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Irish regulator rules on commercial battery storage levy

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:30 -- John Shepherd

Commercial battery storage units in Ireland will now be required to pay a levy charged to all electricity customers to support renewable energy generation, the country’s Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has announced.

The CRU said the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy will only be imposed on commercial storage units based on their “house load” when offline, rather than on the total amount of electricity imported from the grid, stored, and then exported.

As battery storage units take electricity from the grid when there is surplus generation, store it, and then feed electricity back to the grid in profitable peak demand periods, there had been uncertainty over whether they should be subject to the levy. The levy is normally imposed on electricity customers who are supplied with electricity at a single site for consumption on those premises.

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Investment booster for Pb recycling process in UK

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:02 -- John Shepherd

Aurelius Environmental, which is pioneering a lead-acid battery recycling process in the UK, is to invest £1.5 million (US$1.9m) in advanced ‘green’ technology after securing a debt funding package.

Miles Freeman, CEO of Aurelius and former operations director of Ecobat Technologies, said the business would invest in machinery that “produces virtually zero waste— allowing us to provide a more sustainable and environmentally friendly process to the market”.

The announcement comes less than two years after Aurelius and research partner Cambridge University were awarded an EU grant of €1.3m ($1.5m) to develop ‘Fenixpb’— a hydrometallurgical process that produces lead oxide directly from spent batteries.

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Exide invests in VRLA storage plus solar at Portugal plant

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:14 -- Hugh Finzel

US battery manufacturer Exide Technologies is investing in a solar power facility coupled with VRLA battery storage at its production plant in Castanheira do Ribatejo in Portugal.

Another solar facility will be installed at Exide’s recycling plant in Azambuja, Portugal.

The solar-plus-storage system will pair 500kWh worth of Sonnenschein A600 VRLA from GNB— a division of Exide Technologies— with solar. The two sites will have a combined total of around 10,000 solar photovoltaic panels, with a total generating capacity of 3.8MWp. The company said this was equivalent to the power requirements of more than 2,000 homes.

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Daimler takes NorthStar partnership to next level

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 09:35 -- Hugh Finzel

Swedish-American battery manufacturer NorthStar has agreed a deal to supply Daimler with wireless battery monitoring systems for the Pure Lead AGM batteries it supplies to the auto giant.

Germany’s Daimler— parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and the largest truck manufacturer in the world— will install a tailored version of NorthStar’s ACE battery monitoring systems (named AGM Truck Test) at all of its service centres in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

NorthStar’s ACE wireless battery monitoring systems was launched for the telecom segment in 2017, and subsequently for the transportation segment in 2018. The AGM Truck Test tracks the battery’s performance throughout its service life, and ensures batteries are only replaced when they reach the end of their reliable life.

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ILA calls for new EU strategy on batteries

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:45 -- John Shepherd

Europe has been urged to develop a new industrial strategy to “champion” all batteries, including lead-acid.

The managing director of the International Lead Association (ILA), Dr Andy Bush (pictured), said the creation of a Batteries Alliance and a ‘batteries action plan’ for the EU, has been “one of the successes of the European Commission”.

However, Bush said it was a “weakness” for EU policymakers to “focus predominantly on one battery technology, omitting to support Europe’s existing strengths in this area and the jobs it generates in our societies”.

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Sunlight takes a shine to lithium with new ‘smart battery’

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:33 -- John Shepherd
Sunlight Li.On Force batteries

Greek lead-acid battery maker Sunlight is entering the electrical industrial vehicles (eIVs) market with the launch of a “smart lithium batteries” line.

Sunlight said the debut of its ‘Li.On Force’ follows “a multi-year intensive research plan” to produce batteries “that combine the advantages of batteries featuring lithium technology” with applications of Internet of Things technology.

A battery management system relays performance and other data in real time to a Sunlight control centre via the Cloud.

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Saft to ‘expand lithium’ with Chinese lead group Tianneng

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 09:51 -- Hugh Finzel
Patrick Pouyanné

France’s Saft and Chinese lead-acid battery group Tianneng Energy Technology have formed a joint venture (JV) to expand lithium-ion manufacturing and “scale up its e-mobility and energy storage businesses”.

The JV will “primarily focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of advanced lithium-ion cells, modules and packs”. Production will be based at Tianneng’s Changxing factory, with a potential annual manufacturing capacity of 5.5GWh.

“This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following its acquisition of Saft in 2016,” said Patrick Poyanné, CEO of Total, the French battery manufacturer’s parent company. “The JV will allow Saft to join forces with a Chinese partner, a world leading lead-acid battery manufacturer, willing to develop its lithium-ion activities.

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EU ‘lagging behind competitors’ on battery cells

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 14:23 -- John Shepherd
Photo: EU's Robert Meerding

The EU is “lagging behind international competitors” in its quest to build a world-beating battery cells production industry, a report has warned.

The briefing paper by the European Court of Auditors— the EU’s independent external auditor— said Europe needs to “ensure a coherent strategy” for developing energy storage technologies and “reduce the complexity of EU research funding”.

Without a change in policies, ambitious manufacturing, energy saving and climate goals set by the European Battery Alliance could fail to materialise, the paper warned.

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SK Innovation building Polish battery plant

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 10:42 -- Hugh Finzel

SK Innovation is to start work on a factory in Poland to manufacture lithium-ion battery separators (LiBS) and ceramic coated separators (CCS) for electric vehicle batteries in Europe.

The South Korean group will break ground on the plant site in Województwo Śląskie in southern Poland in the third quarter of 2019— and expects to begin mass production in the third quarter of 2021.

SK Innovation intends to invest €335 million (US$378m) to realise four LiBS production units and three CCS production units on the 270,000 square metre site.

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UK and China launch virtual energy research centre

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 15:31 -- John Shepherd
Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of Engineering at ICL (left) & Qikun Xue, VP for Research at Tsinghua

Imperial College London (ICL) and Tsinghua University are launching a virtual centre to collaborate on pioneering research into advanced energy systems.

The universities have agreed to jointly study “next-generation technologies and intelligent control strategies” towards low-carbon power and energy systems.

The centre will be the latest collaboration between the two universities, which have previously worked together on research projects including ‘the role of energy storage in enhancing operation and stability performance of sustainable power systems’.

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