Lithium Batteries Are Increasingly Powering Texas’s Grid; But Are They Safe?

The demand for energy in Texas is on the rise due to its rapidly growing population, which has seen an increase of 9 million people since 2020. In the first few months of 2023, Texas completed four of six major battery storage projects, a $174.6 million investment, that will store enough battery capacity to  power 100,000 homes. Interest in energy storage from battery technology developers in Texas has only increased since the federal government passed new tax incentives in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. The act incentivizes battery storage facilities through tax credits. 

Investments in such facilities is crucial, given Texas’ recent grid failures combined with a 30 percent population increase. Energy grids that rely on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are not dependable in handling a surge of power demands, such as the Texas Winter Freeze in 2021. Battery storage capacity, however, is both a sustainable and dependable supply of electricity.  

As electrification efforts surge, batteries are playing an essential role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, with the continued threat of lithium battery fires and collapsing energy grids, increased use also raises concerns for public safety. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation released its annual Long-Term Reliability Assessment and stated Texas, along with two thirds of the U.S., are at an elevated risk for grid failures and capacity deficits as early as summer 2023. In order to pivot from continued grid failure to safe energy storage, fire-safe lithium battery solutions must be produced.

The dangers of lithium battery fires can strike at any moment. In May 2022, a Tesla Megapack battery energy storage system spontaneously caught fire, spreading to another Megapack. The investigation revealed that the battery entered thermal runaway, an uncontrollable self-heating state that releases toxic chemicals into the air. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy should certainly not compromise safety over money.

GreenSwans has recently developed groundbreaking technology that makes lithium batteries fire-safe, called Safe-Li.  “The energy transition to electrify the world further exacerbates the issue with flammable lithium ion batteries,” said Chetan Chothani, CEO of Safe-Li. “Green Swans believes we have the solution to solving the science of the flammability problem with Safe-Li vs. addressing the symptoms of the problem, which is the current market solution.  Our technology can be integrated into the current battery manufacturing processes with the addition of one step, so adopting the solution does not require an overhaul of a battery manufacturing production line.”

What does this mean for the future of technology? Safe-Li is lithium battery technology that removes the flammable elements of the battery, while enhancing the performance and cost considerations. The technology increases battery performance and longevity at higher charge-discharge rates by as much as three-to-five times. In addition to reducing thermal runaway and fire, Safe-Li technology minimizes or prevents battery malfunction. With Safe-Li technology, advancements in the battery storage industry will be safer, cleaner and more sustainable.

Shell’s GameChanger program awarded Safe-Li a non-dilutive grant to help confirm this technology from a coin cell to a multi-layer pouch cell. GreenSwans is in the final phases of validating the technology and expects it to be market-ready in 2024. 

For more information about Safe-Li technology, click here



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