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India steps up power supply

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Following widespread power outages in much of India last year, one region is taking matters into its own hands.  The state of Bihar in the north east is expecting to see vast improvements to its domestic power supply, which is currently at a deficit of approximately 1000MW of power.

The state officials say grid supplies will improve by 600-700 MW this year, thanks in part to the Bahr thermal power station that will have two units each producing 660MW. This is expected to become operational in the second half of 2013. 

To meet the power demand at present, the state is largely run on diesel generators because only 900MW is available from central power supplies. The capital Patna requires 400MW alone.

Apart from central supplies, the State is also on course to re-commissioning approximately 345 MW of own capacity through an extensive renovation and modernisation project in joint venture with NTPC, India’s largest power company. The units have been neglected for many years and require restoration to become useful.

East Penn expansion

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

East Penn Manufacturing Co. is planning to expand its battery-manufacturing site at Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, with a new US$80 million manufacturing plant.

The proposed plant would create more than 300 jobs when functioning at full capacity, according to Graham G. Anderson, Vice President of facilities, engineering and maintenance at East Penn.

The 564 000-square-foot, two-story plant is expected to open in 2015 to produce industrial and automotive batteries. The current facilities for industrial and automotive batteries are nearing capacity.

Daniel Langdon, President of East Penn, said, "It will be a multifaceted facility and flexible enough to be able to support growth in all segments of lead-acid batteries."

"We are going to call it a multipurpose plant," Anderson said. "We'll be making automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries. It's going to be a complete battery-manufacturing facility with all the required equipment to build a battery."

Aggreko signs 100 MW gas-fuelled temporary power contract in Ivory Coast

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Aggreko has signed a contract to provide 100MW of gas-fuelled temporary power in Côte d'Ivoire. The contract will run for two years, and is in addition to the 100 MW Aggreko installed in 2010.

The estimated value of the contract is around $75 million, which includes the supply of a 225 KV sub-station.

The contract, awarded by the Société des Energies de Côte d'Ivoire (CI-ENERGIES), will reinforce the power supply in Cote d'Ivoire and act as a bridge between today's immediate needs and the construction of permanent capacity. 

Rupert Soames, Chief Executive of Aggreko, said: "Following the success of the existing 100 MW power plant, we are delighted that our customer has entrusted us with a further 100 MW. We believe this underlines the success of our gas-fuelled power plants, in which we have invested heavily in recent years; world-wide we now have over 750 MW of gas-fuelled capacity on rent."

Convion takes on Wärtsilä'’s fuel cell activities

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Finnish firm Convion is to take over solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system development from gas engine maker Wärtsilä’s fuel cell unit.

Last autumn Wärtsilä announced that its product development strategy has been redefined and as a consequence its fuel cell function would be reorganised, leading to a consultation process in the fuel cell unit in Espoo, Finland, at the end of last year.

Wärtsilä’s minority interest in the newly-created Convion is around 20% and nine former Wärtsilä employees will move to the new company. Erkko Fontell, Director of the former fuel cell unit, has been appointed Managing Director of Convion.

Tero Seppälä, Director of Business Development, Wärtsilä Finalnd, said: “So far the test results of the fuel cell systems have been very promising, but the unit size of 20–50 kW is at the moment not sufficient to complement Wärtsilä’s product portfolio in an expedient way. With the minority interest in Convion, Wärtsilä wants to secure access to continued fuel cell development.”

Financial backers VNT Management’s fund focusing on renewable energy technology is also involved in developing the Convion’s activities.

Eaton introduces 93PM three-phase UPS series

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Eaton has launched the 93PM series of three-phase UPS covering power ratings from 30 to 50 kVA.

In double conversion mode, the Eaton 93PM units are designed to perform at a 96.7% efficiency. With its Energy Saver System technology, Eaton claims the UPS automatically adapts to incoming power conditions (aka Eco Mode), increasing efficiency to 99%, switching to double conversion or battery mode with a typical transition time of two milliseconds.

The Eaton 93PM claims high power and energy density; the devices are capable of providing the full load with power from the internal batteries for 10-20 minutes. Internal batteries allow the 93PM to achieve a minimal physical footprint of only 0.5 m2, saving valuable space that users can allocate to other business critical equipment.

Additionally, the units are equipped with Eaton’s Advanced Battery Management technology to ensure maximum uptime. ABM optimises battery recharge time, eliminates overcharging, continuously monitors battery condition to extend battery service life by 50%, enables early fault detection and provides optimal maintenance planning. If required, the backup time can further be extended with line-and-match external battery cabinets to provide power for more than an hour.

Global UPS market to reach $9.84bn by 2015 - report

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The global UPS market will reach $9.84bn by 2015, according to a report by analysts TechNavio.

TechNavio's report, ‘Global Uninterruptible Power Supply Market’, sees the key vendors dominating the UPS market space as Schneider Electric, Emerson Electric, and Eaton.  The other vendors mentioned in the report are Riello, Toshiba, Swelect Energy Systems, Mitsubishi Electric, GE and TDK.

