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Battery University in Silicon Valley

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

San Jose State University will be offering courses specifically designed for students who want to work with battery technology.

The University is partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCharge to offer the professional programme of education at the University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, which feeds more graduate engineers into the Silicon Valley workforce than any other university.

California has over 40 battery-related companies working on energy storage solutions for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and the renewable energy storage sector.

The courses are offered in response to changing workplace demands in the high tech battery industry.

European Commission takes UK to court over VAT on energy-saving products

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The European Commission is taking the UK to court over its reduced VAT rate on energy-saving products.

The UK charges 5% instead of the standard 20%. Under EU VAT rules, discounts are only allowed for social policy reasons, not environmental reasons.

In a statement, the European Commission said: "Member States themselves unanimously decided on the list of goods and services that could benefit from a reduced VAT rate, and they also insisted that this list be strictly applied, with no room for manoeuvre or interpretation. This is important to prevent competitive distortions in the Single Market and to ensure a fair and level playing field between all Member States."

The Commissions added economic studies showed reduced VAT rates "are often not the best way to achieve policy objectives" and direct subsidies could be more efficient.

Stationary fuel cell developer ACAL Energy appoints new CEO

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK hydrogen fuel cell developer ACAL Energy has appointed Greg McCray as CEO, the company said in a statement.

McCray was previously CEO of Antenova Limited, a wireless components company. While at Antenova, Greg transformed the organisation into the world's fastest-growing innovative antenna business, backed by global venture capitalists and major institutional funds.

ACAL Energy claims it has a “revolutionary approach” to hydrogen fuel cell technology buy using 80% less platinum on average. This results in a significant cost and footprint reduction.

After eight years of R&D investment, ACAL Energy is now ready to license its FlowCath fuel cell technology to major automotive manufacturers and companies in the stationary power industry, it said.

Samsung and Xtreme Power team up for smart grid project

Fri, 02/22/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power are installing a 1MW/1MWh lithium-manganese oxide energy storage system for a demonstrative smart grid project in Texas. The system, to be installed at the Reese Technology Centre in Lubbock, is partly funded by the Department of Energy.

The project aims to promote utility scale energy storage with wind energy. The battery system will be utilised to regulate power generated from local wind turbines that suffer from intermittent loss of generation.

Samsung’s lithium-ion battery technology together with Xtreme Power’s Xtreme Active Control Technology (XACT), which gives millisecond response time, will enable the wind generated power to be fed into the national grid.

This is the first project Samsung SDI and Xtreme Power have worked on together to provide energy storage solutions for renewable integration and grid support. The companies have formed the alliance to reach renewable energy goals and promote a cleaner electric grid.

New CEO at ACAL Energy to raise funds

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK-based ACAL Energy has appointed a new Chief Executive. Greg McCray will lead the hydrogen fuel cell company as it continues fundraising and trialing products in the automotive and stationary power industries.

ACAL is now ready to license its technology - a smaller, more durable fuel cell designed with 80% less platinum to keep costs low.

McCray said: “The clean power sector is on the crest of a new wave of technology innovation. Hydrogen fuel cells are an important part of that wave and commercialising hydrogen power will mean we break our reliance on fossil fuels. The future looks very exciting as auto-makers and power-hungry industries, such as manufacturing, explore hydrogen as an alternative fuel source.”

ACAL has spent eight years developing what it calls a revolutionary approach to fuel cell technology that is ready to progress from trial deployments to licensing to car manufacturers.

McCray joins ACAL from Antenova Ltd, a global wireless components company, which he transformed into a fast-growing antenna business backed by venture capitalists worldwide. This experience will be utilised to mass-market the ACAL fuel cell, via licensing agreements, into the automotive industry.

Enersys and Ioxus partnership to share expertise

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Enersys and Ioxus have entered a joint agreement to develop and market new products incorporating the core experience of both companies. The benefits will combine Enersys’s knowledge of batteries with Ioxus’s expertise in the ultracapacitor market.

The partnership will focus on bringing to market products related to regenerative braking and energy recovery in the material handling market markets, UPS bridge to generator markets, automotive and heavy truck critical and cold start markets, as well as energy storage/power conditioning markets.

“The combination of Enersys battery technology with Ioxus ultracapacitor technology will benefit many vertical markets in need of high-performance, extended energy storage life under harsh environmental conditions, including select automotive markets,” said Mark McGough, CEO of Ioxus.

