Enel is looking for new technologies, architectures and control strategies to reduce energy storage costs to improve the way energy storage assets are built, operated and maintained.

Summary of the challenge of energy storage systems

This challenge makes a contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

  • The goal: clean, affordable energy
  • Objective: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Energy storage systems and related technologies are very broad topics ranging from chemistry to data science. The technological growth of storage systems continues to evolve. 

For this reason, we encourage a neutral approach from a technological point of view, so that the challenge content is applicable to all types of energy storage technologies: electrochemical, mechanical, thermal/thermodynamics, etc.

The above technologies can be considered as complementary according to different use cases, depending on the charging/discharging hours (daily, multi-day, seasonal storage) and market services (of faster, such as inertial responses, whether mechanical/periodic or artificial through transformers, to the slower ones for converting pure energy).

Read the following details:

the challenge

We are looking for new technologies, architectures and control strategies to reduce energy storage costs taking into account the entire life span, to improve the way energy storage assets are built, operated and maintained, in order to maximize their profitability and sustainability overall the entire value chain.

We target all energy storage applications and all related technologies suitable for the electricity sector: integration with fossil and renewable energy plants, use as a standalone grid support asset, integration with commercial, industrial and residential customers Behind-The-Meter, involvement in network services behind and in front of the meter, integration into the grid Micro/mini for remote or industrial areas, vehicle-to-grid applications, data center integration.

We are particularly interested in the areas of innovation described below:

  • Next generation storage:
    • New technologies and architectures to achieve an energy storage system (LCoS) cost of less than US$80/kWh for specific use cases, (e.g. for a typical discharge duration), with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of at least 5-6 (technology validated / demonstrated in the relevant environment) and commercial availability within a maximum period of 18-24 months.
    • New technologies with the above requirements with special emphasis on long-term storage (eg > 6-8 hours)
    • Li-ion cathode, anode chemistry separators and electrolyte innovations: new materials and developments from existing ones.
    • Particular interest in technologies that have intrinsic circularity and sustainability (e.g., reduced use of critical raw materials, low safety risks, low environmental impact, good end-of-life management)
    • Innovative battery management system solutions, built-in sensors for improved real-time diagnosis
  • Advanced tools to optimize the sizing of BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) by simulating actual degradation with respect to the specific usage.
  • New ESS designs:
    • ESS Mobile and Resilience Concepts for immediate awareness, ESS mobility, and resiliency capability where it is needed most. Innovative approach to secure and rapid deployment and start-up/deployment of ESS and resiliency solutions;
    • Fire fighting and suppression systems – at BESS design (by partition) and at chemistry levels;
    • PCS design with large overload capacity increases system reliability, but reduces overall system costs. Optimal design methodology and matrix for personal computers to match maximum reliability/minimum costs;
    • Rapid Maintenance Systems – Tools, methods and approach needed to carry out quick and hot maintenance and replacement of broken units/racks/PCS units;
    • To reduce the footprint of BESS plants by stacking container solutions, while maintaining safety and fire regulations in different geographies.
  • Energy Storage System Diagnostics: Solutions to enable real-time health status monitoring of a lithium-based energy storage system as well as predictive diagnostics (anomaly and fault detection, capacity estimation and prediction, thermal gradient prevention), in particular:
    •  Non-intrusive sensors and measurement devices to estimate health status in real time;
    • Predictive diagnostic algorithm for prevention of critical scenarios or events (e.g. thermal runaway);
  • Advanced BESS control systems to enable:
    • Ability to form the network through specific computers; In fact, network operators increasingly need inverters, mainly connected to storage systems, with innovative performance and frequency regulation/control functions (VSM, artificial inertia, or similar) to compensate for the reduction of connected rotating machines and to ensure the stability of inverter-dominant networks or isolated;
    • Ideal synergistic use of a hybrid system based on different types of storage technologies (e.g., completely new and second-life battery modules, battery system and supercapacitor system; integration of electrochemical and kinetic systems, etc.);
    • Different combination of array configurations (also expected series and parallel configuration modified during system operation phase)
    • Design techniques for efficient reuse/disassembly of batteries for electric vehicles;
  • Battery technologies for use in high power DC charging of electric vehicles;
  • End-of-life management and circular economy: processes that ensure sustainable end-of-life management of batteries and avoidance of scarce raw materials, through the development of highly efficient automated disassembly, recycling and reuse of end-of-life batteries;
  • System integration technologies, standards/designs and approaches (and associated software components) capable of allowing and facilitating the reuse of second life batteries for fixed applications (behind or in front of the meter).
  • Solutions for efficient e-bus batteries for use in second life.

Please note that we are looking for solutions that have a real interest for energy storage end-users, i.e. we do not consider solutions that still have a very low TRL (at least > 5-6, technology has been validated/demonstrated in the relevant environment) or Which focuses not on a functional system but only on a specific subcomponent.

Achievements of the energy storage systems project

The submitted proposal must consist of a detailed technical description including:

  • Examples of technology or prototype applications and reference industry if applicable;
  • Advantages and weaknesses of the proposed solution compared to the current way of working;
  • Technology limitations or gaps to adopt the solution;
  • Data, case studies, patents, journal references, or any additional materials that support the proposed solution;
  • Estimate the cost and technical readiness level (TRL) of the proposed solutions;
  • Development plan towards marketing the solution
  • Describe the most suitable use cases according to the performance and characteristics of the proposed solution (e.g. application area, mode of operation, potential revenue stream)   

If you think you have an interesting proposal that could bring value exploitation to Enel as a utility, now is the time to propose it!

We believe that energy storage will be part of our energy future, and we are ready to explore the best options and leadership to integrate it into our value chain.

What happens after you submit your proposals?

All proposals will be evaluated by internal scouting committees and shortlisted  Every 3 months .

You may be contacted to collect additional information and at the end of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.

If successful, an Enel contact person will contact you to discuss next steps.

All participants who submit a proposal will be notified of the status of their application.

Enel will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:

  • The overall scientific and technical feasibility of the proposed solution;
  • The economic potential of the concept (e.g. total cost of ownership);
  • Enel's business potential;
  • Modernity and creativity.
  • Possibility of ownership status (i.e., is the technology new or patentable);
  • User capabilities and relevant experience;
  • Realism of the proposed solution.
  • Proposal maturity level.

In case the reward includes a “Cooperation with Enel”, then once suitable solutions/solutions have been identified, Enel will reserve the opportunity to initiate a collaboration, for example, all or part of the following activities:

  • Execute a test;
  • Supply of prototypes (if prepared);
  • Installation and site tests;
  • Follow up and monitor the behavior of the proposed idea.

Upon completion of the assessment, you will receive feedback.