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batteries and energy storage technology

Origin, but not cause, of Dreamliner battery fire announced

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the origin of the fire on the Japan AirLines Boeing Dreamliner, January 7th. The battery was believed to have had an “initiating event” in one of its eight cells; this was assessed using the flight data recorder and evidence form the thermal and mechanical damage.

The cell identified as the starting point “showed multiple signs of short-circuiting, leading to thermal runaway condition, which then cascaded to other cells.” The evidence suggests the cells reached 260oC.

Chairman of NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said potential causes of the initiating short circuit being evaluated include battery charging, the design and construction of the battery, and the possibility of defects introduced during the manufacturing process.

The cause of the short circuit remains unknown and further investigations will focus upon design and certification requirements of the battery system.

During its certification process Boeing considered the types of failures that might affect the battery, following tests it found no evidence that cell-to-cell spread or fire would be a problem and that smoke emitting from the cell would not occur during more than one in ten million flight hours.

Crestchic forms loadbank sales partnership with Russia’s Technical Solutions

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Crestchic has formed a partnership with Technical Solutions to supply loadbanks to the growing Russian market.

Technical Solutions will exclusively supply Crestchic AC Resistive and Reactive (inductive) loadbanks, as well as DC and MV loadbanks, containerised transformers and associated control equipment, systems and software. Paul Brickman, sales and marketing manager at Crestchic, explained: “We worked with the team on various pilot projects last year that were extremely successful – around a dozen machines have been ordered in the last six months, which is phenomenal.

“As the Russian market continues to expand in the oil and gas, shipbuilding and power generation sectors, and particularly as we see the growth of data centres, it is crucial that we meet demand via a local point of contact. Formalising our relationship means that we can offer viable solutions delivered through a permanent local team to our existing and potential customers in Russia.” 

Alexander Rodikov, general director at Technical Solutions, added: “We have seen a marked increase in demand for loadbanks in the Russian market since starting work with Crestchic in late 2011. Being named as an official partner in Russia will give us the freedom to capitalise on what is a very exciting period of growth in the market.”

Scrap lead prices creep up in US

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The price of scrap lead in the US is slowly creeping up. This is attributed to slightly higher demand, meaning the price of scrap is up by one cent per pound.

According to the American Metal Market the value of used lead-acid batteries is expected to continue to increase throughout February as smelters pay more for the scrap.

The closing price of lead on the London Metal Exchange at the end of January was $2386 per tonne, this is a continuation of the slowly rising price. Until now the scrap price has not risen but with demand growing the price is able to follow the primary trend.

Panasonic enters global agreement with US solar inverter maker to produce energy storage systems

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Japanese battery manufacturer Panasonic has entered into a global strategic alliance with US solar PV inverter manufacturer Power-One to develop, produce and market energy storage systems for residential and non-residential markets. 

Panasonic is promoting energy management for business that combines high-efficiency solar panels, power inverters and power-storage systems in the domestic housing market. Last year, it announced it will commence mass-producing a compact long-life lithium-ion battery system for home solar power applications.

Initially, the partnership will focus on the residential, commercial and utility-scale, grid-connected, energy storage systems business in Europe and the US. The partnership will also cover the development and marketing of energy storage systems for the Japanese non-residential segment and partner on the large-scale commercial and utility PV inverter business in Japan.

Under its mid-term business plan, Panasonic is aiming for annual sales of at least Y100 billion ($1.1 billion) for stationary power storage systems by 2018.

Capstone notches oil & gas order for thirty C65 microturbines

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Capstone Turbine Corporation has received a follow-on order for 30 C65 microturbines from an unnamed US-based oil and gas exploration and production company that continues to expand its presence in the Eagle Ford, Texas, shale play.

The oil and gas exploration and production company's operations are located primarily in the United States with natural-gas exploration and production onshore in the lower 48 states, onshore in Alaska, and offshore in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

This latest order brings their total C65 fleet to approximately 150 microturbines. Most of the C65 units were purchased by the oil and gas producer's production division and are utilised for lease automatic custody transfer (LACT) units. In addition, the company's mid-stream division has previously purchased seven C600s and one C800 making the company one of the largest Capstone users in North America.

Capstone distributor Horizon Power Systems secured this follow-on order to support the exploration and production company's growing power needs in the Eagle Ford shale play.

