The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) team at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) Operational Energy (OE) participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the installation of a flow battery at Fort Carson, Colorado, Nov. 3, 2022. The ERDC-CERL team was selected earlier this year to provide management for the new battery.
“This is a significant tool and has potential to make an impact on future military bases,” said Tom Decker, CERL Operational Energy program manager.
A flow battery, as defined by the International Flow Battery Forum, is “a rechargeable battery in which electrolyte flows through one or more electrochemical cells from one or more tanks.”
For the purposes of this project, when there is excess renewable energy or less demand for energy, the flow battery will be charged and the charged electrolyte stored. When the flow battery system is completely charged, or when the stored energy is required, this electrolyte will pass back through the flow battery providing up to one megawatt for up to ten hours.
“ERDC-CERL will work with Lockheed Martin and the Fort Carson Director of Public Works to look at different cases of how to utilize this storage capability,” said Decker. “Bottom line is, the Lockheed Martin flow battery will provide a feasible means of long-duration grid scale energy storage to Fort Carson and their mission critical assets that no other Army installation currently possesses.”
According to Decker, the OE team will provide overall project management and serve as the technical lead for testing and evaluation of the flow battery once it is installed. The team will then develop a final report on the performance of the flow battery.
Speakers at the groundbreaking event included Fort Carson Garrison Commander Col. Sean Brown, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Paul Farnan, and Vice President for Advanced Programs Execution and Transition at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Steven Botwinik. Construction on the flow battery is scheduled for completion in late 2023 with a commissioning scheduled for the following year.