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Redflow completes installation of its biggest zinc bromine flow battery to date

Fri, 01/07/2022 - 09:32 -- Paul Crompton

Flow battery firm Redflow has completed installation of a 2MWh energy storage system for Anaergia in California, US— the Australian firm’s largest single sale of zinc bromide batteries to date.

The energy storage system is designed to reduce peak energy use at clean energy, fertilizer, and recycled water company Anaergia’s Rialto Bioenergy Facility as part of a microgrid. 

The system comprises of 192 zinc-bromine flow batteries, housed in 12 160kWh Redflow Energy Pods and clustered into four strings tied to four 125kW Dynapower inverters.

The microgrid project, funded in part by a grant from the California Energy Commission, consists of the batteries, a biogas conditioning system to support a 2MW biogas-fuelled cogeneration unit and a microgrid control system.

Each of the four battery strings have been successfully charged and discharged and have passed critical acceptance testing criteria. 

The final test of the system will be in January when Siemens plans to integrate the battery into the microgrid controller and the facility can absorb the entire 2MWh load.

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Li Cycle to increase recycling capacity and sign 10-year battery materials offtake deal with LG Chem

Thu, 01/06/2022 - 11:27 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. will increase the capacity of the facility its developed in New York, US by more than 40%.

The Canadian firm will increase the input processing capacity of the ‘Hub’ facility from 25,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes of “black mass” annually (equivalent to around 90,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery equivalent feed annually). 

The Hub will turn black mass into battery grade materials to be returned to the lithium-ion battery supply chain .

The company estimates the Hub will require a total capital investment of around $485 million (+/-15%), which may be funded from existing balance sheet cash.

The Hub will be fully integrated with Li-Cycle’s existing network of facilities across North America that turns end-of-life batteries and battery manufacturing scrap into “black mass” containing nickel, cobalt and lithium.  

Li-Cycle’s Spoke facilities will be the primary suppliers of feedstock for the Hub. 

Once the Hub is fully operational, Li-Cycle expects to become one of the biggest US-based suppliers of battery grade advanced materials. 

Based on independent industry forecasts (including from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence) and the firm’s internal analysis, Li-Cycle estimates there could be nearly 250,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries available for recycling from manufacturing scrap in North America alone by 2025.

Multi-Year Strategic Collaboration with LG

Li-Cycle, LG Chem, and LG Energy Solution have entered into a ten-year manufacturing scrap supply and nickel sulphate off-take agreement non-binding letter of intent. 

The firms intend to cooperate on recycling nickel-bearing lithium-ion battery scrap and certain other lithium-ion battery materials to create a closed-loop ecosystem.  

Beginning in 2023, Li-Cycle will supply LGES and LGC with 20,000 tonnes of nickel contained in nickel sulphate from its Rochester Hub facility in New York. 

LGC and LGES together will make a $50 million equity investment in Li-Cycle at a price of $11.32/per common share, upon completion of the commercial agreements by March 13, 2022. 

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Industry wide consortium to develop 500Wh/kg vehicle battery after $75 million DoE funding

Mon, 12/20/2021 - 10:10 -- Paul Crompton

The Battery500 Consortium— a collaboration of US laboratories and academia that includes Nobel Prize winners— has been awarded $75 million for the second phase of research on high-performing vehicle batteries. 

The cash— $15 million a year over five years, subject to appropriations— was part of $209 million provided by the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) for advancing electric vehicles, batteries and connected vehicles.

Phase 2 will continue research on developing high-energy batteries with a specific energy up to 500Wh/kg, to meet Department of Energy performance and cost goals. 

The collaboration brings together complementary skills and resources in materials, chemistry, condensed matter physics, batteries; and computation from multiple Department of Energy national laboratories, universities, and industry. 

John Goodenough, engineering professor at University of Texas at Austin and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize recipient in chemistry for developing lithium-ion batteries, said: “We have come a long way with fundamental research and development that has led to widespread commercialization of lithium-ion battery technology. 

“As we proceed with automobile electrification, long driving range between charges with acceptable cycle life is critical.”

Industry wide collaboration

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) leads the consortium, with collaborators continuing from Phase 1.

Those collaborators are: Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Binghamton University, the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of Washington.

Tapped to join Phase 2 are scientists from Texas AM University, Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Maryland, and General Motors.

M. Stanley Whittingham, distinguished professor of chemistry at Binghamton University and co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize, said the next phase of the research would allow the consortium to build on the success of the last five years.

