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UK scientists drive progress on lithium-air batteries

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 13:51 -- Paul Crompton
UK scientists drive progress on lithium-air batteries

Researchers in the UK are making progress in the development of stable and practical electrolytes for lithium-oxygen batteries.

Scientists have characterised and developed electrolyte formulations that minimise side reactions within the lithium-oxygen (lithium-air) battery to enable improved longer cycle stability.

Work was led by the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE) in partnership with Johnson Matthey, and Loughborough University.

The technology is in its infancy, but in theory could provide much greater energy storage than the conventional lithium-ion battery, say the team.

The research was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Lead author of the paper, Dr Alex Neale from SIRE, said the research demonstrated the reactivity of certain electrolyte components can be switched off by precise control of component ratios.

Dr Neale said: “The ability to precisely formulate the electrolyte using readily-available, low volatility components enabled us to specially tailor an electrolyte for the needs of metal-air battery technology that delivered greatly improved cycle stability and functionality.

“The outcomes from our study really show that by understanding the precise coordination environment of the lithium ion within our electrolytes, we can link this directly to achieving significant gains in electrolyte stability at the Li metal electrode interface and, consequently, enhancements in actual cell performance.”

The electrolytes provide new benchmark formulations to support ongoing investigations to understand and develop new, and practically viable, cathode architectures to reduce round-trip inefficiencies and further extend cycle lifetimes. 

The collaborative study was made possible by support from an Innovate UK grant.

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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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UK solid-state battery developer signs agreement to scale-up pouch cell development

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 12:08 -- Paul Crompton

UK battery developer Ilika has signed a framework agreement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to support the scale-up of the former’s Goliath solid-state pouch cells.

The framework agreement sets up a plan for the companies to work together on solid-state cells and includes the ability for Ilika to set up a production line at the BIC in the facilities planned during Phase 2 of the UKBIC’s expansion. 

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New code of practice for handling lithium-ion batteries lays foundation for electric vehicles in the UK

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 09:30 -- Paul Crompton

The first standard in a far-reaching code of practice has been published by the UK’s British Standards Institute (BSI) to ensure the safe and environmentally-friendly manufacture, use and disposal of lithium-ion batteries.

The standard covers eleven handling themes— including storage, hazards and fumes— and is designed to help pack and module manufacturers, vehicle OEMs and recycling organisations manage risks throughout a battery’s lifetime.

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World’s first test bench using CT surveillance on lithium-ion batteries is opened in Europe

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 17:15 -- Paul Crompton

Climatic chamber maker Weiss Technik has developed a test bench for lithium-ion batteries that aims to improve the safety, durability and performance of batteries as well as inform the development of EU-standards.

Developed at its German headquarters, the testing facility at the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Petten, the Netherlands, will enable researchers to use computer tomography (CT) images during battery operation. 

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UK firm wins grant to produce lead oxides for advanced lead-acid batteries

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 14:04 -- Paul Crompton

UK-based recycling development firm Ever Resource has been awarded £237,425 ($315,500) grant funding to produce lead oxides for enhanced lead-acid technologies from old batteries.

The cash from Innovate UK's 'Sustainable Innovation Fund (round 1)' framework will allow Ever Resource to begin testing its nanostructured lead oxides in commercial lead-acid batteries.

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Leoch hires stationary storage sales ace to bolster UK network power team

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 10:40 -- Paul Crompton

Battery firm Leoch Battery UK— the UK subsidiary of lead battery maker Leoch International— has appointed Jessica Shaw as its new sales manager–network power. 

Shaw has been hired to strengthen the firm’s UK sales team and will be responsible for selling its lead-acid and lithium-ion network power products, including: telecoms and UPS batteries for communication networks and data centres.

Shaw brings eight years’ experience of sales and business development, with a particular focus on the key sectors of data centres and telecoms. 

Most recently, Shaw was the business development manager-contractors at power management solutions firm Eaton.

Prior to that, she was business development manager for Wetac UK, a battery specialist, responsible for selling Wetac battery products into the data centre industry. 

Phil Hardy, sales director UK and Ireland for Leoch Battery UK said: “Jessica brings significant experience to her new position at Leoch, both in battery sales and with direct sector expertise in the data centre and telecoms markets, ideal for our eetwork power range of products. We’re confident that she will help us to grow UK sales in this important market.”

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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UK battery maker signs MoU to build lithium-ion plant in Australia

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 10:31 -- Paul Crompton

UK-based battery maker AMTE (formerly AGM Batteries) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with infrastructure firm InfraNomics with the goal of making lithium batteries in Western Australia.

The MoU, signed on 15 September, will evaluate the technical and commercial viability of lithium-ion cell manufacturing in the country focused on eservices the energy storage sector.

AMTE made headlines early this year when it signed a MoU with Britishvolt, to build the UK’s first lithium-ion battery cell gigafactories servicing the automotive and energy storage markets.

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Final 5MW goes live at UK’s largest council-owned battery storage site

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 15:42 -- Paul Crompton

The final 5MW of a 30MW virtual power plant battery storage project has been  commissioned in the UK by distributed energy software firm Kiwi Power.

The Fideoak Mill site in Somerset county includes 22 units designed to help distributed network operator Western Power Distribution improve grid resilience and support increasing renewables penetration in the power mix.

The lithium-ion batteries have been supplied by China battery-maker BYD.

The project is UK’s largest council-owned battery storage site. 

Kiwi Power installed its demand response hardware on all 22 battery units to enable the site to provide grid balancing services to grid operator National Grid. 

Western Power Distribution requires the site be able to respond to constraint signals in the event of a transmission level issue on the grid and the site’s infrastructure was configured to accommodate this.

Kiwi Power will now use co-optimisation— which includes deep industry expertise with an algorithm that makes up to 17,500 decisions per asset per year—  to maximise the council’s return on investment.

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