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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.

Polypore legals put a brake on LG

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 14:40 -- Laura Varriale

Polypore has won an injunction against LG Chem preventing the Korean company from producing batteries containing its own version of ceramic coated separators.

Polypore’s subsidiary Celgard claims that LG Chem is infringing Celgard’s patent on ceramic-coated lithium-ion separators. The company has requested a preliminary injunction to prohibit the importation or sale of lithium-ion batteries in the US that contain LG Chem’s lithium-ion separators.

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Approval for Convergent VRLA battery storage

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:26 -- Laura Varriale
VRLA batteries

New York-based Convergent Energy + Power has won a contract to install a valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) battery storage plant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, US.

The battery storage system is to feed 500kWh continuously to the grid. The system will be part of Central Maine Power’s (CMP) plan to provide load reduction on its transmission line to the Boothbay region and to prevent outages during peak hours.

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All change at the ESA

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 11:42 -- Ruth Williams
Matthew Roberts

The US Electricity Storage Association has changed its name, leadership and website.

The new name is the Energy Storage Association.

The ESA also has a new executive director, Matthew Roberts, an energy policy expert, having previously led government and public affairs on behalf of trade association focussed on advanced transportation fuels. There is also a new-look website to tell people about the changes and promote the deployment of energy storage technologies.

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Lead prices rise in US as auto-industry recovers

Tue, 09/10/2013 - 16:58 -- Ruth Williams
Auto-industry is recovering in the USA


The US auto-industry is recovering and shipments of new and replacement automotive batteries are rising accordingly. Vehicle sales for August 2013 were 17% higher than a previous year, at 16.1 million.

Reports from auto-makers of strong car and truck sales in August indicate the market is recovering, which has lead to a rise in the price of lead.

Shipments of new and replacement batteries in the US rose to 10.5 million units over 12 months, up 2.2% on the previous year. Battery Council International (BCI) cites new car sales as the driving force behind increased sales. Total year-to-date sales show the continuing growth, with replacement battery sales up 7% on the previous year.

Increased demand is raising the premium on the price of lead in the US to up to US$0.15 above the London Metal Exchange rate, twice the figure of a year ago.

Johnson Controls appoints new CEO and announces supply deal with Chevy

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 16:03 -- Ruth Williams
Alex Molinaroli

Johnson Controls has announced Alex Molinaroli is to be the company’s President and CEO from October 1st.

Molinaroli, who has been with the company since 1983, will also serve as Chairman of the Board from January 1st 2014, when Stephen Roell will step down.

The new President has said he wants to lessen the company’s business in car parts such as seats, dashboard displays, roof liners and other components. Instead he wants the company to be seen as a multi-industry company by getting into climate-control equipment and systems for hospitals, schools, offices and commercial buildings.

The auto battery business will however remain; the company has announced it is to supply Chevy with AGM batteries for the 2014 Malibu car.

JCI’s battery will go into the stop-start engine marking the first time Chevy has equipped a car with the fuel-saving technology as standard. 

Energy storage ‘a priority’ in White House report

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 10:43 -- Ruth Williams

President Obama has issued a report recommending energy storage systems be made a priority for investment in the US to achieve grid resilience.

The White House report stressed the value of investment to modernise the country’s national grid and how the inclusion of energy storage would make it more reliable.

The Electricity Storage Association (ESA) has been working with the Administration, Department of Energy Secretary Moniz and other stakeholders to highlight the benefits offered by energy storage. Brad Roberts, Executive Director of the ESA, said: “This is the latest in a succession of positive developments that underscore the importance of storage to a better and more balanced energy future.”

The White House Report stresses the importance of strengthening the power network in the light of storms like Hurricane Sandy. The cost of  weather-related power outages was estimated to be up to US$70 billion in 2012. To safeguard against such outages, US$4.5 billion has been allocated by The Recovery Act to invest in smart grid technologies. The report concludes that the US needs a multi-dimensional strategy, including developing a smarter, more resilient grid, to ensure the welfare of people dependent on the grid for reliable power.


Alongside this support from the White House, the ESA is lobbying to support a newly introduced bill in the US Congress, which is part of legislation surrounding energy storage to create investment tax credit for all types of energy storage technology.


Called the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy (STORAGE) Act, it will benefit anyone who is investing in energy storage technology by way of investment tax credit (ITC) and clean renewable energy bonds (CREBS) up to US$1.5 billion.


To view the full report, visit http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/08/f2/Grid%20Resiliency%20Report_FINAL.pdf

California utilities to adopt open demand response technology standard

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US OpenADR (Open Automated Demand Response) Alliance, has announced that Californian investor-owned utilities will require the OpenADR 2.0 smart grid standard for new customers in their demand response (DR) enabling technology programmes in 2013.

ADR Alliance

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison will add OpenADR 2.0 certified products to support locational dispatch of emergency and price DR resources that allow them to manage peak demand better without the need for expensive new power plants.

OpenADR is an open global standard that enables electricity providers and system operators to automatically communicate DR signals with one another and their customers by using a common language over any existing Internet Protocol-based communications network. OpenADR standardises DR price and reliability messages that automate and simplify customer DR participation and improve DR event results.

"The availability of products' complying with the OpenADR 2.0 standard will allow us to reduce the cost and improve the performance of our AutoDR programmes," said Albert Chiu, PG&E product manager. "Using an OpenADR-based system, our customers can better manage their energy use during DR events, and the utility can minimise stranded assets at the same time. The automated system has provided PG&E and our customers a better way to manage DR resources."



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