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French firm hopes to leap-frog rivals with scable ESS

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 14:22 -- Paul Crompton
French firm hopes to leap-frog rivals with scable ESS

Energy management and automation firm Schneider Electric has launched a lithium-ion energy storage system that can be scaled up from 5kW/h to 3.2MW/h.

The French firm’s EcoBlade is a fully scable ESS and, at a price of around $500 per kW/h, could rival other home energy storage systems flooding the market when launched in 2016.

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Lead-acid losing battle with lithium in large-scale energy storage

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 16:25 -- Paul Crompton
Lead-acid losing battle with lithium in large-scale energy storage

Lead-acid’s share in the exploding large-scale energy storage market will diminish as companies concentrate on other technologies, according to battery-based intelligent storage and grid solution firm Younicos.

Lead-acid’s limitations will see chemistries such as lithium-ion and sodium-sulphur become the technology of choice in the large-scale energy storage industry, the German firm’s spokesman Philip Alexander Hiersemenzel said in an exclusive interview with BEST.

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JCI takes first steps into distributed energy storage systems

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 14:45 -- Paul Crompton
JCI takes first steps into distributed energy storage systems

Johnson Controls has taken a step into distributed energy storage, installing a lithium-ion battery storage system in one of the world’s largest commercial buildings.

Chicago’s 4.2 million square foot Merchandise Mart, which was owned for half a century by the Kennedy family, now has one of Johnson’s smaller in-building storage systems, the L1000, which provides up to 85 kWh of energy storage.

 
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No-fly lithium looks very possible

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 15:47 -- gerry@bestmag.co.uk

There are few inside the battery industry who haven’t seen a video of a lithium-ion cell going into thermal runaway, shooting out flames and gas like some kind of giant firework.

There are enough battery specialists who can appreciate and calculate the release of energy from such devices and have the imagination to visualise the domino effect that could take place when one defective cell goes wrong in a pallet containing maybe several thousand cells.

There are plenty of battery specialists who’ve come across the unscrupulous and counterfeit battery manufacturers beyond the Middle East. Lithium-ion batteries are classed as dangerous goods for good reason: they store considerable quantities of energy and they can fail, due to faults in manufacture, poor quality control or poor design. Even the best have been caught out— GS Yuasa and Boeing.

Thanks to the US Federal Aviation Authority we now know that just ten18650 cells— a tiny fraction of those in a Tesla car, can create enough heat and gas to blow open a 737 cargo hold.

The situation gets worse if the cells are fully charged… partially-charged cells produce less gas, apparently. Long term, it appears that costly containment of lithium-ion cells and batteries would be the only risk-mitigation one could reasonably put in place, as is being formalised for the fixed lithium batteries providing back-up power in civil aircraft.

Containment will add to weight and cost and it doesn’t take a genius to see that manufacturers will be limited in the number of cells being air freighted.

Aviation is still incredibly safe— if you are one of these unlucky ones, IATA have shown quite conclusively that the number of “battery incidents” which have resulted in deaths is just one incident in ten years. Weather, loss-of-control and even depressed pilots have killed more.

But it’s not a comforting thought to consider that beneath your feet on many commercial jets is a stack of batteries that might just turn your plane into a flaming coffin at cruising altitude.

Even if no ban on air-freighting of lithium-ion happens wouldn’t it be pertinent for manufacturers to start considering global warehousing of the product and transport by sea and land? We now know the best fire suppressant, (halon) won’t work in a hold fire, so if such an event happens and you can’t land in minutes, it’s a catastrophe.

Once this story fully emerges properly in the public domain, rationality won’t prevail. Not carrying lithium-ion cells (as some carriers have already adopted) will be a sales advantage to freight carriers and passenger operators alike.

Auto giant Toyota dips its toe into Lithium-ion for hybrids

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 15:46 -- Paul Crompton
Auto giant Toyota dips its toe into Lithium-ion for hybrids

Japanese automaker Toyota has opted for lithium-ion batteries for the first time in its 4th generation hybrid Prius cars.

Traditionally made with nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries, half of the new Prius models will contain lithium-ion batteries, the other half NiMH, with both battery types to be made available in North America and Japan.

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Plain sailing for world’s first 1 MW Li-ion powered ferry

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 14:45 -- Paul Crompton
Plain sailing for world’s first 1 MW Li-ion powered ferry

Commercial operations have begun on the world’s first passenger ferry to be powered exclusively by lithium-ion batteries.

Norwegian ferry operator Norled introduced the Zero Cat 120 catamaran ferry which uses 1MW of battery power.

The system contains a Siemens BlueDrive Plus C energy management system and Corvus Energy’s 224 Corvus AT6500 modules, which give a total capacity of 1.46MW.

Around 1MW-worth of batteries are onboard in two banks, one at each end of the ferry, powering two 450kW electric motors to drive Rolls-Royce Azipull thrusters with CP propellers.

Two 260kW batteries are being used at each shore station to recharge the boat’s batteries during the 10 minute interval between crossings to avoid uneven drain on the local grid. The main charge will be overnight, using hydro-electrically generated electricity.

The ship’s on-board power needs are also met by the batteries, with a HVAV system that makes full use of waste heat recovery to minimise power required.

The 80m long, double-ended aluminium hulled ferry is designed to make the 5.7km crossing of the Sognefjord in 20 minutes. It will make 34 trips each day, carrying up to 360 passengers and 120 cars.

The ship, designed and built by Fjellstrand of Norway

Faradion hires Axeon CEO

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 14:17 -- Laura Varriale
Faradion battery

UK-based sodium-ion (Na-ion) and lithium-ion battery material company Faradion has appointed former Axeon CEO Lawrence Berns as CEO.

Lawrence replaces Chris Wright who is now Faradion’s chairman.

Wright was responsible for sales, product development and marketing at multiple international sites at Scottish lithium-ion battery company Axeon.

Wright said that Lawrence will enable the company to continue developing and building on its progress due to his experience in the industry.

Faradion was founded in 2010 aiming to develop low-cost Na-ion battery technology that reduces the cost of energy storage of renewable energy, stationary storage and transportation. The company claims that Na-ion materials have lower material costs than lithium-ion.

According to Faradion, Na-ion batteries are a direct replacement for lithium-ion batteries, allowing lithium-ion battery makers to use existing equipment to produce batteries using next-gen Na-ion materials. The company’s Na-ion cells are designed to have energy densities similar to those of conventional lithium-ion cells.

The company has filed 10 patent families covering applications, materials and material synthesis.

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