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KiWi Power appoints former UK Department of Energy advisor Miriam Maes to board

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK demand response provider KiWi Power has appointed former UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) advisor Miriam Maes as a new non-executive director.

Maes was appointed delivery advisor to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from 2010 to 2011 and as advisor to the new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) within DECC from 2011 until March 2012, providing expert advice on energy efficiency issues.

Maes has worked in the energy sector since 2002, initially as a member of Texas Utilities’ (TXU) European Executive and subsequently as COO of EDF Energy’s non-regulated distribution networks business. In 2007, Miriam became CEO of climate change consultants Foresee.

Yoav Zingher, KiWi Power’s director and co-founder said: "I am delighted to welcome Miriam to the Board as non-executive director. Her experience and track record within the energy space will be of immense value to KiWi Power.” Maes added: “I am delighted to join such a forward looking company with such a great team. The demand response concept is essential to the optimisation of the energy resources in the transition to an affordable low carbon economy and has enormous potential in the UK and internationally.”

Maes is also non-executive director of the Euronext listed and BELPEX company ELIA Group (Belgium), the Belgian and part German transmission and distribution system operator, and of Assystem (France) an international energy, automotive and aerospace engineering company, listed on NYSE Euronext. Since November 2012, Miriam has been appointed as chairman of the AIM-listed Sabien Technology Group, a manufacturer and seller of a patented boiler optimisation system.

Free UPS and battery seminar in Manchester

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd and Yuasa Battery are hosting a free seminar in Manchester relating to UPS and Batteries.

On 19th March at Manchester City FC Stadium there will be a free seminar discussing the history and evolution of modern UPS systems; UPS system topology; key factors and drivers for UPS development; battery size considerations; effects of temperature on battery life and performance; batteries suitability for UPS systems.

 

The free event includes an optional tour of the stadium.

To register visit http://www.upspower.co.uk/manchester.aspx

 

Progress for Italian smart grid system

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

NEC Italia SpA has announced an agreement with Italian utility service provider Acea Spa to develop lithium-ion energy storage systems (ESS) for Acea’s substations.

NEC will provide one 180kW/ 100kWh substation and one 100kW/ 50kWh substation to Acea in Rome, due to be operational in September 2013. The ESS, which will greatly advance Rome’s smart grid system, will provide improved quality of utility services, reduce energy losses and improve the management of energy from distributed sources such as wind and PV.

The larger of the two systems will be connected to Acea’s low-voltage electricity grid to provide backup power in the event of a power outage. The smaller system will be connected to the mid-voltage grid to regulate and even out energy from distributed generators by compensating for power fluctuations.

“NEC is proud to partner with a visionary company like Acea, who understands the importance of Smart Grids for successfully meeting the demands of utility companies as well as reducing environmental burdens,” said Ugo Govigli, Vice President, Smart Grid Solutions, NEC Europe. “These ESS were designed entirely by the NEC EMEA Energy competence centre which was established in Italy in 2011. We expect these developments to pave the way into new energy market segments throughout EMEA.”?

Origin, but not cause, of Dreamliner battery fire announced

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the origin of the fire on the Japan AirLines Boeing Dreamliner, January 7th. The battery was believed to have had an “initiating event” in one of its eight cells; this was assessed using the flight data recorder and evidence form the thermal and mechanical damage.

The cell identified as the starting point “showed multiple signs of short-circuiting, leading to thermal runaway condition, which then cascaded to other cells.” The evidence suggests the cells reached 260oC.

Chairman of NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said potential causes of the initiating short circuit being evaluated include battery charging, the design and construction of the battery, and the possibility of defects introduced during the manufacturing process.

The cause of the short circuit remains unknown and further investigations will focus upon design and certification requirements of the battery system.

During its certification process Boeing considered the types of failures that might affect the battery, following tests it found no evidence that cell-to-cell spread or fire would be a problem and that smoke emitting from the cell would not occur during more than one in ten million flight hours.

Scrap lead prices creep up in US

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The price of scrap lead in the US is slowly creeping up. This is attributed to slightly higher demand, meaning the price of scrap is up by one cent per pound.

According to the American Metal Market the value of used lead-acid batteries is expected to continue to increase throughout February as smelters pay more for the scrap.

The closing price of lead on the London Metal Exchange at the end of January was $2386 per tonne, this is a continuation of the slowly rising price. Until now the scrap price has not risen but with demand growing the price is able to follow the primary trend.

Exide collaborate to change fortune

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Industries is extending its relationship with Japanese automotive battery maker Shin-Kobe Electric to improve the quality of the batteries it makes.

Exide has been under pressure to boost sales following a slowdown in the automobile industry. Poor performances over two consecutive financial quarters saw Exide warned by credit rating agency Moody that its rating could slide.

TV Ramanathan, MD and CEO of Exide, said the collaboration will lead to the implementation of new manufacturing processes for higher productivity and quality. It is hoped more effiecient manufacturing will lower the company's production costs.

The company has an existing technical joint venture with Shin-Kobe that this deal is built upon. It is not the first push for the company to improve its manufacturing standards, in 2012 it asked East Penn to collaborate to review its lead-acid batteries production.

Exide announced that Shin-Kobe would provide technology and extensive technical support and assistance to Exide to manufacture automotive batteries to a higher quality at its various Indian plants.

Solid electrolyte for lithium-ion

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Scientists as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries that will provide greater energy density. The substance is made by manipulating lithium-thiophosphate so that it could conduct ions 1000 times faster than in its natural bulk form. The researchers used nanostructuring to alter the structure of the crystals that make up the material.

By altering it in this way, the solid electrolyte was not flammable as a liquid electrolyte would be. Chengdu Liang, who led the study, said: "Cycling highly reactive lithium metal in flammable organic electrolytes causes serious safety concerns," Liang said. "A solid electrolyte enables the lithium metal to cycle well, with highly enhanced safety."

The team developed the solid electrolyte by refining lithium-thiophosphate until it could conduct ions at a faster rate than in its natural state.

"We started with a conventional material that is highly stable in a battery system - in particular one that is compatible with a lithium metal anode," said Liang.

One of the research paper’s coauthors, Adam Rondinone, said the method can be scaled up to create large amounts of the material based on the same nanostructuring.

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.

Exide Technologies say goodbye Texas hello India

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

Exide Technologies' battery recycling plant in Frisco, Texas US, is to close by the end of this year after a battle by city residents over environmental issues.

The company is now being sued by two environmental groups concerned about the impact the plant has had on the health of the population. 

The groups feel regulators failed to take action on violations being committed at the plant as found on inspections.

"There are chronic contamination problems at Exide that still pose a hazard to Frisco residents and property. There's also a long history of law-breaking that the company must be held accountable for," said Colette McCadden, secretary of Frisco Unleaded.

Exide has been a target of critics in recent years because of lead emissions that exceed the US federal air-quality standard. That standard was tightened in 2008 because of mounting research into the dangers of exposure to the toxic metal at very low levels.

Exide are ceasing operation at the end of this year and the city is buying the land to re-generate.

Things are looking better for the company elsewhere however. In India Exide are planning to expand their manufacturing capacity. They will focus upon the invertor segment as opposed to automotive batteries.

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