Virginia-based Dominion Energy has proposed a pilot project that would test two new battery storage technologies aiming to increase discharge times to the grid, the utility firm said Sept. 19.

Located at the existing Darbytown Power Station in Henrico County, Virginia, the pilot project would test Form Energy’s iron-air batteries, which have the potential to discharge energy for up to 100 hours. Eos Energy Enterprises’ zinc-hybrid batteries, which use earth-abundant raw materials, will also be tested at the site.

Form’s batteries could discharge energy for multiple days compared to existing batteries, which last for four hours or less, Dominion said. Eos’ technology relies on zinc, a battery material more abundant and less expensive than lithium.

The technologies could become an alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries used today for energy storage. Energy storage is seen as key to the growth of renewable energies such as wind and solar because it can save excess energy until its needed.

“With longer-duration batteries in the mix, this project could be a transformational step forward, helping us safely discharge stored energy when it is needed most by our customers,” Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia, said in a news release.

The utility company has applied to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for approval.  The project also needs approval from Henrico County officials. If green lit, construction would begin by late 2024 with operations starting by late 2026.