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Issue 20: Spring 2018

Charging the future – special supplement on ees international exhibition series ENERGY STORAGE JOURNAL • ISSUE 18 • AUTUMN 2017

New battery formulations Five chemistries to challenge lithium Smoke and mirrors Why energy storage investors are never given the big picture

SimpliPhi’s Von Burg How to mix tested business strategies with new models

Back to basics Not all lithium cells are created equal, so which one goes where

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NEXT GENERATION ESS CHEMISTRIES Lithium ion batteries have become the norm for large scale energy storage systems in the past couple of years. And the chemistry of choice to boot. But there are challenges to its predominance emerging. Energy Storage Journal looked at five rival chemistries and their chance in either the short or long term of making it to become the dominant product. Lithium sulfur — the one to watch Lithium sulfur could well become the successor to lithium ion batteries. The chemistry is safer, the power greater and the material costs lower. But the road to commercialization continues to be a long one.


Sodium ion, the next great leap forward Sodium ion batteries offered a resource that was cheap, easily recyclable and cost effective. Or so it seemed until recently but the economic fundamentals remain a challenge


Zinc air, return to the mainstream Zinc air technology has now found renewed life in secondary battery formats— even as a flow battery.


Magnesium the new lithium? The race to tap the energy density of the metal — it has two available electrons not one like lithium — is on, as the first signs of secondary batteries emerge.


Nickel iron — a new season emerges Nickel-iron technology is neither new nor mainstream but may nevertheless have greater role to play in larger scale systems of the future.



Five chemistries to watch


Could LiS be the new li-ion?



Why eMobility is both a solution to the development of the grid and a vexing problem



A round-up of the latest and most compelling news in finance, business, technology and the life of the industry over the past quarter.



Investment in energy storage may be skyrocketing but the projected return on investment for such projects often remains difficult to calculate with any degree of accuracy…indeed, it’s problematic even getting an accurate handle on their pricing per kilowatt hour.



Simpliphi’s Catherine Von Burg explains her approach to the new emerging business models for energy storage.


The great ESS pricing puzzle 34


• Europe and the future of battery production • Highlights to come: ees Europe 2018 • Review ees North America • Offering energy storage systems as a global solution • Behind the scenes at ees.



An ABC to lithium ion battery differentiation.



Our comprehensive round-up of energy storage conferences, exhibitions, workshops and meetings for the six months ahead. Features writer: Jim Smith Advertising manager: Jade Beevor jade@energystoragejournal,com +44 1 243 792 467

Energy Storage Journal — Business and market strategies for energy storage and smart grid technologies Energy Storage Journal is a quarterly publication. Publisher: Karen Hampton +44 7792 852 337 Editor: Michael Halls, +44 1 243 782 275 Asian editor Debbie Mason

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Research editor: Jane Simpson

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 1

EDITORIAL Mike Halls •

eMobility — both solution and dilemma In 2008, for the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s inhabitants lived in urban or metropolitan areas. And around half a billion of the world’s population live in so-called ‘MegaCities’ — defined as cities with more than 10 million inhabitants. These agglomerations are huge already — just think 35 million people living in the Greater Tokyo Area alone — but are growing rapidly. Greater Mumbai in India is forecast to grow another 10 million people to reach 33 million by 2025.

But there is a dilemma at the heart of our aspirations. How on earth do we make it work?

Most of the troubles of the world arise out of taking on new ideas without investigating to discover if they are good ones. “An idea is just an idea. Almost any one can think up an idea. The thing that counts is developing it into a practical product.” Source: My Life and Work. By the man who defined the modern automotive industry, Henry Ford.

The transportation implications of this are staggering. In the next decade, China alone will have to build some 170 mass transit systems for its cities. The country has to come to terms with a migration in its population of some half a billion people from the fields to the cities in a generation. In India a similar exodus is happening. We’ve never seen a mass migration like this. And it coincides with the sudden arrival of the EV as the next leap forward in transport technology. For those looking at this larger picture the rise of eMobility is now reckoned as the final piece in the jigsaw of how renewable energy will be integrated into the power grids of the future. Electric vehicles, so our thinking goes, will provide a vast reservoir of energy storage that can be tapped by the grid. Combine this with the idea of the virtual power plant and a new and exciting world emerges. Why build a peaker plant to cope with special times during the day when that extra electricity is needed? Expand this further to time-shifting, using storage to balance the grid for extended periods of time? And shorter periods too — if you can snatch a fraction of energy of a fleet of EVs parked and charging, problems of grid balancing can be managed easily. The theory of this all is sound — though we have to be frank and say we heard this all in some kind of theoretical shape at least a decade ago. And to be brutal, the prophets of the EV revolution that was going to deliver these benefits, got it hopelessly wrong, It didn’t emerge circa 2015 and is still a few years away from anything 2 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

But a dream anyway. And a noble one at that. Incorporating renewable and non-polluting energy into every corner of our lives isn’t too be criticized.

The technology to have a two-way stream between charging up a network of energy storage batteries — be they EVs or larger scale ESS — is here. Or effectively so. The initial deployments may be mostly at the trial levels but it’s clear the thing will work.

But it’s the financial practicalities that have to be overcome if we ever turn our dreams into a reality. And that’s the cost of it all. An example from history (my own). A lifetime ago as a young financial journalist I was one of an elite few that witnessed the signing of the then biggest loan in UK commercial history. The year was 1987. And the largest ever syndicate of international banks — think Citi, JPMorgan, Chase Manhattan, Barclays, BNP, UBS — had gathered to agree an enormous project financing. The project was to finance construction of a tunnel linking Britain to France. The facility was for £5 billion (then $9 billion). Such was the enthusiasm for the project that the lemming effect kicked in. In all 170 international banks agreed to be part of the lending group. The French and the UK governments joined the party too. And two years later the refinancings began and then the refinancings of the refinancings,. In the event it ended in tears and would result in the bankruptcy of the Channel Tunnel. What seemed odd about it — at least to those of us nifty with a calculator and with a healthy disregard for contractors’ promises of finishing on time — was that there seemed no way that these bankers would get their shareholders’ money back. With interest rates in double digits the train line would have to make a profit — not turnover but profit — of $3 million a day just to stay even. And that’s 1987 figures. Not forgetting, the $9 billion of capital that would have to be repaid at some point. Just think of the

EDITORIAL revenues needed to generate that! I can’t remember our final guesstimate but we ended up reckoning that trains would have to run every 20 minutes around the clock and be completely full for the project to work. And, of course, any construction delays would be catastrophic. The slightest disruptions to the service would haemorrhage money. In the end the tunnel came in some 80% over budget. The bankers weren’t necessarily stupid. Their credit committees would have gone through the numbers in the same way that we did. Their fault was that they suffered from that odd mix that characterizes humanity on the edge of gross stupidity — optimism, enthusiasm dashed with the urge to run with the herd. It’ll all work out in the end. Now let’s ostrich like put our head in the sand and look up when it’s all over. But isn’t there something happening now that is very similar? In one way we should pin our dreams on creating the vision of this integrated solution that eliminates the need for fossil fuels and should lead us, in the end, to a cheaper, as well as cleaner, future. The question now — as per Mr Edison’s thoughts at the top of this column. Is it practical? Can we make this idea work? The obvious answer is that if you throw enough money at anything a lot of problems will go away. And huge dollops of government money are being thrown at the issue. But will they — or can they? — be enough? The EV charging infrastructure across Europe has grown by around 40% a year since 2013. New regulations state that all new houses in EU countries must have an EV charging port as of 2019. So, by 2023, that will amount to 10% of all buildings and parking spaces. This is enormously positive but it is the existing housing stock that is going to be the problematic — what will be done with the countless rows of houses where off-street parking is the norm? (In the US and Europe around one-third of cars are parked kerbside.) The answer will almost certainly entail — as per the installation of cable — ripping up the roads. Trailing leads from the home across the pavement to the curb won’t happen. The billing system for charging will be complicated but manageable. What will the cost of this huge investment of ripping up the streets of half the developed world be? It’s clear it’s going to be huge.

