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Archive articles

Archived articles from the world of energy storage and associated industries prior to 2014 can be found below. Articles published after 2013 can be found in the current eMag archive. Go to the latest eMag and click on the archive button on the right-hand side.

Argonne continues to shine in its Diamond Anniversary year

Founded 75 years ago to harness the power of nuclear reactions for energy purposes, Argonne National Laboratory has grown into one of the US’ largest science laboratories, with partners in industry and academia continuing to tackle the challenges of energy storage. On a warm, New York August day...

Art of the possible: how Argonne National Laboratory made battery history

Now in its 75th year, Argonne National Laboratory’s research spans the battery spectrum, from fundamental R&D to industry collaborations. Its work, from next generation lithium-ion and beyond to flow batteries to lead-acid batteries, aims to provide an opportunity for a diversity of solutions...

Automotive battery recycling: An opportunity the UK can’t afford to miss

To meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets the UK has committed to electrifying its fleet of vehicles, with the sale of new ICE cars banned from 2030. David Greenwood, CEO – High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems at WMG, University of Warwick looks at the...

Battery manufacturing 4.0: BTS’ vision for a smarter assembly line

For more than 20 years, Battery Technology Source (BTS) has been delivering some of the world’s fastest and most reliable lead-acid battery assembly and finishing lines. Here the company explains how its technology is making battery manufacturing easier. Built with automation in mind, BTS machines...

Choosing the right dry room dehumidification solution

The trend for electric mobility and the demand for lithium-ion batteries has surged beyond expectations and is set to continue. This has led to a boom in lithium-ion cell production. Cheryl Thibault, global product manager battery segment at Munters, explains the importance of dry room climate...

Conferences in the time of COVID

Conferences are an integral part of the battery industry, but as a plethora of events were shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers diversified and ran their shows online. However, this approach split opinion. Paul Crompton speaks to event organisers to understand the need for...

Helping battery makers reach their potential

Thermo Fisher Scientific believes in a “clean energy” future. To achieve this, it provides advanced technologies and services that support their customers to make lithium-ion batteries more efficiently. The company’s Alon Vaisman— product line leader, gauging— explains how they are helping battery...

How the industry is delaying costly recycling processes by embracing second-life ESS trend

The importance of recycling is understood; the lead battery industry has known it for many years, the lithium-ion sector is steadily accepting it also needs a comprehensive, large-scale recycling scheme. Paul Crompton explores how the use of old battery packs in second-life energy storage systems...

It’s time for zinc to swim

With rising sea levels a global concern we’re all looking for  a faster transition to renewable energy and supporting that with batteries. Zinc may not be the obvious choice for energy storage but it is cheap and has a high specific energy density. Dr Mike McDonagh evaluates the current status and...

Lead-acid battery technology evolution and future challenges

Lead battery performance has steadily improved over the last 100 years with incremental developments accelerating that improvement in the last two decades. Here, Francisco Trinidad, PhD Electro-chemistry, and Independent Advisor, gives BEST an overview of his talk on the latest versions of the lead...

Limitless potential: CBI’s new Technical Roadmap driving lead battery research

In 2019, the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) laid out plans to develop next‑generation lead batteries. This year the battery research organisation revised its ‘Technical Roadmap’ to spearhead the industry to maximise innovation potential of the technology. CBI’s director Dr Alistair...

Meeting the modern battery triumvirate with nickel-zinc

As the world aims to reduce carbon emissions and introduce greater amounts of renewables into the energy mix there is a clear need for higher energy density batteries that meet the modern triumvirate of: safety, non-toxicity and recyclability. ZincFive talks to BEST about how its nickel-zinc...

Meeting the modern battery triumvirate with nickel-zinc

As the world aims to reduce carbon emissions and introduce greater amounts of renewables into the energy mix there is a clear need for higher energy density batteries that meet the modern triumvirate of: safety, non-toxicity and recyclability. ZincFive talks to BEST about how its nickel-zinc...

New EU battery regulation: a double-edged sword for innovators

This year is likely to see long-awaited changes to EU battery legislation come into force, bringing opportunities and challenges alike for innovators across the energy storage space. When it comes to intellectual property concerns, the key to maximising the former and minimising the latter very...

Operational experience and system modelling of dual chemistry ESSs

Power systems will play a crucial role in our sustainable energy future, especially with the electrification of heat and transport. Here University of Southampton PhD candidate Andrei Dascalu explains how GS Yuasa’s dual chemistry— using lead-acid and lithium‑ion— ESS is aiding the transition to a...

Reclaiming the ground—A conversation with Pure Earth

Lead-acid batteries (LABs) are valued for their part in a circular economy. Nearly all the materials used in manufacturing them can be recycled into new batteries— a claim few other technologies can make. The global market continues to grow and is expected to do so for the forseeable future. But...

Reversing the tide: how Entek moved into the Asian market

In May 2021, battery separator firm Entek bought the majority stake in Japanese firm Nippon Sheet Glass’ (NSG) lead-acid battery separator business. BEST talks to Entek about the deal, how it will manifest itself and its repercussions for the global lithium-ion and lead battery industry. Respect,...

The future of energy storage Zinc-ion set to challenge lithium-ion for the energy storage crown

Inherently safe, and using the same format as lithium-ion batteries, zinc-ion chemistry is contending for the title of number one battery chemistry. Ryan Brown, co-founder and CEO of Salient Energy makes the case for using zinc-ion batteries in stationary energy storage systems. Lithium-ion...

The little company making a big impact on lead-acid batteries

In December, lead-acid battery separator firm Microporous appointed John Reeves as its new CEO. He talks to BEST about developing a strategy that will accelerate the company into becoming the industry’s number one innovator. John Reeves is not our average battery man. Sure, he has a bachelor of...

Winning hearts and minds— the future of the lead battery industry

The once dominant lead battery industry has approached the biggest crossroads in its 160-plus-year history. ‘Clean’ lithium-ion is used in the majority of energy storage systems, and is making in-roads on the SLI market. Paul Crompton asks the experts if it’s more important the lead battery...

Zinc-ion set to challenge lithium-ion for the energy storage crown

Inherently safe, and using the same format as lithium-ion batteries, zinc-ion chemistry is contending for the title of number one battery chemistry. Ryan Brown, co-founder and CEO of Salient Energy makes the case for using zinc-ion batteries in stationary energy storage systems. Lithium-ion...

A technology ahead of its time: the emerging world of flow batteries

For the past ten years, Anthony Price has organised the International Flow Battery Forum, an annual conference to promote interest in, and encourage development and use of, flow batteries. BEST magazine invited Price to discuss flow battery technology and its role in energy storage.  Energy...

Continuous lead-alloy-strip rolling— The future for lead-acid battery grid production?

The process for continuous strip casting has undergone many changes in the past decade, now it is set to go through another RE-VOLUTION as Sovema launches its flagship technology. Dr Mike McDonagh looks back at the changes within the sector ahead of a technical critique of the product in the...

From theory to reality—connector-testing savings proven

UK Powertech, ESPL and Digatron combine forces to provide manufacturers of lead-acid batteries massive cost savings amounting to hundreds of thousands of USD per annum. Ongoing field trials, involving five factories around the globe prove conclusively the accuracy of the predictions made in...

It’s a family affair: The story of Wirtz Manufacturing

There are not many brands in the lead-acid battery industry as renowned and respected as Wirtz Manufacturing. The company, which began in a US depression-era garage, is today a multi-national corporation. With his brothers by his side, John W Wirtz II runs the family business. He spoke to Paul...

Making a solid case for tomorrow’s battery market disrupter

Touted as the holy grail of next generation batteries, solid-state technology is still years from being commercialised. But its not stopped the next cab off the battery rank exciting the industry when it comes to replacing traditional lithium-ion cells, as Paul Crompton finds out. In the midst of...

Meeting the challenges of a changing energy market

Lockdown summer has led to a rethink on wind power by the UK government. This will lead to an upturn for electricity storage. Anthony Price, director of Swanbarton, a specialist energy storage company, explores the needs, and the technology options for meeting them. The UK electricity supply...

Optimised formation saves energy

Since 2017 BESTmag’s Technical Editor, Dr Mike McDonagh with UK Powertech and Digatron, has undertaken possibly the most comprehensive global study ever, of modern lead-acid formation methods. In this article, he shows that the results from the latest field trials with five international...

Optimised formation saves energy

Since 2017 BESTmag’s Technical Editor, Dr Mike McDonagh with UK Powertech and Digatron, has undertaken possibly the most comprehensive global study ever, of modern lead-acid formation methods. In this article, he shows that the results from the latest field trials with five international...

Play it again Steve— How direct recycling can repair battery cathodes

Dr Steve Sloop, CEO of OnTo Technology, describes how direct recycling holds the key to the cost-effective re-purposing of cathodes by unlocking the potential of the original energy and materials used to first fabricate them. By repairing rather than breaking-up the metals used in cathode...

Sovema’s Re-Evolution ready to roll after the pandemic lockdown

BESTmag technical editor, Dr Mike McDonagh, questions Sovema sales and marketing director, Marcello Fantoni and technical and R&D manager, Luciano Ferrarese about the company’s new wide strip casting machine launched this spring.  In the winter 2020 issue of BESTmag, we ran an article...

The elephant in the room: can supply meet demand for lithium-ion battery manufacturers?

From electric vehicles to consumable and energy storage systems, the appetite for lithium-ion batteries is rapidly growing. But will a materials supply chain, weakened by COVID-19, overpricing and a lack of mining investment, remain strong enough not to break under demand pressures? Paul Crompton...

The highs and lows of bipolar batteries

Technical editor, Dr Mike McDonagh takes us on a tour of the reduced-cost and improved-performance highs of bipolar batteries, and the inevitable lows of manufacturing frustrations that come with any new technology. The first design of the modern battery was accredited to Alessandro Volta and his...

ULAB Recycling Plant Design

Independent consultant Brian Wilson outlines the planning, design, financial considerations, and operating principles for a new used lead-acid battery (ULAB) recycling plant in low and middle income countries. The growth of the green energy generation has opened a growth market for lead batteries...

Connector corrosion under the microscope

UK Powertech and BESTmag get down and dirty with connector corrosion chemistry to find solutions to formation energy losses in lead batteries. In the Winter 2018 edition of BESTmag, we looked at the financial and quality consequences of using old and corroded connectors. That article showed that...

Peak battery performance needs the right connections

BESTmag technical editor Dr Mike McDonagh is back in the lab with UK Powertech’s Mark Rigby and Digatron equipment— testing for formation inefficiency and energy losses from corroded connectors. The latest in a series of tests conducted in the Manchester-based laboratory in the UK is aimed at...

Resistance is futile

Dr Mike McDonagh summarises two years of laboratory testing that shows the importance of connectors, and their maintenance, for lead-acid battery formation and how they can lower resistance during battery formation to save your company from serious financial losses.  Since the end of 2017 BESTmag...

Any old Li-ion?

Is the tried and trusted lead-acid infrastructure the way forward for recycling lithium-ion EV batteries? In this special feature article, technical editor Dr Mike McDonagh looks at the challenges facing the commercial reuse of LIBs. Lithium-ion chemistries are increasingly under the R&D...

Bad connections make your losses grow

The humble formation connector may not look like much but it’s the biggest thief in your battery formation business, silently stealing hundreds of thousands a year electricity costs, given up as heat. ESPL’s technical consultant Michael McDonagh and Mark Rigby of UK Powertech, have made the...

Battery recycling industry braced for winds of change

It’s a time of change for the battery recycling industry, which has to adapt to new requirements at a technical and economic level. These challenges and more were on the minds of delegates attending the 23rd International Congress for Battery Recycling (ICBR) in Berlin in September 2018. The...

BEST Battery Review service completes its first lap

BEST’s new battery testing service was introduced earlier this year and we reported on the results of the initial stages of our first project in the summer 2018 edition. This article follows on from that report— and completes the Project 1 test schedule. Project 1  Determination of 12V 100Ah...

Introducing: BEST Battery Testing

As battery power becomes even more ubiquitous, here at Energy Storage Publishing, we’ve never known customers to be more confused about choosing and using the right batteries— now we’re offering an independent testing service to help end users get the right product for the job. Technical editor...

Leisure battery review lead-acid versus lithium-ion

As we promised back in the spring, the aim of this series is to look at batteries and chargers from the point of view of the end user.  These are not accreditation tests; they go a long way beyond simple compliance with international standards. These will test suppliers’ batteries under real-life...

Screw tightens on Li-ion recycling in Australia

Only 2% of Australia’s annual 3,300 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste is recycled— as export options are clamped down on and stockpiling is creating potential landfill dangers including fires, environmental contamination and risk to human health, researchers are piling on the pressure to fund a...

The sustainability factor: searching for recycling heroes of tomorrow

In this special recycling feature, BEST take an in-depth and informed look at the issues, challenges and solutions, with particular focus on the lithium-ion sector. Amid the hundreds of events and reports we comb through every week in covering the news for BEST— and our e-newsletter BEST Battery...

Down but not out: the lead industry regroups and refocuses

Lead is still king of the battery castle, at least in terms of market share. But can advances in the technology help the industry defend its future from the onslaught of lithium-ion and other technologies? Deputy Editor Paul Crompton heads to Malta and finds a bullish and optimistic industry...

Energy Storage Update

By the standards of the average battery conference, this was a small and intimate affair. Just two days, with around 200 delegates, from mainly European utility companies, start‑ups and investors. All packed into a side-room on the second floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, located next to London’s...

Powertrains and pipe dreams

Deputy Editor Paul Crompton takes a wry look at where the winning batteries are going in cars of the future from thoughts gathered at IDTechEx’s recent meeting in Berlin. For the average person, let’s call them ‘battery agnostics’, batteries are so intrinsically linked to modern life that until the...

Storage to change paradigm of electricity usage

The marriage of battery storage and renewable energy moved from a mere flirtation to something more serious during a sun soaked ees and Intersolar meeting, as a hot and bothered deputy editor Paul Crompton found out. This was not a conference for the faint hearted, or the unfit. Spread across...

Under new management

This year’s stateside Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, held in Detroit, had old flavours back on the menu— fuel cells and lead-acid. The Editor was there to sample the technologies that had formerly been declared “Treif”*  Detroit’s a bit of a living legend… there’s still some auto industry...

Advanced batteries under fire

February is the time for the large format lithium-ion industry’s six monthly health check—aka Menachem Anderman’s Advanced Automotive Battery event in Pasadena, California. The patient didn’t look so good, writes Editor Gerry Woolf. Thirteen is supposed to be an unlucky number, it’s 2013, this was...

Asian Battery Conference 15: Preaching to the converted

The biennial Asian Battery Conference returned to Singapore for the first time since 1987. My how it has grown! Editor Tim Probert finds an up-beat conference, excited by the possibilities of carbon additives for lead-acid, let down a little by too many videos and too much lithium-ion paranoia....

Batteries get a spinning challenge

Technology developed on the race track could prove to be a disruptive force in the high end hybrid market and elsewhere, writes Editor Gerry Woolf Formula 1 — motor sport at its zenith. Glamour, speed, excitement, celebrity and automotive technology at the very cutting edge. Its one of the few...

Batteries help power the Energiewende

Germany draws more than 20% of its electric power from renewable energy sources: it is dedicated to developing renewables and is now slowly waking up to energy storage to integrate renewables with the electrical grid. Assistant Editor Ruth Williams talks to Younicos about building the first 5MW...

Battery abuse testing, what they’re not telling … you

When a battery goes wrong it rarely hits the headlines, and although incidents like the recent Dreamliner battery fires are infrequent, they highlight how dangerous batteries can be under the wrong conditions. But these batteries passed abuse testing. Ruth Williams asks whether the tests push...

Battery doctors with insight

It’s been more than a decade since Dr. Kurt Salloux tried to educate the world that impedance spectroscopy was the way forward to determine lead-acid battery state of health in the field. His first venture-funded company, World Energy Labs, ended in 2008, but the technology is back and ready to...

