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Panasonic to build lead-acid battery plant in India

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 16:03 -- Laura Varriale
Panasonic battery

Japanese electronics maker Panasonic is to set up a lead-acid battery plant in India and plans to make the country a regional hub.

The batteries shall be used mainly in the automotive industry and data centres. The costs for the plant are estimated at Rs200 crores ($36m). Panasonic is currently deciding on a location, which offers either tax concessions or is closer to the company’s automotive customers. The target is to start production by 2016.

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India’s UPS market to grow by 12% per year

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:03 -- Tildy Bayar
India’s UPS market to grow by 12% per year

Revenues from India’s uninterruptible power supply (UPS) market are forecast to grow twofold by the end of 2018, according to new analysis.

In a new report, India UPS Market Forecast & Opportunities, analysis firm Research & Markets predicts a compound annual growth rate of around 12% between 2013 and 2018.

Key market drivers identified in the report include, of course, the nation’s growing power demand coupled with its recent disabling blackouts, although the relative severity of regional power shortages are driving UPS demand locally rather than across the board.  In a measure of the market’s attractiveness, foreign players are buying up Indian companies in order to access their distribution networks and value chains.

Analysts say India’s home UPS market (600VA to 1kVA) has traditionally sold at least one UPS for every three desktop computers, but its growth has been slowed by the increasing popularity of laptop computers and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, which do not need constant power. According to the report, both domestic and foreign UPS firms are focused on introducing new products to combat this drain and capitalise on potential new markets.

In its latest market report, IMS Research estimated Indian UPS revenues at $630m in 2013 and predicted revenues of $834m by 2016, with expected growth of 6.3% this year.

IMS also said growth in the commercial segment will make up for the slowed home market.

DC technology could make India’s blackouts a thing of the past

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:55 -- Tildy Bayar
DC technology could make India’s blackouts a thing of the past

A new direct current (DC) technology from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) is being tested in four south Indian states. If successful, researchers say it could eliminate the country’s disabling power cuts.

The so-called ‘uninterrupted direct current’ (UDC) will provide a minimum of 100W per household per day, even at peak demand times and when grid power is cut.

It works by separating alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) to power different home appliances. A low-voltage AC line from a substation is converted to DC power by a home device. The current is fed into its own meter and through to lights, fans and other low-power devices like mobile chargers and televisions. The remainder of the building is run on AC power, which is metered separately.   

According to the researchers, the resulting amount of DC power is too low to be shut down, except to repair technical faults. Thus, instead of a blackout, a region could have a brownout, with minimal power remaining.

A UDC unit will cost around Rs1000 ($16.7). Consumers will also need to buy LED light bulbs and fans that run on DC power. Homeowners can also connect a solar panel to the device.   

"I think it's a very simple idea but real huge gains are possible,” said electrical engineering professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a member of the prime minister's Science Advisory Council and one of the project’s researchers.  “So I think if we do it right, India has a game changer technology.”


Socomec to manufacture UPS in India

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 10:35 -- Ruth Williams
Socomec will increase production at its Gurgaon site to include UPS systems

Socomec Innovative Power Solutions, the Indian branch of Socomec Group, has begun manufacturing UPS systems at its plant in Gurgaon, India.

The company previously imported the entire UPS systems, but now builds them domestically from imported components. The next stage is to manufacture transformers locally and reduce costs further.

The production site had been used for changeover switches, switch accessories and other low-voltage equipment. The newly added manufacturing line has the capacity to output 500 units per year.

India tightens battery disposal rules

Fri, 10/18/2013 - 14:44 -- Ruth Williams
Battery recycling in India

The Indian central pollution control board (CPCB) has told lead-acid battery manufacturers to set up collection points, individually or jointly, for used batteries from consumers or dealers.

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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.


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