Korea Zinc invests in gravity storage developer Energy Vault – pv magazine International

Korea Zinc, a non-ferrous metals smelter, has agreed to invest $50 million in Energy Vault, a Swiss gravity storage specialist, to use its technology to decarbonize its refining and smelting operations in Australia.

Korea Zinc has agreed to invest $50 million in Swiss company Energy Vault so it can use its energy storage technology at its Australian refinery. The South Korean foundry giant is the latest major company to back Energy Vault ahead of its listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this quarter.

New investment increases previously announced private investment in public equity financing from $100 million to $150 million, in conjunction with Energy Vault’s agreement to become a publicly traded company through merger with Novus Capital Corporation II. Its previous funding round included investments from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, BHP Ventures, Volta Energy Technologies and Softbank Vision Fund, among others.

The new strategic partnership supports Korea Zinc’s strategy to decarbonize its refining and smelting operations under Sun Metals, its wholly owned subsidiary in Australia. The companies plan to begin project deployment of Energy Vault’s proprietary energy storage and management software technology in mid-2022. The size and cost of the project were not disclosed.

This investment follows Korea Zinc’s acquisition of Epuron, a leading developer of utility-scale wind and solar energy in Australia, with a pipeline over 9 GW. In late December, Ark Energy, a branch of Korea Zinc that manages the company’s decarbonization efforts in Australia, said Epuron’s pipeline of projects will be used to help decarbonize its zinc metal processes and to fuel production. green hydrogen.

Energy Vault’s technology is another piece of the puzzle in Korea Zinc’s ambitious plan to make its Sun Metals refinery in Queensland the first refinery in the world to produce green zinc. In November, Sun Metals – Queensland’s second largest single-site energy consumer – pledged to power all of its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2040with an intermediate target of 80% by 2030.

Previously, Sun Metals had developed its own 125 MW plant solar farm, which became operational in 2018, to bring down the cost of running its refinery, then about to expand. Today, the solar project covers approximately 22% of the refinery’s energy needs. Sun Metals has also announced that it is considering buying wind assets in Queensland that could increase this renewable component to almost 90% of its energy needs.

“Energy Vault’s innovative storage technology and energy management software platform can play a key role in enabling and accelerating our decarbonization strategy as we strengthen our ability to power our operations.” with renewable energy,” said Yun B. Choi, Vice President of Korea Zinc.

Energy Vault’s EVx storage system is comparable to pumped hydro, using grid-scale renewable energy when supply is plentiful to drive motors and lift 30-ton blocks onto a tower. six-armed crane, rather than water, up to a certain height. When the electricity needs to be sent back to the grid, the blocks are lowered, recovering the kinetic energy.

According to the company, there is no degradation in the storage capacity of the composite blocks, which can remain in the raised position for unlimited periods of time. Its composite blocks are developed in cooperation with Mexico’s Cemex, using local soil at the sites where it builds its storage systems, as well as other materials such as recycled coal ash, waste residue from mining operations and decommissioned wind turbine blades.

Energy Vault’s EVx Tower offers 80% to 85% round-trip efficiency and over 35 years of technical life. It has a modular design that scales up to several gigawatt hours of storage capacity.

The company says its technology can economically serve both higher power and shorter duration applications with ancillary services of two to four hours and can also scale to meet longer duration needs of five to 24 hours or more.

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