Better Place failure sends a ‘shiva’ through Israel’s battery industry

The Editor makes his second visit to the Middle East this year to attend the 3rd Israeli Power Source meeting. Days before I faced the meticulous scrutiny of El Al’s security in order to attend Shmuel De-Leon’s 3rd Israel Power sources meeting, I was packing my suitcase in San Francisco and half...

British pack solution beats Li shipping rules

A UK company has come up with a product that allows lithium‑ion batteries to be shipped without them being classed as dangerous goods. Ruth Williams visited Accutronics in Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK to hear about the innovative product and how business has boomed in the last three years. A UK...

Capacitor race increases pace

John Miller considers the impact of meeting proliferation in supercap development and what it really means. Twenty years ago one could stay up-to-speed on the status of electrochemical capacitor technology by reading the patent literature and attending the one, single meeting on this topic held...

Carbons open the door for a surge in supercapacitors

John Miller explains how new carbon improvments are allowing supercaps to invade the space of conventional devices— which will have profound effects on performance and price. The autumn 2010 issue of BEST reported on the development of an electric double layer capacitor (sometimes referred to by...

China: all that glitters isn’t lithium

The Editor makes another seasonal trip to China to check on the health of the battery industry Nowhere on this earth are Apple products more popular than in China. iPhones are everywhere and Chinese like to talk and text on their phones. But this US designed (and Chinese made) product has perhaps...

DC grids: Going back to the future

Ruth Williams visited Bath, in southwest England, to see how a computer network run from a DC micro-grid has become the starting point for an international study for using battery storage to maximise renewable energy. Although AC won the ‘war of the currents’ of the 1880s, DC is perfectly suited to...

Electricity storage: Win friends and influence people, then make the sales

The UK is taking baby steps in using large-scale energy storage through government-backed trials. But what’s there to prove?  ‘We know it makes sense,’ writes Gerry Woolf. BEST does not normally take a parochial view of issues affecting the world of batteries and energy storage technologies. But...

Exportweltmeister in lithium and fuel cells? Germany’s big ambitions

Editor Tim Probert visits Stuttgart’s Batteries + Storage event, part of World of Energy Solutions, and findsGermany has no shortage of ambition to become an exportweltmeister in lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells. Between 2003-2008, Germany was the world’s largest exporter. As the boom turned to...

Fifty shades of grey

No soft porn in these pages as Mike McDonagh returns to explain the trials and tribulations of lead oxide production. Lead Oxides The methods used to turn lead from its inert metallic state into a reactive material suitable for cyclic battery manufacture have been with us for decades. Yet we still...

Frequency regulation spins into profit as storage comes of age

It’s depressing to learn of a company going bankrupt, but it’s not always the end of the road— certainly not in the USA.  Flywheel manufacturer Beacon Power filed for bankruptcy more than 18 months ago, but its technology was solid so an investment company snapped it up and is steering the company...

From a hobby shed to global presence… Digatron’s 45 years

In honour of a triple anniversary year for Digatron, Ruth Williams visited Aachen to report on the company’s history and secrets for success. 2013 is a year of celebrations for Digatron Firing Circuits. It is 45-years since Digatron was started in Aachen, Germany, 25-years since the acquisition of...

KILL or CURE

Our resident lead-acid battery consultant, Mike McDonagh, unveils the mysteries of the curing process. This series has been focused on the methods used to optimise the chemical and physical processes of converting the unreactive metal lead into a store and source of electrical energy. Most of the...

Lead gets smug as advanced battery merchants go east

An abysmal European car market is forcing Menahem Anderman to take his advanced automotive battery circus to Japan in 2014— one of the surprise announcements at this year’s Strasbourg event. Ruth Williams reports. Record unemployment, EU states mired in debt, riots in European capital cities, is it...

Let someone else worry

Back up is one thing. Knowing your back up is healthy is another. Gerry Woolf takes a look at some of the companies and their technologies that keep a check on battery performance. It’s a good time to be in data centres. Last year, according to Rich Miller, Editor of Data Centre Knowledge, there...

Lithium-ion muscles into motive power

Motive power equipment has been a staple market for lead-acid batteries but now Enersys has brought out a lithium‑ion battery for pallet trucks. Why is it moving its lithium-ion into this area when the company has both lead-acid and lithium-ion in its battery product range asks Ruth Williams....

Lithium: Brine Fields to Batteries, How It’s Made (really)

Fearing people have been misinformed on the process of lithium battery production, Rick Howard endeavors to right the wrong by charting lithium’s less simplified journey from mine to battery. The US Science Channel runs an information series titled ‘How It’s Made’, providing a behind-the-scenes...

Miracles needed for lithium battery developers

The Editor reports from a subdued Power Sources meeting in Florida where lithium safety issues and doubts on future improved performance hung in the sky like a black cloud. If you’re going to rain on someone’s parade, do it in style. Lithium-ion isn’t having a great year and perhaps Shep Walski,...

New bipolar player takes counter-cyclical approach

New battery companies going bust a time when venture capitalists are already cautious may spell trouble for other energy storage firms looking to secure funding. Or will it? BEST magazine reports. Atraverda’s passing on this side of the Atlantic could shake investors’ faith in all new battery...

Next-Generation Li-ion Batteries: The Future is Almost Here?

The evidence is plain: Today’s lithium‑ion isn’t quite good enough for all the applications that other industries, such as automotive, require. Rick Howard takes a look at what’s coming down the pipe. The enthusiastic creative thinking of a child diminishes with age, but technology advances prove...

Notes from a small island

Optimism about the huge potential of energy storage in the UK is tempered by the hard reality of vested interestsand government inaction. The Editor explores the opportunities and challenges ahead. Britain is a small island. It may have been a small island which once ruled the waves, but now it is...

Nothing left to chance at Telehouse

A data centre hosting 70% of Europe’s live internet traffic must offer total reliability to its 500+ direct customers and 1 000’s of indirect customers backing up their data here. Ruth Williams looks around Telehouse’s newest building in East London to see how their power is covered from every...

Only German-made batteries will do

Germany has a solid history of making cars, now car making is changing Germany must change to keep up. Ruth Williams finds out what one state is doing to protect its auto industry and generate a new battery business at the same time. The electrification of vehicles is heralding major changes for...

Pulsed charge technology gets lead-acid dancing to the beat

Battery charge pulsing is not new; finding a successful and repeatable way to manipulate crystal growth to reduce lead‑acid battery sulfation is. Now WaveTech has brought to market a product that does justthat. Ruth Williams talks to the CEO to find out more. Anyone who has worked with or used...

Putting it all together

Making good plates with good active material is one thing: Putting cells together and making a battery is something else. Our resident lead-acid master craftsman Mike McDonagh consider the issues around cell assembly and what can go wrong. So far this series of articles has concentrated on lead,...

Sleepwalking to disaster?

Lead-acid battery sales and prospects look good but an environmental noose is tightening on lead on the most important continents. Editor Gerry Woolf reports from the ILA’s Prague gathering. Talk about extremes: Two weeks prior to the International Lead Association’s lead conference in Prague, the...

Smart cars— smarter training

Batterietagung was an advertisement to the superior quality of German education philosophy as much its fledgling EV industry, writes the Editor. If you’ve ever wondered where some of the billion Euros Angela Merkel has poured into supporting advanced batteries and electric vehicles these past...

Storage: Let’s keep it real

Cosy interviews with experts on sofas do not make strong take home messages. The Editor  struggles to find substance over style at this Spring’s annual Energy Storage Association’s meeting in Santa Clara. Maybe your Scribe is getting just a little too long in the tooth for this Electricity Storage...

Supercaps go large Spring 2013

Large scale energy storage, maybe on par with pumped hydro is possible with supercapacitors. John Miller explains how. Electrochemical capacitor systems of truly gigantic size loom increasingly on the technological horizon. These large energy storage systems would be tied to the electric grid to...

The case of the missing battery company

German e-cars do for buyers what the Japanese cannot— make them attractive, sexy and likely to sell. Sadly there is no German large volume, large format, lithium battery maker. Will there ever be one, asks Gerry Woolf? BMW is rubbing its hands at the thought of more sales than it expected with its...

The great Indian energy storage challenge

Across the vast hinterland of India, a fierce competition is taking shape between the different options available for energy storage technologies for cellular telecom. Our south Asia correspondent Dipak Sen Chaudhuri reports. India currently has in excess of 800 million mobile phone subscribers...

The great lead-acid battery bake-off

In the fifth of Michael McDonagh’s series we learn how creating the active material can lead to some of the very best and very worst battery performances. This article critically examines the materials and methods used to make the active material which provide the electron reservoir required for...

There’s nothing new under the sun at The Battery Show

Ruth Williams reports from the third Battery Show in Novi, Michigan. After a ‘slow show’ in 2012, there were fears that this year’s Battery Show in Novi, Michigan would not pull a crowd. But with more than 200 exhibitors and high footfall, the organisers have turned the show around and brought in...

Thermal Runaway in Li-ion— getting the missing data

Most modern high energy batteries, not only Li-ion, contain highly reactive and potentially explosive chemicals as exemplified by the recent Boeing incident. Testing techniques exist that can predict these problems yet are rarely used and not widely understood. The most important of the tests aim...

Turkey looks to Asia as Europe flatlines

As the European market continues to idle, Turkish battery machine manufacturers are relying on customers in the East to ensure their futures in the lead-acid battery industry. Ruth Williams reports on the shift from west to east. Every month market figures are available giving a different view on...

USA gets serious on Fuel Cells

A US Department of Energy funded programme has seen over 1 000 fuel cells deployed to telecommunication sites across America to demonstrate the usability and reliability of the technology as a backup power source. Ruth Williams reports on the progression of fuel cells in the United States. It must...

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Energy Transfer What’s in it for me­— (or anybody)?

Barrie Lawson takes a wry sideways technical look at the questionable economics of vehicle to grid energy storage and finds it doesn’t add up. The V2G concept currently under serious consideration as a Smart Grid application is to use suitably equipped private, passenger electric vehicles to...

What lies ahead

Our supercap expert John Miller takes the opportunity of the first issue of the year to look ahead to what’s coming next in this US$1billion dollar market. It has been more than fifty years since the first practical demonstration of an electric double-layer capacitor performing physical work. In...

Which electrical goose will lay the golden storage egg?

Electrical energy storage is set to play a crucial role in solving intermittency issues with renewable energy sources. Ruth Williams examines three battery start-ups with fresh ideas for getting a share of the grid-scale market. Reliance on fossil fuels has long been under question; the need for...

Why?

American openness on 787 battery investigation has increased public awareness of lithium‑ion’s flaws, but offers no firm answers, writes Editor Gerry Woolf. BEST magazine will already be in the mail to its recipients by the the time the US National Transportation Safety Board begins its two day...

Yet another contender for micro-hybrids?

As concerns over fuel consumption grow, micro-hybrid cars are destined to take over the roads, at least in Europe. Ruth Williams finds out how nickel-zinc could out-perform lead-acid in start‑stop technology. Edison first patented the nickel-zinc couple as a battery concept in 1901, but since then...

Zinc- the forgotten storage technology?

Zinc metal is always found in association with lead, the most commonly used battery material. In this article Gregory Zhang argues the case for using zinc as the core of large scale electrical energy storage. Solar and wind energy, as the major forms of renewable energy, are now widely adopted...

‘If only’

There’s no time to fall asleep in the shortest, fastest battery conference in the Western World— Eurobat’s annual forum. The  Editor reports. Eurobat, the trade association representing Europe’s battery makers, has upped its game, no question about that. Glossy reports, so called ‘Whitepapers’ and...

A pack-making success story

Goodwolfe Energy’s CEO Ian Goodman last spoke to BEST magazine in a previous incarnation of LifeBatt. There have been many changes, so Ruth Williams caught up with Goodman to hear the next chapter in the story.Ian Goodman has built a successful business assembling battery packs in Southend, UK,...

A software configurable battery

Using software to switch cells in and out of series strings can improve overall battery life and performance, reports Barrie Lawson of CHEEVC Ltd. This paper describes how battery performance can be improved and its functionality enhanced by software control of the individual cells in the battery...

All tooled up

The Editor steps inside the world of CNC machines at Carlson Tool and manufacturing. The casings and lids that make the ubiquitous battery box rarely get a mention in the string of events and meetings that will take place this year and next. Neither will the tooling used to produce grid molds and...

Breakthroughs don’t always make better batteries

You need balls of steel, deep pockets, a crystal ball and a touch of good fortune to bring a new battery develpoment to market. Barrie Lawson explains why. Breathroughs in battery technology stories are as common now as ‘magic bullets’ for cancer cure stories were in the mainstream media a decade...

CAM reduces curing energy by 40%

Can customers improve suppliers’ technology?— a collaboration between Exide and CAM shows that it can happen. Time flies… even in the lead-acid battery industry. It’s nearly a decade since BEST magazine paid a visit to the Marfisi family (better known as CAM) covered in the article “Active Material...

Carbon is king in Supercapacitors Spring 2012

Activated Carbons are the leaders of the pack in current supercapacitor development, but what’s around the corner? John Miller explains. Electrochemical capacitors have very interesting features because they store charge in a physical way. And because of this they are saved some of the problems...

Down but not out in Paris (and Worthing)

The Editor reflects, light heartedly, on another European lead battery conference There are millions of young people out of work all over Europe. I look round the assembled gathering of the great and the good of the lead-acid battery industry in Paris and could see why. ELBC is really held at the...

Energy storage in the UK: The search for the Holy Grail

Cost-effective energy storage could turn electricity markets upside–down, yet there are some high hurdles to clear before this technology can come anywhere close to achieving widespread deployment, as Tim Probert reports. The first law of thermodynamics states energy cannot be created or destroyed...

EU threatens lead-acid manufacturing again

  The ‘powers that be’ in Brussels are once again picking on lead with new regulations that will add no benefit to people or the environment. Ruth Williams reports on what this could mean for the industry in Europe.Lead has been in the global headlines for all the wrong reasons in China over the...

Everyone’s out to each your lunch

As the market for all battery chemistries gets bigger, the sense of competition gets even fiercer.  The Editor reports from the oldest battery conference in the business—Shep Wolski’s Powersource in Florida. No frills, no simultaneous translations, plenty of networking and a lot of papers packed...

Flash BANG Wallop

The lithium-ion battery industry has not yet found a solution to the internal short circuit. So are lithium-ion batteries safe? The Editor attended Knowledge Foundation’s battery safety conference in Las Vegas. He’s a worried man. Nobody could have predicted just how pertinent Knowledge ...

From here to eternity

Gerry Woolf speaks with Mark Stevenson and the senior management team of the latest entrant to the Motive Power sector— Eternity Technologies. It’s a miserable time in Europe in November. The clocks have been put back, the days are shorter, the economy is in a mess, the Euro is under threat. What...

Grid making— a touch of alchemy

In the third part of his ongoing series on lead manufacturing back to basics Michael McDonagh reviews the technology commonly used to make battery grids. There have been many attempts by alchemists throughout the ages to turn lead into gold. Whilst we now understand why that was not possible,...

Ionic Liquids: A Plethora of Promise

Rick Howard on Ionic liquids— the salvation of electrolytes for lithium‑ion batteries? One trillion! 1012! That’s the estimated number of ionic liquids (ILs) possible from the pairing of bulky, polarizable organic cations and smaller, mostly inorganic, cations. Although ILs have been known for...

Japan’s disaster is Atraverda’s opportunity

Rolling blackouts could mean big business for slow burning Atraverda, writes Gerry Woolf I have to confess to a slight snigger when I’ve seen the term “Bipolar” in relation to lead-acid batteries. I naturally think of the psychiatric condition— the mood swings, the manic behaviour, the highs and...