And it’s not just the cost of installation but the cost of interruption which in most advanced countries will almost certainly have a billion dollar figure — all told — attached to it for any city larger than a couple of million people living in it. And then, for the e-mobile revolution to work it will require that every electric vehicle will need almost certainly two, perhaps even three, additional charging points to be connected. A couple of dozen in a supermarket parking lot will be ridiculously few when EVs are the new standard. What about the charging points at the workplace too? So a rather bleak picture of the huge cost of the price of e-mobility. But the fact is, we have little choice over the matter. The fossil fuel alternative is hugely expensive too and even more frighteningly so. Figures for car ownership are going to soar — even though the mileage driven by individual cars is likely to fall. The OECD’s International Transport Forum predicts ownership would reach 2.5 billion by 2050. That’s up from 1 billion on the road as of late 2016. Somewhere around 2035, comfortably within the lifetimes of most of the readers of this magazine, a fleet of just 2 billion cars would need to run on around 120 million barrels of oil a day. That’s up from 78 million a day at present. Oil production will be unable to meet this huge demand. Or almost certainly to be the case. eMobility will be the only game in town if we want the troubled freedom that only cars to bring.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 3


Concentric Power launches $100m fund for CHP and microgrid projects Hybrid microgrid company Concentric Power announced on February 7 it had launched a $100 million finance program to fund microgrid, and combined heat and power projects over the next two years. The program, backed by an undisclosed institution-

al fund, will use the same power purchase agreement model used in the renewables industry to sell energy to end users without the need for them to buy assets. The funding for agricultural projects will range from $1 million to $40 million per scheme, which will range from 400kW to

tens of MWs in scale using various technologies, but typically a combined heat and power unit paired with lithium ion batteries. Brian Curtis, founder and CEO of Concentric Power, said: “The next 20 years will be transformative for how electric power is generated and consumed. Industrial

Brian Curtis, CEO and founder of Concentric Power discusses where the firm will fit in the larger scale of the industry. Can you tell me how much of the money is allocated to microgrids? Curtis: The funding will finance both cogeneration and microgrid projects, ranging from $1 million to $40 million per project. We do not have predetermined allocations for the various technologies. Customers’ needs drive the technology selections, however, most projects we encounter have some degree of ‘microgrid’ strategy. In some cases, the infrastructure requirements beyond generation can be extensive. At what scale will those microgrids be?  Curtis: We tend to think in terms of generation capacity when we think about scale, so from that perspective, we typically range from 400kW up to tens of megawatts. From a storage capacity perspective, we tend to focus on mitigating demand spikes and complementing generation in the context of spiky industrial and agricultural operations rather than large peak shifting. Ultimately, a microgrid design depends on facility load characteristics and whether a system is connected to the grid.  For example, with a grid-tied system that profiles high spikes, we might pair a 2MWh lithium-ion battery system to go with a 2MW natural gas genset sized at 80%-90% of the facility load. The ratios change when you get into grid-isolated configurations.

4 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

and agricultural consumers see these shifts coming, but would often rather invest capital in their core business rather than in plant utilities. “Concentric’s technology strategy and finance program enable customers to utilize third party financing to roll out sustainable infrastructure.”

Curtis: The average project size will be in the $5 million to $10 million range, so we’re expecting 15-20 projects, a large portion of which will incorporate microgrid aspects. Will you explain further on what an agricultural energy finance program is? 

Brian Curtis, CEO and founder of Concentric Power

What technology do the microgrids use? Are they a combination of lithium ion, diesel generation, cogeneration (CHP)? Curtis: Typically, we use natural gas reciprocating engines to drive a cogen unit paired with lithium-ion batteries. We have also developed low temperature absorption chillers for refrigeration applications running as low as minus 60°F Given our start in the food and agricultural industries, we have also been working a lot in greenhouse and indoor farming applications, which need electric power, heating, cooling, dehumidification and CO2 fertilization for crops. We do not typically incorporate diesel generation except as temporary power for which we almost always provide provisions to plug in for emergency or maintenance.  How many projects will there be, and what percentage will be microgrids? 

Curtis: This program is designed to fund the development and installation of microgrid or cogen systems for agricultural use. To use the fund, customers will not buy the infrastructure but rather the energy output.  Our customers can move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy system that carries financial benefits, without the capital outlay required to purchase and operate a cogen/ microgrid system. In other words, no up front capital required, similar to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) business model you see in the solar and wind industries. In developing the program, we identified specific project parameters that projects will need to achieve to qualify for the program. For instance, the parameters for one type of microgrid projects include a behind-the-meter electric power infrastructure with medium voltage switchgear, at least one form of onsite power generation, and provisions for additional prime power generation, renewable, solar, storage or backup generation.  These pre-established guidelines eliminate the guesswork involved in funding decisions.  Basically, if the project fits within the parameters, the project qualifies for the available capital.


Lithium Werks buys assets of Valence Technology Lithium Werks, the Dutch battery and energy group, has acquired substantially all the assets of Valence Technology, including the customer relationships, global manufacturing, sales and distribution locations along with Valence’s proprietary LiFePO4 intellectual property, trademarks, and inventory. The IP portfolio also includes patents on high voltage battery materials for potential future battery breakthroughs. The US subsidiary of Lithium Werks, was set up by

Joseph Fisher and Christian Ringvold in March last year, has a portfolio of lithium iron phosphate, lithium polymer and nickel manganese cobalt products in cylindrical and pouch formats. Fisher has a long association with the battery industry working for Energizer Holdings between 1975 and 2007. He was previously the vice president of commercial sales at A123 Systems — he joined the firm in June 2014 and left in March last year. Previous to that he was CEO and president of Valence from November 2012

to June 2014 after spending several months as an independent director of the firm. He was part of the team that developed the turnaround plan that took Valence out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In July 2012 Valence filed for Chapter11 bankruptcy citing $31.5 million in assets and some $82.6 million in liabilities. It emerged from Chapter 11 in November 2013 the following year as a private company owned by Berg & Berg. Venture capital investor Carl Berg helped found the company.

Valence’s descent into Chapter 11 in 2012 was followed by A123 Systems filing for the same in October that year. Lithium Werks has sales offices in the US, the UK, and Shenzhen, China. Valence has its headquarters in Austin, Texas and facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mallusk,  Northern Ireland and Suzhou, China. “This is the first acquisition of Lithium Werks and it immediately provides the company with a strong global presence”, said Knut Nylaende, chairman and co-founder. Valence Technology, was formed in 1989. It was the first firm to introduce lead acid replacement batteries using LiFePO4 cells.

Litarion insolvency process to protect parent company Electrovaya announced on January 25 it had begun a voluntary insolvency process on its German lithium ion battery subsidiary Litarion, amid financial concerns and the termination of its manufacturing facility leasehold. Li-Tec Battery, the wholly owned Daimler subsidiary, and owner of the premises had notified the company that it would terminate Litarion’s lease on January 31

unless certain conditions were met. Those conditions included payment of rent costs and other expenses of the premises totalling €2 million ($2.4 million), a company official said. “Electrovaya was prepared to make that payment and renew the lease, but negotiations were unsuccessful and the company determined insolvency was its best course of action. “The lease termination

was a catalyst for this decision. However, Electrovaya also believes this decision was important for the overall health of the company. Carrying Litarion was resulting in significant operating losses and cash burn.” The Litarion facility in Kamenz, Germany, manufactured electrode and separator components. The company will fulfill customer orders by obtaining components through other, established

supply chains, said Electrovaya. It said it no longer needed its own contract manufacturing facilities and expected it would not affect its ability to fulfill customer orders for its cells, modules and battery systems. The voluntary structured insolvency process should end with the appointment of a provisional receiver/liquidator of Litarion and its property by the German court.

