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Phoenix Pilot Project: SRP and CMBlu's Game-Changing Energy Storage

Explore the cutting-edge Desert Blume project by SRP and CMBlu Energy, set to revolutionize long-duration energy storage in Phoenix.

Maria Guerra, Senior Editor-Battery Technology

September 5, 2023

3 Min Read
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3D rendering warehouses for energy.Courtersy of CMBlu

In today's world of renewable energy, energy storage is more critical than ever. As we use sunlight, wind, and other eco-friendly sources to generate power, we must find a way to save that energy effectively. That's where the Long-Duration Energy Storage (LDES) system is a game-changing solution for energy handling.

Salt River Project (SRP), a not-for-profit public power utility in Phoenix, is partnering with CMBlu Energy to launch a pilot project called Desert Blume. This initiative aims to deploy a 5 MW, 10-hour-duration LDES system in the Phoenix area. CMBlu will provide its non-lithium Organic SolidFlow battery technology, known for its safety and sustainability. It will own and operate the batteries at SRP's Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center. SRP is the first US utility to implement CMBlu's batteries at this scale.

CMBlu's battery technology uses a proprietary solid electrolyte and water-based electrolytes, offering high energy density and recyclability. It is expected to store and deliver energy more cost-effectively than traditional lithium-ion batteries, with a longer cycle life. The project will store energy generated during the day from solar sources and release it to the grid at night, powering approximately 1,125 homes for 10 hours. The project is set to be operational by December 2025.

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“We are privileged to work with CMBlu and gain experience with their extremely innovative technology,” stated Jim Pratt, CEO of SRP. “This resource will supplement SRP’s power system helping provide stored power for longer periods, especially in times of fluctuating, high energy demand from customers in the Valley. It will be a helpful addition to SRP’s significant number of renewable resources and storage projects, which generally only store energy for up to four hours.”

 A sustainable energy future

This initiative is part of SRP's development plan for the Copper Crossing Energy and Research Center, which includes natural gas turbines and a solar generation facility. CMBlu was chosen by SRP after a request for proposals from emerging energy storage companies. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will support the performance monitoring of this pilot project and help validate the real-world performance of the technology in Arizona’s hot and dry climate.

CMBlu has announced other projects using its technology, including one in Austria and a pilot in Milwaukee with WEC Energy. Construction for the Desert Blume project is expected to begin in early 2025, with operation targeted for December 2025.

“Desert Blume is a critical project to validate Organic SolidFlow batteries at scale and promote safe, sustainable, and secure long-duration energy storage built in the United States,” stated Ben Kaun, President of CMBlu Energy’s U.S. division. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with SRP to support their rapid clean energy transition, as well as have the opportunity to demonstrate our technology in the Southwestern U.S.  Phoenix anchors one of the country’s fastest growing metro areas, with abundant solar potential, making it an ideal environment for the next generation of LDES.” Top of Form

LDES stands as an example of innovation; with its ability to store renewable energy for extended periods, LDES not only promises a more stable and reliable energy grid but also brings us closer to a cleaner, greener world. As technology advances and LDES systems become more widespread, we can anticipate a global energy landscape characterized by resilience, affordability, and environmental stewardship for communities everywhere.


About the Author(s)

Maria Guerra

Senior Editor-Battery Technology, Informa Markets Engineering

Battery Technology Senior Editor Maria L. Guerra is an electrical engineer with a background in Oil & Gas consulting and experience as a Power/Analog Editor for Electronic Design.  Maria graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE). She combines her technical expertise with her knack for writing. 

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