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ABB wins contract for drilling ships in Brazil

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

ABB has secured a contract worth US$160 million with Jurong Shipyard Pte to design, supply, install, test and commission the main electrical systems for seven drill ships. The ships will drill wells in oil and gas fields off the southeast coast of Brazil.

The ships will be powered from on-board subsystems that in turn are powered by ABB’s integrated electrical package.

This will include complete electrical systems including generators, distribution switchboards, transformers, drives and motors to power the ships’ thrusters and drilling systems. All ABB solutions meet or exceed IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the customer’s standards for safety, and are in full compliance with strict IMO (International Maritime Organisation) regulations to ensure uninterrupted drilling operations.

The deliveries for the order will commence this year, and the vessels are due for delivery to the ship-owner in 2015.

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.

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.”?

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

 

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.

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.

EU move 'deeply regrettable' on REACH

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

Battery making in Europe still hangs in the balance as lead remains under scrutiny by the European Commission’s REACH division. Four lead compounds irreplaceable in battery making were formally added to the candidate list in December 2012.

If authorised, battery makers would incur a significant cost to continue using them. Lead monoxide, lead tetroxide, tetralead trioxide sulphate and pentalead tetraoxide sulphate were added to the REACH list following proposal in August and public consultation that ran until October.

The ILA called it “deeply regrettable” that the European Commission chose to pursue this route rather than carrying out a risk assessment before identifying the substances as SVHCs, (a substance of very high concern).

EUROBAT’s EU Affairs Manager Michel Baumgartner said: “It didn’t come as a surprise because it’s the logical conclusion to the consultation – lead substances are repro-toxic. What we do regret is that it’s a political decision to achieve the target number of chemicals on the list before the end of 2012.“

At this stage there are no obligations for battery manufacturers using the lead substances. Baumgartner said: “It constitutes an information obligation along the supply chain and it starts with whoever makes the substance. But because there is none of the substance in the finished article, it does not pose an obligation to the battery manufacturers themselves.”

Agreeing to evaluate the risk management options before taking further action on lead is a move welcomed by the ILA and EUROBAT. It will be conducted by ECHA over the coming year. For this companies may be asked to prepare additional information to ECHA. The conclusions should be available in January 2014. By then it should be known if ECHA is proposing authorisation or any other restrictions.

Plant-based anodes for lithium batteries

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Chinese companies Kuraray and Kureha are to produce lithium-ion batteries made from plant-based raw materials at a joint factory in Okayama Prefecture.

Traditionally the anode material comes from graphite but the new factory will use ‘hard carbon’ made from plant materials, including coconut shells.  The effect of using the hard carbon will have a more complex crystal structure than conventional graphite.  This will reduce deterioration occurring because of repeated charge – discharge cycles.

The factory for the joint venture will be built at Kuraray Chemical’s carbon plant and will cost US$ 38 159 000.  Output of the factory should be 1 000 tons of anode material annually.  Building work is due to commence in October with plans for the factory to be operational in Autumn 2013 with plans for expansion already being considered.

Lead-acid growth for Hitachi

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Hitachi Chemical Co will increase its production capacity for industrial lead-acid batteries by next January by expanding facilities of the subsidiary company Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co.

Some US$12 750000 (one billion yen) will be spent on constructing a building with a new assembly line at Shin-Kobe's Nabari Works in Mie Prefecture, the main site making lead-acid batteries.  It is estimated cell production capacity is likely to increase by 50%.

The site will make back-up power source batteries, the LL-W series of which demand is growing for in offices and factories at risk of power failures.  Joining 192 LL-W batteries together can produce 40kw of electricity for around ten hours.

Shin-Kobe Co. accounts for roughly 30% of the domestic market for industrial lead-acid batteries.  The LL-W products claim a battery life of 17 years, one of the world's longest, and are a fraction of the cost of a lithium-ion counterpart. 

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