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German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 11:11 -- Paul Crompton
German aims for lithium-in battery independence with opening of European gigafactory

German lithium-ion battery developer and producer BMZ GmbH has opened production facilities for Europe’s first gigafactory.

The two 4,800 m2 manufacturing units will enable 15 GWh, around 200million lithium-ion batteries of different kinds and sizes, to be developed, produced and tested every year.

The additional facilities, which include logistics and office buildings, are in Karlstein- Großwelzheim where BMZ already has existing production areas of 7,000 m2.

Four further production, laboratory and office buildings covering a combined 15,000 m2 are planned to be built before 2020.

Once completed BMZ aims to produce 30 GWh, around 800 million lithium-ion batteries, annually at the industrial site in Karlstein-Großwelzheim alone.

Company founder and owner Sven Bauer said: “The current discussions on subsidies for electric cars often forget that lithium-ion batteries are also used in e-bikes, electrical appliances, gardening tools, energy storage systems, transport vehicles, excavators and so on.

“Unlike electric cars we are presently undergoing a real demand boom in many of these sectors, and we assume that the demand in these segments will further increase by 15 to 30% annually in the coming years depending on application range.

“The modular concept of our new ultra-modern factory units enables BMZ to respond even faster and more flexible to this growth scenario as well as specified customer requests in the future.”

As first intermediate step BMZ intends to launch their own cell at the end of this year as a prototype

Bauer said: “From our point of view it is most important to commonly build up our own production of lithium-ion cells in Germany, too. That is the only way to reduce the dependency risks on the few, mainly Asiatic cell producers in the long run.”

Picture: Officially opened up the first section of Europe’s biggest battery factory in a ceremony (from left): Marco Schütz (CEO LIST AG), Dr. Ulrich Reuter (District Administrator, district of Aschaffenburg), Sven Bauer (CEO BMZ GmbH), Daniel Fabbiano (Plant Manager BMZ GmbH), Winfried Bruder (Mayor Municipality of Karlstein) 

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Discovery could pave way for lithium-air batteries

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:47 -- Paul Crompton
Discovery could pave way for lithium-air batteries

Lithium-air batteries are a step closer to market readiness after researchers made a breakthrough at a German university.

Rechargeable lithium-air batteries could be the next big thing, offering better performance at a lighter weight, theoretically at least.

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BELECTRIC starts volume production of grid-scale lead-acid ESS

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 14:51 -- Paul Crompton
BELECTRIC starts volume production of grid-scale lead-acid ESS

German firm BELECTRIC has started volume production of its advanced lead-acid EBU (Energy Buffer Unit) energy storage system.

The decision follows the successful testing of an ABU ESS at the Alt Daber Solar Power Plant in Brandenburg, where it proved its ability to offer primary frequency response on a weekly basis.

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Daimler to invest €500m to build lithium-ion battery pack factory

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 15:03 -- Paul Crompton
Daimler to invest €500m to build lithium-ion battery pack factory

German OEM Daimler is to invest around €500million ($542,890) to build a lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing plant as it expands its electric and hybrid vehicles range.

Using cells from LG Chem and SK Innovations, among others, the move will ‘significantly expand’ the production capacities of Daimler subsidary Deutsche Accumotive.

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Sodium-ion reaches lithium-ion performance with carbonised apple waste

Wed, 03/02/2016 - 14:48 -- Paul Crompton
Sodium-ion reaches lithium-ion performance with carbonised apple waste

German researchers have used apple leftovers as a carbon-based active anode material to create a sodium-ion battery with the performance of lithium-ion.

Researchers Professor Stefano Passerini and Dr. Daniel Buchholz of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology claim apple waste has the right electrochemical properties for use in sodium-ion batteries.

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Younicos announces change of man at the helm

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 11:42 -- Paul Crompton
Younicos announces change of man at the helm

German energy storage firm Younicos has made changes to its leadership in a bid to ‘accelerate market delivery and growth’.

Stephen L. Prince takes over from James McDougall as President and CEO, and is tasked with focusing on ‘delivery of customer solutions’.

“Younicos will further focus the organisation around delivery of energy services and solutions, leveraging our technology and expertise,” said a company statement.”

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Younicos founder believes Germany’s renewable energy goals will fail without storage

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:53 -- Paul Crompton
Younicos founder believes Germany’s renewable energy goals will fail without storage

Younicos co-founder Clemens Triebel is urging policymakers to take storage systems more seriously if Germany is to reach its 80% renewable energy target. 

The success of expanding the use of renewable solar and wind energy depends on matching it with sufficient storage capacity from the start, he said.

Germany’s current energy policy aim stipulates that 80% of electricity consumption must be covered by renewable energies by 2050.

Triebel, believes this cannot work without storage, and is calling on energy policymakers to take the goals they set themselves seriously and get the energy system into a state, in which it is able to handle large amounts of renewable energy in  the future.

Triebel says the current German system is still discriminating against energy storage in favour of conventional power plants.

According to Triebel the energy transition is being unnecessarily slowed down and made more expensive by clinging to an outdated way of thinking: “We still produce power according to a 19th century paradigm which holds that energy is best produced by large generators that rotate constantly.

“If we contiue to cling to this notion, the grid will continue to be taken up by coal, gas and nuclear energy blocking space for solar and wind energy more and more frequently.”

“The necessary storage capacities will not just appear overnight. We have to start developing them today. Parallel to this, we have to drive the development of new storage technologies forward in order to be equipped for the huge amounts of renewable energy that will be generated in future.”

The Younicos Chief Visionary Officer will explain this thesis in greater depth in his keynote at the trade fair and conference, Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf from 15 to 17 March.

For more information: http://www.energy-storage-online.de/

German funding to cut redox flow battery costs

Fri, 01/22/2016 - 14:32 -- Paul Crompton
German funding to cut redox flow battery costs

A cash boost from the German government will allow a multi-agency joint R&D project to develop better and cheaper bi-polar plates for redox flow batteries.

The country’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has provided €3.9 million funding for the “extruded plate” project,

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Hoppecke Batteries appoints new UK MD as part of business restructure

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 13:26 -- Paul Crompton
Hoppecke Batteries appoints new UK MD as part of business restructure

Hoppecke Industrial Batteries has appointed Jason Howlett as its new managing director for its UK arm.

The German battery maker headhunted Howlett from a high-tech manufacturer and global supplier of security screening and border control equipment.

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Sonnenbatterie launches Powerwall rival weeks after hiring Tesla staff

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 14:44 -- Paul Crompton
Sonnenbatterie launches Powerwall rival weeks after hiring Tesla staff

German ESS company Sonnenbatterie has announced the launch of a battery-backed solar power storage system to rival Tesla’s Powerwall.

Sonnenbatterie’s lithium-ion solar power storage system, ‘SonnenCommunity’, connects households with battery-backed solar panels to store and use power on demand.

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