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Recycled materials as good as virgin materials for making lithium-ion batteries

Wed, 12/15/2021 - 13:32 -- Paul Crompton

A team from the University in Nevada, US has found lithium-ion batteries using recycled materials operate “at least as well” as batteries made with virgin commercial materials.

The researchers used physical tests, imaging, and computer simulations to compare new cathode materials to those recovered from used electric vehicle batteries using a recycling process being commercialised by Battery Resourcers.

The team was led by Yan Wang, professor in the university’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

The study was published in the journal Joule.

The team showed the recycled LiNi1/3Mn1/3Co1/3O2 had a superior rate and cycle performance, which was verified by various industry-level tests. 

Specifically, the researchers reported 1Ah cells using the recycled material had a 4,200 cycle life and 11,600 cycles at 80% and 70% capacity retention.

Meanwhile, its rate performance is 88.6% better than commercial powders at 5C. 

Wang said: “As demand grows for lithium-ion batteries, it will be important to recycle materials from used batteries, especially batteries from electric vehicles.

“Battery manufacturers want to know that recycled cathode materials are not inferior to new cathode materials. This research shows that recycled materials can electrochemically match or outperform pristine, state-of-the-art cathode materials from tier 1 suppliers.”

Wang collaborated on the paper with researchers from A123 Systems, Battery Resourcers, Argonne National Laboratory, Rice University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC)

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Lead-acid battery replacement market growth spurs lithium-ion firm ABS to triple in size

Fri, 11/19/2021 - 09:42 -- Paul Crompton

Lithium-ion battery maker American Battery Solutions is tripling the size of its Innovation Center in Michigan, US, and adding to its team of battery professionals. 

The company is expanding the size of its facility from 40,000 sq. feet to 115,000 sq. feet and added 75 engineering, test and research jobs to support both internal product development and custom battery pack contracts.

Financial details of the expansion were undisclosed.

The new areas will house additional engineering test laboratories, a hardware-in-the-Loop BMS development laboratory, and a prototype battery pack assembly line to complement the existing module prototype line. 

The expansion will be followed later this year with the introduction of its Industrial Series batteries, which are designed as drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries in motive power applications such as utility vehicles, floor cleaning machines, pallet jacks and mobile elevated work platforms.

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ABC promotes COO to president to drive growth in its bipolar lead battery

Mon, 11/15/2021 - 13:48 -- Paul Crompton

Bipolar lead battery developer Advanced Battery Concepts has promoted its chief operating officer (COO) Michael Everett to president of the US firm.

Everett will lead industrialisation of the company’s processes and develop equipment required for OEMs to manufacture batteries using its patented GreenSeal technology at scale volumes.

The equipment will be for the continuous production of electrode assemblies including execution of novel and efficient transfer pasting methods.

Further development efforts include the architectural definition and the development of formation processes and equipment necessary to produce bipolar batteries. 

Everett said: "By industrialising and commercialising GreenSeal manufacturing equipment, the company has reached yet another significant milestone on its mission to make better batteries available to global energy storage markets.

"GreenSeal batteries unlock much higher value for the lead battery industry than historically achievable, as measured by the higher performance, longer lifetime and more efficient use of raw materials and resources in manufacturing, and there is more to come.”

Dr. Edward Shaffer, CEO and founder of ABC, said: "Michael has been a great addition and contributor to our team and its growth over the past two years. His ability to lead our industrialisation program and focus on process improvements has been a key to his promotion to president.” 

Everett, who joined ABC in 2019 as COO, has previously worked as CTO at ultracapacitor firm Maxwell Technologies and more recently senior vice president engineering at deep cycle lead battery firm Trojan Battery.

Residential storage system

ABC launched a residential storage system using lead batteries to address the growing need for emergency power in the US during September.

The system, called Home Emergency Energy Storage (HEES), relies on the firm’s patented GreenSeal bipolar batteries.

The HEES system can be situated in about eight-square feet of interior space preferably located near the main circuit box. 

The system can provide up to 6kW and draws upon a storage reserve of 18kWh to power critical loads. Run times can be up to two full days.

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Power company to test flow battery’s ability to manage grid services

Thu, 11/11/2021 - 11:02 -- Paul Crompton

US technology conglomerate Honeywell’s flow battery will be tested by Duke Energy to determine its capabilities of storing renewable generated power.

The long-duration 400kWh flow battery unit will store power from wind and solar generation for use during power outages or when the grid is at capacity. 

The system, which can store and discharge electricity for up to 12 hours, is designed with recyclable components and could provide a reliable and cost-efficient system for 20 years, say North Carolina-based Honeywell.

