News and Notes

RNG, Battery, and Innovative Heat Pump Developments in News and Notes (Aug. 10, 2023)

A number of companies with ties to the power industry revealed new projects and other interesting developments this week. The following are some the more noteworthy announcements that POWER has been monitoring.

Landfill Gas to Renewable Natural Gas Project Enters Service in Missouri

Vision RNG (VRNG) said its Landfill Gas (LFG) to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) project at Meridian Waste’s Eagle Ridge Landfill in Bowling Green, Missouri (Figure 1), is fully operational. The RNG is injected into a nearby interstate natural gas pipeline and used by various customers across the U.S. for transportation fuel and other sustainability purposes. RNG production has many environmental and economic benefits, including being a carbon-neutral energy solution, lowering methane emissions, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and utilizing the current natural gas infrastructure.

1. VRNG’s LFG-to-RNG project at Meridian Waste’s Eagle Ridge Landfill in Bowling Green, Missouri, uses 1,500 standard cubic feet per minute of LFG and produces 375,000 MMBtu of RNG annually, enough renewable gas to heat approximately 8,800 homes per year. Courtesy: VRNG Project Manager Randy Rowe

“Vision RNG is proud to partner with Meridian Waste and is extremely proud of being able to bring this LFG to RNG project online. It is the first of its kind in the State of Missouri. The energy, environmental and economic benefits are significant for all parties,” stated Bill Johnson, CEO of VRNG. “This is the first of several LFG to RNG projects VRNG will be bringing online, including projects in Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma.”

Major Offtake Agreement Announced in U.S. for Domestic Batteries

KORE Power Inc. said it was selected by Energy Vault to deliver domestically produced batteries. In the first phase of the agreement with Energy Vault, KORE Power will manufacture the batteries at its KOREPlex facility in Buckeye, Arizona. The company broke ground on that facility late last year and anticipates it will come online in 2025.

The Master Supply Agreement—announced this week—outlines an initial delivery capacity of 1.3 GWh in 2025, ramping up to 7 GWh in 2027, as KORE’s domestic battery production expands. The company is exploring expanding production capacity in subsequent phases at the KOREPlex to as much as 18 GWh, and it is also exploring expanding its manufacturing capacity with additional U.S. facilities.

“Energy Vault is positioned to be a leading provider of energy storage solutions, and with a reliable supply of domestically produced KORE Power batteries, will be able to meet the commitments it has made to advance storage capacity in the United States,” said KORE CEO and Founder Lindsay Gorrill.

Copeland Receives DOE Grant to Support a Sustainable Heat Pump Innovation

Earlier this week, Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), traveled to Sidney, Ohio, to visit Copeland, a global provider of sustainable climate solutions. During the visit (Figure 2), Secretary Granholm awarded the organization a grant to support a $2.5 million project to research and develop innovative heat pump technology for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

2. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and colleagues visited Copeland’s Sidney, Ohio, facility. Courtesy: Copeland

The grant will fund the research and development for a modular, plug-and-play, load-flexible heat pump with low-cost thermal energy storage for space conditioning and water heating. This innovation has the potential to provide significant cost savings for consumers during HVAC installations and drastic reductions in energy usage.

“The grant we’ve received from the Department of Energy will play a critical role in advancing the future of heat pump technology, reducing both consumer costs and energy consumption,” said Rajan Rajendran, global vice president of environmental sustainability at Copeland. “We are thankful for the Secretary’s visit to see firsthand the innovations happening here in the region—heat pumps and beyond—that are vital to advancing sustainable climate technologies across the globe.”

Ground Broken on $400 Million Battery Materials Manufacturing Plant in St. Louis

ICL, a leading global specialty minerals company, celebrated the groundbreaking (Figure 3) of its battery materials manufacturing plant in St. Louis, Missouri, which is expected to be the first large-scale lithium iron phosphate (LFP) facility in the U.S. The $400 million facility is planned to be operational by 2025 and will help meet growing demand from the energy storage, electric vehicle (EV), and clean-energy industries for U.S.-produced-and-sourced essential battery materials. ICL’s investment in the plant was augmented by a $197 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

3. Missouri Governor Mike Parson (center) speaks with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm following a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 8, 2023, at the site of ICL’s future battery materials manufacturing facility in St. Louis. Also pictured are (left) Phil Brown, president of Phosphate Specialties Solutions at ICL Group and (right) Raviv Zoller, president and CEO of ICL. Courtesy: ICL

The 140,000-square-foot facility is expected to produce 30,000 metric tons of LFP and will serve as the foundation for the company’s global battery materials business. The new plant will be located on ICL’s existing Carondelet campus in St. Louis, which is recognized by the Justice40 Initiative as a disadvantaged community.

The project will create 800 to 900 union construction positions, and ICL has engaged St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies as general contractor for the project. ICL is also partnering with Aleees to establish a localized, integrated, and sustainable LFP supply chain for U.S.-based customers. Taiwan-based Aleees is a long-standing LFP battery material manufacturer and global intellectual property licensor.

“ICL is excited to be building the first North American, commercial-scale plant for this critical component required by the energy-storage, mobility and infrastructure end-markets, and we’re proud to make this investment in St. Louis and to create more than 150 high-paying union and professional positions in our hometown,” said Phil Brown, president of the company’s Phosphate Division and managing director of North America for ICL. “We’re excited about the demand we are already seeing for this capacity and are looking forward to moving into this new business.”

POWER staff (@POWERmagazine).

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