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Snohomish PUD takes new approach to energy storage

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 16:03 -- Paul Crompton
Snohomish PUD and MESA's new approach to energy storage

A Washington-based utilities project using lithium-ion batteries has been unveiled in North America by Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD).

It is the first battery storage system built using the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) – a non-proprietary set of specifications and standards developed by a consortium of electric utilities and technology suppliers.

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Batteries give US Navy electric punch

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 16:46 -- Laura Varriale
K2 Energy secured an $81.4m order from the US Navy

Developer and manufacturer of lithium-iron phosphate battery technology K2 Energy has secured an $81.4m order for an intermediate battery storage system for an US Navy rail gun project.

The lithium-iron phosphate battery is aimed to power the large modular capacitor bank of the electromagnetic rail gun.

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Sister companies against Oncor’s Texas storage plan

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 15:00 -- Laura Varriale
Oncor plans battery storage across Texas

Power firm Oncor Electric Delivery’s (Oncor) sister companies Luminant and TXU Energy have voiced disapproval of a proposed battery storage project across Texas, US.

Earlier this month, Oncor made a proposal to install 5GW of battery capacity across Texas at a cost of $5.2 billion. The Dallas-based company aims to improve its network of power lines with the project to manage supply and demand more efficiently.

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International Battery Seminar launches battery innovation award

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 12:19 -- Laura Varriale
International Battery Seminar

The industry event International Battery Seminar & Exhibit is to give a "Battery Innovator Award” for the first time at its next event in March 2015.

The organisers have now opened submissions for applied battery technology at chemistry or product level. The prize of $2,500 will be presented at the 32nd International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in Fort Lauderdale US, taking place from March 9 to 12 2015.

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Fuel cell company WATT moves operations to Pennsylvania

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 16:49 -- Laura Varriale
WATT Fuel Cell

New York fuel cell developer WATT Fuel Cell (WATT) is to move its manufacturing operations to Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, US.

The maker of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) components acquired 39,000 sq. ft. space in April when it bought solid oxide fuel cell developer Pittsburgh Electric Engines. According to WATT, implementing the company’s manufacturing techniques with the Pittsburgh Electric Engines' technology could reduce manufacturing costs by as much as 75%.

The $2.3 million project is expected to add 33 jobs over the next three years.

WATT’s fuel cells operate on natural gas, diesel, propane and renewable fuels. They are designed to provide portable power and can be used as emergency backup power for municipalities, battery charging for recreational vehicles and offshore marine power, and remote sensor power.

WATT recently received a 20-month, $2.1m contract from the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center to design and build a commercial-grade additive manufacturing line, an increase the production capacity for tubular cell components for SOFC systems.

“This U.S. Department of Defense program is a significant milestone for WATT and we are excited to see the last four years of advances in our technology come together in a system for the military market. We will be delivering a complete and operable alpha system,” said Paul DeWald, vice president of engineering at WATT.

Flow-Rite to expand Byron Center plant

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:27 -- Laura Varriale
(left to right) Todd Hart, executive vice president; Robert Burnetter, chief executive officer

Battery watering supplier Flow-Rite Controls is to add an engineering centre to its facility in Byron Center, Michigan, US.

The 7,500 sq. ft. facility will house a research laboratory with high-speed assembly equipment and new injection molds. According to Flow-Rite Controls, the expansion will create 64 jobs over the next three years.

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Beacon Power output to double

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:17 -- Laura Varriale
Beacon Power flywheel plant

Energy storage company Beacon Power has estimated that it will build 40MW of energy storage systems by the end of 2015.

Beacon Power CEO Barry Britt said in a Bloomberg interview that the demand for flywheel storage will double over the next years due to the increase of renewable power plants that raise the need for grid stabilising.

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Siemens to provide demand response programme to US

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 10:58 -- Laura Varriale
Siemens facility

Siemens has struck a deal with US service provider Direct Energy to install its demand response management system (DRMS).

Direct Energy will manage the existing load commitments in several independent system operators (ISO) with Siemens’s DRMS. The DRMS are designed to control power usage and to help managing power demand requirements particularly during peak times.

The DRMS is to be integrated with sub-metering devices located at each Direct Utility account and to collect consumption data. The service provider will then use the data to determine the amount of energy it needs to transact into the marketplace.

"The flexibility of Siemens DRMS to provide automated interfaces to multiple ISO systems will allow Direct Energy to operate their portfolio in a more streamlined and efficient manner and will improve reliability for all of their customers," said Craig Cavanaugh, director of Siemens Smart Grid Applications and Solutions. “By leveraging the forecasting and analytics engine embedded in Siemens DRMS, Direct Energy will be able to optimize the market based transactions,” he added.

The deal will enable Direct Energy to deploy its demand reduction and demand management programs throughout the US and Canada. The company has more than six million residential and commercial customers.

Germany-based Siemens said that the US-contract is its biggest demand response project so far.

Cummins supplies natural gas genset to ARUP

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 11:12 -- Laura Varriale
ARUP Salt Lake City

Cummins Power Generation has delivered natural gas generator sets to Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP) Laboratories near Salt Lake City, US.

The standby power solution is to provide emergency power for critical research processes at the laboratory without risk of fuel disruption by using natural gas, according to Cummins.

Medical tester ARUP ordered three 1MW lean-burn natural gas gensets that feature unit-mounted power command controls and paralleling capability. The system accepts load within 30 seconds of start-up.

According to Cummins, ARUP chose a natural gas-fueled genset, because diesel needs replenishment by deliveries that might not be able to get through in extreme eventualities. Long-term environmental concerns about onsite diesel storage have played a role, too.

The gensets are now ready for operation in case of emergencies. In the meantime, the system runs two hours each month for testing.

The 300,000 sq. ft. laboratory processes specimens of blood, body fluid and tissue biopsies. It operates 24/7, seven days a week.

Regional distributor Cummins Rocky Mountains delivered the systems. The distributor also provided ancillary equipment and installed a digital master controller.

GE to launch fuel cell plant and “in-house start-up”

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 10:52 -- Laura Varriale
GE fuel cells

General Electric (GE) is to set up a fuel cell pilot development and manufacturing plant in the state of New York, US.

The plant will be run by a new “in-house start-up” the company has created, consisting of a team of 17 engineers.

Head of the independent start-up is GE’s advanced technology leader at GE Global Research, Johanna Wellington. Her Global Research division team developed a technology that enables a fuel cell power generation with 65% efficiency and the ability to reach 95% when the system is configured to capture waste heat produced by the process.

The GE’s start-up will utilise this technology at the new plant. The basic configuration of the system can generate between 1 to 10MW of power, the company claimed.

"We have all of the speed, agility and focus of a small startup while leveraging the strength of a big company," said Wellington. The fuel cell development received financial background from GE’s ecomagination programme and can generate electricity at any location with a supply of natural gas, GE claimed.

"The cost challenges associated with the technology have stumped a lot of people for a long time," said Wellington. "But we made it work, and we made it work economically," she added.

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