SunEdison emerges from Chapter 11 after two year restructuring For the record renewable energy company SunEdison emerged from the US insolvency law known as Chapter 11 as a privately held company, albeit one with a smaller portfolio following a $2.3 billion gross asset sale, it announced on December 29, 2017. The Maryland, US, based company announced that its Plan of Reorganization had finally become effective after the bankruptcy court for the southern district of New York first confirmed the plan on July 28, 2017.

During its time in Chapter 11, the company has been forced to sell its most valuable assets — its interests in non-debtor affiliates TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global. The company says it will continue to focus on monetizing its remaining assets. As part of the restructuring, Richard Katz has been named as the chairman and chief executive officer of the company. Its former CEO and president, Ahmed Chatila, resigned in June 2016 just two months after the company’s domestic and

international subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11. He was succeeded as CEO by John Dubel, who was made the company’s chief restructuring officer in April. Chatila was the CEO of MEMC Electronic Materials when the silicon wafer and semiconductor firm bought Sun Edison for $200 million in 2009. Chatila joined Sun Edison that same year. In 2013, the whole company was known as SunEdison and its semiconductor business was sold off. SunEdison then bought

wind developer Wind First for $2.4 billion in 2014, and the following summer announced a definitive agreement to buy Vivant Solar for $2.2 billion, which would have allowed its subsidiary TerraForm Power to acquire 523MW rooftop solar portfolio. However, the buy-out was opposed by numerous people. And by March 2016, Vivint announced it had terminated the deal, and filed a $1 billion lawsuit against SunEdison for breach of contract.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 5


Firms scramble to secure cobalt supplies amid global price spike The scramble for a guaranteed supply of cobalt continues. Recent news reports suggest that Apple and Samsung are looking at different ways of longterm sourcing of the metal, According to news agency Bloomberg, the tech giant Apple was looking in February for several thousand tonnes of cobalt for up to five years. Cobalt is an essential ingredient for batteries in the iPhone and iPad. Previously reports suggested Korean firm Samsung SDI was to buy a stake in an unnamed company that has the technology to recycle cobalt from old batteries. Samsung would not confirm whether this was the case. However, if true, it would prove a shrewd move for the company, which supplies lithium ion cells to automotive OEMs including Tesla and BMW, amid a price spike and a forecast global shortage by 2020. The technologies to extract minerals from spent batteries could add 25,000 tonnes of supply by 2025, according to projections by commodity analysts CRU Group. Speculation is that once cobalt supplies from phones stabilize, Samsung SDI may follow Toyota. and Panasonic in extracting materials from used hybrid electric vehicles. BMW and Volkswagen are also known to be seeking long-term supply contracts for cobalt. Cobalt prices more than doubled on the London Metal Exchange last year, reaching a nine-year peak of $81,500 a tonne on February 9. Recently Batteries International (issue 104) reported how industry experts were predicting a cobalt shortage within the next three years. There is also concern that the Democratic Republic of Congo, which pro-

LME cobalt spot price ($)

6 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

duced 64% of global cobalt supply in 2016, is also renegotiating financial terms with mining firms in the country. Last month DRC officials confirmed plans to introduce a new code that could mean royalties on cobalt rise from 2% to 10%, if the government decides to categorize the mineral as a strategic substance. The code, if signed into law, would mean that mining firms such as Glencore, Randgold Resources, China Molybdenum, Eurasian Resources Group, MMG and Ivanhoe Mines, would pay higher royalties on metals including cobalt, as well as a new 50% tax on super profits — income realized when commodity prices rise 25% above levels included in a project’s bankablefeasibility study. Amid this instability a Glencore spokesman told Energy Storage Journal mid-February, that it was business as usual at its upgraded Katanga operation in DRC, which is set to produce 11KT of cobalt this year, and a predicted 34KT in 2019. The importance of the material is set to rise with the adoption of electric vehicles and energy storage systems. If the trend continues, lithium ion battery manufactures will need around 89.1KT of refined cobalt by 2022, according to Darton Commodities. This is a sharp rise from 2016 when just over half (47.2 KT) of the material was used in the battery industry. In 2015 multinational minerals firm Umicore set in motion plans to invest around €25 million ($31.2 million) at its site in Olen, Belgium, to upgrade its cobalt refining and recycling plant to increase its production of cobalt and also increase its ability to recycle co-

balt and nickel-bearing residues. An Umicore official told Energy Storage Journal: “The construction work to upgrade and expand the cobalt and nickel refinery in Olen (Belgium) is well underway and the facility is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2018. We don’t disclose the capacity, but what I can say is that it is relatively small compared to our own cobalt supply need.” According to reports via newswire Reuters, vehicle OEM BMW is set to close a 10-year deal to ensure a supply of lithium and cobalt. “The aim is to secure the supply all the way down to the level of the mine, for 10 years. The contracts are ready to be signed,” Markus Duesmann, BMW’s board of management member for purchasing and supplier network, told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. Meanwhile the hunt for cobalt alternatives for high energy batteries continues. Researchers at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and partnered by the US’s Argonne National Laboratory said in January that they had developed a lithium battery that replaces cobalt with iron oxide. This would be cheaper but can also cycle more lithium ions than its common lithium-cobalt-oxide counterpart, technology that has been on the market for 20 years: “Because there is only one lithium ion per one cobalt, that limits of how much charge can be stored What’s worse is that current batteries in your cell phone or laptop typically only use half of the lithium in the cathode,” says professor of materials science and engineering Christopher Wolverton, the leader of the project, “The fully rechargeable battery starts with four lithium ions, instead of one. The current reaction can reversibly exploit one of these lithium ions, significantly increasing the capacity beyond today’s batteries. But the potential to cycle all four back and forth by using both iron and oxygen to drive the reaction is tantalizing. “Four lithium ions for each metal — that would change everything,” Wolverton said. “That means that your phone could last eight times longer or your car could drive eight times farther.”


GE partners with start-up Arenko on 41MW UK ESS Energy storage start-up Arenko announced on February 5 that it had chosen General Electric to deliver a 41MW lithium ion energy storage system to ensure security of supply to 100,000 UK homes. The strategic alliance will combine GE’s technology with London-based Arenko’s experience of the UK market as well as its proprietary energy trading software platform.

The ESS, sited in the Midlands, should begin operations in 2018 when it will be used to balance supply and demand close to real time to stabilize grid frequency and support the mid-term response to grid imbalances as increasing amounts of renewable energy is deployed in the area. It will be commercially operated though Arenko’s software to digitally deploy

energy and access multiple services and system needs. The system is expected to be operational within the next few months. Rupert Newland, chief executive, Arenko Group, said: “Changing consumer demands, increasing adoption of renewable energy and security of supply are driving the need for innovative energy networks to deliver a more efficient power system.

UK’s largest lithium storage system commissioned as part of EFR tender Commissioning of two lithium ion energy storage systems totalling 50MW has been completed in the UK by VLC Energy Facilities using Japanese firm NEC Corporation’s grid storage technology, it was announced on January 8. The portfolio by VLC Energy, a joint venture between renewable energy investment company Low Carbon and VPI Immingham, includes a 40MW facility in Glassenbury in Kent and a 10MW installation in Cleator in Cumbria. NEC Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, provided turnkey engineering, procurement and construction services, which included its GSS end-to-end grid storage solution. The company is contracted to operate the sites and provide the EFR service directly to National Grid. Energy storage operation for EFR will be handled by an automated operating mode designed specifically for the UK frequency response service, and is part of the AEROS controls system, NEC’s proprietary energy storage control software. Justin Thesiger, operations director at Low Carbon,

said: “Sites such as these are fundamental to our energy security and also to realizing the full potential of renewable electricity generation that hit record levels earlier this year.” The projects were awarded in 2016’s National Grid Enhanced Frequency Response tender, which saw 201MW of battery ESSs chosen to provide frequency response grid-scale services to the country’s transmission operator.

