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Freudenberg doubles down on XALT Energy

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies is making a “multi-million dollar investment” to take a majority stake in XALT Energy, a Michigan-based developer of lithium-ion energy storage systems.

The announcement comes less than a year after Freudenberg’s initial “multi-million dollar investment”, which gave the company a 31% stake in XALT. Freudenberg cited “increasing demands for lithium-ion battery technology that specifically targets commercial vehicles” as the motivation behind increasing its stake— which gives them a “more than 50% share” of the battery manufacturer.

XALT Energy will retain its name and will become an affiliate brand of the Freudenberg global group, headquartered in Germany. Jess Michalski will take over leadership of XALT from retiring CEO, Richard Cundiff.

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BESS order boost for storage in Massachusetts

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Canada’s Storage Power Solutions (SPS) has been selected to boost the expanding portfolio of battery energy storage systems in the US state Massachusetts.

SPS has been contracted by Industria Engineering to provide a 3.5MW/8.2MWh BESS for part of a solar-plus-storage project in the town of Grafton.

The new project— which follows a 1.5MW system SPS deployed for Industria Engineering in 2018— will be used to store excess energy from a 4MW front-of-the-meter solar farm, thereby increasing solar harvesting and shifting solar generation to peak loads on the substation.

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Tesla to acquire Maxwell Technologies

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Dr Franz Fink

Tesla is to acquire Maxwell Technologies, in a deal that values the California-based ultracapacitor firm at around US$218 million.

Maxwell said on 4 February the companies had entered into a definite merger agreement under which Tesla would buy the company's 45.9 million shares for $4.75 a share in an all-stock transaction. The deal represented a 55% premium to the share price, which closed at $3.07 on 1 February.

The merger is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2019 or shortly after, subject to the successful tender and exchange of shares, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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Utility bankruptcy blow for California battery storage?

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Plans for four major energy storage projects in California could be under threat after the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The California Public Utilities Commission had granted approval for the lithium-ion projects— totalling 567.5 megawatts/2,270 megawatt-hours—to replace retiring gas generators.

The proposals included a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

However, PG&E said on 29 January it was seeking court approval to access US$5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing to support operations and ongoing safety initiatives.

PG&E had not responded to questions from BEST Battery Briefing about the future of the battery projects at the time of going to press.

The utility cited lawsuits from victims of Californian wildfires and tens of billions of dollars in potential liabilities when it announced it planned to file for bankruptcy.

State investigators recently determined that the utility’s equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that caused deaths in northern California wine country.

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Utility bankruptcy blow for California battery storage?

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Plans for four major energy storage projects in California could be under threat after the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The California Public Utilities Commission had granted approval for the lithium-ion projects— totalling 567.5 megawatts/2,270 megawatt-hours—to replace retiring gas generators.

The proposals included a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

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US launches lithium recycling prize and research centre

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has launched a Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Prize and an associated Battery Recycling R&D Centre, in a bid to reduce “America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical (battery) materials”.

The recycling prize will make awards totalling US$5.5 million to encourage innovation from American entrepreneurs in the fields of collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling.

In addition, the US will invest $15m to establish the recycling centre “focused on cost-effective recycling processes to recover lithium battery materials”. The centre is to be led by Argonne National Laboratory, with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Georgia in mind for solar-plus-storage

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Eguana residential battery system

Creative Solar USA and Canada’s Eguana Technologies have installed and commissioned a fleet of more than 20 residential energy storage systems (ESS) in the US state of Georgia.

The initiative is part of the state’s ‘Solarize Atlanta and Carrollton-Carroll (SACC) campaigns.’

In 2018, Creative contracted more than 170 solar PV installations under the SACC campaign, for a total capacity >1.2MW. As part of the initial roll out, “two dozen of Eguana’s ‘Evolve’ ESS units were selected by Georgia homeowners as their battery system of choice.

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Tesla lawsuit alleges ‘defective battery pack’ in car death blaze

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Tesla S sedan

A lawsuit has been filed against Tesla in the US alleging that a “defective battery pack” led to a fatal car accident last year.

Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio has filed a product liability and negligence lawsuit, alleging that a 2014 Tesla S sedan “had a defective battery pack that caused the burning death of an 18-year-old passenger”.

Corboy & Demetrio partner Philip Corboy claimed: “The Tesla S battery was prone to extremely intense fires incapable of being timely extinguished.”

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Luminant turns on ‘biggest BESS’ in Tex

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

A 10-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Texas has started operations as the state’s biggest such facility to date.

Power generation business Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, said the 42-megawatt-hour BESS is the seventh largest in the US.

The BESS is on the site of Luminant's 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton Count. The battery system captures excess solar energy produced at Upton 2 during the day and can release the power in late afternoon and early evening, when Luminant said demand by system operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is highest.

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Cotton appointed CEO at Aqua Metals

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Steve Cotton has been appointed as CEO of novel US lead-acid battery-recycling company Aqua Metals.

Cotton, who joins the Aqua Metals board, will also continue to be the company’s president— a post he has held since returning to the firm in May 2018.

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