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lead-acid battery

KiWi Power appoints former UK Department of Energy advisor Miriam Maes to board

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK demand response provider KiWi Power has appointed former UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) advisor Miriam Maes as a new non-executive director.

Maes was appointed delivery advisor to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from 2010 to 2011 and as advisor to the new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) within DECC from 2011 until March 2012, providing expert advice on energy efficiency issues.

Maes has worked in the energy sector since 2002, initially as a member of Texas Utilities’ (TXU) European Executive and subsequently as COO of EDF Energy’s non-regulated distribution networks business. In 2007, Miriam became CEO of climate change consultants Foresee.

Yoav Zingher, KiWi Power’s director and co-founder said: "I am delighted to welcome Miriam to the Board as non-executive director. Her experience and track record within the energy space will be of immense value to KiWi Power.” Maes added: “I am delighted to join such a forward looking company with such a great team. The demand response concept is essential to the optimisation of the energy resources in the transition to an affordable low carbon economy and has enormous potential in the UK and internationally.”

Maes is also non-executive director of the Euronext listed and BELPEX company ELIA Group (Belgium), the Belgian and part German transmission and distribution system operator, and of Assystem (France) an international energy, automotive and aerospace engineering company, listed on NYSE Euronext. Since November 2012, Miriam has been appointed as chairman of the AIM-listed Sabien Technology Group, a manufacturer and seller of a patented boiler optimisation system.

Free UPS and battery seminar in Manchester

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd and Yuasa Battery are hosting a free seminar in Manchester relating to UPS and Batteries.

On 19th March at Manchester City FC Stadium there will be a free seminar discussing the history and evolution of modern UPS systems; UPS system topology; key factors and drivers for UPS development; battery size considerations; effects of temperature on battery life and performance; batteries suitability for UPS systems.

 

The free event includes an optional tour of the stadium.

To register visit http://www.upspower.co.uk/manchester.aspx

 

Progress for Italian smart grid system

Mon, 02/11/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

NEC Italia SpA has announced an agreement with Italian utility service provider Acea Spa to develop lithium-ion energy storage systems (ESS) for Acea’s substations.

NEC will provide one 180kW/ 100kWh substation and one 100kW/ 50kWh substation to Acea in Rome, due to be operational in September 2013. The ESS, which will greatly advance Rome’s smart grid system, will provide improved quality of utility services, reduce energy losses and improve the management of energy from distributed sources such as wind and PV.

The larger of the two systems will be connected to Acea’s low-voltage electricity grid to provide backup power in the event of a power outage. The smaller system will be connected to the mid-voltage grid to regulate and even out energy from distributed generators by compensating for power fluctuations.

“NEC is proud to partner with a visionary company like Acea, who understands the importance of Smart Grids for successfully meeting the demands of utility companies as well as reducing environmental burdens,” said Ugo Govigli, Vice President, Smart Grid Solutions, NEC Europe. “These ESS were designed entirely by the NEC EMEA Energy competence centre which was established in Italy in 2011. We expect these developments to pave the way into new energy market segments throughout EMEA.”?

Origin, but not cause, of Dreamliner battery fire announced

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the origin of the fire on the Japan AirLines Boeing Dreamliner, January 7th. The battery was believed to have had an “initiating event” in one of its eight cells; this was assessed using the flight data recorder and evidence form the thermal and mechanical damage.

The cell identified as the starting point “showed multiple signs of short-circuiting, leading to thermal runaway condition, which then cascaded to other cells.” The evidence suggests the cells reached 260oC.

Chairman of NTSB, Deborah Hersman, said potential causes of the initiating short circuit being evaluated include battery charging, the design and construction of the battery, and the possibility of defects introduced during the manufacturing process.

The cause of the short circuit remains unknown and further investigations will focus upon design and certification requirements of the battery system.

During its certification process Boeing considered the types of failures that might affect the battery, following tests it found no evidence that cell-to-cell spread or fire would be a problem and that smoke emitting from the cell would not occur during more than one in ten million flight hours.

Scrap lead prices creep up in US

Fri, 02/08/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The price of scrap lead in the US is slowly creeping up. This is attributed to slightly higher demand, meaning the price of scrap is up by one cent per pound.

According to the American Metal Market the value of used lead-acid batteries is expected to continue to increase throughout February as smelters pay more for the scrap.

The closing price of lead on the London Metal Exchange at the end of January was $2386 per tonne, this is a continuation of the slowly rising price. Until now the scrap price has not risen but with demand growing the price is able to follow the primary trend.

Exide collaborate to change fortune

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Exide Industries is extending its relationship with Japanese automotive battery maker Shin-Kobe Electric to improve the quality of the batteries it makes.

Exide has been under pressure to boost sales following a slowdown in the automobile industry. Poor performances over two consecutive financial quarters saw Exide warned by credit rating agency Moody that its rating could slide.