Lead advances further into advanced battery lines

The Editor reports from the Third European Advanced Automotive Battery Conference to find that the boot is very much on the other foot as to what now constitutes ‘advanced’ and more importantly, profitable. There was a faint whiff of unreality in the air this year in Mainz, venue for Total Battery...

Lead–Acid: In need of a manufacturing PR makeover

In the first of new teaching series, consultant Mike McDonagh considers how far lead‑acid manufacturing has moved away from its 150 year‑old roots and become a sophisticated sector of process engineering. Is it just me, or are there other battery technicians out there quite sick of hearing the...

Lithium scarcity? No way

Resident lithium-ion expert Rick Howard turns his attention to the so called lithium shortage coming down the line and finds there isn’t anything to worry about. For decades, pundits have warned that crude oil and natural gas are finite resources: some would have us believe wells will run dry by...

Lithium-ion battery backup: Making inroads in remote locations

A year after its official launch, French battery manufacturer Saft’s Evolion lithium-ion system, developed specifically for telecom applications, is beginning to gain market traction. Tim Probert visits Saft’s Paris HQ to find out more. The growth of the telecoms industry in the developing world...

Middle class boom fuels Brasilian battery surge

The last bastion of consumer-led growth is driving business for lead acid batteries forward in Brasil. Editor Gerry Woolf made his way to the party Scarcely a day goes by when you don’t get a mention of the so‑called BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China) in global business reports. BEST...

More than a battery maker

The Editor visits Rahimafrooz batteries in Bangladesh and discovers it’s the philosophy that sets it apart from its rivals. One of the better moments at 14ABC last year was meeting some the management team of Rahimafrooz batteries, thanks in part to Vinod Dumra, who represents the company in India...

No longer a curiosity…now an enabling technology!

Supercapacitors have transitioned into an “enabling technology” says Dr Peter Harrop. Quite simply they’ve become so useful they will soon be deployed in markets much bigger than electric cars and hybrid vehicles. Much industrial equipment needs to last twenty years and consumer equipment ten years...

Ordeal by fire (and not just in the batteries)

David Rand (CSIRO Energy Technology) reports from Australia on the biennial World Solar Challenge, which provided more ‘challenges’ than usual this year. Regular readers of BEST will know that every couple of years, some of the world’s brightest young minds travel to Darwin to take on the...

Sad mood music for the hybrid age

It’s a winner-takes-all business in supplying the auto market with advanced batteries— now we can see who will pick up the crumbs, writes Editor Gerry Woolf from this year’s AABC meeting in Florida This writer has come to the conclusion that ‘commentary’ such as you dear reader are taking on board...

Super capacitors: and the winners are…Summer 2012

In the first of a three part series, Dr Peter Harrop takes a wry look at where money can be made in supercapacitors and who is making it. IDTechEx There are many ways of deciding who is winning in supercapacitors otherwise known as Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors EDLC, ultracapacitors and...

SuperCap Review Electrochemical Energy Storage Performance Metrics Winter 2012

John Miller looks at the numbers that make SuperCaps the best choice. Whenever a new energy storage technology is reported, almost inevitably the first questions asked, and the first data cited, focus on its “Watt hours per kilogram” (Wh/kg) figure. This refers, of course, to specific energy, a...

The cast is as follows

In the second of his series on making lead-acid batteries, Consultant Mike McDonagh takes a critical look on the process of fabricating battery plates. There is a school of thought which believes that our modern world’s dependency on technology and energy relies upon methods of torturing nature...

To 11 000Wh/kg and beyond

There’s more to future batteries than lithium‑ion, says Gerry Woolf. It’s been interesting watching the outcomes of the patent wars between Apple and Samsung and the other players in the tablet and smart phone theatre of war. Much as this writer is a lifelong Apple fan, I’d say that some of the...

Trailer park thrash?

Gerry Woolf is bemused by the razzamattaz of the Electricity Storage Association’s Washington meeting but sees no evidence of ongoing orders. OK you’ve got the 40 foot trailers, you’ve got your electricity storage devices installed, you’ve got your demo programme cost shared with the US Department...

Ultrabattery goes online in frequency regulation

Editor Gerry Woolf was at eat Penn's celebration to mark its entry into the electricity frequency regulation business. Finally to market, finally in service and finally delivering frequency regulation services. One of the ideas that inspired this author to launch Batteries and Energy Storage...

Ultracapacitors: the bar gets raised again Summer 2012

Higher voltages and non-toxic electrolytes: Vinatech has set a standard in the fast moving worlds of ultracapacitors, says John Miller. With the appearance of the 3.0 V rated Vina Tech Hy‑Cap electric-double-layer capacitor, the 3.0 V cell electrochemical capacitor has now arrived. Aqueous...

UPS Battery Management

Top tips for ensuring maximum UPS battery reliability and longevity UPS systems are only as reliable as their batteries. David Fremlin, Managing Director of Advanced Battery Care, offers his advice for the management of UPS valve regulated lead‑acid (VRLA) battery installations to achieve maximum...

What about the anode?

Rick Howard demystifies all the latest developments in novel anodes for the next generation of lithium‑ion batteries. Between the demand for laptops’ longer run times and the push toward electric vehicles with extended range, development activity for high-energy Li-ion cathode materials is reaching...

When the going gets tough…

The Editor makes a whistle stop tour of the Chinese battery industry to find out what’s happened since the great lead‑acid cull of 2011. It’s nearly a year since the Chinese government invoked legislation which wiped out more than half the lead‑acid battery industry and made life “interesting” for...

You’ve never had it so good

There’s more choice than ever in providing back up power for Telecom and it’s bigger than batteries, writes Gerry Woolf, from this year’s Intelec meeting. It’s ironic that just as your scribe began his write up of Intelec, a US congressional committee issued a warning that Huawei and ZTE, two of...

20 years of lead-acid research

The President of the ALABC, Pat Moseley looks back at how the organisation came into being and looks ahead on the promise to come. Initial encounters with the existence of the Advanced Lead–Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) often lead to questions about how such a consortium is able to operate...

Breath of fresh air at EV meeting

The Editor’s normally jaundiced view of EV meetings is cleansed by what he heard at a modest gathering in San Jose in December. In earlier days of electric vehicle conferences, there was debate, discussion dissent and even laughter. But that was before the major auto OEMs decided to fully embrace...

Capacitor tech talk Spring 2011

Jump starting and measuring very large capacitor values are among the questions our resident expert answers this quarter Can capacitors be used as portable jumpstart power sources for starting cars? Engine cranking is in fact an excellent application for electrochemical capacitors, and this for...

Carbon-Based Anodes— A “Rare Earth” situation?

The battery industry favours natural graphite for anodes in lithium-ion drive batteries; synthetic graphite appears too expensive. But with the anticipated boom in EVs, how can the security of supply of natural graphite be ensured? Michael Steinrötter of SGL, warns of unpleasant surprises. Lithium...

Chasing battery rainbows

Mike Weighall reports from the Bulgarian resort of Albena where the lead acid cognoscenti pay their triennial homage to the lead-acid battery Master and he ponders whether the battery research is chasing the wrong market. “It is necessary to overcome the deficiencies of the lead-acid battery so...

Cleanliness—key to low blood lead levels

As the Chinese Government cracks down on lead contamination, and California OSHA considers how low to set its new blood lead limit, consultant Dan Askin, of ESCA Tech reviews current practice on how to ensure employees’ blood levels stay low. In light of the current battery plant closings in China...

Clinical approach to lithium development

Higher voltage cathodes in lithium-ion batteries mean higher performance systems. But how can they be produced rapidly for evaluation? Gerry Woolf learned from Wildcat Technologies how the company is bringing this about in the lithium-ion industry. There’s a lot the battery industry could learn...

Dry Room Design Guide for Lithium Battery Manufacturing

Dry rooms needed for manufacturing lithium based batteries are not simply modified “clean rooms” or large “environmental chambers”. John Pinho, President of NeoTech explains. Manufacturing lithium‑ion batteries is a complicated technical process that has many challenges - not the least of which is...

Euro battery recycling gets more complicated

As European finance ministers struggled to find a way to bail out its banks and debtor countries, recycling specialists gathered in Venice to work out if the EU is succeeding in its mission to recycle batteries. The Editor reports. The free market is an incredible thing; when there is demand for...

European energy storage the technology’s there but the rules aren’t

Energy Storage technology consultant Anthony Price spent a few chilly days in Berlin to consider that it’s not only the Euro that’s in trouble but European ideas on incorporating energy storage into electricity grids are also in confusion With a conference on energy storage nearly every month, it...

High voltage dangers in lithium‑ion

In his third article in the series, Lithium‑ion specialist Rick Howard looks at the trials and tribulations of creating lithium cathodes that charge over 4.5 volts. In the Spring 2011 issue of BEST, I described modified Li-ion cathode materials, and how structural stability, longevity, and rapid...

How it all began

Dr Bob Nelson is still active in the battery field as a consultant but 20 years ago, he took the minutes of a key meeting that resulted in the ALABC’s creation. It was the beginning of a “wild ride” and a vast number of air miles clocked up. These are his recollections. In early 1991, the...

India’s lead-acid battery market strengths & weaknesses, opportunities & threats

Selling lead-acid batteries in India is truly a licence-to-print-money these days. Aidan Turnbull reports. Historically, the Indian automotive battery market has been driven by one dominant player - Exide Industries Ltd – a company which was swiftly followed by many manufacturers from the...

Its no longer just about the battery

100,000 visitors. Nearly 400 exhibitors and supposedly, 600 journalists in attendance at EVS25— the electric and hybrid vehicle conference and exhibition, in Shenzhen, China. Gerry Woolf, Co‑Editor of EV land, sea and air, gives his unique take on the event. Back in the sixties, the Soviets used to...

Lead is still key energy solutions provider

Gus Whyte of Hoppecke explains why traditional energy storage continues to remain strong in industrial traction Railways and underground transport systems, electric buses, automated guided vehicle systems, fork lift trucks and logistics systems – these are all sectors and applications that have...

Let’s face the music…

Chinese lead battery makers have enjoyed phenomenal success in recent years, says our Man in China, Liang Yunchao. But a careless few have spoiled things making a strong Government crackdown hard on the industry. As usual the result will be interesting. The year 2010 was a bumper harvest year for...

Li-ion Cathode Materials: Evolution in Action

Lithium-Ion battery consultant Rick Howard looks back over nearly four decades of  lithium-ion cathode development and shows how we got from the basis of intercalation to the whole gamut of  materials available to battery makers today. In the beginning: Evolution, as Darwin taught us, occurs due to...

Nanovators set to improve Lithium Iron Phosphate performance

Finer powder means better performance but not through milling. The Editor reports Lithium Iron Phosphate: notice the way it always comes out with top scores for safety in everyone’s presentations when they evaluate the chemistries they’re considering for EV and HEV traction.  It’s the chosen...

New Directions in Electrolyte Development

A back to basics on electrolytes and how they are being developed to solve the shortcomings of existing materials, by Ralph Wise of Novolyte Technologies Electrolytes are the life blood of electrochemical cells and an area of intense research interest in advanced lithium‑ion battery research for a...

Oak Press Solutions stamps its ideas on the lead-acid industry

Gravity casting may have had its day in a world which demands even more from lead-acid batteries. The Editor reports. One thing this writer has learned about lead acid battery making is that it’s a conservative industry— from 15 years of observation—nobody changes process technology quickly —even...

Payback time?

The lithium field is simply exploding with new developments in chemistry and some fundamental challenges in business— is there room for all the players in an increasingly cut-throat and super-innovative market? Editor Gerry Woolf reports The venue is simple, the format plain and no frills. But what...

Short-changed on stop-start and beyond

Microhybrid energy storage systems come under scrutiny at AABC Mainz, as well as all the usual imponderables. Editor Gerry Woolf cuts through five days of presentations and distills the best of the meeting here. It’s not even been six months since the hybrid and electric vehicle circus (aka AABC)...

Slurry dispersion with cost reduction

Primix has developed a money saving continuous electrode slurry processing method for lithium-ion battery manufacturing that far outperforms dispersions done using conventional batch methods. Tsumoru Ohata explains its operation. Lithium-ion battery technology continues to advance, especially in...

Spending that made a difference

Boris Monahov, Program Manager of the ALABC, gives the chronology on the research that has kept lead-acid chemistry at the forefront of battery applications. The Advanced Lead–Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) was found in 1992 as a program of the International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO...

Taking the heat out of EV power

If it can go wrong then it will go wrong is the old adage— with a huge push now to get cars on the road with lithium-ion batteries as their energy source, Martyn Ottaway of Thermal Hazard technology looks at techniques which can be used to take worries out of battery-pack safety testing. Lithium-...

The Cars and their batteries are the stars

Showing lead-acid to be a technical winner in hybrid vehicles has been at the heart of the ALABC research. Allan Cooper summarises a decade’s worth of bench and road testing. In the late 1990’s the ALABC changed the focus from electric vehicle (EV) batteries to those for hybrid electric vehicles (...

The charge of the grid-connected battery storage brigade

Grid-connected, battery-based energy storage systems have many benefits, including renewable energy integration, enhanced grid capacity and improved power quality. Recognising these advantages, some of the world’s largest power grid OEMs are developing turnkey energy storage products. Tim Probert...

The great Chinese lead battery plant cull

The prospects for China’s medium sized and small lead battery makers are dire as the Government forcibly closes a huge swathe of battery making companies. The Editor reports. Some years ago, I sat with the very successful owner of a medium sized lead‑acid battery producer in Shen Zhen, China.  I...

The march of the lithium Gadarene swine?

The Editor reports from this winter’s AABC meeting in Pasadena, California Practice makes perfect. Now that Menachem Anderman’s Advanced Automotive Battery Meeting takes place twice a year, it has acquired some of the characteristics of its lead sponsor— Toyota. Not too many new models from that...

The Nano hype— what it means for batteries

Rick Howard, a nanotechnology specialist with more than 20 years in batteries, evaporates the hype to get down to the hard facts on how this new science will improve battery performance in terms of lifetime, operating temperature and capacity— but it isn’t going to be easy to do. Marketing...

The proof of the pudding…

We are approaching the final milestones of the US Department of Energy’s multi-billion dollar push to develop an indigenous advanced battery industry within that nation’s borders. What has the US taxpayer got to show for the money? The Editor reports. What comes first, chicken or egg? In the case...

Ultrasonic approach promises the earth for lead-acid batteries

Longer life, long run times, better monitoring, faster charging. Is this snake oil or what? Shawn Kelly of Active Grid Technology explains how mechanical excitation of the lead-acid system can give so many benefits. Active Grid Technology (AGT), Inc., a Massachusetts Corporation, is introducing...

Underwhelmed in Hyderabad

BEST’s Editor found little to get excited about at the 14ABC battery conference. Cue drums, cue elephants, cue candle lighting ceremony: yes once again, its another Asian Battery Conference, this time in the magnificent city of Hyderabad, in incredible India. OK, spot the errors and lies in my...

We need to talk about lead‑acid battery grids

Frequent cycling is the focus of research in lead-acid battery design today— a group of leading lead-acid battery researchers got together at the recent BCI meeting in Florida to discuss innovation in grid design. Boris Monahov reports. High-Rate Partial-State-of-Charge (HRPSoC) cycling of lead-...

What’s done is done

The great and the good of the international lead-acid battery industry and the Chinese civil servants met up in Nanjing in early September to find a way forward after the great Chinese battery cull. Our Man in China, Liang Yunchao, reports.Painful but necessary”— the thoughts of Mark Thorsby,...

Your new lithium battery plant— in just nine months

Building tomorrow’s advanced battery plants requires new thinking to get them up and running as quickly as possible to maximise return on capital and win orders. Lee Sellenraad of Barton Malow explains how its done. In 2008, Barton Malow Company embarked on an in-depth research campaign to...