Last October E.ON announced it was the first of the EFR tender winners to complete an installation and grid connection with its 10MW lithium ion battery. One of the biggest projects in the EFR tender was won by Renewable Energy Systems. However, last August the project to build a 20MW project in West Lothian, Scotland, was bought by London-based investment company The Renewables Infrastructure Group for

“As traditional centralized generation comes under increasing pressure, energy storage projects such as those announced by Arenko and GE, will be crucial to maximize generation capacity, ensure efficient energy utilization and improve the operational efficiency of the grid. “Furthermore, one of the key benefits of building energy storage is the impact it has on consumer bills by relieving pressure on the grid during peak hours and delivering stored or surplus energy at off peak prices. £20 million ($25.9 million). RES will still build and operate the project, which is due for commissioning early this year. Last December, RES announced it had also won permission to build a second ESS in Scotland at the Roaring Hill Energy Storage facility near Glenrothes. RES were not the only company to sell their tender. Italian company Enel bought Element Power’s 12.5MW project for around €20 million ($24 million). The Tynemouth project is due to be completed next month..

Global microgrid deployment touches 21GW as ME&A increases capacity Grid-tied and remote microgrid deployment has reached almost 20GW through 1,869 different projects, according to a report by industry analysts Navigant Research. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, the firm’s Microgrid Deployment Tracker found microgrid projects in the proposal, planning, and deployed stages had steadily risen throughout 2017 across seven microgrid segments and six geographies. While Europe showed

a fall in capacity, the Middle East & Africa region rose to be the third highest geographical area (behind Asia and North America) for microgrid capacity. In part, the boost was due to the commercial and industrial 2.2GW installed with oil comapny’s Saudi Aramco project in Shaybah, Saudi Arabia, which helped the area move to more than 3GW of total capacity. However, the report found that remote pro-

jects continued to lead all microgrid segments in both capacity and number of projects. Adam Wilson, research analyst with Navigant Research, said: “While Asia Pacific and North America still account for almost three-quarters of all microgrid capacity in the tracker, the major shift in this update is the Middle East & Africa. For the first time, the tracker identified projects — some 32 of them — that are on hold..

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 7

Engineered additive solutions for the future of energy storage.




Siemens invests in blockchain tech start-up LO3 Energy For the record, manufacturing firm Siemens invested in December an undisclosed amount of money in US tech start-up LO3 Energy. The German company aims to seize first mover advantage in the use of block-chain technology as it explores ways of ensuring a secure future power supply. The company joined British gas firm Centrica — through its innovations and venture unit Centrica Innovations — and New York-based investor Braemer Energy as LO3 closed out its series ‘A’ funding round. Terms of all three investments remain undisclosed. Siemens’ investment follows the company working in collaboration with Brooklyn-based LO on its Brooklyn Microgrid project. That project allows the trading of energy between 60 participants through blockchain technology. In turn, LO3 Energy has benefitted from Siemens’ development of microgrids such as the one that has been operating in Wildpol-

dsried, a village in southern Germany, since 2014. A spokesman from Siemens told Energy Storage Journal that the company would be aiming to roll out similar projects to that seen in Brooklyn across Germany, the US, UK and Australia. Lawrence Orsini, CEO of LO3 Energy, said: “Over

the years, our partnership with Siemens was integral to the success in the Brooklyn Microgrid, and will continue to be for years to come “Siemens’ commitment to transactive energy on the blockchain is a vote of confidence for our approach to developing microgrid communities and grid-edge ser-

vices across the globe. “Extracting data from the grid-edge and combining it with Siemens grid technology will create a comprehensive marketplace experience for participants and neighbours to make sound choices about how they intend to purchase, sell and use their energy.”

More hybrid ESSs deployment set to follow 1MW Massachusetts system Greensmith Energy, now part of the Wärtsilä technology group, announced mid-February it will deliver a 1MW/2MWh lithium ion energy storage system after being selected by US solar company Origis Energy USA. John Jung, CEO at Greensmith Energy, told Energy Storage Journal: “The Sterling project is important because of its location in the north-east and uses energy storage to increase grid reliability. “While grid conditions in markets like PJM and California, which are early

adopters to grid-scale energy storage, are different than the north-east, the technology innovations created are highly relevant and beneficial for this solarintegrated application in Sterling. “Both Massachusetts and New York have storage mandates that are driving much new activity, making this the first of what we are sure will be many more similar systems deployed in the area over the near future. “This is an example of how integration of renewables and storage is going

to become increasingly important in the region and how storage can make solar more reliable and a baseload fuel.” The US company, founded in 2008, will use LG Chem cells and Sungrow bi-directional inverters for the hybrid PV and battery system in Sterling, Massachusetts. The ESS will include a software platform that integrates the technologies to smooth peak loads and ensure security of supply to the municipality and state. The project was ordered in Q4 of 2017, and is due to be completed in March.

German 2.5MW Li-ion research BESS commissioned Energy storage firm Ads-Tec announced on January 18 it had commissioned a 2.5MW/2.5MWh lithium ion battery energy storage system and would be testing the technology’s ability to smooth renewable energy generation on the Germany grid. The ESS will be used for grid services and to research smart grid functionality as the federal

states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein aim for a 100% renewable energy supply by 2035, a key goal in North Germany’s so-called ‘energy revolution 4.0’. The research project has been sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics, and forms part of the 4.0 scheme announced in December 2016, which aims to ensure a security of sup-

10 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

ply to around 4.5 million residents. The battery power plant was installed last December, and is connected to the grid at the Wind to Gas Energy’s site in Brunsbüttel, a town in Schleswig-Holstein. The system uses AdsTec’s StoraXe technology, which can be scaled up to multiple MW/MWh, and the German firm’s IT management system.

Housed in a 40-foot container the ESS will store and release power from/to the grid in milliseconds to smooth energy peaks from the inherently unstable generation of power from renewable sources. Together with Frauenhofer ISIT from Itzehohe, the system is being used to test alternative operating concepts for battery storage systems.


Arizona to build biggest 50MW solar plus storage facility A 50MW solar and energy storage system is to be deployed in Arizona, US, after power utility Arizona Public Service and PV maker First Solar announced a joint renewable energy project on February 12. The project will be one of the biggest electrochemical ESSs in the country, and will be the largest in Arizona by a factor of five (there’s a 10MW lead acid project in Phoenix and a 10MW lithium nickel manganese cobalt system in Tucson), according to the US Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Exchange database. First Solar will build and operate the facility, which includes a 65MW solar field. Arizona Public Service has signed a 15-year power-purchase agreement with First Solar that will enable the utility to perform peak shifting, grid-scale services. APS plans to adopt more than 500MW of additional battery storage over the next 15 years, said a company statement. The project was developed in response to APS’s request for peaking capacity resources between 3pm and 8pm during the summer. The facility should begin service in 2021, and will be built directly adjacent to the existing APS Redhawk Power Plant in western Maricopa County.   In January, APS announced plans — which are before the Arizona Corporation Commission, to support and boost accessibility of electric vehicles.  The proposals include: • outfitting new homes with pre-wiring for vehicle charging outlets; helping Arizona businesses and cities electrify their

fleet; • providing free electric buses and charging stations to select school districts; • increasing the number of charging stations, and placing charging stations in multi-family housing

locations. Last year a report by The Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales Forecast Through 2025 and the Charging Infrastructure Required, forecast there

would be more than seven million plug-in electric vehicles on US roads by 2025. The report suggested that around five million charging ports would be needed to support this growth, in domestic and commercial/ work places.

