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Energy storage

Motor giants collaborate on fuel cells

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Daimler, Ford and Nissan have signed a three-way agreement to collaboratively develop fuel cell electric vehicles to accelerate getting the technology onto the road. The deal will see each company developing its own vehicle but with a common fuel cell system, sharing development and investment costs.

sealing the deal

The companies hope to have affordable fuel cell EVs ready by 2017 with common components to standardise and define global specifications for the technology and encourage faster commercialisation.

(L - R: Raj Nair of Ford, Thomas Weber of Daimler and Mitsuhiko Yamashita of Nissan)

“Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers,” said Raj Nair, group Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone.”

Each company will invest equally to develop a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that each company can use in their individual FCEVs. This work will be done at several sites around the world to speed up engineering development.

A similar agreement was made by Toyota and BMW in June 2012, and extended in January 2013, to develop a fuel cell system for a lightweight sports vehicle.

Eaton 9PX and 9SX UPS units receive EMEA Energy Star certification

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Eaton has announced Energy Star certification of its 9PX and 9SX UPS units available in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

eaton

Energy Star, a joint programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, is intended to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. In a statement, Eaton said its 9PX and 9SX UPSs earned the Energy Star following stringent third-party testing and verification of meeting the programme’s energy efficiency requirements.

The certification guarantees that Eaton products are among the top 25% of most efficient UPSs on the market and allow customers to effectively reduce electrical usage and their carbon footprint.

The Eaton 9PX and 9SX UPSs were launched in EMEA in 2012 and are the next generation of energy efficient devices for 5 to 11 kVA applications.

APR Energy expands with new contracts

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

APR Energy is supplying modularised power to Guatemala, Indonesia and Senegal as part of a 101MW expansion for 2013 that sees the company investing US$150 million in rental power. This large investment is to make operational improvements and increase the use of its diesel power fleet.

The project in Guatemala is providing energy to a silver mine 40km outside of Guatemala City. The plant will be the sole power source for the mine, which is not connected to the local grid. This adds to APR’s contracts with mining companies, with projects in Mozambique and Botswana also underway.

Existing contracts with Senegal and Gabon have been extended, increasing APR’s energy supply in Western Africa by 70MW.

In Indonesia a 15MW diesel-fired power plant feeds back to the state grid system to balance the supply-demand load issues. Laurence Anderson, President and COO of APR said the project offered APR an entry to one of the largest temporary power markets in the world.

“I feel strongly that the new contracts in Indonesia and Guatemala, along with the current contract extensions, are further evidence of our continued customer satisfaction and the overall strength of the market,” said John Campion, APR Energy Chief Executive Officer. “The 101MW in January follow on the heels of the 200MW contract award and 100MW renewal in Uruguay in December and show an unmistakable momentum in our business.”

Smart grid trialled in Massachusetts

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

A smart grid pilot project is to be implemented in Worcester, Massachusetts, US by the National Grid to demonstrate the uses of available technology to improve energy efficiency.

National Grid

Its aim is to provide energy customers with choice and control over the energy they use to empower customers to save energy, while increasing electric service reliability and improving response to power outages.

National Grid has amassed a team of experts to work on the project to construct and deliver an end-to-end smart grid pilot including smart meters, advanced communications technologies, in-home energy management tools, devices for electric system automation, as well as customer outreach and education, project management, integration and evaluation.

Unlike other smart grid trials in the US, customer engagement is key. Customers choose their level of involvement and can receive information about their energy use via the website and downloadable app. Pricing options will be available so customers can save energy and money at different times of day.

National Grid will also be researching the option of full integration of renewable energy sources, installing EV charging stations and connecting energy storage to existing renewable projects.

AFC Energy proclaims fuel cell electrodes breakthrough

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK hydrogen fuel cell developer AFC Energy is celebrating after extending the longevity of its electrodes to more than six months of continuous operation.