The flow battery technology will be tested at power company Duke Energy’s Emerging Technology and Innovation Center in Mount Holly, North Carolina.

Honeywell will deliver the unit to Duke’s facility next year.

Honeywell aims to deploy a utility-scale pilot project of 60MWh starting in 2023.

Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions, said: “As utilities and corporations seek cost-effective alternatives to coal-fired plants with long-duration energy storage solutions, they are switching to renewable energy targets that work around the clock to reduce carbon emissions. 

“By partnering with Duke, we can implement this innovative energy storage technology at scale and bring to market a revolutionary flow battery to meet growing energy storage demands, while assisting companies in meeting their carbon neutral goals.”

Over the next five years, Duke Energy plans to install almost 400MW of battery storage capacity in its service territory and is interested in so-called breakthrough technologies.

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Connection, collaboration, and discovery as PNNL opens Energy Sciences Center

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 10:30 -- Paul Crompton

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is set to open a new US facility on its Richland campus to accelerate scientific discovery in chemistry, materials science, and computing.

The $90 million Energy Sciences Center will bring together collaborative research among PNNL scientists, industry, and partners at the University of Washington, Washington State University, and other major institutions in the US and abroad.

Core funding came from the U.S. Department of Energy ($90 million) and the State of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund ($8 million, which paid for the purchase of specialised scientific instrumentation), Battelle Memorial Institute and PNNL.

The 140,000-square-foot facility will feature a combination of research laboratories, flexible-use open spaces, conference rooms, and offices for some 200 PNNL researchers, visiting scientists and engineers, and support staff.

The facility will bring together existing and new scientific instrumentation, and around 250 researchers from various disciplines.

IMAGE: PNNL’s Energy Sciences Center (Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

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Storedot plans US innovation hub as it prepares to mass produce fast charging technology

Fri, 11/05/2021 - 10:33 -- Paul Crompton

Fast battery charger firm Storedot is planning to build a US-based innovation hub to drive the development and mass production of solid-state battery technologies. 

The California facility will support Israel-based StoreDot's goal of mass producing its extreme fast charging (XFC) automotive battery technologies by 2024.

The firm will also begin research into next-generation extreme energy density (XED) solid-state capabilities and materials, with the aim of scaling-up the technologies for mass production by 2028. 

Dr Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot CEO, said: "Establishing a facility in California will allow us to harness the world-class talent pool that's available there, with many people and organisations at the forefront of next-generation advancements.

“We are also actively considering establishing a manufacturing partnership in the US, as it's essential that major automotive manufacturing centers have captive capacity, redressing the current imbalance in favour of Asian manufacturers and making batteries where electric vehicles are made."

StoreDot is in “advanced discussions” with automotive manufacturers and is shipping samples for real world testing. 

The company’s technology uses high electrochemical energy nano-particles as active material; organic binders, electrode additives, and electrolyte additives; and a formation process that enables stable solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) for preventing irreversible consumption of electrolyte and lithium ions.

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Æsir set to build nickel-zinc gigafactory to serve back-up power markets

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 15:22 -- Paul Crompton

Battery manufacturer Æsir Technologies is set to build its nickel-zinc gigafactory in South Dakota, US, to service the backup power markets. 

The Rapid City plant’s planned two billion watt hours of production capacity will serve the data center and 5G network back-up power markets.

Phase 1 of the $250 million investment includes the state of South Dakota providing debt support for the building and equipment with funding up to $1 million in workforce development. 

Randy Moore, Æsir’s CEO, said they chose South Dakota because the economic development package put forward by the state was significantly superior to the other 20 locations being considered.

He said: “Incentives offered by many other locations consisted of tax abatements of taxes that don’t exist in South Dakota. 

“Here, the incentives provided true leverage to make our financial plan come together.” 

Æsir said that “most” of the equipment used in the manufacturing process will come from Wirtz Manufacturing in Michigan, US.

The firm plans to directly source its nickel laterites from the Philippines and domestically convert it to nickel hydroxide- the main ingredient for its cathode. 

The data center market has traditionally used lead-acid batteries, but has been turning more and more to lithium-ion.

Bob Galyen, a member of Æsir’s technical advisory board and former CTO of CATL, said: “Of all the possible battery chemistries to be applied in a data center or 5G solution, nickel zinc is probably the best suited due to its energy density, safety attributes, and broad operating temperature range.”

The firm's Joplin facility works with the US Navy and Air Force to develop nickel zinc technology for Virginia Class Submarines and the Minuteman III ICBM, respectively. 

Æsir’s batteries are produced under non-exclusive license to use ZAF Energy Systems’ intellectual property. 

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