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Enel deal secures 17% share of Japan’s demand response market Power operator Enel Group is set to become the largest demand response aggregator in Japan after agreeing a deal to boost its virtual power plant output capacity from 60MW to 165MW, the company announced on February 8. The deal was awarded to the Italian company’s Enel X subsidiary, through its Massachusetts, US, demand response services subsidiary EnerNOC. When the new programs become operational in July, Enel will have a 17% market share in Japan’s demand response capacity market.

Enel will create a power reserve for grid-balancing service by managing electricity demand from large industrial and commercial customers connected to a utilities’ grid. An Enel official told Energy Storage Journal: “We see markets across all regions of the world increasingly turning to demand response. Demand response increases the economic efficiency of electricity systems by unlocking new resources to help meet peak demand and balance the grid day-to-day. “On top of that, the increasing penetration of un-

programmable, renewable sources is creating scope for new applications and a greater need for demand response.” The deal follows a balancing reserve bid issued by Japanese utilities, part of the country’s process of market liberalization as it looks to create an ancillary services market, which is expected to become operational by 2020. Francesco Venturini, manager of Enel X, said: “This result further strengthens our presence in the demand management market, following the recent success

achieved in the first capacity auction in Ireland, and confirms us as a leading supplier of advanced energy management solutions.” Enel X announced on January 30 it had been awarded 217MW of demand response resources after Ireland’s first capacity market auction run by transmission system operators in Ireland and Northern Ireland. EnerNOC first entered the Japan market in 2013 through a joint venture with Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading and investment company.

Belgium Li-ion ESS fire cause still unknown The cause of a fire at Belgium’s first grid-connected lithium ion battery energy storage park is still unknown several months after the incident, the park’s operator Engie Electrabel, a subsidiary of French utility Engie, has confirmed to Energy Storage Journal. The fire on November 11 occurred during the commissioning phase at the Engie Ineo battery container at the company’s test site in Drogenbos, near Brussels.  The 6MW project was the first time an ESS was to be used for grid Frequency Containment Reserve services in Belgium. The ESS was set to use the ESS for grid balancing via the primary reserve managed by Elia, the Belgian transmission system operator. The 1MW Ineo Scle container was heavily damaged, and two neighbouring containers by GE and Alfen suffered light, but repairable damage. An Engie official confirmed that the fire started in the Ineo Scle battery container, and that the

causes were not yet defined. The spokesman said the Engie Energy storage Park in Drogenbos was set to be a technology platform that would enable Engie to better understand how to operate batteries.

12 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

The suppliers of the ESSs at the Engie Energy Storage Park are Ineo Scle Sfe, Alfen, GE, and Younicos with a combined total of 6MW. Alfen announced last September that it had delivered its 1MW system to the site.

The company was responsible for the full end-to-end integration of the ESS, including the software platform for frequency control, integration in the local energy system and connection to the high-voltage grid.

Denmark’s Ørsted to deploy Taiwan’s first ESS project Taiwan is set to deploy its first energy storage system after Danish energy firm Ørsted announced plans on February 8 to invest in a 1MW lithium ion pilot project on the island. The demonstration facility in Changhua County will allow Taiwanese institutions — industry, academia and government — to test how an ESS can support the grid, and in turn how it could support the country’s renewable energy transition. An Ørsted official told Energy Storage Journal: “The storage pilot will be at least 1MW in size. The exact size will be decided once the location is confirmed by the Changhua

County government. After that we expect to be able to set up the storage unit within 12 months.” The company has already begun using energy storage within its existing assets at the UK offshore wind farm Burbo Bank and the EnergyLab Nordhavn project in Denmark. The company, which was renamed last November from Dong Energy, is part of a consortium leading energy storage research in the country. This includes Changhua County Government, Taipower, Industrial Technology Research Institute and National Changhua University of Education. ITRI will lead the energy

storage research by working with education institutions in Changhua, with Changhua university the first to join the project. Martin Neubert, Ørsted’s executive vice president and CEO of Wind Power, said he believed Taiwan had the potential to become a green energy hub in Asia like Denmark was in Europe. Denmark is in a transition phase, having reduced its coal consumption by 73% in the last decade, and set to fully phase out coal by 2023. It now has a 25% global share in the offshore wind market, powering 9.5 million people, with the goal of reaching 30 million people by 2025.


New York governor sets out plan to install 1.5GW storage by 2025 The governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, announced in January ambitious plans to update the state’s energy infrastructure includes investing $200 million to install 1.5GW of energy storage by 2025. Cuomo unveiled the 20th  proposal in the 2018 State of the State address, which outlined the state’s agenda to reduce greenhouse gas  emissions from peaker plants and grow the amount of renewably sourced power in the energy mix to 50% — including 2.4GWs of offshore wind by 2030. New York, along with other states in the area, is committed to halving the amount of greenhouse gas  emissions generated by power plants by 2020, as set out in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Last August, the RGGI was amended to include a further 30% cap by 2030. To do this, the state is integrating more renewable energy sources onto its grid, and energy storage is seen as a way of storing and dispatching power without disrupting the transmission grid. In December Cuomo signed into law a bill to develop an Energy Storage Deployment programme up to 2030, making New York the fourth state — behind California, Oregon and Massachusetts — to have clear energy storage targets and mandates put in place. The ESD programme will be run by New York Energy Research and Development Authority and the Long Island Power Authority. Cuomo, is directing NYSERDA to invest at least $60 mil-

Cuomo unveiled the 20th proposal in the 2018 State of the State address

lion through storage pilots and activities to reduce barriers to deploying energy storage, including permitting, customer acquisition, interconnection, and financing costs. The bill as revised directs the Public Service Commis-

India set for large-scale ESS deployment in 2018, says IESA India is set to deploy a number of megawatt-scale lithium ion energy storage systems in the next six months in both the renewable, commercial and industrial sectors, according to a statement by the Indian Energy Storage Alliance in early January. The organization’s executive director Rahul Walawalkar said the country will see megawatt-scale deployments during 2018, as well as adding more than 1GWh of lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing capacity. IESA expects construction work on at least two lithium-ion cell manufacturing plants of 500MWh+ to start in India this year, with completion due by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Last year India achieved

sales of 2GWh of advanced energy storage solutions, led in part to telecom towers in the early deployment stages. In 2017 more than 100MWh of grid-scale energy storage project request for proposals were released. One of those projects, by state-run coal mining and power firm NLC India, will see 20MW solar PV combined with 28MWh of energy storage capacity in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Last December the IESA entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Indo-German Energy Forum to promote and facilitate energy storage business among German and Indian stakeholders. The alliance estimates that India’s storage mar-

ket could reach as much as 70GW (150GWh200GWh) by 2022 in the full range of applications covering grid-scale energy storage, micro-/mini-grids, and the electric vehicle market. The Indo-German Energy Forum was established in 2006 to promote energy security, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and investment in energy projects, collaborative research, and development in partner countries. Last month, IESA announced a start-up competition, which is being held in Delhi between January 10-12, in a bid to find Indian companies that can manufacture energy storage systems. IESA said: “This is India’s

sion to determine by December 31, 2018 the appropriate suite of policies  that would help drive towards a long-term  energy storage deployment goal. This process will be informed by NYSERDA’s forthcoming energy storage roadmap. first start-up competition focused on energy storage, electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and micro-grids. “Energy storage remains a big challenge in the country, which will be a critical input for the success of electric cars. At this point, energy storage solutions are nonexistent and where they are in odd cases, they are prohibitively expensive.” IESA has also launched MICRO — the microgrid initiative for campus and rural opportunities — with the goal of making microgrids economically self-sustainable and to reduce the levelized cost of energy by 30%50% by 2020 against the 2016 baseline. Microgrids are thought to be a suitable way to bring a secure power supply to the estimated 300 million people in India without electricity, as of 2012 according to the International Energy Agency.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 13