AFC Energy

Electrodes are the critical components of a fuel cell, which enable the electrochemical reactions to occur between hydrogen and oxygen (from air) to generate electricity, heat and water. Laboratory trials of electrodes are on-going and further field trials of improved electrodes are scheduled to begin early next month.

At six months longevity, these applications have the potential to generate significant revenues for AFC Energy whilst also opening up new commercial opportunities in additional territories such as Germany, where the company is already carrying out long-term longevity trials with Akzo Nobel, one of the world's largest chemicals groups.

Ian Williamson, CEO of AFC Energy, said: "Our progress will surprise and challenge the power generating industry and we have recently filed six new families of patents to secure our rights. We look forward to pushing electrode life towards 12 months and beyond where we believe we will have a product that is economic globally in all target markets."

Duke Energy, Xtreme Power inaugurate 36 MW battery energy storage project in Texas

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

US power utility giant Duke Energy and energy storage provider Xtreme Power have commenced operations at the Notrees Energy Storage unit, a 36 MW battery system integrated in a 153 MW wind farm in western Texas.

wind farm

The facility at Notrees provides flexible capacity to the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the electrical grid in Texas and manages 75% of the deregulated market in the state. Xtreme Power’s control system, XACT, will manage real-time performance and response of the system in response to site and grid conditions.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) provided Duke Energy with a $22 million grant to develop the project. The US Electric Power Research Institute will collect performance data from the battery storage system and help assess the potential for broader adoption of energy storage solutions throughout the industry.

Results from the storage project at Notrees wind farm will be shared publically via the DOE.

 

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.

MAN Diesel launches 35/44G ‘'Otto’' four-stroke gas engine

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

MAN Diesel & Turbo has unveiled the 35/44G four-stroke diesel engine, also known as ‘Otto’, at its facility in Augsburg, Germany.

Otto MAN

The 35/44G is offered in a V-type version with 20 cylinders and an output of 10,600 kWm, (10,200 kWm). Its rated outputs – 530 kW per cylinder for 50 Hz power generation and 510 kW for 60 Hz power generation – give the 35/44G best-in-class power density among gas engines.

The newly-developed ‘Otto’ gas engine has an electrical efficiency of 47.2%, and is available for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and/or jointly with a MAN steam turbine of the MARC series – in a combined cycle mode reaching high total plant efficiencies with low emissions.

It also features a single-stage turbocharger with variable turbine area (VTA) technology and many innovative technological elements. The spark-ignited unit, which is ideal for combined-cycle and combined-heat and power configuration with waste-heat utilisation, complies with all current emission limits solely by in-engine measures.

Germany establishes the Federal Association of Energy Storage

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

The Federal Association of Energy Storage has been formed to advance the development of the growing energy storage market in Germany.

Energy storage and efficiency are hot topics in Germany

Energy storage is seen as a key technology to support the future development of renewable energy, particularly solar, as feed-in tariffs decline in many parts of the world. The Berlin-based association aims to represent the growing number of energy storage companies while creating a strong network among them.

Professor Eicke Weber, spokesman for the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, has been appointed the Association’s first President.  Association CEO is Dr. Harald Binder, Vice-President and General Manager of Applied Materials.

The association, which has issued an invitation for new members, said its first official project will be to create an 'energy storage roadmap', which will define the role energy storage plays in Germany’s energy revolution. The Federal Association of Energy Storage will have its first meeting at the Energy Storage Conference Exhibition in Dusseldorf this March.

Urban mining to recover valuable metals from discarded electronics

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Lithium demand is booming due to to an explosion in tablets and smartphones. GTSO Resources is beginning to recover used lithium using ‘urban mining’ (or recycling) techniques.
"Lithium prices have already tripled, and no one expects them to level off anytime soon,” said GTSO CEO Paul Watson.
Electronic waste contains metal deposits 40 to 50 times richer than mined ores, up to 85% are lost to landfills. GTSO is planning operations to recover lithium, tungsten and other discarded materials.

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