Fort Carson, CO To House The First Megawatt Energy Storage System

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted with Lockheed Martin to construct the nation’s first megawatt-scale long-duration energy storage system – with the goal of achieving energy resilience. “GridStar Flow”  is an innovative redox flow battery designed for large-capacity storage that will be built at Fort Carson, CO under the direction of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL). Lockheed Martin, ERDC-CERL, and the U.S Army plan to break ground on the project in the fall of 2022.

“Electric grids are undergoing unprecedented change. Energy requirements are shifting as we consider renewable resources coupled with utility-scale, long-duration storage options,” said Dr. Andrew J. Nelson, director at CERL. “Solutions to increase resiliency and self-sufficiency are crucial to economically and sustainably supporting DoD operations.”

The system is intended to help reduce the amount of backup fossil fuel needed by DoD facilities in order to maintain vital mission activities during 14- to 30-day grid outages. Large amounts of fuel can be difficult to store and a broad, protracted outage could prevent restocking. GridStar Flow will be optimized to give a duration of six or more hours of power. Additional benefits of the system will include: the ability to quickly swap between use cases to increase income; 100 percent depth-of-discharge with little deterioration; a 20-year design lifespan; the capacity to estimate power and energy independently; the use of safe, mildly alkaline aqueous electrolytes – which are nonflammable, noncorrosive, and stable; and an affordable overall cost of ownership.

The Fort Carson installation will be used as a demonstration unit, and evaluated using protocols that replicate microgrid and renewable integration.

“We are committed to supporting the U.S. Army’s climate strategy to foster modernization and readiness across the force while seeking out solutions that offer a more secure, sustainable, and cleaner future,” said Tom Jarvi, Lockheed Martin GridStar Flow program director. “GridStar Flow is designed to meet emerging, long-duration energy storage needs and bolsters the necessary grid resilience to combat 21st-century security challenges.”