Amazing developments in a maturing industry

John Miller reflects on the electrochemical capacitor strand of AABC which he helped co-ordinate and found much to please him. For those who couldn’t bear to leave the lithium battery sessions, this is what you missed! ECCAP (Large Electrochemical Capacitor Technology Applications) has grown...

Are doors closing to new ideas?

The announcement from Ford Motor company, that battery work is being taken in-house should come as no surprise to battery observers. Battery making companies continue to pursue a myriad of chemistries and concepts making life confusing for cash strapped OEMs. The Editor reports from the advanced...

Avoiding the carbeque

The Editor reports from the AABC’s first European meeting in seven years and isn’t happy. How times change. The last time the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference came to Europe was in 2003. It was in Nice. BEST’s first issue was yet to appear and we could just afford a very cheap hotel.  The...

Battery or bomb: discuss

Good on lithium safety, fat on lithium commercials and great for networking. The Wolksy show, as it’s often referred to, or Florida Battery Show continues to draw the crowds. The Editor was there. When it comes to value for money, there really isn’t much better in terms of meetings than Shep Wolsky...

Bismuth gives H&V a stop‑start edge

The lead-acid battery is being challenged like never before in its history. While it still competes on price, it is being challenged by new duty cycles especially that of stop-start in automotive and interrupted service in telecom. Only new materials and radical designs can keep it in business. The...

Capacitor tech talk Autumn 2010

This quarter, our resident expert John Miller looks at the impact of the new graphene nano material on supercaps, US government funding for development and market development, in his regular column I hear that a supercapacitor has been developed that will replace conventional aluminum electrolytic...

Capacitor tech talk Summer 2010

1) Electric buses being operated at the 2010 Shanghai World Exhibition are receiving considerable attention. Why? The Shanghai World Exhibition buses have asymmetric electrochemical capacitors powering them from bus stop to bus stop on Bus Route #11. The accompanying photograph (Figure 1) shows an...

Come to the storage cabaret

An almost academically pure parade of what’s out there in all kinds of energy storage ideas, the 2009 Eurosolar meeting in Berlin left the Editor with a headache and no sense of the best ways forward. Energy storage— boy has it become a buzz phrase with bells on. Eurosolar— the German-based...

Focus obscure in storage opportunities

There is no shortage of money or ideas now in large scale energy storage— that was the over riding message that came through at this Spring’s ESAT conference in Charlotte NC. But which way forward? The Editor was left wondering. More isn’t necessarily better: In a year of unprecedented conference...

Four wheels good, two wheels better

China and Asia’s take on how vehicle electrification may develop looks set to be completely different from our own blinkered Western thinking and probably not so good for cars but better for batteries. In a cash-strapped world, we need to listen more and lecture less, says Editor Gerry Woolf. The...

Good and bad news from China but batteries still shine bright

Our man in China ponders slightly reduced car sales, a booming battery business and wonders why the west is worried about China. We hear inside China that Western economists are worried about our economy. Would that some Western economies had a fraction of China’s growth and perhaps they might...

Green shoots: Rethinking Shop Class

We don't need communications specialists or business studies graduates. The ability to use a screwdriver counts for a lot, argues leonard Greene. We’ve been hearing much talk in the U.S., lately, of the need to launch another national public works initiative similar to those Franklin Roosevelt...

Hidden industry opens up its doors

Reed Exhibition’s first rechargeable battery exhibition in Tokyo this month puts every other battery event in the shade for attendance, reports the Editor. I haven’t been to Japan for over a decade. It was expensive then but the British Government was paying. Its even more expensive now. The UK...

How to Make Money out of Traction Batteries

Its not just Automobiles and cars  that will provide a market for  large format  batteries destined for the transportation market— there’s a much bigger world out there says Dr Peter Harrop Kamikaze romantics. Undercapitalised little companies choosing to meet US$100 billion leviathans head on,...

Interest floods in for flow batteries

Thanks to a big uptake in renewable electricity generation, interest is surging into flow batteries because they have the potential to make Megawatt hour storage a reality. The Editor reports from the first International flow battery forum held in Vienna last month. It took consultant Anthony...

Is the Acetonitrile danger in EDLCs overstated?

John R. Miller concludes that Acetonitrile (AN) electrolyte use in EDLCs is unlikely to present a legacy problem and thus there is little likelihood that it will become the new asbestos. Acetonitrile (AN) is a substance found in some electric double layer capacitors (EDLCs). AN is a commonly used...

It’s the end of the world as we (knew) it

Investment analyst Richard Baxter explains why the gas is coming out of the EV/ battery ballon hype and why it really isn’t such a bad thing Some see the outlook for the advanced battery market decidedly dimming, while others simply see a dose of reality bringing expectations back to Earth.  Just...

Jam tomorrow

Laden down with kilos of paper, brain buzzing with 60 hours plus of discourse, BEST’s Editor strives to retrieve the finest nugget of information from this summer’s AABC meeting… The team behind AABC castigated your scribe for not producing a fulsome report from their earlier meeting this year in...

Leader of the pack

The Editor is bowled over by PECs lithium-ion formation and grading systems At first glance one wouldn’t have thought there were any commonalities between the handling of huge amounts of money and the formation and testing of lithium-ion batteries. But as you know I’m going to tell you, you’d be...

Markets match Umicore’s closed loop philosophy

While Brussels pontificates on how batteries should be recycled, the real Belgian masters of recycling— Umicore, get on with the work of extracting value from scrap. The Editor visited the company’s smelting and recycling facilities in Hoboken, Belgium.It’s an old company with a long history in...

Misleading titles

The Editor berates an EV battery conference in London that failed to address the detail of its title As a child, this writer remembers only too well the colourful and imaginative artwork on the box of some new toy, the anticipation of opening the package, yet the excitement that is evoked is dashed...

Questionable progress on EU battery recycling

We’re collecting, auditing, checking our efficiency, but are we any closer to true recycling consumer and truly advanced batteries in Europe? The Editor has his doubts.  It’s been a few years since your scribe has attended ICM’s annual meeting on battery recycling. That’s partly been because the...

Simulations speed development

Xiao Hu, Lead Engineer with ANSYS, Inc explains how modern computational fluid dynamics can improve the design process for large scale batteries. Large lithium-ion batteries appear to be the main contender as power sources for the EV and HEV market but proper thermal management is crucial to...

Stability is the key for lithium future

Battery makers need more than just stable materials for the next generation of lithium-ion cells— they also need sure and stable sources of supply for lithium carbonate. Canada looks like a very safe bet says Brian Garfield. Canada Lithium Corp. has one of the world’s largest hard-rock lithium...

Stop-start fever galvanizes lead-acid business

As the numbers of microhybrid cars rolling off Europe’s car assembly lines rise, battery makers and the supply industry gathered in Turkey to learn what the long awaited change in propulsion will mean for them. Editor Gerry Woolf reflects on three days of discussions. There was something real and...

Taking the bottleneck out of curing

Ian Klein of Penox explains how the addition of a new additive can speed up this time consuming process Until recently the curing and drying process in lead-acid battery making has lagged behind all of the advances being made in the process. Now an innovative and patented method which allows curing...

The Third Rail for Startups?

Richard Baxter, author of the popular non-technical primer on energy storage and a well respected financial analyst of “Cleantech” points out the pitfalls ahead for America’s new battery start ups in the first of his new column in BEST magazine. The race to develop advanced batteries continues to...

The Value Proposition of using Ultra Capacitors with batteries in HEV vehicles

Electric drive train consultant Tom Dougherty of Monolith engines explains why EV developers need to seriously consider the addition of untracapacitors to augment battery performace Over the past few years Ultra Capacitors, sometimes known as UCaps, have realized substantial increases in power and...

US Navy spills the beans on lithium fire

You don’t expect much controversial information at a highly focused battery meeting now, do you? The Editor nearly fell off his chair at the Lithium Mobile Power meeting in Boston in November of last year. It’s day two of an elite lithium ion battery meeting — one of a series this author has not...

When was the Battery Invented?

Isidor Buchman of Cadex looks at the ancient past of batteries One of the most remarkable and novel discoveries in the last 400 years has been that off electricity. One may ask, “Has electricity been around that long?” The answer is yes, and perhaps much longer, but the practical use of electricity...

A Battery Man’s Guide to the new Climate Change Bill

On June 26th, following months of work, the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA, H.R. 2454)— BEST has opted to offer a basic ACESA primer to help readers understand what the bill currently proposes as of this writing in late June. For more detailed analysis, check...

A new finger on the pulse

Low-cost digital switching brought pulsed techniques to battery charging in the the 1990s, no matter what the cell chemistry. Now a Latvian-based company is bringing a variant of that technology to lead acid battery formation. The Editor reports. More than a decade ago, pulsed charge was the latest...

Battcon — for when things go wrong?

The Editor blows hot and cold on this annual event and finds that just one presenter has all the answers Battcon— we want to hear from you. If you’ve never given a paper before, now’s your  chance and we’ll show you how.  Really? That’s the thinking of the organising committee of this massive...

Batteries and fuel cells find love at last

The feuding had to stop: fuel cells and hydrogen offer electrical autonomy in abundance – batteries offer instant electrical power… so why not work together? Consultant Jim Horwitz looks at what’s on offer. Fuel Cells differ from batteries by definition in that they supply power constantly with no...

Big fishes in a small pond

The Editor takes a trip to the Maltese headquarters of Abertax – a company that ‘surfaced’ for the battery world at last year’s ELBC and has plenty of new offerings for the industry. Malta is what Wikipedia calls a European ‘microstate,’ a group of islands in the Mediterranean just 60 miles off...

Capacitor tech talk Autumn 2009

1) Electrochemical capacitors are reported to offer higher cycle efficiency than batteries, even though their self-discharge rate is much higher. Isn’t this a contradiction? For any electrochemical energy storage device there are really two efficiencies of note, charge efficiency and energy...

Capacitor tech talk Spring 2009

A recent patent claims that adding a magnetic field to an electric double-layer capacitor increases its performance. How would this work? There is an extensive history of claims for magnetic fields having special powers, and a great many devices or gadgets have been sold on that basis, usually for...

Capacitor tech talk Summer 2009

Electrochemical capacitors are known for their high cycle efficiency compared to batteries. But wouldn’t they still have thermal management design issues? The most important issue is the power profile of the application, since this primarily determines whether we can expect any thermal management...

Capacitor tech talk Winter 2009

 A capacitor system of a given specific size is reported to provide as much performance as a battery system that stores ten-times more energy. Can this really be true?  By all means. For a battery to be suitable in high-rate, high-cycle-life applications it generally needs to be greatly oversized....

Gambling on lead

The Asian lead-acid battery industry, showing great imagination, chose a Casino to hold its 13th meeting. How lucky is that, asks the Editor? Imagine the structure of Las Vegas on steroids, amphetamines and crack cocaine. Imagine a building so huge and bloated you could walk round it for hours and...

Green Shoots: We just don’t give a damn

Leonard Green is pessimistic on US Climate Change Legislation Early in June, not long after the first go round on a serious climate change bill reached fruition in the US House subcommittee, the weather in my part of the country suddenly got angry. Actually, it’s been increasingly irritated for...

Green Shoots:Its not over until there are JOBS

Leonard Greene argues doing something, even if it is wrong, is better than standing back and doing nothing. Watching a score of world leaders pile into Pittsburgh last month for a major economic summit, I wondered if any had any inkling of the greatest single question before them: How to even begin...

Greene Shoots: Can new energy thrive in a market age?

Leonard Greene ponders. About a year ago, back when we thought the earth we were standing on was really there… I happened upon an op-ed article that had appeared in the May, 2005 issue of the Washington Post. Titled “The Courage to Develop Clean Energy,” its authors, Jeffrey Immelt and Jonathan...

Greene Shoots: Obama: is he the catalyst US science needs?

Leonard Greene would like to think so. Two months ago, the entire world seemed to cease breathing as Americans elected Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president.  Media made much of the fall of the barrier of race in a land where slavery was legal through half its history, but to many of us, the...

Its the regulator, stupid

The Editor spends a day at the Electricity Storage Association’s first meeting in London and meets the obstacle to storage progress Once a upon a time, The United Kingdom had the most wonderful Electricity industry. It was owned by the State. Electricity was generated from coal, oil and nuclear...

Keys to automation, keys to success

Editor Gerry Woolf talks with Anton Schwetz as he prepares to celebrate the opening of BM’s new technical  From his new third floor office, Anton Schwetz has quiet a view across the rolling Austrian countryside. He can see the village of Ebersdorf, where BM is based, his house, the houses of his...

Lithium–enough for an electric future?

Its fine on energy density  but not as abundant as you think – Lynda Greene Investigates the material that is set to be the next black gold. Now that most major automakers anticipate bringing PHEVs and EVs using lithium batteries to market between now and 2012, many are beginning to ask serious...

More Science, More Punch

Supercap specialist John Miller reviews the cutting edge science and the hard nosed practicality from this year’s ECCAP meeting at Long Beach ECCAP is the electrochemical capacitor symposium that precedes and accompanies the Advanced Automotive battery meeting, held earlier this year in Long Beach...

No flames and all the Amps you need

Dying to build that electric hot rod? The Editor meets an enthusiast who will sell you a lithium system that won’t burn the house down – or make too big a hole in the budget either. Some of the best battery salesmen I’ve come across over the years have been self taught – once you get them talking...

Norwegians could

Associate Editor Barrie Lawson visits EVS in Norway and despite the resurgence in  EV activity globally, he found the show (and its support) strangely wanting. The irony of attending the 40 year old Electric Vehicle Symposium’s EV24 conference in Stavenger, Norway, where it was hosted by the World...

Safety issues are still a concern

With rumours that US Navy lithium-powered naval submarines have gone up in smoke at a cost of millions of dollars, there are still many questions being asked about lithium ion safety. The Editor reports from Florida’s annual battery seminar. Sometimes it feels like we exist in two paradigms… the...

Same old, same old

Last year, Editor Gerry Woolf posed the question whether it is more painful getting divorced or making the annual pilgrimage to the BCI conference. Here’s his verdict. Las Vegas fills me with dread. I’m not into gambling. I usually lose. Divorce is about losing for men. So in that sense, there wasn...

Slumdog battery making?

The editor took a wry look at the Indian battery making industry and finds it in a rude state of health. India’s a paradox; headline news now, on all manner of issues ranging from finance to fashion, as well as the setting of Slumdog Millionaire, the Oscar winning British movie, that focuses on the...

Smart grids— what are they?

The smart grid concept is widely mentioned in both specialist and non-specialist media but what does it really mean? In this article, based on a paper delivered at 11 ELBC, Bernd Michael Buchholz of Siemens AG defines the concept and what it means for energy storage developers and renewables...

Smart separators improve lithium safety

Getting pore size and quantity right is key, says Porous Power “Safe battery” is an oxymoron. The very act of harnessing energy always entails some degree of risk. In the 1800s, steam engine boilers exploded. In the early 1900s, people debated the safety of flammable gasoline as auto fuel. Today,...

The Meaning of Life

Editor of our associate web site Electropaedia, Barrie Lawson, takes a wry look at  the meaning life— not from a philosophical point of view—but from that of batteries. We have all learned from photographs of laptop fires as well as aircraft fires that lithium-ion energy cells can be potential...

The world according to Menachem

The automotive world is close to slashing its collective wrists as car sales crash. At the temple of hope — aka the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, the faithful gathered to listen to their favourite prophet on the  great beacon of hope in the auto market: the electrifiedvehicle. The Editor...

Thin air for fuel-cell players

A lone hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle in the livery of The UK’s Royal Mail Service, parked outside London’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth Conference centre said everything about the state of the fuel cell business… that the gas (and investment money) is leaking away. The Editor reports.  The  UK’...

UK to breath life into EV business?

What do you get when you put a used-car salesman, an academic, and a couple of engineers on a panel discussion to talk about the future of electric vehicles? The Editor couldn’t resist finding out. If you can keep your head when all others are losing theirs…. Early December was not a great time to...

