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Network Rail starts on-track trials of battery-powered train

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:18 -- Laura Varriale
Battery-powered train

British Network Rail has begun to test a battery-powered train in a series of on-track trials at Bombardier’s Transportation plant in Derby, UK.

Bombardier installed six battery "rafts" comprising lithium iron magnesium phosphate battery packs at a Greater Anglia four-car class 379 train.

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Warwick University to host £1 billion APC hub

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 11:19 -- Laura Varriale
WMG International Digital Laboratory

British Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has selected the University of Warwick, UK, as hub location for research and development of low carbon propulsion systems.

The £1 billion research centre will be located on campus at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), a division of the University focused on low carbon mobility, including energy storage and battery testing. APC is to invest up to £200m in projects this year.

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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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CLNR installs li-ion batteries for smart grid project across North England

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:41 -- Laura Varriale
CLNR energy storage

Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) has deployed six energy storage devices across live electricity networks in North East England and Yorkshire.

The lithium-ion batteries, manufactured by A123 Systems, have capacities of 5MWh, 200kWh and 100kWh. The energy storage systems are integrated with other network technologies such as voltage control, real time thermal rating and customer solutions of demand response.

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Lower cost fuel cells from ACAL reduce platinum use

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 11:04 -- Ruth Williams
Reducing the platinum used in a fuel cell hugely reduces the cost

UK-based fuel cell developer ACAL Energy is close to completing a £15m ($25m) funding round to commercialise its low-platinum fuel cell for automotive and stationary use.

When closed, the funding round will enable ACAL to bring the redox liquid-based catalyst system to production-level ready for licencing to automotive OEMs. ACAL has a number of OEMs interested in the product because of the lower costs and longer lifetime than competitors.

Brendan Bilton, ACAL’s chief commercial officer, said: “Automotive companies want fuel cells to cost $40kW but none of the normal fuel cells can achieve this. We could get to 20% lower than that.”

Major automotive companies that have announced fuel cell electric vehicle designs require a lifecycle of more than 5,000 hours with less than 10% degradation to match an ICE vehicle. The catalyst of ACAL’s fuel cell is based on polyoxometalates rather than platinum which allows it to run for 10,000 hours with no degradation. The platinum is the point of degradation in regular fuel cells so removing 80% of it makes ACAL's cells more durable.

Bilton said the technology will be licenced to OEMs who could potentially have them in cars four years after licencing: “Many companies are looking at having first generation fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2020. We are aiming for second generation,” he explained.

The fuel cells have the potential to be used as a source of power generation as well as for automotive use, which could turn a person’s car into their generator also. This idea is attracting interest in regions that suffer frequent power outages such as Japan.

The commercialisation funding round is being finalised to allow the licensing of the technology in the next two months.

British power utility trials energy storage

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 10:47 -- Ruth Williams
The largest of the batteries being installed in Darlington, Yorkshire

Northern Powergrid in the UK has installed six energy storage devices into its live electricity network as part of a trial to balance the supply and demand of electricity with batteries.

The trial includes installation of the largest capacity battery in operation in Europe at 5MWh; it is a nanophosphate lithium-ion battery supplied by A123 Energy Solutions. Two 200kWh and three 100kWh capacity batteries are also in use in both urban and rural locations across the northeast of England.

The storage devices are sited at different points on the network to get a better understanding of how the batteries work in both urban and rural settings with a range of construction types and varying customer needs.

Northern Powergrid will be monitoring all six of the batteries and the networks they are on through an active network management control system that allows the company to view in real time when and where to utilise the stored energy.

The data gathered from this trial will show how feasible the model is to use across the UK. It is part funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

Honeywell and Stor implement ADR initiative for UK

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:29 -- Ruth Williams

Honeywell, a developer of energy efficiency promoting technology, is working with power management company Stor Generation on a novel smart grid programme in the UK. The initiative will utilise excess energy from industrial or commercial facilities— which have opted into the scheme— for grid stabilisation.

It will work by Stor Generation paying the industrial and commercial users to reduce their power consumption at peak times. Honeywell will supply automated demand response (ADR) devices to these companies that will allow short-term reductions in power consumption such as changes to lighting and heating of the buildings.

Stor will alert the participating facilities when they should reduce energy usage and that power can then be supplied to the National Grid under its short term operating reserve (STOR) initiative.

"The technology required to avoid a megawatt of consumption costs a fraction of that needed to pump out an additional megawatt," said Jeremy Eaton, vice president of Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions. "From a cost-benefit standpoint, ADR is the most prudent option for reducing energy use and is the most clean, sustainable path to energy reliability."

This will be the first time ADR will be used to compensate the National Grid and the first example of ADR being used in place of back-up generators to lower the strain on the electricity grid.

The benefit to the participating companies is a revenue stream from existing buildings, which will have minimal impact on the running of the business. Site load flexibility can highlight usage and reduce energy costs.

New GM at Perkins

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:07 -- Ruth Williams
Bill Giunta joins the Perkins team from Caterpillar

Perkins has appointed Bill Giunta as the general manager of global sales and marketing. He will be responsible for marketing, branding, sales and product support for the engine manufacturing brand.

Giunta joins Perkins from parent company Caterpillar’s electric power division in Georgia, US.

Michael Wright, who had interim responsibility for the sales and marketing operation, pending Bill’s appointment, has taken up a position as Perkins’ business development director.

UK, Korea sign fuel cell technology agreement

Fri, 12/06/2013 - 11:26 -- Ruth Williams
The Memorandum of Understanding signed at Imperial College London

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by Imperial College London and the University of Science and Technology in Korea to develop fuel cell technology.

The MoU is intended to advance the involvement in hydrogen and fuel cell research between UK and Korea.

A Professor from each establishment signed the MoU at Imperial College London’s Energy Future Lab, which will be the focal point of the research and is the UK’s hub for hydrogen and fuel cell technology research.

Professor Nigel Brandon, director of the EFL said: “Korea is investing heavily in a range of energy technologies including fuel cells, reflecting the country’s relative lack of natural resources. As fuel cells are the most efficient form of electricity generation for a range of fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen, this is of significant interest for Korean industry to develop for both its home and international markets.”

Tool from EnerSys gives insight into battery performance history

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 11:54 -- Ruth Williams

Battery giant EnerSys has introduced a service-reporting tool called the Service Activity Report Management (SARM) system, which allows the company to maintain a full service profile and audit trail for its complete range of Hawker batteries and chargers for motive power applications.

Information logged on to the system during installation and service visits can be analysed to prepare detailed reports and identify maintenance trends. The SARM system gives EnerSys insight into the maintenance of its Hawker batteries and chargers in the material handling and motive power markets. It collects and records service-related information that can be made available to customers who require verification of compliance with procedures and maintenance for key performance indicator reports.

Data relating to a battery or charger is entered into SARM at commissioning and at maintenance or service sessions using unique product details to provide a complete profile of the product’s service history. The system can be accessed online to allow field engineers to update information form any location. 

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