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Energy storage

Evidence for high-powered lithium-rich cathodes found by international research team

Wed, 06/30/2021 - 10:43 -- Paul Crompton
Venkat Viswanathan, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon

An international team of researchers investigating anionic redox activity have found evidence of why lithium-rich cathodes have greater energy storage capacity. 

The team used synchrotron radiation to directly observe anionic redox reactions in a lithium-rich battery material.

The researchers performed Compton scattering experiments to observe how the electronic orbital that lies at the heart of the reversible and stable anionic redox activity can be imaged and visualised, and its character and symmetry determined.

The discovery explains the increase of energy density in lithium-rich batteries.

The researchers performed theoretical and experimental studies at SPring-8— the world’s largest third-generation synchrotron radiation facility, which is operated by Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute  (JASRI).

The team’s findings were published in the journal Nature.

Collaborating institutions included: Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) in Finland, and institutions in Japan including Gunma University, JASRI, Yokohama National University, Kyoto University, and Ritsumeikan University.

Conclusive evidence

Venkat Viswanathan (pictured), associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said: “We have conclusive evidence in support of the anionic redox mechanism in a lithium-rich battery material.

“Our study provides a clear picture of the workings of a lithium-rich battery at the atomic scale and suggests pathways for designing next-generation cathodes to enable electric aviation. The design for high-energy density cathodes represents the next frontier for batteries.”

Researchers attribute lithium-rich cathodes' ability to store much higher storage capacity to the anionic redox mechanism—in this case, oxygen redox.

While previous research has proposed alternative explanations of the anionic redox mechanism, it could not provide a clear image of the quantum mechanical electronic orbitals associated with redox reactions because this cannot be measured by standard experiments.

Bernardo Barbiellini, professor of Computational Material Science at LUT University, said: "How to get more energy in a smaller space is the core in battery development. In order to improve the efficiency, we need to profoundly understand the battery chemistry.

"In this study, we examined advanced battery materials that carry several mechanisms performing chemical reactions. 

"We want to see and understand how particles such as Li-ions and electrons move and how they release electrical energy while interacting with oxygen atoms. 

"Our group has simulated the working of the positive electrode, and based on our calculations, we generated a model to be verified. With high-energy X-ray measurements, the so-called Compton scattering method, we were able to visualise the electron's state near the oxygen atom in the cathode.

"But the machine and the images alone are not valuable. The model gives us an understanding of what we are seeing. With our joint effort, we are able to contribute to improving existing battery materials and designing new ones.”

The conclusion of the team’s paper states: “It is important to keep in mind that the energy density in a lithium battery pack in an electric car is about 0.4 MJ/liter, which is 100 times smaller than that in gasoline. 

“This large difference indicates that there is much room for improving energy densities of rechargeable battery materials and that further work in this direction is needed.

“Since high-energy x-rays can easily penetrate closed electrochemical cells, Compton scattering experiments provide a unique spectroscopic tool for monitoring changes in redox orbitals during charging and discharging processes, and thus facilitate the design and development of high- performance rechargeable batteries.”

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Grid-Scale ESS ruling opens doors as UK’s pipeline reaches 15GW

Mon, 05/24/2021 - 10:48 -- Paul Crompton
Grid-Scale ESS ruling opens doors as UK’s pipeline reaches 15GW

Permission to build a 99.9MW energy storage project in the UK has been granted to renewable energy company RES.

The Lakeside Energy Storage project in North Yorkshire will store power from the national grid at times of low demand and high renewables generation, with the stored energy exported back to the grid at times of high demand and lower renewable generation. 

RES has permission for 51 energy storage containers and 42 transformers. 

A RES spokesman told BEST they were “not at the stage to be able to provide details” on the type and chemistry of the battery or who would supply them. 

Construction is expected to begin late next year, and the site is set to be fully operational by late 2023.  

Until last July, energy storage developers were effectively capped at 49.9MW due to Britain’s Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) process, which meant projects over 50MW had to go through a planning process.

Since the ruling a number of 50MW+ projects have been announced.

The biggest of which is InterGen’s 320MW/640MWh lithium-ion battery site at DP World London Gateway, on the Thames Estuary in Essex, England. 

The £200 million ($267 million) project will be designed to include potential for expanding up to 1.3GWh.

The UK has a total pipeline of 19.9GW of projects, including: 1.3GW of operational energy storage; 6.2GW in planning; 6.9GW with planning permission (but not grid connection approval) and 1.8GW is ready to be built, according to industry analysts Solar Media Market Research.

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Tesla air quality fine as authority notes 33 violations at Fremont plant

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 09:06 -- Paul Crompton
Electric vehicle and energy storage firm Tesla must pay a $1 million fine over air quality violations at its manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, US.

Electric vehicle and energy storage firm Tesla must pay a $1 million fine over air quality violations at its manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, US.

The fine from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) includes Tesla having to install a solar roof project and implement a comprehensive environmental management system at the plant.