What Pending US Climate Change Legislation Could Mean To Industry

The long awaited climate change and energy policy bill just passed by the US House faces months of legislative debate & millions of dollars in lobbying efforts before it can become law. What will it all mean for the energy industry? Associate editor Lynnda Greene investigates. The most...

What the down turn means for batterymen

Is there good news in 2009 or is it all gloom and doom? Associate Editor Lynnda Greene investigates. What a difference a year makes. Only three hundred some-odd days ago, BEST was was reporting that all things alternative energy looked ‘good to go’ after decades of static growth. Thanks in large...

What’s in the stimulus for batteries

Lynnda Greene takes a close look at the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and sees what’s there for batteries  Recessions are bad, and this one, rooted in deeply rooted in credit abuses, is about as bad as they come. It’s not that foundation upon which we’ve stood for so long is crumbling; we’...

Yes, we can!

Firefly’s novel foam electrode technology is going into service in production of lead acid batteries this month. The Editor reports. It’s been four years since I paid my first visit to the fledgling Firefly Energy when its technology was being incubated at Caterpillar, better known for its...

You’re gonna get rich

Our events section is packed with storage meetings. We’re invited to webinars and seminars as the next great boom rolls down the economic slipways and into the oceans of the investment sector.  You’re all gonna a get rich,” the smooth talking lawyer said, making the after dinner presentation to the...

A clear road ahead

Maverick thinking – from vehicle concept to battery pack – is key to the Tesla electric car’s marketing and design philosophy. The Editor meets with Kurt Kelty to find out more. Auto journalists, billionaires, would-be Presidents of the USA and those who can afford the £60,000 price tag for the...

Another slap in the face for lithium-ion

It was the biggest battery event of its kind, with over 900 delegates. But numbers didn’t mean the advanced battery industry would get to hear what it wanted. The Editor reports. The year 1999 seems so very long ago now, but that was when Menachem Anderman began his highly successful Advanced...

Are there jobs in this business?

Renewable energy investment is at an all time high, but where are the jobs? And how does that play out for engineers in energy storage? Associate Editor Lynnda Greene investigates Though the term has morphed from a marketing catchphrase to a viable career path, the actual “green collar job” may...

Batteries run far in the sun

Not for the first time, David Rand reports from down under on the race that tests both batteries and solar technology. Not surprisingly, the best technology won. As the premier competition for cars running solely on sunlight, the World Solar Challenge (WSC) is also arguably the toughest. With...

Battery mind games

Mike Weighall reports from an overcharged LABAT conference held, as usual, in Varna, Bulgaria. Two years ago, Nintendo devised and published a new puzzle video game they called “Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training,” a series of puzzles, stroop tests and mathematical problems that they claimed would give...

Beware the ides of Glass (mat)

The Editor takes a sideways look at the European lead-acid gathering in Warsaw last month and comes up with some interesting conclusions and revelations. What a week! As delegates were gathering at the Hilton Hotel in Warsaw for this 11th event in the International Lead Development Association’s...

Capacitor tech talk Autumn 2008

You can abuse a supercapacitor without fear say Dr Miller.   There have been periodic reports of laptop computer batteries spontaneously igniting and burning during use, usually attributed to either a manufacturing defect or a design flaw. Can electrochemical capacitors fail as catastrophically and...

Capacitor tech talk Spring 2008

 If the popular symmetric electrochemical capacitors are nonpolar, why do they have polarity markings?  Several factors can make double-layer capacitors, nonpolar in principle, polar in actual practice. To begin with, the materials commonly used for current collectors to improve their performance...

Capacitor tech talk Summer 2008

 What makes an application really promising for using electrochemical capacitors?   The best approach to this question is to match the characteristics of electrochemical capacitors as storage units to the sorts of applications that would most benefit from them. The first and perhaps most striking...

Caveat (battery) emptor

Barry Lawson of Axeon Power on the perils of sourcing your batteries in China. Attracted largely by the country’s low manufacturing costs, nearly everyone, no matter the industry, seems to be sourcing their products from China these days. Ever since Communist Party Chairman Deng Xiaoping’s visit to...

Crown brings battery jobs back to America

It can be cheaper to make your products in the USA – Leonard Greene reports on how one US battery maker is bucking the trend of outsourcing. Crown Battery Manufacturing Company’s announcement that they had purchased selected assets of C and D Technologies’ Motive Power Division late last October...

Disruptive technology and the battery industry

Mike Weighall ponders whether new emerging battery chemistries are likely to be disruptive and thus change the world. Disruptive technology is technology that eventually overturns the dominance of existing technology or products in the market. It may dominate an existing market by filling a role...

First visit to India

Liang Yunchao, BEST’s Asia representitive, gives a first hand account of new battery prospects in India. There is a very famous story in China about the Monkey King, the main character in the classical Chinese epic novel known as Journey to the West. In the novel, the strong and powerful Monkey...

German cocktail for energy storage

Germany has already accepted that considerable efforts have to be made in order to tackle climate change and as Marion Perrin explains, they’re making the best of the challenge with characteristic will and zeal. The wonderful thing about the Germans is that they have already accepted that...

Green Shoots: It’s the design stupid

Leonard Greene, an environmental writer based in America’s Midwest, muses on the press fests we call autoshows and why nothing really changes. I had to chuckle at the reports coming out of  the Los Angeles Auto Show, held last November, where the  mainstream car industry gathered to indulge in yet...

Greene Shoots: Prizes are no remedy for energy fix

Leonard Greene lashes out at those  who offer cheap solutions for the world’s energy problems! Perception is reality, goes an old political adage. Convince enough people that some idea – for example, that oil supplies remain infinite – is true, and pretentious, even disastrous public policies often...

Greene Shoots: So where are the smart people

Leonard Greene bemoans the lack of scientific talent in the West. Readers who have somehow steeled themselves to follow the gladiatorial spectacle that is the American presidential election, will have by now heard the word “Change!” at least as many times as the country is dollars in debt. Subjects...

Greene Shoots: We keep going there

Henry Ford saw the problem... why can’t we see it on electrifying cars, asks Leonard Greene I swore I wasn’t going to bore readers with yet another epistle on cars. But I for one am tired of the tortured whinging I hear every time somebody announces yet another “groundbreaking” development in...

Hold very tight please “ding ding”

Battery management and EV specialist Mike Kellaway of Provector gives the benefit of his experience when it comes to making a success of hybrid buses. A diesel-electric hybrid bus with on-board energy storage is probably the most effective route to reduced fuel consumption/CO2 and noxious emissions...

How to get money to burn (wisely)

Batteries and energy storage have never been so attractive to investors as now. Richard Baxter of Ardour Capital explains how to get the interest of the venture capital industry. Over the last several years, venture capitalists have come to recognize energy storage technologies are not only key to...

Intelec: Battery developments are thin on the ground

Just two battery development papers caught the editor’s eye this autumn – but service life no longer seems to be the critical issue. When you think just about everything than could be said about VRLA has been said, be prepared for a surprise. That was my reaction when Itsamu Kurisaw of GS Yuasa...

Lead-based supercaps pull ahead in hybrid challenge

Rob Puttnam, longtime insider at the International Lead Zinc research organization in Rayleigh-Durham, North Carolina, reviews the most significant breakthrough yet as lead-based technology takes a new foothold in automotive power. On a wintry afternoon this past January, a group of researchers...

Lithium calls the shots

Better known as the Cherry Hill Conference (even though it’s no longer held there) the US Power Sources conference, dealing with portable power for the military, continues to be the leading edge event if you’re looking for a solution where costs aren’t a major constraint. But this year, the 43rd...

Luck and a following wind

UK manufacturer Pnu Power has packed a CAES (compressed air energy storage system) into a pint pot for small standby power systems. Will this battery-free technology take off, asks the Editor? Compressed air energy storage isn’t new to readers of BEST magazine – it’s in the  realms of the “mega...

Magnestism takes the last drop of power from Ni-Mh

Robert O’Brien, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Victoria in BC, explains a simple means of taking the last drop of energy out of today’s hybrid vehicle’s batteries. About twenty years ago, when battery driven toys and hand tools began to be common, an American engineer did a calculation...

More run time is simply a gas

The sense of ‘electrochemical blandness,’ so apparent at Intelec in Rome last year, continued in San Diego last month. Telecom power men are no longer worried about the reliability of batteries – especially lead-acid ones. But now their bosses are worried about huge electricity bills and rising CO2...

Niches are the key to EV markets

The Editor looks around the floor at EVS 23 and  realises you don’t have to be a car maker to win in this 21st century game. Nearly  a decade  ago when I was struggling (and failing) to revive a dying Electric Vehicle Association of Great Britain,  a wise industrialist by the name of Peter Harrop...

Poland moves with lead

Poland is the place to be! Well it will be in September according to the UK Lead Development Association Where, next September, will you find 400 or so of the top specialists in the design, manufacture and marketing of lead-acid batteries communing with a crowd of academics who have built...

Price no limit to ultracap growth

While the cost of ultracapacitors still needs to be reduced further – particularly for automotive applications – the market seems to be experiencing significant growth even at current price levels. Mike Weighall, who attended the IntertechPira’s AEST Conference in Cologne last November, reports on...

Reflections on EVS 23

Anaheim may be a fantasyland, but if the offerings on view at the International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS 23) in the city’s convention centre last December are any indication, it seems that what was once just a dream for many EV related businesses is rapidly becoming a reality. The editor...

Stop talking Start doing

As natural gas and coal prices hit record highs, energy storage consultant Anthony Price analyzes the technology’s newfound popularity with American power utilities and the federal government. Though I doubt the Electricity Storage Association (ESA) planned it, their choice of Santa Ana’s Bowers...

Supercap ups or downs

Battery industry analyst Mike Weighall reviews the overall size of the ultracap market in his report from the Intertech Pira capacitor meeting held earlier this year in San Diego. It can be very difficult to estimate the current value of the ultracapacitor market. Annual reports issued by large...

Testing times for battery connectors

 Frötek uses technical rigour to prove the quality of its products. Frötek, have been producing motive power cell connectors for 20 years and is well-known for its introduction to the market of the Cu-cable to Cu-head-welded low-resistance connector.  The company  has expanded its efforts into...

The low cost alternative to NiCd

NiCds banned in Europe from September as far as consumer batteries are concerned. What will replace it? Dr. Josef Daniel-Ivad reports. Ever since the negative impact of nickel cadmium batteries on health and the environment became well established, governments worked to ensure safe recycling even...

The silent partner

Consultancy is playing a major role in the race to bring about hybrid and other forms of alternatively fuelled vehicles. The Editor paid a visit to Ricardo Engineering in Detroit, Michigan to find out more. So you’re a battery developer.  You’ve got a great new lithium ion chemistry and you’re...

Three trade fairs and a funeral

The Editor clocks up more air miles – China and India via Hongkong going to where battery makers are increasingly to be found. We’re here again. But this time on a marathon trip which takes us across China and into India for a trade fair, with a brief stop over in ShenZhen where Battery Council...

UPS suppliers learn new tricks

Standby batteries could be a thing of the past as UPS maker Chloride tries flywheels and fuel cells to increase reliability. The flywheel itself is a very old technology that allows energy to be stored mechanically in the form of a rotating mass. Indeed, the flywheel has been used in the power...

Waiting for the sky to fall down

At this year’s 25th International Battery Seminar and Exhibition in Florida, the doomsayers continued to fill battery makers with fear regarding the consequences of a lithium-ion battery fire at 30,000 feet.  The Editor stared at his laptop and wondered. The cool brunette (above) strolls down the...

What car? What battery?

Confused by the stream of press information coming  from the auto industry on EVs and hybrids? BEST’s assciate editor Lynnda Greene tries to make sense of it all. From the slew of exciting new hybrids and fully electric cars making their debuts at auto shows over the last couple of years, it’s...

Why storage makes sense in Ireland

Hugh Sharman, renewable consultant and flow battery specialist shows how the numbers stack up to make energy storage a win-win solution for prospects in Ireland. Renewable energy technologies are being installed at an increasing rate in many countries and regions in order to increase the...

Why the world needs storage now!

Shocked by gasoline pump prices? Food prices? Commodity prices? Now that oil production has reportedly peaked, our transition to an age more dependent on electric energy and energy storage seems inevitable, right? Well, not in a free market, ponders Hugh Sharman. The US Energy Information...

Winds of change bring battery boom

Hurricane Katrina killed 1600 people, displaced 500,000, destroyed New Orleans and is totalling upwards of US$25 billion in rebuilding costs. Now the great storm is triggering a boom in the reinforcement of emergency standby power across America. The Editor reports from this year’s Battcon meeting...

50 years of IPSS

The 25th International Power Sources Symposium (IPSS) was held this year in Bath to celebrate 50 years of the symposium. Andrew Ritchie reports with a very straight bat. IPSS is steeped in history; and we were fortunate that two of its founder members, who were at that historic first symposium in...

A brief history of supercapacitors

It took 150 years for a concept established in the 1800s to become a technical reality, and a further two decades to make it commercially available. John Miller explains how today’s electrochemical capacitors evolved from humble beginnings. An electrochemical capacitor (EC), often called a...

A woman’s place is in the battery room

The Editor asks: Is this lady the world’s only battery service engineer? So much of this magazine comes from serendipity. Or an e-mail exchange. And that’s how BEST discovered probably the only female battery service engineer working in Europe – or possibly the world. In this somewhat male-...

As sick as a dragon (or parrot)

Not all is well with China’s lead-acid battery world. Editor Gerry Woolf reports from the 12th Asian Battery Conference. The first thing you come to realise is that the conference in Sheshan is nowhere near Shanghai. But other thoughts go through you mind as you make the hour-long journey from...

Batteries fade at telecom meeting

There were plenty of batteries for sale, but their technical issues were hardly addressed at this year’s Intelec – held near Rome, but not actually in it. A disappointing venue – and a suitcase stuck in Atlanta – put your Editor in one big funk as he tried to make sense of some pretty low-grade...

Batteries star as Germans embrace storage

Germany’s green politicians are spreading the word that electricity can be stored, and that it can help the uptake of renewable energy. There could be no better boost for the battery business says the Editor in this report from Gelsenkirchen. The world seems to become a smaller place with every...

Boom boom time for ultracaps

John Miller, our resident supercap expert, recalls the early days of ultracapacitor work in the U.S. – including the days when he shook the streets of Las Vegas, burnt out an army truck, and more. On 10 October 1990 the U.S. Department of Energy published a solicitation for the development of...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Breakthroughs or bullsh*t?

John Miller sorts the wheat from the chaff in this quarter’s capacitor tech talk. A surprising number of papers on ruthenium oxide are given at international scientific meetings and published with great frequency in the various electrochemical journals. Why such interest in a material that is so...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK When things go pear shaped

Safety and end-of-life issues are topics addressed in John Miller’s column. What happens when an electrochemical capacitor is short-circuited? Are there safety issues? Will it explode? Will it be damaged, and will its life be shortened?  Thankfully electrochemical capacitors hold far, far less...

Capacitor tech talk Winter 2007

Our capacitor expert answers some more of your questions It is commonly said that any system comprising a long string of capacitor cells will suffer lower reliability. Would splitting a long string into two or more shorter strings improve that? To be as concrete as possible, let’s compare two...

Electrochemical hot tips

What are the most interesting new market opportunities for batteries and ultracapacitors, and where are the best prospects for growth? Mike Weighall shares some thoughts. Many countries now have strategies in place to increase the proportion of their energy needs that is generated using renewable...

Field effects improve batteries

Can magnetic forces improve battery performance? According to Professor Robert O’Brien they certainly can! Several papers have been published in refereed journals by academics (including myself), notably Professor Tom Fahidy of the Chemical Engineering Department of Waterloo University, Canada, in...

Fuel cells not a threat, more a partner

Mike Perry of UTC Power explains why fuel cell technology is undergoing a renaissance – and is now being considered for applications that have traditionally been dominated by batteries. A statement I’ve often heard from people in the energy community is: “I’ve been hearing that fuel cells are just...

