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Within the next few years, the City of Logan might be able to operate entire buildings on battery power alone.

A new project will place an Eos Zynth Gen 2.3 battery system in a shipping container outside of the systems operations control center in Logan, where the city’s electric utility manages the distribution of power. The project revolves around a series of tests to see how much power these batteries can produce.

Eos’s Zynth system is based on aqueous zinc batteries, which researchers hope to develop into an alternative for the lithium ion batteries used in most portable, rechargeable batteries and large battery systems. It’s the hope that aqueous zinc batteries will be cheaper than lithium ion batteries and won’t carry the same risks of overheating and explosion.

Mike Taylor, a consultant for Logan as well as a power board member, has been heavily involved in the project. He and Director of Light & Power Mark Montgomery wrote a proposal for the project and submitted it for a grant from the American Public Power Association.

“It was a competitive grant; they just don’t hand them out willy nilly,” Taylor said.

The grant, a total of $125,000, will cover a third of the costs, but the project will be spread out over many years. Logan Light & Power will be working alongside Pine Gate Renewables, a renewable energy company that helps fund solar and storage projects.

The director of energy storage for Pine Gate Renewables, Raafe Khan, stated that he was excited to work with the City of Logan.

“The importance of building robust renewable energy storage systems has increasingly gained momentum as the country looks for ways to ensure the reliability of the grid from unexpected outages and perform during peak demand times,” he added.

One of the tests the batteries will undergo is how well they can store electricity from solar generation. Normally when a power outage occurs, a diesel backup generator is triggered. The test will examine solar shifting — building up energy when the sun’s shining to charge batteries to be used at a future point — to see if it can keep a building running as well as save money.

Taylor hopes the project will allow them to start small and understand the battery system better when the time comes to use them across the city.

“The grant’s purpose is so we can teach and educate other utilities about what we learned,” he said.

In addition, Montgomery stated that he looks forward to collaborating with Pine Gate Renewables on the project.

“Logan Light and Power is excited … to help Logan City explore how a battery energy storage system might augment our efforts to move our portfolio to a more carbon-friendly energy supply,” he said.

The project is set to begin by late 2022.

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