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Workshop highlights US attraction to zinc-based batteries

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Mike McDonagh

Zinc-based batteries— and their potential role in energy storage system applications— were in the spotlight at an international workshop in New York City hosted by the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries, NAATBatt.

The workshop at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Advanced Science Research Centre at CUNY involved speakers from private industry, government and state organisations, all of whom are involved in designing, improving and eradicating problems in the manufacture and operation of zinc-based batteries.

The original voltaic pile, which used zinc and carbon electrodes was invented in 1800 by Volta, then improved in 1901 by Edison, is undergoing a renaissance, said Dr Mike McDonagh— technical editor of Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine, who attended the workshop.

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MIT team reports life-extension breakthrough for metal-air batteries

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

A new design that could “greatly extend” the shelf life of single-use metal-air batteries for a variety of applications has been unveiled by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The research team said they have found a way to substantially reduce corrosion in batteries, which could benefit electric vehicles, off-grid storage and other applications.

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Albemarle set to invest in Australian lithium joint venture

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

US chemicals company Albermarle has signed an exclusivity agreement to create a potential lithium joint venture in Western Australia.

Albemarle said the agreement with Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) could lead to the creation of a 50-50 joint venture to own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine in the state’s Pilbara region— and “ultimately develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at the site”.

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Vargo takes over at Exide Technologies as Koelsch steps down

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 12:55 -- Hugh Finzel
Tim Vargo

US-based lead-acid giant Exide Technologies has named Timothy Vargo as president and chief executive officer to succeed Vic Koelsch.

Exide said on 14 November Vargo (pictured) had been appointed with immediate effect after Koelsch stepped down. The outgoing CEO will remain as an adviser to Vargo until the end of 2018.

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EDF Renewables signs California solar-storage deals

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The North American arm of EDF Renewables has signed two 20-year solar-plus-storage deals in California.

The company said the agreements are for its Big Beau Solar+Storage (BBSS) Project in Kern County.

The agreements have been signed with Silicon Valley Clean Energy, which will purchase 55% of the systems output, and Monterey Bay Community Power, which will purchase the remaining 45%.

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Missouri campus tests advanced lead microgrids

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
EcoHouse in MUST EcoVillage

Missouri University of Science and Technology (MUST) has installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at its campus EcoVillage, to test advancements in lead battery energy storage for use as a renewable resource in communities of the future.

The microgrids will supply two student-occupied homes in the EcoVillage— a ‘living laboratory’ of homes designed and created by Must students who competed in the US Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon—with stored electricity from the systems, which run off charging algorithms from a 24-hour, cloud-based control system.

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Luminant awarded large-scale Texas storage grant

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Texas-based electric utility Luminant has been awarded a US$1 million grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), to build a battery energy storage system at Luminant’s Upton 2 Solar Power Plant.

Luminant will install a 10 megawatt/42 megawatt-hour lithium-ion energy storage system at the 180MW solar facility— the largest in Texas— near McCamey in Upton County. The battery will capture excess solar energy produced during the day and release it in the late afternoon and early evening periods of peak demand.

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First solar-plus-storage project for Washington State

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Energy Northwest (EN) has committed to building a 1 megawatt energy storage system in Washington— the US state’s first solar-plus-battery plant.

The battery will be combined with a 4MW solar facility to “help the city of Richland meet upcoming state requirements for renewable generation” EN said.

The Horn Rapids Solar Storage & Training Project is being developed with Washington-based Potelco— part of the Quanta Services group— which will finance and build the 20-acre solar PV array, while Energy Northwest will build, own and operate the battery system.

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Caterpillar invests in Fisker for solid-state battery tech.

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The Caterpillar engineering group’s investment arm, Caterpillar Venture Capital (CVC), has invested an undisclosed sum in Fisker— a Californian electric vehicle start-up that is developing solid-state battery technology.

Fisker told BEST Battery Briefing details of the deal were being kept under wraps. However, a spokesperson said the investment, involving “fundamentally different industries”, demonstrated the “mutually recognised importance that electrification solutions will represent to multiple business segments in the future”.

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‘Safer lithium’ start-up Soteria named ‘most fundable’ company

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

South California start-up Soteria Battery Innovation Group has been ranked top of a ‘Most Fundable Companies’ league table launched by a leading US business school.

Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s (PGBS) inaugural list ranked Soteria first for its work to develop and promote materials for lithium-ion batteries that reduce weight, improve safety, and reduce cost.

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