An analyst from TechNavio's Engineering team said: ''The use of next-generation power storage technologies is one of the emerging trends in the UPS market. Such next-generation power storage technologies aid the environment-related efforts of companies.

“Thus, instead of using electricity, many greener methods such as solar and wind energy might be used to charge the batteries in UPS systems. Also, next-generation technology helps to discharge the energy back to the grid when battery power is not in use.''

One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is population growth. However, the increasing cost of raw materials could pose a challenge to the growth of this market, the report says.

KiWi Power to partner UK Power Networks in 10 MWh energy storage project

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Demand response provider KiWi Power is to partner distribution company UK Power Networks in developing a 10 MWh energy storage system with lithium-ion batteries.

Installation of the facility at a trial site in Bedfordshire will commence in January 2013. The energy storage device comprises a 10 MWh lithium-ion battery system with racks of battery cells, 6 MW power conversion system (PCS) with 11 kV step-up transformer and 11 kV switchgear and protection.

KiWi Power will manage the commercial arrangements for the energy storage unit's participation in National Grid's load balancing services, including short-term operating reserves (STOR) and frequency response.

The Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project is one of five schemesDemand Management selected by UK energy regulator Ofgem to help secure electricity supply and develop a new smart grid network. The four-year project which will examine the technical challenges and commercial opportunities of using stored electricity to meet peak energy demands and investigate the financial benefits of deferring or avoiding network reinforcement and selling flexibility services.

Yoav Zingher, CEO of Kiwi Power said: “Alongside demand side response measures, energy storage has the flexibility to meet increasing demand peaks and help to manage the supply-side energy provision from intermittent wind and inflexible nuclear energy. This trial is an important step towards proving the benefits of energy storage and will provide essential information for understanding the practicalities and economics of energy storage ahead of a smart grid transition.”

The five schemes received £45.5m ($73.3m) second-tier funding through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks (LCN) fund. Once the project has proven successful and the capabilities of energy storage are fully understood, it is expected that similar projects could be rolled out across the UK and provide savings of over £700m by 2040. 

BASF battery plant opens in Ohio

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

Chemical company BASF has opened a new cathode materials production plant in Elyria, Ohio. The materials manufactured at the plant will be for producing advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and full electric vehicles. The 70 000 square foot plant is supported by BASF battery material research laboratory in Beachwood, Ohio.

 The company aims to become a leading provider of functional materials and solutions to battery manufacturers worldwide. The new plant making cathode materials will help realise this goal.

 The construction cost more than US$50 million. The US Department of Energy gave a grant of US$24.6 million toward the costs, which show a strong alliance with the company.

 BASF is one of only two licensed suppliers of ANL-patented Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese (NCM) cathode materials, a unique combination of lithium and manganese-rich mixed metal oxides, particularly well suited to the production of lithium-ion batteries for automotive and other high-end applications.

 Senator Sherrod Brown, who supported BASF’s DOE grant application said: “BASF is helping make Ohio the Silicon Valley for clean energy manufacturing. As our reliance on foreign sources of energy grows more and more unsustainable, American consumers will turn to hybrid and fully electric vehicles – powered by lithium-ion battery materials made by BASF.

 As part of its long-term battery materials strategy, BASF will continue to work with partners in industry and science to develop materials and technologies for current and next generation lithium-ion batteries as well as for future battery systems.

A123 Update

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 17:02 -- Ruth Williams

A123 is in deals with Wanxiang Group Corporation for a US$50 million emergency loan to fund its bankruptcy case.

After filing for bankruptcy earlier in October, A123 was to be lent money by Johnson Controls Inc as the ‘debtor in possession’ but now the Chinese auto parts maker will replace JCI with a lower interest rate on the loan. This is the initial offer for a bidding war that is sure to gain momentum as the two firms strive to gain possession of assets from the lithium-ion battery maker.

JCI still intends to bid for A123’s automotive assets but felt the value of the company would be further damaged by a lengthy bidding war with Wanxiang Corp.

Hope for A123 Systems

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Fraught battery manufacturer A123 Systems has been handed salvation in the form of a US $465 million investment from Chinese car-parts maker Wanxiang Group Corporation.

This will result in Wanxiang, one of China’s biggest non-governmental companies, owning 80% of A123 and holding four of the nine board seats for A123.

Earlier this year A123 announced it was running out of money, despite a cash injection from the Obama administration in 2009. This new investment could mean a government funded business will be in the hands of a non-US company that could out-source jobs.

The Michigan based battery maker has suffered because the EV market has failed to take off as quickly as hoped, only accounting for 3% of US car sales last year. For the second quarter of 2012 it reported losses of US$ 82.9 million so is in desperate need of help. A123 has 2 500 workers whose job security rests on the secure future of the company.

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