energy storage system solution.
TerraScale meanwhile is developing a project called Energos Reno. A 3,700 acre development near the city of Fernley in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, the site will include a microgrid with more than 500MW of renewable energy capacity powering a data centre that TerraScale anticipates will be used by government and commercial clients.
Renewable resources that Energos Reno can call on will be solar and geothermal: there is already 10MW of solar generation built at the site, which TerraScale intends to bring up to 500MW and 23MW of active geothermal power with a rated capacity of 48MW. While the first phase of the project is the buildout of roadways and utilities to enable the sustainable data centre to be sited there, TerraScale said in a press release that it hopes the data centre and its microgrid will be built and completed within 10 years.
“Our data centre technology partners are looking forward to deploying Ambri’s technology to enable high-volume, reliable, and resilient energy storage with potentially the lowest levelised cost of storage in the industry,” TerraScale CEO Danny Hayes said.
“The collaboration is underway and includes delivery of 250MWh of Ambri systems to TerraScale’s first project in Reno, Nevada starting in 2021. The Ambri systems are particularly well suited for the project’s high-desert operations, for the shifting of its large amounts of renewable solar load, and for its grid-system peak shaving capability,” Ambri chief commercial officer Adam Briggs said.