Go with the flow

Creating a flow battery system is one thing; getting it into mass production and service is something else – as the Editor discovered when he paid a visit to ZBB Energy Corporation near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. CEO Rob Parry with elements from the ZBB battery. The first thing I asked myself was, why...

In defence of the (lead) realm

Lawyer and lobbyist David Weinberg told the Battery Council International meeting back in April 2005 that things weren’t going too well for President Bush, and that a new Congress could mean trouble for the lead-acid battery industry in the U.S. Your Editor met Weinberg in Washington just after the...

Kyoto capacitor meeting has style and substance

The International Conference on Advanced Capacitors (ICAC2007), the second in a series, took place on May 28–30 in Japan at the Palulu Plaza, Kyoto. The meeting was organised and sponsored by the Committee for Capacitor Technology of the Electrochemical Society of Japan. John Miller reports from an...

Lead-acid stands out at Long Beach

BMW says it will use a lead-acid storage system right across its range in a mild hybrid configuration designed to improve fuel economy – bringing lead-acid back from the shadows in hybrid design. The Editor reports from the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Long Beach, California. Lead-acid...

Lithium ion stalls as hybrid market begins to motor

The laptop lithium recalls of 2006 have not only hit the pockets of consumer battery makers, but have dashed the hopes of those who expected lithium ion to take to the road powering hybrid vehicles. The Editor Reports from AABC 2007 in Long Beach: a jam-packed event where there were plenty of other...

Lithium safety takes a grilling

There have been a ‘significant’ number of lithium-ion battery incidents already this year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and 2007 could be a worse year than 2006. What’s the industry doing about it? The Editor reports from the 24th Battery Seminar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida....

Little guys change the world

Leonard Greene, an environmental writer based in America’s Midwest, bemoans the fact that, traditionally, it’s the small firms that innovate while the corporate giants plough on with tired ideas. Watching the Big Three American automakers thrash about in nets seemingly of their own making these...

Making good electrodes better

Editor Gerry Woolf finds a ‘nano boutique’ in the UK which claims it has the technology to transform your average cathodic systems into star battery and supercap components. The battery industry doesn’t have much in terms of a marketing edge, but like most other industries it will try to impress...

Master of the battery universe

VRLA technology is more than 40 years old, its father is more than 80. In this special article for BEST, John Devitt explains how the infant sealed battery system was conceived – and what lessons new battery developers could take on board as they make their jouney. In April 1965 I submitted a nine-...

Microgrids – the key to energy storage sales?

Without microgrids, battery-backed energy storage may have limited prospects; but with them electrical distribution could achieve much higher efficiency, as some far-sighted utilities are demonstrating. Melanie Chamberland – a project manager at the CANMET Energy Technology Centre in Ottawa, which...

No gain without pain

Your Editor goes to Washington DC to see how PHEVism is capturing the hearts and minds of democrats, republicans, automakers and batterymen. If it’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, then don’t judge the strength of the electric drive and transportation industry by the size of its...

Ozone cure makes better batteries for less

The moral of this tale, says the Editor, is never be satisfied with making the best product. You can always improve; and getting the help of your suppliers may be the first step. If you are already making excellent lead-acid batteries, what can you do to improve them? ‘Nothing’ is not the answer we...

Plug-in is the in-thing

Barry Lawson reflects on EVS 22, held in November in Japan, and concludes that while the USA is playing catch-up, Europe doesn’t seem to be in the game. This year’s EVS was held in Yokohama, Tokyo’s seaport, an hour and a half across town by express train from Narita, Tokyo’s airport. Travelling...

Pomona looping ten years on

The Editor drives down the Pomona loop to see what’s new at the Southern California Edison EV test centre. It felt like I was visiting old friends as I made the trip down to the Electric Vehicle test centre of Southern California Edison (SCE) in Pomona this summer. Naum Pinsky took the trouble to...

Product recall or battery fall?

Isidor Buchman asks whether the recent lithium-ion battery recall spells the end for lithium-ion’s future in portable power. Extended battery runtimes have long been the wish of many consumers. Battery manufacturers have responded by packing more active material into cells and making the electrodes...

Putting safety first

The Editor meets a woman who is campaigning for greater battery safety – by making what she claims is a safer product. She’s spent years sorting out other people’s lithium battery problems. And with the gradual gathering of momentum for lithium battery recalls in the past few years, Dr Christina...

Qinetiq’s new lithium primaries offer more bangs per buck

At the recent International Power Sources Conference, QinetiQ presented performance details of battery packs based on Li/CFx packet cell technology. The cells gave a specific energy of >464 Wh kg-1 and the battery, a specific energy of >360 Wh kg-1. In this paper Quinetiq's Emmanuel Eweka...

Renaissance for PEM fuel cells

Mike L. Perry gives a brief review of the history and current status of PEM fuel cells, and provides an insight into why this technology is now being developed for a wide variety of applications, ranging from portable electronics to automobiles. In my first article for BEST (Winter 2007 edition) I...

Rolling back prices… and battery problems

Still looking for an edge in your batteries? For bargain prices and protected IP, the resources provided by the Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems (formerly CLEPS) in Sofia, Bulgaria – now in the European Union – can’t be beaten, says Editor Gerry Woolf. It’s been several years since...

Take three girls…

It’s four years since the Editor paid a visit to Caderache in the South of France to meet the team of young ladies who are making a fresh contribution to the development of lead-acid batteries and solar power. But now they have a new home and a much bigger team, and the world of photovoltaics is...

The action is in traction

Gerry Woolf has lunch with the latest recruit to battery consultancy – Dr Mark Stevenson, formerly of Exide Technologies. In this writer’s experience, more freelance journalists are created in times of adversity in the press than during the booms. The same may well be true for consultants in the...

The good, the bad and the unbelievable

The Editor sorts the wheat from the chaff in energy storage technology in a report from the September 2007 meeting of EESAT (Electrical Energy Storage and Applications) in San Francisco. A hallmark of Britain’s third political party, known as the Liberal Democrats, is its unshakeable belief that...

The joke’s on us?

With Powermart down to three hours and a very thin technical programme, BCI’s annual convention is now just an awfully expensive networking opportunity. But who do you network with who you don’t know already? Can it be made better? The Editor ponders aloud in this ‘open letter’ to the BCI board....

The only place that matters now

The Editor makes another visit to the heart of the battery-making universe, and decides it’s time to speak their language – or else! I used to think reporting from the U.S. was like reporting from another world, but it’s less of a battery country than it was. It’s taken me ten years to get the...

The UPS that provides entertainment

Looking for your next tech toy? If you have ‘green intentions’, or simply want a bigger better UPS system, then Gridpoint could be just what you’re looking for. And it could be a major opportunity for battery makers. It looks like some spanking new piece of kitchen hardware – a cross between a...

VRLA batteries: An in-depth analysis of the oxygen cycle

Melchor Fernandez of Exide Europe explains the importance of getting float currents and voltages absolutely right if VRLA battery designs are to achieve their full service lives. Until recently the most important use of VRLA batteries has been with floating applications, covering virtually all...

Walking the (energy storage) talk

Want to go green and off grid? Fed up with hearing about it at technical conferences? In the first of an occasional series, U.S. environmental writer Melissa Weilt talks to Sandia Laboratories researcher Tom Hund, who has put into practice what his paymasters preach. The current U.S. trends towards...

Why we need battery design software

Robert Spotnitz argues the case for industry-standard modelling software for proper design of battery systems. Designing battery-powered devices today is much more difficult than it should be. The typical electrical engineer (EE) has no idea of how to select a battery, and so must rely on a battery...

A case of the wrong batteries?

Battery specialist Mike Weighall discovers that not everything you read on the Internet is true – and that’s especially so when it comes to the kind of batteries that end up powering a hybrid electric bus all the way from New Zealand to England. Newcastle upon Tyne has always been regarded as a...

A message to the uninitiated

Editor Gerry Woolf reviews Richard Baxter’s informative guide. I can’t remember when it was I first met Richard Baxter – suffice to say he’s one of those people that bridges what the English writer CP Snow described as the two cultures: the arts and the sciences and what’s generally attributed to...

After the sky came down

The Editor travels to Rhode Island for this year’s Intelec. With the fifth anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center falling on the opening day of Intelec 06, it was going to be hard to avoid the subject; so why not build it into the programme? By now you’d think...

And now for something completely different!

The Editor reports on the 42nd Power Sources meeting in Philadelphia With a war going on two fronts, it has to be said that business in the U.S. military power sources world is positively booming; and in the fair city of Philadelphia the spirit of Benjamin Franklin (in terms of the sheer panoply of...

Athenian visions

Michael Mayer waxes lyrical on lead-acid batteries and on Athens, the setting for this year’s 10th European Lead Battery Conference. How robust is the lead-acid battery industry in 2006? With material prices sky high, with inter-company mergers prevalent, with fewer but larger production centres...

Bad science leads to bad laws

Burning wood, waste and making steel put more lead into the atmosphere than the battery business for certain, but are you still likely to be clobbered by tougher legislation? Yes says the Editor! Are US national air quality standards (NAAQS) going to get tougher for lead? Probably, if you’ve been...

Batteries that come back from the grave

The Editor revisits Peoria, Illinois, USA to see how far Firefly Energy has really come following its CEO’s barn-storming media push. Without Buck Rogers, there won’t be any bucks”– the apocryphal quote from Tom Wolfe’s famous account* of the early days of the US space programme. Putting a man into...

Battery tragedy gets mixed reviews

Technical frankness and honesty, the adoption of methods being used with success elsewhere in science and a plethora of design options made the 10th European Lead Battery Conference in Athens one of the more worthwhile meetings in the technical calendar, reports Gerry Woolf. Among the key talents...

Big brother is watching your batteries

There are too many complaints of lead-acid batteries being dumb but a very simple addition could make them smart, as Herbert Geiss explained at Intelec this year. They’re used from everything  from keeping track of livestock to luggage – so why not use them to take care of stationary lead acid...

Can Zinc satisfy China’s EV revolution?

The great and the good of China’s EV and zinc industries gathered in Shanghai last month to consider whether zinc-air batteries could ease some of the strain of China’s growing transportation energy demands. Editor Gerry Woolf was there to listen. There aren’t too many technical seminars where a...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Back to basics

Capacitor guru John Miller answers more of our readers’ questions, including some fundamental queries on the nature of capacitors – and how they differ from batteries. It is well known that a capacitor system composed of a series string of cells needs uniform voltages on the cells for maximum...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Caps for all seasons

Whether it’s for ghetto blasting car audio or supper efficient buses our super cap man John Miller can answer your questions. One of the strongest claims for electrochemical capacitors is that they have exceptionally good power performance, particularly at low temperatures. Are they really more...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Caveat capacitoris emptor

New technologies get more than their fair share of publicity, and sometimes exaggerated claims are made. Supercapacitor expert John Miller answers some of the customers’ most pressing questions. Are there any real differences among the large capacitor products on the market today? Aren’t they...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Nice performance but oh what a price

Our resident supercap specialist John Miller answers some more of your questions. I am still having trouble understanding why electrochemical capacitors, compared to batteries, are so expensive. Why is this? The ‘dirty secret,’ so to speak, of this question is its implicit comparison of capacitors...

Chinese batteries: from top to bottom

The Editor takes a trip from Harbin in the north to Shenzhen in the south to find out what’s happening in the Chinese battery industry.  “To get rich is glorious,” said Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping back in 1978. The Chinese battery industry took him at his word by the early 1990s, and by all...

Chinese machine makers go beyond border

The Editor gets on the bus in China to meet the low-cost equivalents of Western battery machine makers. You’ve read much of it before of course – the explosive growth of China, the massive expansion of the Chinese battery industry, the low labour costs, the inevitable air pollution. Reading is one...

Equalisation is a way of life

Many cells are made equal, but charging in strings makes some cells less equal than others. Not a quote from Animal Farm, but if Orwell had used it, maybe some batteries would last longer? The Editor reviews a piece of kit designed to put cells on a level playing field… Time and time again within...

Farewell to a man of huge capacity

John Miller pays tribute to one scientist who wasn’t present at the 15th International Seminar on Double-Layer Capacitors and Hybrid Energy Storage Devices. The 15th annual seminar on double-layer capacitors and hybrid energy storage devices was held on 5-7 December at its usual Deerfield Beach,...

Fine fair

Thoughts and pictures from a flying visit to Beijing We should have made a visit last time round, but crowded conference schedules got in the way. What are we talking about? CIBF China that’s what – the China Industrial Association of Power Sources 7th International Fair. Superlatives don’t do this...

Finnish boost for lithium standby

The Editor travels to Helsinki to see what an EV maker and a standby battery supplier have in common. It became apparent when I was preparing the copy for this issue how strong the Chinese flavour would be. These days the desire to work with Chinese business is ubiquitous. Walking around the...

Holy grails and lead-acid batteries

The Editor travels deep into the Welsh Valleys to see how bipolar lead-acid batteries have finally come of age. You’ve heard some of this before - get rid of the lead-acid battery grid, dump the cast-on strap... and before you can say Arrhenius you’ve miraculously improved the battery’s performance...

Is it plug-in time?

EV enthusiast Mark Hanson wore the BEST hat at this year’s Electric Drive Transportation meeting in Vancouver. But with all the environmental focus at the Montreal climate change meeting, was there much here for the taking? Possibly – if the auto industry embraces the plug-in hybrid. There were...

Is storage falling on deaf ears?

Sleep deprivation was not the only reason why Editor Gerry Woolf returned from the Electrical Energy Storage and Applications Technologies (EESAT) conference in San Francisco a little depressed and disappointed. Here’s a lesson for conference attendees: if you’re going to book late for a conference...

Keeping pace Or out of the race?

As car makers and politicians begin to shift gear on hybrid electric cars and alternatives to petroleum, your Editor finds the lead-acid battery industry making a final push to grab the attention of the auto industry – and retain its place under the hood. It’s been an extraordinary few months in...

Li-on taming for beginners

Potentially dangerous but oh, so attractive to OEMs. Gerry Woolf talks to Barry Lawson about how Axeon Power is making Chinese lithium-ion OEM-friendly for a variety of applications. If you’ve worked in the electronics industry these past 20 years you’ll know that change is permanent. What you knew...

Life? Don’t talk to me about life!

A lethargic audience – and acceptance of VRLA limitations – gave battery makers an easy ride at this year’s Battcon meeting. But maybe that’s because telecom standby as we know it could soon be history… The Editor reports. You have to bow to the wisdom of your elders. Readers of the Spring 2006...

My electric rates doubled, so I bought half a car…

EV enthusiast Mark Hanson explains how he carried out another EV conversion. I’ve owned EVs for about 20 years, starting with a cheese wedge (Sebring Vanguard Commuta Car) from the late 70s, an Electro-Metro, an Electric Tracker (E-Jeep), a NEV Bombardier and now a three-wheel Cushman (aka meter...

Not just for tools

A123 Systems has come from nowhere to be a player in high power lithium-ion. Is it plain sailing ahead asks the Editor? The problem with capitalism, I’ve often said to colleagues, is its pretty hopeless if you don’t have much capital to begin with – you can’t turn ideas into money without capital...

Plug-in concept electrifies show

Menachem Anderman’s Advanced Automotive Battery circus pitched its tent in Baltimore this year, and the star acts – plug-in hybrid technology – were saved for the very last session. But not everyone in the auto industry is convinced, reports Editor Gerry Woolf. Just out of curiosity, I placed the...

Portable energy source – or bomb?

There have been a number of recalls of lithium-ion batteries in the past four months. Battery specialist Isidor Buchman reviews the safety concerns, and describes how manufacturers are working to avoid the disastrous episodes that lead to product recalls. When Sony introduced the first lithium-ion...