Canadian mineral firms set to compete in ESS arena Two Canadian mineral firms — MGX Minerals and Golden Share Resources Corporation — announced on January 30 that they were looking to make moves into unusual forms of large scale energy storage. Vancouver-based MGX Minerals is developing a scaled-up zinc-air battery through its wholly-owned subsidiary ZincNyx Energy Solutions. MGX has also taken control of 20 metal air battery and fuel cell patents as a result of the acquisition of ZincNyx, which it acquired last December. It follows an announcement in January that it had cured the problem of zinc dendrite growth in flow batteries. The company says the system uses zinc

dendrites as fuel by consuming them as part of its normal operation. With phase II design and testing completed, MGX is in the final commercial design stage for mass production of its 20kWh capacity zinc-air mass storage battery. The 20kW/160kWh modules quadruple the energy and power capabilities of MGX’s previous systems. These next generation systems are modular and will allow for deployment of containerized systems capable of providing up to 1MW of power. Meanwhile, Golden Share Resources Corporation has teamed up with non-profit technology company Battelle Memorial Institute in a

project to research and develop vanadium technologies. The two-year agreement for commercializing technology will mean Battelle, through the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, itself a US Department of Energy research laboratory, investigate solid-state vanadium batteries. On paper, solid-state vanadium batteries have the advantage of high energy density and potentially simplified battery cell design over the traditional solidstate and redox flow batteries. PNNL will continue to further develop high energy density vanadium redox flow battery electrolyte. The project costs, around

Redflow begins manufacturing at new production factory in Thailand Flow battery firm Redflow has begun making full battery stacks at its new production facility in Thailand, after successfully starting the manufacture of high density polyethylene plastic electrode inserts for its zincbromine technology. Redflow last year decided to relocate its battery manufacturing from North America to Thailand, to be closer to its most lucrative markets, in Australia, Oceania and southern Africa, and to reduce production costs. Redflow’s Thai subsidiary has signed a three-year lease on a 1500m2 building at the Hemaraj Chonburi Industrial Estate, part of the IEAT free trade zone, 110km southeast of Bangkok and 25km from the Laem Chabang deep sea container port. The inserts, a critical components in Redflow’s zincbromine flow battery stack, incorporate a bipolar design

Richard Aird, RedFlow

as well as containing Redflow’s intellectual property. A spokesperson from Redflow said: “We are in startup mode at the factory, so we’re making sure that first these inserts followed by the full battery stacks are produced to our standard before progressively qualifying additional battery components.” At Redflow’s November 2017 annual general meeting, Redflow chairman Brett Johnson said the company’s initial focus would be on the manufacture of stacks for existing Flex tank sets.

14 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

He said the company would progressively validate high quality components and sub-assemblies until ultimately producing complete, fully tested batteries in its Thai factory, which is scheduled for June 2018. Once fully operational the Thai manufacturing line could manufacture up to 250 complete batteries a month. The spokesperson said that should demand increase beyond that volume, the capital cost involved to establish a second manufacturing line was not problematic.

$906,000, will be assumed by Golden Share, with $100,000 payable immediately and the balance payable monthly against invoices submitted by Battelle. The two companies have worked together in the past. In October 2016, Golden Share signed a license agreement with Battelle to produce, use and sell vanadium electrolytes developed by PNNL.

Itochu partners Moixa to push AI in Japan’s home ESSs market Moixa, the UK residential storage company, announced on January 29, it is to export its virtual power plant software to Japan after a deal with the country’s second largest international industrial group Itochu. Itochu will include GridShare in its own battery products, market the technology to its lithium ion battery material customers and a £5 million ($7 million) investment. Gridshare uses AI — artificial intelligence — to learn patterns of residential energy use and solar generation to adjust to local weather and energy price signals to maximize an ESS’s use. Itochu will have sold more than 6,000 units of its Smart Star residential ESSs through its distribution network in Japan by the end of March, and will now include GridShare as standard on products by the summer of 2018. Last April, Japan’s largest power utility Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings made a £500,000 ($702,000) equity investment in Moixa Energy Holdings.


Flow battery forum to debate new size and performance standards Not so long ago, battery manufacturers measured production capacity in terms of Ah or MWh. But the rise of the gigafactory — and production levels measured in gigawatts — has changed that, writes Electricity Storage Network’s Antony Price. And with gigafactories springing up around the world, the race is on for manufacturers to have the largest manufacturing capacity. Increasingly studies show the need for storage in the future will be based on the energy content — expressed in MWh or even GWh — and not just the headline MW or GW figure.

The most well known large battery is in Australia and rated at 100 MW but only 129MWh storage capacity, so in energy content, it is eclipsed by a battery at Buzen City in Japan measuring 50MW/300MWh. Or largest so far. We expect the world’s largest battery to be a flow battery of rating 200MW and 800MWh. Already 50MW of that battery has been constructed — come to the International Flow Battery Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland in July this year to hear more about that, and to see how flow battery manufacturers, developers, installers, users and researchers are developing all types of flow batteries.

Energy analysts say the financial rewards of short duration storage are set to decline and storage owners and operators will need new business models, with more storage capacity to have the flexibility to avoid becoming a stranded asset. Behind the meter applications need longer duration capability to ensure they hit the sweet spot and avoid high time of day prices for energy and demand charges. We expect 2018 will be an exciting time for large-scale batteries and especially flow batteries. Of course, there are critical differences between flow batteries and other battery types. Safety, reliability, cost and perfor-

mance are vital issues. With huge technology advances, new applications and more appreciation of the benefits of long duration energy storage, flow batteries are set to be a key part of the storage race. The battery storage race has in part been dominated by transport applications. We have seen some flow batteries already in electric vehicles, but the potential for rapid refuelling has not yet been fully achieved, but it may not be too far away. Of course, not all flow batteries are going to be big and have a GWh rating, and we expect flow batteries to be used not only for static applications of all sizes and configurations, from microwatts to megawatts. Now is the time to think more about both energy and power.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 15


Matthew Lumsden, CEO of Connected Energy answers questions on BOSS and the wider use of second life battery energy storage systems. Where do you see the biggest geographical area for market growth and how does the UK’s adoption of second-life ESS compare with the rest of Europe? Lumsden: We are receiving a lot of interest from Europe as well as the UK, in particular Belgium and the Netherlands in relation to using our E-stor systems for frequency response. More widely we have enquiries from Germany, eastern Europe and France and Belgium in relation to using our systems in support of EV charging equipment. We already have systems installed in Belgium and Germany and are about to dispatch a system for installation in The Netherlands. While we are obviously targeting countries where storage stacks up commercially we are also focussing on areas where EV sales are growing with a mind on the fact that ultimately second life batteries will come from local EV markets. The UK market is also extremely interested in storage, the interest in behind the meter systems on I&C sites has far exceeded our expectations. Do you plan to use EV batteries from other sources rather than Renault, and what do you believe needs to be implemented to push the second-life EV battery market. Is it innovation, policy, or simply companies like yours making use of them? Lumsden: Renault is currently our lead supplier but we have begun a development project with Jaguar Land Rover and we have also been approached be several other EV OEMs. Our E-stor system has already operated around six battery types so we know it has the flexibility to manage a range of OEM feedstock. The integration work required to use other batteries is mainly related to testing and packaging so it is very adaptable. There is clearly a huge sustainability benefit as well as a commercial one from using second life batteries. In the context of the circular

16 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

Matthew Lumsden, CEO of Connected Energy

economy we are further improving the sustainability benefits of the EV market as well as using storage to assist with the accommodation of distributed non-dispatchable renewable electricity generation. To accelerate growth of the sector the wider supply chains need to be developed and we are working with parties interested in testing, handling, disassembling and recycling the batteries to achieve this. It would also encourage the industry further if there was some level of government incentive to encourage the use of second life batteries — to extract the maximum value before they are recycled. What projects are Connected involved with? Lumsden: The EVEREST project was based at our Norfolk site, this proved the concept and was a DECC Energy Storage Demonstrator project. This is now part of our R&D facility. The BOSS project was Innovate UK funded and enabled us to develop our first pre-production system. This was installed on a York City Council site for 12 months and has now been moved to an Anglian Water site. We also expect to close two more sales in the next couple of months for systems that will be installed in the north of England. We will be installing a system in Scotland in the spring.

