News Article

Low-Cost Long-Duration Energy Storage at a Natural Gas Pipeline

March 1, 2022

An energy storage project based on Compressed Natural Gas Energy Storage (CNGES) technology is being studied at the Abbott Power Plant in Illinois. This article presents an overview of CNGES technology, assessment of the potential of implementing it at an existing pipeline, and preliminary results obtained from the Department of Energy–funded Abbott Power Plant study.

One of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) current priorities is the development of low-cost, reliable, long-duration energy storage. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced the “new goal to reduce the cost of grid-scale, long-duration energy storage by 90% within the decade,” as the U.S. is preparing “to bring hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy onto the grid over the next few years.”

In line with this goal, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is completing a conceptual (Phase I) DOE-funded study. The project will implement energy storage to the Abbott Power Plant (Figure 1). The asset is an 84-MW and 800,000 pounds per hour of steam (lb/hr) combined heat and power (CHP) plant owned and operated by the university. The energy storage concept designed for the site is based on compressed natural gas energy storage (CNGES) technology, which was developed by the ECOTEK group of companies. The ISTC team also includes Enerfex Inc. (systems integration) and Visage Energy LLC (market commercialization assessment and business case development).