John Gagge, Vice President of Enersys America's Reserve Power Sales and Service, said Enersys is pleased to be working with Ioxus to bring better solutions to its customer base. The joining of ultracapacitors with Enersys’s product portfolio will expand the markets for both companies and Enersys hopes to bring benefits to users in both stand-alone and hybrid applications.

FG Wilson rebrands

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Diesel Generator firm FG Wilson is changing its name to Caterpillar (NI) Limited to strengthen the link between the subsidiary and its parent company. The change is, according to the company, intended to create a “visible link between Caterpillar’s manufacturing facilities in Northern Ireland and the wider group." 

FG wilson

The firm based in Northern Ireland is currently making job cuts of 1300 and also announced the move of production to Tianjin in China. It claims the rebranding will not result in further job losses at this stage.

Caterpillar’s Robert Kennedy said: "Whilst the legal name of the company will change, the FG Wilson name will remain a key part of our history and heritage and indeed our future.

"That's because Caterpillar will continue to produce the range of leading products that carry the FG Wilson brand and those products will continue to be a key part of our global electric power strategy."

FG Wilson director Tony McAllister said the change was part of a larger initiative to "enhance and strengthen the FG Wilson brand and business in the global marketplace".

FG Wilson produces 50 000 diesel generator sets each year for export to 180 countries.

EnerSys batteries are going underground

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

EnerSys batteries are powering tunneling equipment beneath London. Its Hawker range of batteries is used in maintenance locomotives that install and inspect power cables. The 200V Hawker Perfect Plus batteries with 1240A/h or 750A/h capacities are ideal for the gruelling conditions demanded in the tunnelling work.

PerfectPlus

The valve-regulated lead-acid battery range supply high power and long running times, the construction of the plates using advanced components allows for far more efficient discharge over other batteries.

The demands of a subterranean locomotive on its power source are high. The battery must be the right size and weight for the locomotive and must work for the length, and number of, trips required on a shift.

California utilities to adopt open demand response technology standard

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US OpenADR (Open Automated Demand Response) Alliance, has announced that Californian investor-owned utilities will require the OpenADR 2.0 smart grid standard for new customers in their demand response (DR) enabling technology programmes in 2013.

ADR Alliance

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison will add OpenADR 2.0 certified products to support locational dispatch of emergency and price DR resources that allow them to manage peak demand better without the need for expensive new power plants.

OpenADR is an open global standard that enables electricity providers and system operators to automatically communicate DR signals with one another and their customers by using a common language over any existing Internet Protocol-based communications network. OpenADR standardises DR price and reliability messages that automate and simplify customer DR participation and improve DR event results.

"The availability of products' complying with the OpenADR 2.0 standard will allow us to reduce the cost and improve the performance of our AutoDR programmes," said Albert Chiu, PG&E product manager. "Using an OpenADR-based system, our customers can better manage their energy use during DR events, and the utility can minimise stranded assets at the same time. The automated system has provided PG&E and our customers a better way to manage DR resources."

 

Bolivia takes first steps in lithium manufacture

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Bolivia will receive a US$2.9 million Chinese-made pilot plant for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in the next few weeks, with production expected to start up in the second half of this year, according to government officials.

Uyuni Salt Flat

According to Corporacion Minera de Bolivia official Luis Alberto Echazu, the plant will be used to train Bolivian technicians, who will learn how to operate an industrial plant that will be constructed in the future.

The project is part of a government plan to develop the Uyuni Salt Flat, located in the southwestern Andean province of Potosi, on its own to produce batteries for electric cars, computers and cell phones.

President Evo Morales is promoting the development of the lithium industry without foreign partners, but he has proposed a partnership with Japan to manufacture electric cars in Bolivia that would use domestically made lithium-ion batteries.

The Uyuni Salt Flat, a dried-up sea bed that stretches over a more than 10 000sq kilometer (some 4 000-sq mile) area, is the world's largest reserve of the planet's lightest metal.

The Bolivian government says the salt flat contains 100 million tons of lithium reserves, although the U.S. Geological Survey puts the figure at just nine million tons.

The Morales administration has been working since 2009 to install a pilot plant to make lithium carbonate at Uyuni and its goal is to show results in ‘industrialising’ the metal before 2014.

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