What lessons have been learnt from BOSS with regards to second life ESS deployment? Lumsden: The BOSS project was incredibly valuable. We learnt a lot about degradation, how to optimize the system, how to build the system and how to configure it for site use. It also enabled us to work through the whole process of building, contracting, insuring, installing, commissioning and operating a system — invaluable experience in terms of being able to offer customers a complete turnkey proposition. Building a system is also important in being able to familiarize the supply chain partners with a complete system in preparation for commercial production. Finally it was also extremely valuable in helping raise investment in our business….thank you Innovate UK! Why is it important for the energy storage industry to develop second life EV ESSs rather than recycling the EV batteries? Lumsden: Its important from an environmental perspective and a cost perspective, questions are being asked about the sustainability of lithium and cobalt resources and this re-use improves that picture. Second life systems and indeed lithium ion systems will never be appropriate to every application but they can help build the market.


Connected Energy secures investment to push secondlife ESS UK-based Connected Energy secured a £3 million ($4.2 million) investment to develop its E-Stor technology that promises to bridge the gap between end of life electric vehicle batteries and grid-scale storage, the company announced on January 11. As questions remain about the recyclability of end-of-life EV batteries, the company is aiming to push sales of its ESS following the cash injection from Australian investment company Macquarie Group and French power utility Engie. To date Connected Energy, formed to commercialize its parent company Future Transport Systems’ research and development work, has used secondlife Renault batteries for its ESS. Matthew Lumsden, CEO of Connected Energy said the investment would provide significant financial and management value for its next phase of aggressive market growth: “We have a tremendous pipeline of demand for battery-based storage systems. “In this uncertain energy landscape we look forward to capitalizing on the burgeoning need for grid balancing schemes

through energy storage, as well as adding to the sustainability of electric vehicles.” Matthew Booth, senior managing director in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets group said he believed the provision of energy storage to support grid stability and create a charging network for electric vehicles would be a major theme in power infrastructure in the coming years. In March 2017 Connected Energy unveiled its Battery Optimization and Storage System project, which used localized infrastructure such as renewable energy generation and EV charging. The UK BOSS project, led by EDF Energy and part-funded by the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK, integrated a 50kWh E-Stor energy storage unit with a site energy management and optimisation system developed by Route Monkey. With an estimated 80% capacity still left in endof-life use in EVs the use of second-life batteries is seen as a means of ensuring the maximum use is made of the battery packs, as well staving of the need for recycling.

“We have a tremendous pipeline of demand for battery-based storage systems”


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Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 17


The revolution Lithium ion batteries’ primacy as the energy storage medium of choice won’t last for ever. Even the biggest cell makers in the world agree on that. From one corner of the industry (the noisy one), Elon Musk is already musing about whether the future for electric vehicles — and by extension the world of large scale energy storage — will be that of fuel cells. From the other corner a variety of sounds (mostly muted) another set of carmakers won’t give anything away and continue to keep all their bases

18 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

covered. But a revolution of sorts in the way that energy storage operates is on its way. It may be a little as five years away before we see the supremacy of lithium ion challenged. It could well be 25. But we all know it’s coming This set the editorial team of Energy Storage Journal thinking. We held

a meeting with our colleagues from the sister magazine Batteries International to discuss this and we decided that we would choose five different battery chemistries that could provide the challenge to lithium at some point. Our choice is unashamedly idiosyncratic — we may all write about energy storage but it would be ridicu-


starts here! lous we thought that humble journalists should call themselves experts and predict the way that markets will move. Our first pick was for lithium sulfur. For a long time, it’s been tipped as an outsider, an esoteric chemistry that could only reach niche markets, but we know its development curve is already showing vast progress. Initially its deployment will be for small applications but, like lithium, it will only be a question of time when scale is introduced. The second pick of nickel zinc was based on the fact that this was one of

the oldest battery pairs, dating to the turn of the last century. Although it had been largely sidelined and made virtually redundant in the late 1970s. a new wave of companies were looking at the chemistry. Magnesium batteries seemed to be a strong contender for inclusion — even though it was probably the least likely to have a place in the energy storage arnoury for a generation. That extra electron could do wonders for energy density and was already proving one of the most interesting avenues for research. Zinc air too was reckoned an

interesting outsider in that development work had largely been focused on reducing the size of the battery — while grid storage was all about opportunities from scale. Again it was interesting in that some firms were exploring using the metal in totally new formats. Lastly, despite the recent failure of Aquion, the technology behind sodium ion batteries is solid and, theoretically at least, we could see the emergence of truly affordable energy storage. We hope you find our choices interesting.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 19

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE Lithium sulfur could well become the successor to lithium ion batteries. The chemistry is safer, the power greater and the material costs lower. But the road to commercialization continues to be a long one. match, and even beat, lithium ion.

Lithium sulfur — the one to watch The lithium sulfur story dates back to the very early days of research into lithium as a potential cell for a battery. In the 1970s lithium ion and lithium sulfur were being investigated at the same time. However, it took until the 1990s for lithium ion batteries to be commercialized, and arguably another 20 years before industry realized the chemistry could be scaled up and for it to become the darling of the energy storage and motive industry. While lithium ion’s success has continued to spiral upwards, lithium sulfur fell by the wayside. A major difficulty in Li-S materials and cell development is the extremely complex reaction mechanism involved in the conversion of elemental sulfur (S8) to the final reduction product, lithium sulfide (Li2S). During discharge of a Li-S cell, elemental sulfur is reduced into a soluble form of intermediate species, so called lithium polysulfides which are soluble in the electrolyte and diffuse out from the cathode structure. As the discharge process continues, the length of the soluble polysulfides chain is reduced, which affects the viscosity of the electrolyte. The final discharge product, Li2 S2/Li2S, is a solid and insulating material which passivates the electronically conductive surface of the cathode, causing premature end of discharge, the increase of the internal resistance, which eventually can lead to increased heat generation in large format cells. The charge process is equally difficult, where solid products are oxidized back to the soluble form, which in turn are converted to elemental sulfur. Another main limitation in the performance of Li-S cells arises from the use of a lithium metal anode. Although contributing to the high theoretical and gravimetric energies, lithium metal is an significant cause of the relatively short cycle life of Li-S cells (hundreds of cycles when tested

20 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

in realistic conditions compared with thousands for lithium ion cells). Lithium is a highly electronegative element. Because of this, almost all organic solvents will spontaneously react with the anode, causing electrolyte degradation. In addition, any polysulfides that diffuse to the anode surface will be electrochemically reduced to a lower-order polysulfide causing coulombic inefficiency and irreversible loss of active material from the cathode. But the days of lithium sulfur being lithium ion’s poor cousin are changing. Solutions found in the laboratory have emerged on the manufacturing line. And the next big hurdle to commercialization will be in bringing down cost. The key will be moving from niche applications, including the aerospace and military markets, to motive and finally energy storage when the technology is fully matured, and the economies of scale can

“Commercialization is not a black and white thing. In the next two to three years we hope to have our technology in some specific applications in the aerospace and military sectors” — David Ainsworth, Oxis