Reliability makes storage sales possible

The technology is there, but where are the customers? It’s a question companies making large-scale batteries would dearly love to see addressed. Consultant Anthony price believes he heard the answer at May’s ESA meeting held in Knoxville, Tennessee.  “Why aren’t there more buyers of electricity...

Sound money recharges BAE fortunes

A great battery company was almost wiped out by bad financial management. But a shrewd piece of investment will preserve German jobs and rehabilitate the reputation of VRLA, writes Gerry Woolf. What do you need for a successful lead-acid battery business in 2006? Good designs, almost certainly (...

Sovema goes into formation

The Editor gets an early preview of the new formation technology about to be launched by Sovema. I’m sitting next to Maurizio Masotti of Sovema, en route to the cultural dinner of the 11 ABC. “So what’s new at Sovema?” I ask, in my usual irrepressible manner. “We’re going into the formation...

Staying ahead of the game

The Editor makes a return trip to Northstar Battery and finds it in fine form.  “There’s something wrong with our bloody ships today”. So said Admiral Jellicoe when half a dozen major British battleships were blown to pieces during the battle of Jutland, the only major conflict between the British...

Sun power runs down under

David Rand and John Ward from CSIRO Energy Technology report on the thrills, spills and challenges of crossing a continent on photon power. In September 2005 the Panasonic World Solar Challenge – the eighth meeting of this premier event for solar cars – set off on a 3,000km course from Darwin to...

Super caps: more on choosing and using

John Miller our resident expert answer some more common questions. I have a perfect application for an electrochemical capacitor, but how can I tell which brand is the best? “Best” as used here can mean very different things to different people. For instance, when contemplating the purchase of a...

The carbon conneaction

Ben Craft is one of the younger players in the lead-acid research field, but he has managed to persuade a multi-billion-dollar chemical company – and the US Department of Energy – to take a serious look at the use of carbon in new energy storage devices. The Editor went to meet him. Supercapacitors...

Theory into practice

Editor Gerry Woolf visits Axion Power to see if lead-acid supercapacitor hybrid systems really exist – and if you can make them in any lead-acid battery factory. It’s no good simply dreaming about a new concept or technology... sooner or later you have to test your ideas, bash metal and deliver...

Time for silence on VRLA?

Now that VRLA batteries are built ‘properly’, Ken Peters wonders if BEST will still be able to fill its pages with articles as he reflects on the technology’s turbulent history. Amongst the major innovations in the 150 year history of the lead-acid battery, the development of gas recombining valve...

Total, low-cost standby battery monitoring

Nigel Scott, technical and business development manager at LEM, describes new approaches that enable standby battery systems to be continuously monitored during their service life – offering the capability to detect potential failures before they happen. Over the past 30 years the standby battery...

We think: therefore we are

The Editor spends a wet midweek in Brussels. In a time-pressed world, we need short, sharp meetings and conferences. Why spin out to three days what you could concentrate into a morning? It’s something that the Europeans are taking the lead in (no pun intended) – or so it seemed this year at...

Where only the best batteries will do

Given the developed world’s inability to plan the next generation of electricity power plant, we may all have a thing or two to learn from Brazil. Allain Castro gives us the lowdown on standby batteries in that country. When most of us in the world think of Brazil, our minds immediately conjure up...

Wind argument runs out of puff

Contrary to popular belief, wind power won’t solve all our future electricity needs – as the Editor learned from Howard Sharman at a meeting held in London earlier this year It’s a temple to the high priests of British Engineering Excellence – the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, two...

You read it here first!

Another sideways take on all that’s the BCI annual convention. I’m always tempted, but have so far been able to resist, crying out “nay” during Roger Wilmslow’s superb pastiche of democracy at BCI’s nominating committee session. Would I be lynched? Probably not. Would it raise a laugh? Who knows?...

A thin layer of opportunity

A fleeting visit, a couple of phone calls, and a desire to get new processes off the ground… Gerry Woolf plays matchmaker to the battery business? Restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements, privatisation of state-owned industries and the election of extreme right-wing leaders are just some...

BEST PRACTICE Putting it all together

George Mayer has given you most of what you need to know to charge batteries and measure battery parameters. Now you can start testing in earnest. Greetings again from BEST Battery Practices. In three previous columns, I’ve expounded about plate curing (BBP1), Peukert curves and choosing a battery...

BOOK REVIEW Dirty politics mar clean energy?

Clean Energy, RM Dell and DAJ Rand, RSC Clean Energy Monographs.  “You’ll love our new book,” David Rand boasted in one of his regular e-mails to me. Eventually it came, courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s publicity unit. It is deceptive – a bit like a lithium ion phone battery: how did...

CAPACITOR TECH TALK Electrochemical immortality? Unlikely!

Our resident supercap specialist John Miller tackles some of your burning questions. Popular press reports often paint electrochemical capacitors as wonder devices, given an unlimited cycle life that makes it impossible for them ever to wear out. What is the truth of this? The life of every...

Capacitor tech talK Perfect performers – except on price!

This issue our double layer specialist John Miller answers some key questions on fitting supercapacitors into automobiles. The answers are very interesting indeed. What are the critical issues for using electrochemical capacitors in automotive applications? The issues for automotive applications...

Catalysts save US taxpayer millions

The vent cap catalyst developed by Philadelphia Scientific several years ago is proving its worth, extending the lives of telecom standby batteries and saving the US taxpayer money in the process, explains Harold Vanasse, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing with the company. The U.S. Air Force is...

Charging ahead

George Mayer examines what you need to know about battery charging and what quality standards are really about. For secondary batteries like lead-acid the battery needs to be charged (1) after a discharge, (2) after an open circuit stand, and (3) when being produced. Charging is, like pasting and...

Chewing the fat-con?

The Editor returns to Alber’s unique meeting – and finds an easy way back to the 1990s. Battcon just grows and grows – in all senses. 2004 was this writer’s only absence in the Albercorp’s nine-year history of producing what it calls “Intelec lite”. In an industry where not much changes year on...

Don’t call Mark when the lights go out

Homeland security? It’s a nonsense unless the USA gets to grips with its electricity supply issues, Mark Mills of the US Critical Power Coalition tells Gerry Woolf. This is aimed mainly at our American readers, although it should be a wake-up call to Europeans as well. The problem with legislators...

Dream machines shape battery futures

The millionaire’s playground of Monaco was the setting for this year’s EVS – hybrid and pure electric car show. But the only auto playthings for the rich set were in the windows of the up-market dealerships on the seafront and in the heads of Japanese design engineers says the Editor. It’s been a...

European heads in the sand on electricity storage

There’s a potential Electricity Storage boom staring us in the face, explain Gerry Woolf and Anthony Price. So why isn’t it happening? It’s January. It’s ten days since the Indian ocean catastrophe and in Britain the news agenda is returning to normal – domestic politics, Iraq and soccer. And the...

Fast Charge foils fork lift fuel cell threat

The past will continue to be the future in the industrial trucks market, says the Editor, as improved lead-acid batteries and fast charging hammer competing technologies into the ground on both energy efficiency and cost. Several years ago, when I tried (and failed) to rejuvenate the Electric...

FOCUS ON CANADA Electrochemical nation

The USA is a net importer of energy; its northerly neighbour Canada has a surplus. So why are Canadian businesses engaged in a headlong struggle to master battery and fuel cell technology? The Editor tries to find out. What is it about Canada that has made it such a success story in the...

Focus on Taiwan The East’s battery boutique

The Editor makes a repeat visit to Taiwan, where he learns how Government-funded research, disparate companies willing to enter into partnerships and an abundance of scientific talent can together compete with the might of the battery industries of both China and Japan. A long time ago (well at...

Foresight takes lead-acid to the next level

The Rholab Project has successfully demonstrated that a lead-acid battery can power a Honda Insight. Now the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium has a new UK Foresight Vehicle project which seeks to develop this technology further for lower voltage application as Pat Moseley and Allan Cooper...

Formation without tears

The Editor pays a fleeting visit to Northern Italy on a cut-price airline to see traction cells forming in a fraction of the expected time. Some of BEST’s readers will remember a site visit I made in the old days to a well-known traction battery plant in Poland. My minders took me into their...

Hard sell on new cells at Intelec

With good solutions to VRLA shortcomings proven, Gerry Woolf is surprised as Telecom providers prevaricate on their uptake. Quite simply, the customer doesn’t come first. It turned out that staging this year’s Intelec meeting in Berlin, just as the German nation was going to the polling booths, was...

Hard work in the ‘big easy’

Multi-tasking BEST Advertising Director Hugh Cullimore steers his way down river and reports from this year’s first major lead-acid event – BCI. They call New Orleans ‘The Big Easy’ because of its easy going lifestyle. But how would delegates to the 117th BCI Convention find their week at this...

Hydrogen future? What future?

Myths are blown apart by a scientist with attitude. It’s too bad that the Intelec committee don’t invite Reuters or other new agencies to their events – this year they would have had some copy – with all the hydrogen hype, it’s fortunate that there’s one man out there attacking some of the...

KEEPING PACE

Key representatives of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) met with battery specialists from the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) in Detroit last month to bring them up to speed with latest results on ALABC’s development programme to keep lead acid technology abreast of the...

Lead-acid master chef?

Isn’t it time there was a modern, up-to-date text on the practicalities of making lead-acid batteries? Our resident lead-acid chef, George Mayer, has come up with an outline of contents. Are we missing anything? Greetings again from BEST Battery Practices. Since I’ve already cursed the darkness...

LiS – is the ball ready to run with?

Lithium ion has peaked, DMFC fuel cells for laptops are still a few years away – maybe, so is there room for a new lithium chemistry, asks BEST? We spoke to Gleb Ivanov of Oxis Energy who’s quite sure there is. For the last two or three years, we’ve been hearing very similar messages for the...

Looming power gap highlights need for electricity storage

Political will is running ahead of technology – and the truth – as it bids to impose a switch to renewable electricity generation. Small wonder then that the Electricity Storage Association feels the need to disseminate its ideas and technology more widely. Anthony Price reports from Toronto....

Made to measure

The Editor meets with the other half of the Italian-based new battery engineering alliance. No end of suppliers will tell you their products are custom made for your requirements. But in reality, you find what you are buying is a number of options they make on a fairly regular basis. Tailor made is...

Put your deposit on faradaic grids

Electroforming battery grids is no longer a laboratory scale idea – DSL Dresden has made it a viable proposition. With lead prices likely to stay high, the Editor learns from Hans Warlimont why the technology is a money-saver for lead-acid battery makers. I can remember the day I first met Hans...

Re-think for Zinc is on time

Dr Pat Moseley spells out the gravimetric and volumetric energy density numbers succintly and explains why the zinc  industry now feels the time is right to turn the spotlight back onto zinc-air traction. The limitations of specific energy and energy density of secondary batteries have encouraged...

Renaissance for lead-acid

New manufacturing processes and new ideas for lead-acid battery construction are emerging. With the hybrid market just opening up, now’s the time to start investing in lead-acid again, argues Mike Weighall. New Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are taking off. JD Power Associates is predicting that...

Sea, sun and science – Labat 2005

Lead-acid battery scientists conducting research relating to the real challenges and issues facing the industry were happy to discuss topics from 9.00am to 6.45pm without being distracted by the sun, sea, sand and low cost beer which could be found in Varna, says Mike Weighall. In the first of two...

Serwis with a smile

Hugh Cullimore combines business  with pleasure* and looks in on at battery equipment supplier on the eastern border of the European union. When I first became involved with the battery industry some twenty-seven years ago, I was impressed with the large number of private, family run companies...

Seven get ionised in the USA

They were warned it would be tiring – a UK Government-funded rocket-powered trip around the latest US energy storage activity. Bob Bailey, secretary to the International Power Sources Symposium committee, reports. The pursuit of an all-embracing elixir for electrochemical energy storage was the...

Supercap Q&A Winter 2005

With so much interest in supercapacitors, BEST is doing its part to keep readers up to speed with another technical series from a highly respected expert in the field – none other than John Miller. For this first issue John kicks off with some basic Q&A. Q How do supercapacitors,...

SureCure – the science behind the time savings

David P. Boden and Benjamin Labovitz of Hammond Lead Products explain how the addition of just a little leady oxide and tetrabasic lead sulfate can save so much time in curing. Curing of positive plates for lead-acid batteries is a critical operation. During this process the chemical and physical...

Tapei meeting is a true power forum

Bored with battery meetings where electrochemists talk to each other and not their customers? Gerry Woolf finds there’s plenty of electrochemical crossover into other fields taking place in Taiwan. It’ll be nine years to the day this month (January) that I attended my very first battery meeting,...

Teck Cominco puts the squeeze on plate making

We mentioned the new Teck Cominco CRX extrusion technology in the Autumn 2004 report from 9ELBC. Now Gerry Woolf takes a closer look. Even with video presentations, it really isn’t possible to get a proper perspective on new machines unless you see them ‘in the flesh’. Having got the bare bones of...

Testing Times

Still wondering what kind of Ohmic method is BEST? Alber says it theirs and Midtronics say they’ve more of theirs in the market. They are different, but which technology has resulted in fewer back up disasters? We don’t know but they all work – it’s official! You can’t please all of the people all...

The chicken and egg show

The great the good and those with safe harbour statements gathered in London in October for the ninth Grove Fuel Cell Symposium. Was there any cause for optimism? Gerry Woolf looked hard for evidence. Fuel cell conferences are getting to be like fuel cell buses - or ordinary buses for that matter....

The end-of-the pier show?

The Editor reports from the International Power Sources Symposium meeting in his home town of Brighton. I’ve been accused of giving some battery conference organisers a hard time, so I’m going to show absolute fairness by beating myself up for one conference with which I’ve been loosely associated...

The supercap communication challenge

The Editor takes advantage of the sinking dollar to make an end-of-year trip to Florida to find out what’s hot in super/ultra caps – but has only captured a small portion of the intellectual charge available.* In all my years working on ‘the other one’ I’d never once made it to any of the famous...

THE VIEW FROM CHINA When things are good they are very good!

Not all joint ventures go to plan. Our man in China explains… Chinese clothes may be piling up in European warehouses and causing international trade problems, but the battery business goes from strength to strength, according to BEST’s man in Beijing. But he says not everything battery-related has...

THE VIEW FROM CHINA Years of growth mean a boom for batteries

China’s battery exports are astonishing Western battery makers. But home demand is even more mind boggling, as our man in China reports. Planes, trains and automobiles… and let’s not forget telephones and IT. These are some of the engines of growth that are vital to China’s economic transformation...

Toothbrushing sacrificed – but NiCd is free!

Electric tooth brushing may be coming to an end, but industrial NiCd is safe. The Editor reports through a face-to-face interview with John Searle of SAFT. As BEST was going to press the European Commission was deliberating over its draft impact assessment for the long awaited Battery Directive....

Using and abusing supercaps – what to expect

As more development teams begin to play with these interesting devices, there are some surprises in store – but very little to fear. After being deliberately shorted by a copper wire, a large several-kilofarad-size electrochemical capacitor regains voltage after the shorting wire is removed. Where...

Waikiki watt hours

The Editor takes a hybrid trip to Hawaii – and the Fifth Advanced Automotive Battery Conference – soaking up sun and electrochemistry to see who’s ahead in the race to develop hybrid electric power trains. If you hadn’t worked it out already, staging this year’s Advanced Automotive Battery...

Zinc-air chemistry goes to war

In 2003 a new generation of lightweight low-cost zinc-air primary batteries was introduced for battlefield power. With up to 800 Wh of energy these batteries power tactical radios for about a week, as compared with about a day for the primary lithium batteries in common use. They fill an important...

Zinc-air – a second chance?

As gasoline prices soar and fuel cell proponents have yet to solve some basic problems, Patrick Moseley sets out the case for a fresh look at zinc-air technology. The dual anxieties over the stability of oil supplies on the one hand and the environmental impact of fossil fuel consumption on the...

