A round-up of developments at the NAATBatt 2014 (National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries) conference, which took place on 21-23 January in San Diego, California.
Maxwell Technologies: In June Maxwell will install a 2.9kWh/28kW ultracap connected to a 28kW concentrating solar PV array. Maxwell says this will be the world’s first grid-connected ultracap. Maxwell also plans a 250 kWh ultracap connected to a PV array in the Borrego desert in California.
San Diego Gas & Electric: Thomas Bialek, San Diego Gas & Electric’s Smart Grid chief engineer said 5 MW/14 MWh of new energy storage projects are due to be installed by the second quarter of 2014. These are for investment deferral rather than mere technology demonstrations.
The utility has also commenced a behind-the-meter energy storage trial.
University of California San Diego: The University of California San Diego will shortly commission a 100 kW/180kWh container of used Mini Cooper EV batteries. The second life batteries will be tested as energy storage batteries connected to a 330 kW solar PV array on campus.
The University will research how weather forecasting affects charging algorithms of lithium-ion batteries.
Aquion Energy: The manufacturer of sodium-ion batteries for grid-level applications was chipper after opening a new line in Q4 2013 and securing $55m in an over-subscribed funding round.
Aquion plans four more lines in the coming years – to boost its current 200 MWh/year capacity – which it claims will reduce cost by 30-40%.
Ambri: Ambri’s pilot plant opened in November 2013 will produce the company’s first prototype systems for deployment in 2014 and 2015.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spinoff said it plans to commission its first full-scale manufacturing facility in 2015.
Shamrock Energy: Shamrock Energy is seeking $1.5-2m funding for 25-35% equity to complete development work on its proprietary materials to deliver an ultracapacitor with energy densities similar to rechargeable batteries.
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh spin-off is developing “low-cost carbon” with a potential 20-40% lower cost by doing away with the acid-washing step and 15-20% more capacitance than traditional coconut shell carbon.
Eos Energy Storage: Eos Energy Storage says it will scale up its Znyth zinc hybrid cathode battery for manufacturing for its 1 MW/6MWh Aurora energy storage system in 2015.
Paper Battery: The developer of ultrathin supercapacitors said it had signed a contract for a development project with Samsung. No further details are forthcoming.
DNV GL: The risk management company is working with NexTech Materials to develop a sensor for enhanced monitoring of off-gas in lithium-ion batteries. By alerting the presence of off-gas, the sensor would lead to an “early warning system” for thermal runaway.
DNV GL is also developing ‘Battery XT’, a second life EV battery lifetime performance modeling and economic value assessment software tool.
Magna Steyr: Magna Steyr, a Tier 1 OEM supplier for the automotive sector is looking at developing lithium-ion battery packs for marine/industrial/grid applications.
John Warner, Business Development Executive at Magna Steyr Battery Systems, admitted that any move into lithium-ion packs for energy storage is tentative, with the business case “hard to work out”.
Underwriters Laboratory: The not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organisation is developing new safety standards for lithium-ion and energy storage.
IECCD62619 is for secondary cells and batteries containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes and concerns safety requirements for secondary lithium cells and batteries, for use in industrial applications.
IECCD62897 concerns safety requirements for stationary energy storage systems with lithium batteries.
UL9540 concerns safety for energy storage systems and equipment.
Applied Intellectual Capital: The electrochemical venture firm is understood to be in intense negotiations to finance a smelter-less lead recycling facility (see BEST Autumn 2013) to be built in Nevada, with possibly a second in Europe.
Ohio State University: Ohio State University’s SMART@ CAR project, which assesses the performance of ‘second life’ EV batteries for energy storage applications, will use LG Chem cells used in Chevy Volt electric vehicles in Phase II later this year. Phase I used A123 26650 LiFePO4 cells.
Valence: The lithium magnesium phosphate (LFMP) maker has “reorganised” following bankruptcy 18 months ago. Valence left Chapter 11 in December and has secured $20m restructure finance and is hiring.
Dreamweaver International: The developer of nanofibre battery separators is seeking $3m A round financing.
EnerDel: Reports of EnerDel’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The lithium battery firm has fully paid off the $16m owed to the ‘Vampire Squid’, i.e. Goldman Sachs.
Having ditched their fantasy of supplying light duty vehicles, it has focused attention on a (small) ‘sweet spot’ for hybrid bus batteries.