Quidnet Energy has been selected to receive $10 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

The funding is part of the ARPA-E Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program, which provides further funding to previous ARPA-E teams that have been determined to be feasible for widespread deployment and commercialization domestically. SCALEUP selectees demonstrate a viable path to commercial deployment and the ability to attract private sector investments.

Quidnet Energy was launched to build energy technology to accelerate the energy transition. Quidnet Energy’s Geomechanical Pumped Storage (GPS) technology uses existing natural resources to store renewable energy over long durations and in large quantities. The company uses existing drilling and hydropower machinery supply chains, according to a release.

The main idea is to use excess renewable energy to pump water into the ground, between rock layers where the water would be kept under pressure. The natural elasticity of certain rock formations act like a spring and keep the water under pressure. When renewable energy is not available, the valve is opened and the water is released through a hydroelectric turbine to generate electricity. Quidnet said its technology is an adaptation of centuries-old gravity-powered pumped storage, but without the massive land requirements and reliance on elevated terrain.

The ARPA-E funding will support Quidnet Energy’s project with San Antonio-based CPS Energy. Quidnet Energy will scale its GPS to a 1 MW/10 MWh commercial system that will provide CPS Energy with 10-plus-hour long-duration energy storage. The project will support CPS Energy’s “Flexible Path” Resource Plan to reduce net emissions by 80% by 2040 while allowing Quidnet Energy to advance GPS from its current pilot scale to MW-scale commercial systems.

“We’re honored that ARPA-E has selected Quidnet Energy as an awardee of the SCALEUP program,” said Joe Zhou, chief executive officer of Quidnet Energy. “This funding will support continued work on our GPS project with CPS Energy, which will demonstrate the benefits of using proven pumped hydro technology to create a long-duration energy storage resource that doesn’t require mountainous terrain.”

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