A bridge too far for Advanced Automotive batteries?

Menachem Anderman gathered together more than three hundred people in San Francisco to discuss the market and opportunities for advanced automobiles and their associated electric systems. But a lot of the choices have already been made and, in the first round at least, there is only one winner –...

A feeling of déjà vu (again?)

Laryngitis and decongestant tablets transformed some ‘second time around’ presentations into a disturbing two days in Berlin for a writer suffering from information overload. You’re lying if you tell me you don’t do it. You know what I mean. You’re sitting there in that warm somnambulistic...

AGM to suit your lifetime

Whether it’s shoes or separators, you get what you pay for. If you want VRLA batteries to last, you need good separators, as the Editor found out when he travelled to France to visit the Bernard Dumas mill There’s been a paper mill at Creysse in France for more than 500 years. The Dordogne river...

Answers a-plenty to black-out crisis

The Editor reports from the fourth EESAT meeting in San Francisco and finds there’s a panoply of ideas and technologies ready to deal with power grid  shortcomings and other outage issues — but what’s needed is investment! It's late November. The US Canada Power systems outage task force has just...

Battery lifetime forecast—from lab to the real world

Battery modeling techniques are one of the rapidly  advancing means of predicting battery life — in  all chemistries, as Professor Bor Liaww explains, with a very full reading list! To predict a battery’s life is often an interesting inquiry and challenging contention among battery experts.  So,...

Battery tales of the unexpected

Consultant Mike Weighall makes the case for serendipity in the battery business. Have you ever wondered about the background to some of the news stories and articles in BEST – and, come to that, in the financial pages of the national and international press? Why did company A decide to market...

BEST Practice A new series of lead-acid learning

George Meyer is a lot taller than your Editor, and has accumulated a lot more lead-acid experience. In this first instalment in BEST’s new series, George takes us through the mysterious process of paste mixing and curing. As a battery maker or materials/equipment supplier, you probably never got ‘...

Best Practice Top ratings

George Mayer explains the need for a Peukert curve, when customers’ demand profiles don’t quite fit what the battery maker had in mind. Although I really wanted to tear directly into some pithy and interesting technical issue like pasting and curing in the summer issue, it is more practical to...

Book review Maintenace-free batteries—again!

The Editor was delighted to receive the third edition. Maybe it’s because I understand more about batteries now or maybe by the time a third edition of an excellent book is produced, everything fits into place better. However, now the third edition of Dietrich Berndt’s book Maintenance-Free...

Can I steer and brake too?

Isidor Buchmann takes a look at some new ideas for estimating battery reserve energy for the next generation of automobiles. AC conductance testing was introduced in 1992 as a new way of measuring the cold cranking amps (CCA) of a car battery. This non-invasive method was hailed as a major...

Counting the amp hours

Selling a battery isn’t enough any more. You need to account for how that product will run in service – hence battery monitoring and management. Bob Spotniz, well known to the world of NiMH, explains all. As consumers we tend to take battery performance for granted. Our car starts when we need it...

Driving towards sustainability

Ron Dell and David Rand – authors of the Royal Society of Chemistry's forthcoming book on Clean Energy – examine the relative prospects of fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles as more efficient and cleaner alternatives to present automobiles. Nobody can deny that great strides have been made in...

Energy storage on trial

The Editor visits American Electric Power’s headquarters in Columbus – venue for the Energy Storage Association’s Spring meeting. For me, Columbus is to America what Rugby is to England. Dull. I lived in Rugby for 18 months. In both places, the architecture has all the imagination of a UPS cabinet...

Flow batteries: hype or hope?

Fuel cells have received all the attention from the financial media, but a new Escovale report takes a critical look at the business future of flow batteries, reports the Editor. Electrical energy storage spans applications requiring substantial amounts of energy, delivered over a period of hours...

Getting a taste of power

The Editor got more than he bargained for at the 41st Power Sources meeting in Philadelphia. How did the old song go ? “War, what is it good for?” Hardly, “absolutely nothing”. One thing’s for sure – it’s good for business. And if your business is batteries for the military, you should be rubbing...

Glimmer of hope in new lead design

I signed away my rights in a non-disclosure agreement with Firefly Energy. What follows is what they allowed me to tell you. The world of top lead, cast-on straps and grids could soon be gone for ever – but lead-acid will still be around Any technology writer worth his or her salt has to be...

Globalisation gets stood on its head

The Editor talks to the people behind Euroglobe – the fast-growing buying group for Europe’s SLI after market – and is convinced that there’s still a big place for independents, in both sales and manufacture. In a world of giants, is there still room for the little guy? That’s a question many...

Hybrid success lifts batterymakers’ fortunes

Tired of selling commodity products? Thomas Dougherty of Johnson Controls believes that supplying powertrain systems–not just batteries–will improve profits for all. As he explained to Gerry Woolf. EVS-20 is not so much a conference it’s more a festival for the believers in alternative technologies...

Is lithium where batteries will stop?

Dogged by a series of mishaps, the 23rd  International Power Sources meeting took place in Amsterdam— but it was a close run thing to deliver good battery science to a demanding audience. This was the one event that your ‘scribe’ sees from the inside looking out, so to speak. Sure, I comment on...

Is the fuel cell cart ahead of the horse?

The Editor reflects on what he saw and heard at the recent Fuel Cell Development and Deployment meeting in Connecticut, and balances it against the criticism coming from deep within America’s scientific elite. If there’s one thing this writer appreciates at technical meetings, it’s honesty....

Lithium attack!

Silver zinc has been the traditional chemistry of choice for torpedo batteries but as a team Yardeney explained at  last September’s International power sources meeting, lithium ion is becoming increasingly attractive. Torpedoes and underwater weapons systems have relied heavily on silver/zinc...

Micronised crystals for better batteries

A new battery additive can help speed curing and improve battery life, without increasing capital cost to the manufactuer. Werner Nitsche and Ian Klein of Penox explain The positive plates in an SLI (Starting Lighting Ignition) lead-acid accumulator (“battery”) are made from lead-alloy grids pasted...

New lithium force gains strengh

A visit to Nordhausen in the former East Germany convinces the Editor that Europe’s lithium power is growing. If nothing else Franz Kruger, the current CEO of  Gaia Akkumulatorenwerke must be an extremely patient man. He’s been in the lithium battery business since 1976 but it’s only in the last...

Not just hot air?

Anthony Price explains how compressed air energy storage may challenge traditional battery systems insome important developing markets. A long time ago, I remember seeing a diesel generator running lights and small electrical equipment in use on a construction site.  It was cold, and the diesel was...

Nothing much you didn’t know already

Not so much a conference report – more a sketch from Palm Springs. I made a solemn promise to you that I wouldn’t poke the finger of fun at BCI’s annual convention this year. After all, they chose a pretty reasonable sized hotel, where it was impossible not to find the convention rooms. It was...

Novel battery design gets a second chance

EaglePicher has given the Horizon design a well-deserved new lease of life, reports the Editor. Take the time and the trouble and all your corporate hopes, dreams and failures can be found on the Internet – at least if it happened in the last ten years. A case in point is Electrosource, the Texas-...

Number 6, your time has come

David Boden takes a closer look at Carbon atomic number 6, the key to solving the problems of negative plate sulfation. Carbon black has been used in the negative plates of lead acid batteries for many years. It is used as a component of the expander and the amount used is generally in the range of...

One world, one metal, one trade association

Gerry Woolf gets briefed on what’s happening in Weymouth Street, London – the offices of the Lead Development Association International. The price of lead is soaring. The places where lead acid batteries are being made aren’t necessarily where they are being used.  And those who must recycle the...

Portable Power crisis deepens

“Anything better coming than three hours away from your AC brick?” asks the Editor. Not for a while – get a longer power cord and switch off your wireless card! That’s what he did at Portable Power 2004 in San Francisco. There’s an energy shock coming. This time it won’t hit you when you fill up...

RAPS POWER ROLLS OUT

Hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America stand to benefit from PV/battery/diesel hybrid systems if the installation masterminded by former ILZRO President Jerome Cole can prove its sustainability. Dr Cole tells BEST about the potential of the system. Although I had walked the streets of...

Rholab rides away

Road testing of the Rholab battery pack, in a hybrid vehicle, has finally begun. The Editor puts a personal slant on what its success will mean for the lead-acid battery industry. It seems to me a very long time ago that Allan Cooper and his wife drove a shiny new Honda Insight hybrid electric car...

Russian batteries come in from the cold

The Editor made a fleeting visit to Moscow to see how the Russian battery industry is adapting to a free market economy. It’s time for one of those seasonal quizzes. Do you know how many automobiles there are in the former Soviet Union? Or in Russia? Does it matter? Well, it does if you are in the...

Sodium sulphur marches forward

A report by Anthony Price on NGK’s award-winning new manufacturing and assembly plants in Japan, which will produce 65MW of sodium-sulphur batteries each year. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and NGK Insulators Ltd received the Okochi Memorial Special Production Award for the development of...

Speed dating for fuel cell merchants

Too little time, too many meetings—but for fuel cells at least, where not too many people are making money, there’s an easier way of finding a partner. There’s no attempt to editorialise anything so what comes in as announcements is raw, so to speak, so it’s  Caveat Emptor for the user. But it’s...

Steady as she goes

John Searle tells the Editor that SAFT is doing all the right things— Doughty Hanson won’t change much! It’s business as usual for John Searle and the rest of the team at SAFT, following the announcement over two months ago that the company had been purchased by Doughty Hanson, one of the largest...

Suitably connected

Mark Rigby of Froetek UK knows how to deal with terminal cases. Over the last few years most, if not all, of battery manufacturing has been automated. With investment in automatic machines and development in manufacturing process and methods, much of the manual labour time has been reduced or even...

Taking their fill

The Editor takes a day trip to Malmo, Sweden to see ‘what’s what’ at Swedish filling and mixing specialist Kallstrom. Lean and mean. It’s a phrase we all like to use and some of us actually practice. I’ve just come back from a visit to Kallstrom in Sweden.  They really are doing lean and mean and...

Tex, T-Rex and Intelec

This year’s INTELEC conference in Chicago was good in parts, bad in most, and sometimes plain ugly. Telepower Australia’s John Hawkins stood in for your Editor – and shows similar bite! INTELEC is the annual technical conference of the telecom powering fraternity; it’s been going for 26 years now....

The (partial) state-of-charge we’re in

Lan Lam, Pat Moseley and David Rand de-mystify negative-plate sulphation – the phenomenon that must be addressed in order for valve-regulated lead-acid batteries to enter hybrid electric vehicle markets. Future automobile electrical systems will require batteries to function in a regime that is...

The boys with the black stuff

Following a major fire at its US operation in August 2001, Hammond Expanders has built major new lines along with a new research and test laboratory. As the lines come on stream this month, Editor Gerry Woolf  paid a visit to see the operation. None of us like to be undervalued.  But in the lead...

The Chinese VRLA dragon – can it survive?

Battery process consultant Doug Lambert recently returned from a visit to China. He reflects on the state of the country’s lead acid battery industry, and comes to some interesting conclusions. When it comes to battery production, Europe, Japan and the USA are struggling… to say the least! In a...

The once in a lifetime experience

The Editor engages with some of the best of the best in European battery science as they try to forge a better strategy to determine how long batteries will last. There are some things that people just won’t put up with. It seems to be a national and cultural thing; for the Germans, it’s late...

The rise and fall of flow batteries

Energy storage consultant Anthony Price ponders the demise of Regenesys, and wonders if flow batteries can feature again in power utility plans. Pumped storage in a box is a good description of a flow battery. Pumped storage pushes water uphill to increase its potential energy so that it can be...

Two markets beckon for storage systems

Developed world or developing.... you can take your pick to develop these markets, as Europe’s first meeting devoted to the subject of energy storage technologies held in France last Autumn showed. Slowly but surely, Germany is switching off her nuclear power plants.  All around her coastline, wind...

When fairs aren’t fair

It’s six years since the Editor visited a Chinese battery show. China has advanced by leaps and bounds, but have its battery shows? It’s an ordinary Thursday morning in Beijing. You would think that the average Joe in the city would have plenty of things to keep him occupied; but no, his morning’s...

Where next on battery recycling?

Only the Belgians meet battery collection and recycling targets, Hugh Cullimore discovers. What hope for the rest of us in the EU? The magnificently ornate theatre in Como, Italy may have been an unusual setting for the 9th International Congress for Battery Recycling, but when it comes to agreeing...

Which way forward?

John Hawkins of Telepower Australia* takes a very personal view of the technology scene being presented at EESAT 2003— which we cover in detail in our conference report in this issue. I’m here at EESAT 2003, stuck with the not-so-simple choice between parallel technical streams—flywheels or...

Wind — is it working for you?

The Editor reports from Global Windpower 2004 in Chicago, and finds that only a few have made the link with energy storage technologies. It’s a field where Americans aren’t the biggest or the boldest, but the enthusiasm shown for wind energy in Chicago last month was rife. All  politicians, both...

42 Volts—gone into hiding?

Like weapons of mass destruction, 42 volt technology is becoming difficult to find— Gerry Woolf asks why in a report from the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference held during June in Nice. It's the height of an unusually hot English Summer  as I look over my notes from Menachem Anderman's first...

Active material is in the family

We take a Cook’s tour through Italy to see how one small firm delivers on Oxide production and more. There are some companies that are happy to deliver whatever it is you want within days of you placing an order. And there are some companies where you just have to wait. A classic example of this...

Bangkok shows crossroads for SLI future

More than 30 names spoke at 10ABC— but the key messages took some finding says Gerry Woolf It seems like only yesterday that we were at 9 ABC, Bali, the show which was overshadowed by the terrible events of 9/11. The year 2001 had been a busy one for me on the "other one"—a trip to Japan and India...

In a spin over standby

BEST may have to change its strapline very soon if flywheels make inroads into the world of batteries. BEST may need to modify its strap line soon. In that important place we call the future, rotating machines are beginning to show a presence. Urenco (Capenhurst) is an unlikely place for the Editor...

lead acid and the holy grail

Mike Weighall wonders if the ideal separator will ever be found In medieval literature the Holy Grail is the sacred cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and later piously sought by the knights of the legendary King Arthur. It has a magical symbolism, but may be more familiar to BEST readers...

Life is sweet for a new name in curing

The editor finds out why one of Europe’s most fastidious battery makers has gone to a newcomer for  curing Every time he sees a Porche or an Audi TT pass, 29 year old Cesare Catelli has more than a sense of pride and desire. While like most young men, he'd probably like to be behind the wheel of...

New force in Pba formation and test

BEST’s concern about the lack of new faces coming into the lead acid battery industry is challenged by relative newcomer —Brian Page of Novalidus, who is developing a number of new ideas for battery formation and testing. Two years of working for the British Institution of Chemical Engineers (...

Out of sight, but not out of mind

The Editor talks to David Fremlin of Advanced Battery Care. While there's a plethora of battery test equipment in the market place, the fact remains that just like carpenters and plumbers, you can't find a good battery expert out there willing and able to test and check those dull grey (and similar...

Saft’s beast of a BESS

The Editor is invited over to Alaska to see the biggest BESS ever inaugurated and returns to a blacked-out London. Is there an opportunity here, we wonder?  Battery inaugurations don't happen every day. But everyone you meet in the remote  town of Fairbanks, Alaska seems to know about the...

Supercaps: where’s the key to market?

They promise much for energy storage but to be competitive they need a market so the costs will drop—where will that come from? The Editor went to Washington DC to find out. The last engineers who are allowed to dream in America are those who work for the US military. They can dreamm about how to...

Where software is (almost) free

Rolf Beckers explains to Gerry Woolf how Digatron is meeting increasing expectations in  testing and formation. I got the cheapest deal yet on Europe's low cost airlines—just ninety-nine pence to fly to Maastricht, Aachen with Ryan Air, so it figures that a trip to see Rolf Beckers at Digatron's...