Tesla must also fund a community microgrid, pairing a two-powerpack storage system with up to 160kW solar electric system. 

The settlement covers 33 notices of violation that the Air District issued to Tesla. 

The violations included: emissions exceeding Tesla’s permit limits, installing or modifying equipment without proper permits, failure to conduct required emissions testing, failure to maintain records and failure to report information to the Air District in a timely manner. 

Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, said: “This settlement requires Tesla’s compliance with Air District regulations at its Fremont facility and demonstrates the Air District’s continuing efforts to ensure strict compliance with air pollution regulations, while seeking mutually beneficial solutions for the community.

“As part of this settlement, Tesla has agreed to implement a community microgrid project, which leverages the company’s technological expertise in developing next generation power here in the Bay Area.” 

The comprehensive environmental management system will track all applicable environmental requirements and ensure that the company’s managers are trained on what is needed to comply with them. 

This environmental management system is designed to ensure that Tesla remains in full compliance going forward. 

Tesla has already begun implementing such a system, but today’s settlement agreement will make this a legally binding and enforceable commitment. 

All the violations that led to this settlement have been corrected and are back in compliance. 

Last November, BEST reported how a report filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarterly period ending 30 September, 2020, showed Tesla’s subsidiary in Germany has been ordered to pay a €12 million ($14 million) fine imposed by the Umweltbundesamt (the German Federal Environment Agency) for alleged non-compliance of ‘take-back obligations with respect to end-of-life battery products’. 

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Nano One posts positive results on its cobalt-free lithium-ion battery

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:26 -- Paul Crompton

Test results for Canadian cathode powder maker Nano One have shown its high-voltage cobalt-free lithium-ion battery is stable at the elevated operating temperatures required for automotive, power tool and energy storage applications.

The results support ambient temperature results announced on 13 October, and further demonstrates the firm’s lithium nickel manganese (LNM) battery system.

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Ambri inks deal to deploy its liquid metal battery at a US ESS project

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 09:34 -- Paul Crompton

Liquid metal battery firm Ambri is set to deploy its energy storage technology in a US data centre following an agreement with TerraScale.

The collaboration includes delivery of 250MWh Ambri system to TerraScale’s Energos Reno project in Nevada, which is planned to start next year.

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India firm commissions 100MW lithium-ion battery

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 16:06 -- Paul Crompton

Energy storage maker Inverted Energy has commissioned its new 100MWh lithium battery manufacturing plant in Delhi, India. 

The manufacturing capacity of the plant in Okhla Industrial Area is expected to increase in the coming months, say the India firm.

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Singapore begins its energy revolution with two lithium-ion ESS led projects

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 10:09 -- Paul Crompton

Singapore is testing the energy storage system (ESS) waters with the deployment of its first grid-scale lithium-ion venture and the launch of a pilot project aiming to demonstrate the usefulness of a floating system.

Both projects, including the first utility-scale ESS in Singapore, represent an important milestone in the city’s energy transition towards a low-carbon energy future.

Read more about Singapore’s energy storage revolution in the latest edition of BEST by clicking here.

 
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UK’s largest battery is commissioned to balance the grid and deliver investor rewards

Wed, 11/04/2020 - 16:09 -- Paul Crompton

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (GHESF) and Flexitricity has announced the UK's largest lithium-ion battery is now live less than six months after planning legislation was relaxed to allow individual energy storage projects to be greater than 50MW.

Scottish firm Flexitricity is optimising the 50MW/75MWh battery in Thurcroft, South Yorkshire, which will help the National Grid ESO balance supply and demand.

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LS Energy Solutions announces two new hires to take it to ‘next level’

Wed, 11/04/2020 - 11:11 -- Paul Crompton

Energy storage integration company LS Energy Solutions has appointed Steve Fludder as its new president and CEO, and Roger Lin as the new VP of Marketing and Strategy.

Both Fludder and Lin were most recently working at NEC Energy Solutions: Fludder (pictured) as CEO and Lin as the lead for global marketing, strategy, and product.

Together, LS Energy expect the new appointments to take the firm ‘to the next level’ in the growing energy storage market.

Lin is also a board member of the US Energy Storage Association.

June Choi, senior VP at LS Electric— LS Energy Solutions’ parent company— said: “Steve and Roger’s combined expertise for how to be successful in the quickly transforming energy storage market in terms of technology and organisational focus is exactly what we need as the company enters its next chapter of product innovation and growth.” 

The company is looking to establish its presence in the Boston area of the US, to attract technical talent from MIT and the greater Boston innovation hub.

Founder of lithium-ion ESS firm Sonnen steps aside as COO promoted to top seat

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 12:40 -- Paul Crompton

Sonnen, the residential lithium-ion energy storage maker bought by Shell, has announced its founder and CEO will step down from his role.

Oliver Koch took over the management of the Sonnen Group on 1 October following his promotion from chief operating officer (COO), where he been since 2014. Koch has also been part of the management board fir six years.

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