EnerNOC expands demand response contract with Southern California Edison

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

US demand response provider EnerNOC has expanded its presence in Southern California through a new contract with Southern California Edison.

Under the terms of the new contract, EnerNOC will increase its number of megawatts in SCE's service territory by approximately 15% through December 31, 2014, consistent with the term of EnerNOC's expanded contract with PG&E announced in a press release dated February 5, 2013.

EnerNOC won the additional megawatts through a competitive bidding process in which EnerNOC was awarded more than twice as many megawatts as any other third-party provider, and more than 40% of all megawatts awarded to the six successful bidders.

This contract covers a utility service territory where EnerNOC also has contracts to deliver commercial and industrial energy efficiency services, allowing customers in the region to benefit from an integrated energy management portfolio comprised of both demand response and energy efficiency solutions.

Centrax bags gas turbine genset deals in Italy, France

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Centrax has begun 2013 by winning major orders for its gas turbine products from Italy and France.

In Italy, Centrax has sold a recently-launched CX400 powered by the 12.9MW Siemens SGT-400 gas turbine, to energy management company Fenice.  The CX400 will provide heat and power for the Huntsman Tioxide plant in Scarlino, 100km south of Florence, which produces titanium dioxide for use as a pigment in paint.

In France, contract energy management company Dalkia has ordered a Centrax CX501-KB7 package for a district heating plant near Cenon, Bordeaux. This 5 MW cogeneration unit replaces an older, competitor’s genset that has reached the end of its 12-year contract. 

An important customer benefit of the Centrax unit is its ability to use the existing boiler and much of the ductwork, significantly reducing installation costs.

Flexitricity to deliver demand response technology to UK public sector

Thu, 02/07/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK demand response provider Flexitricity has been awarded participation within a framework agreement that will benefit public sector organisations who wish to generate new revenue from existing electricity generating or consuming equipment.

Public sector organisations, who work within the parameters of this new Framework Agreement, can now gain access to benchmarked pre-authorised demand-side response services; this will provide them the capabilities to either curtail their consumption of electricity or utilise their on-site generation capabilities in response to the demands of national and local grid systems.

National Grid and the distribution network operators (DNOs) remunerate Flexitricity to hold reserve. In addition, further payments are made when this reserve is accessed.

Flexitricity shares these payments with participating energy partners which can reach £100,000 ($157,000) per annum on a medium-sized site.

Exide collaborate to change fortune

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Industries is extending its relationship with Japanese automotive battery maker Shin-Kobe Electric to improve the quality of the batteries it makes.

Exide has been under pressure to boost sales following a slowdown in the automobile industry. Poor performances over two consecutive financial quarters saw Exide warned by credit rating agency Moody that its rating could slide.

TV Ramanathan, MD and CEO of Exide, said the collaboration will lead to the implementation of new manufacturing processes for higher productivity and quality. It is hoped more effiecient manufacturing will lower the company's production costs.

The company has an existing technical joint venture with Shin-Kobe that this deal is built upon. It is not the first push for the company to improve its manufacturing standards, in 2012 it asked East Penn to collaborate to review its lead-acid batteries production.

Exide announced that Shin-Kobe would provide technology and extensive technical support and assistance to Exide to manufacture automotive batteries to a higher quality at its various Indian plants.

Solid electrolyte for lithium-ion

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Scientists as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries that will provide greater energy density. The substance is made by manipulating lithium-thiophosphate so that it could conduct ions 1000 times faster than in its natural bulk form. The researchers used nanostructuring to alter the structure of the crystals that make up the material.

By altering it in this way, the solid electrolyte was not flammable as a liquid electrolyte would be. Chengdu Liang, who led the study, said: "Cycling highly reactive lithium metal in flammable organic electrolytes causes serious safety concerns," Liang said. "A solid electrolyte enables the lithium metal to cycle well, with highly enhanced safety."

The team developed the solid electrolyte by refining lithium-thiophosphate until it could conduct ions at a faster rate than in its natural state.

"We started with a conventional material that is highly stable in a battery system - in particular one that is compatible with a lithium metal anode," said Liang.

One of the research paper’s coauthors, Adam Rondinone, said the method can be scaled up to create large amounts of the material based on the same nanostructuring.

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