December 14, 2010
Prudent Energy announced today that it will install a 600-kilowatt Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB™) energy storage system at one of the largest fresh-cut onion processing plants in the world. Gills Onions, located in Oxnard, California, will use Prudent Energy's patented VRB™ technology and know-how to reduce electricity costs and build on its award-winning sustainable energy program, which serves as a model for the food industry.
Prudent's VRB Energy Storage System (VRB-ESS™) will improve the efficiency of an existing Advanced Energy Recovery System (AERS) located on Gills' 14-acre property that turns daily onion waste into biogas, which in turn feeds into two 300-kilowatt fuel cells to produce ultra-clean heat and power. The VRB-ESS™ will also provide the Gills facility with emergency backup power and reduce the company's need to draw electricity from the grid when rates are highest. As a result, Gills Onions is expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in operating expenses.
Prudent Energy Services Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bethesda, Maryland-based Prudent Energy Corporation, will build, own and operate the VRB-ESS™ in return for a share of the energy savings resulting from the project. Those energy savings are calculated as the avoided charges, costs and fees that would otherwise be paid by Gills to the local utility. These charges can be very high given the facility's energy-intensive, round-the-clock operation.
"We are extremely pleased to host a VRB™ system at Gills as an expansion of our Advanced Energy Recovery System," said Steve Gill, the company's President. "Energy storage has become an absolutely essential part of integrating renewables into the electricity grid reliably and efficiently, and Prudent Energy's system does this very well. Prudent has also shown it will stand behind its product and share the financial risk of putting these projects into the field, so their commercial and environmental benefits can be realized as quickly as possible."
Prudent Energy's VRB-ESS™ will provide clean power on demand for maximum periods of six hours, equivalent to 3.6 megawatt-hours of capacity. To build the installation, Prudent will use low-cost, proprietary system components from its manufacturing facility and source other manufactured products and services from California and elsewhere in the United States.
Jeff Pierson, Senior Vice President at Prudent Energy, indicated that Prudent will begin construction on the Gills project by the end of the year. "With our first megawatt-class VRB™ project in California, we'll look toward similar projects in the US that will expand renewable energy facilities and reduce electricity costs," said Pierson.