TV Ramanathan, MD and CEO of Exide, said the collaboration will lead to the implementation of new manufacturing processes for higher productivity and quality. It is hoped more effiecient manufacturing will lower the company's production costs.

The company has an existing technical joint venture with Shin-Kobe that this deal is built upon. It is not the first push for the company to improve its manufacturing standards, in 2012 it asked East Penn to collaborate to review its lead-acid batteries production.

Exide announced that Shin-Kobe would provide technology and extensive technical support and assistance to Exide to manufacture automotive batteries to a higher quality at its various Indian plants.

Solid electrolyte for lithium-ion

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Scientists as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solid electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries that will provide greater energy density. The substance is made by manipulating lithium-thiophosphate so that it could conduct ions 1000 times faster than in its natural bulk form. The researchers used nanostructuring to alter the structure of the crystals that make up the material.

By altering it in this way, the solid electrolyte was not flammable as a liquid electrolyte would be. Chengdu Liang, who led the study, said: "Cycling highly reactive lithium metal in flammable organic electrolytes causes serious safety concerns," Liang said. "A solid electrolyte enables the lithium metal to cycle well, with highly enhanced safety."

The team developed the solid electrolyte by refining lithium-thiophosphate until it could conduct ions at a faster rate than in its natural state.

"We started with a conventional material that is highly stable in a battery system - in particular one that is compatible with a lithium metal anode," said Liang.

One of the research paper’s coauthors, Adam Rondinone, said the method can be scaled up to create large amounts of the material based on the same nanostructuring.

EnerSys batteries are going underground

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

EnerSys batteries are powering tunneling equipment beneath London. Its Hawker range of batteries is used in maintenance locomotives that install and inspect power cables. The 200V Hawker Perfect Plus batteries with 1240A/h or 750A/h capacities are ideal for the gruelling conditions demanded in the tunnelling work.

PerfectPlus

The valve-regulated lead-acid battery range supply high power and long running times, the construction of the plates using advanced components allows for far more efficient discharge over other batteries.

The demands of a subterranean locomotive on its power source are high. The battery must be the right size and weight for the locomotive and must work for the length, and number of, trips required on a shift.

East Penn expansion

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

East Penn Manufacturing Co. is planning to expand its battery-manufacturing site at Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, with a new US$80 million manufacturing plant.

The proposed plant would create more than 300 jobs when functioning at full capacity, according to Graham G. Anderson, Vice President of facilities, engineering and maintenance at East Penn.

The 564 000-square-foot, two-story plant is expected to open in 2015 to produce industrial and automotive batteries. The current facilities for industrial and automotive batteries are nearing capacity.

Daniel Langdon, President of East Penn, said, "It will be a multifaceted facility and flexible enough to be able to support growth in all segments of lead-acid batteries."

"We are going to call it a multipurpose plant," Anderson said. "We'll be making automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries. It's going to be a complete battery-manufacturing facility with all the required equipment to build a battery."

Exide gets a warning from ratings agency

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Moody’s, the credit rating agency that gave Exide a tough time a decade ago is once again putting the company’s financial performance under the microscope.

Exide Technologies has seen weak operating performance over the last two financial quarters that has resulted in a poor credit rating.

Moody’s Investor Services changed Exide’s rating outlook from stable to negative. The company’s rating is categorised as highly speculative in the categories of Corporate Family and Probability of Default Rating, as well as its liquidity rating.

In an attempt to remedy this, and raise its credit rating back to its previous level, the company has closed battery transportation and recycling facilities in Tennessee, Texas and Pennsylvania. The company hopes the savings on operational costs from closing these facilities will improve earnings for 2013.

These combined actions will bring North American capacity down to demand level and limit the company’s exposure to volatile core costs related to recycling.

The company could be in further trouble if it cannot manage fluctuations in commodity costs; if the global demand for battery products dips; or not being able to offset lower demand with restructuring savings could lower operating performance.

If Exide cannot achieve a sequentially consecutive improvement in operating profits, Moody’s could further downgrade it.

The company can be considered for a stable rating when it can sustain EBIT (total expense from interest payments) over 1.0x; generate positive free cash flow; and maintain an adequate liquidity profile.

The sale of the smelter in Frisco, Texas should gain the company US$37million, which will strengthen the company’s US$74 million in cash on its September 2012 balance sheet.

Exide's ‘highly speculative’ Corporate Family Rating of B3 reflects the company's business focus on markets that enjoy greater stability. The automotive aftermarket replacement battery market represents about 75% of Exide's transportation revenues (44% of total revenues). About half of Exide's revenues are generated in North America where industry reports indicate shipments of both aftermarket and OEM batteries have increased on a year-to-date basis through October 2012. 

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