Showing potential Lithium sulfur batteries won’t be as diversified as lithium because it has one active material (sulfur), whereas lithium has four or five different variant materials it can use, depending on the application. The technology’s gravimetrical energy density is limited through the cathode material, says David Ainsworth, chief technical officer at Oxis Energy. There are other issues, including capacity fade/high solubility/ polysulfides/materials loss/sulfation/ electrolyte stability/anode failure. But scientists are predominantly focusing on protecting the lithium metal anode from its reactive surrounding to enhance cycle life. In March last year Victor Batista, a professor of chemistry at Yale University in the US, announced the creation of a new protective coating. This was made from graphene, a oneatom-thick carbon structure, and an organic dendrimer, a polymer that has a tree-like branching structure. Results showed that the film had an average thickness of 90 nanometers. The film kept the lithium sulfur compounds together in one place, preventing them from leaching into the electrolyte and degrading the cell’s performance. Where the technology shows the biggest promise is its specific energy density, which in theory is three to five times that of conventional lithium ion. Lithium ion boasts between 100Wh/kg-240Wh/kg depending on the specific materials used and on the power and safety margins required and cost. With lithium sulfur the maximum being achieved to date is around 400Wh/kg. However, it’s difficult to know what’s happening elsewhere because what’s being achieved and what is being published is two different things, it’s difficult to gauge where bigger companies are at because they don’t tend to publicize their findings, says Ainsworth. Oxis Energy, a UK firm that has been pioneering the research and commercialization of lithium sulfur batteries since 2000, is targeting the 450Wh/kg goal by the end of this

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE year. Its research plan is to reach 500Wh/kg by the end of 2019. “The 500Wh/kg is a milestone figure in the battery industry and a future goal,” says Ainsworth. “At 400Wh/kg the argument is that it could stay at that, and instead improve credible factors in performance like power and cycle-life, cost is not critical until you reach largescale manufacturing.” Then there’s the trade off between gravimetrical energy and cycling, the higher the energy density the lower the cyclability. For example, Oxis reports its cells achieve up to 200 cycles on 400Wh/kg cell designs, but halve the energy density and they can reach more than 1,000 cycles. Another hurdle to commercialization is the speed of charging and discharging, which is not as high as some lithium ion technologies. There’s also lots of work being conducted to issues such as partial state of charge technology, extending cycle life, and lowering the depth of discharge where data suggests lithium sulfur will be a good fit and will lends itself better to stationary storage applications.

Commercialization Ainsworth believes that the pathway to mass commercialization is a twostep process, with any new technology required to fill primary benefits. The first stage is to make a 400Wh/ kg battery that has decent cycle-life and that can target niche markets where the cells are several thousand dollars per Wh/kg, and as the market matures increase production. Oxis is taking that first step toward building a pilot-scale facility to service those niche markets, but has no long term plans to build a mass-production plant for the electric vehicle and energy storage markets. When discussing the ESS, much like the EVs, there are niches within the market where a system might only be required at the kW scale (such as Tesla’s Powerwall), and that will be purely driven by cost. “Commercialization is not a black and white thing. In the next two to three years we hope to have our technology in some specific applications in the aerospace and military sectors,” Ainsworth says. “Applications such as drones, which require high gravimetrical energy but not such long cycle-life and lower power, suits the technology well. In terms of consumer products, which includes EVs,

Lithium sulfur: energy density aspirations

we are talking around five years.” At present there is hardly even a handful of firms that are pushing out commercial products. Oxis is the largest player but it is not a onehorse race. Sion Power, for example, has developed its Licerion product, and has been partnering with BASF, the chemicals giant and using Airbus Defence and Space, the aerospace firm, to commercialize the product. At the end of January the firm announced it would begin full production of Licerion by the end of the year anticipating that it would reach the 500Wh/kg level. “The Licerion rechargeable lithium metal technology will offer the unmanned aerial vehicle and electric vehicle markets an unparalleled 500Wh/kg, 1,000Wh/L, and 450 cycles when released,” the firm said. Other firms known to be looking at the chemistry are PolyPlus in a more generic way to exploring lithium chemistries as a whole avenue of approaches to the metal as a battery. Sony announced, according to

Source: Sion Power

press reports, a couple of years ago that it planned to offer a lithium sulfur cell for use in small electronic products by 2020. However, there is no way a new technology can get to the costs seen by lithium ion until it is widely adopted, and any new contender for lithium ion’s crown will have to go head-to-head in a price race, and the steadily increasing number of global gigafactories insures the economy of supply remains firmly in the established chemistry’s corner. “You have to consider manufacturing on quite a large scale to see costs come down low enough to suit static energy storage,” says Ainsworth. “With lithium ion the primary advantage is the cost at scale. “Gravimetrical energy is not necessarily an advantage, if you go and ask a manufacturer if they want lower costs of higher gravimetrical energy, they will usually go for lower costs. That said lithium sulfur could represent a very cheap technology in the future.”

OXIS EXPANDS INTO BRAZIL Oxis received a £3.7 million ($5.3 million) investment in February from Aerotec, a Brazilian fund managed by venture capital/private equity firm Confrapar. The Aerotec investment paves the way for Oxis to open a subsidiary in Brazil. The Brazilian team will be trained at Oxis’ headquarters in Oxford in the UK, prior to creating a Research and Development Centre in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Brazilian

state of Minas Gerais. The company will initially focus on commercial expansion throughout Latin America, and will soon address the aviation, defence and heavy electric vehicle markets worldwide. Oxis will also explore the lithium deposits in Minas Gerais, and is evaluating the composition of the graphene products available in the state and how it would complement the Li-S chemistry.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 21


Sodium ion’s great Sodium ion batteries offer a resource that was cheap, easily recyclable and cost effective. Or so it seemed until recently. Although the essential understanding of the chemistry remains unchanged, the economic fundamentals remain a challenge. In 2014 sodium ion batteries made the jump from the lab to the market place. The reason? The installation of a 1MWh battery developed by US manufacturer Aquion Energy and placed alongside a PV array at a private estate in Hawaii. It was a groundbreaking moment in suggesting that the ESS market could be open to all comers and all chemistries. But the promise of the chemistry took a turn as Aquion, a company once tipped to become as big as Tesla — including a proposed billion dollar valuation — struggled and fell into Chapter 11 insolvency last year. Aquion originally used a mix of activated carbon and titanium phosphate NaTi2(PO4)3 that relied mostly on  pseudocapacitance  to store charge, resulting in a low energy density and a tilted voltage-charge slope. In many ways, titanium phosphate is similar to  iron phosphate  used in some other batteries, but with a low (anodic) electrode potential. The initial electrolyte was an aqueous sodium sulfate  solution. Later a more soluble <5M NaClO4 was used. But the chemistry continues to move on. Aquion, and most particularly its IP, has been bought and is set to move its headquarters to China. But researchers are still working on the technology. UK-based Faradion recieved just over £3 million ($4.2 million) in funding in January 2017 to move to large-scale prototype production of its sodium ion technology. And UK and US scientists have been busy perfecting the chemistry with advances being made in many areas to date, including the electrodes, cell testing, electrolytes, while further work is required on its additives and binders. A sodium ion battery is similar to a lithium ion battery in many respects but safety and abundance of its core material makes it a viable replacement — at least in the laboratory.

22 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

Sodium is in the same group as lithium on the periodic table, and both intercalate into mixed metal oxide cathodes, and carbon anode materials, says Emma Kendrick, from WMG, at UK-based University of Warwick. “Thus making them suitable for the ‘rocking chair’ type battery. They also both have low potentials making them good for improved energy density over lead acid battery systems.” Another benefit is the cheapness of materials, around $30/kg for NMC and $10/kg for sodium salt. This

“The technology has not yet been proven in devices, and for widespread adoption to occur demonstrators must show that the technology has a long lifetime, is safer than lithium ion and cheaper” — Emma Kendrick

meant that last October scientists at Stanford University could unveil a sodium cathode that cost less than a lithium ion battery cathode to build, but with the same storage capacity. At the time postdoctoral scholar Min Ah Lee at the institute said the claim was based on the full-cell energy density for graphite-NMC lithium cell and their phosphorous- sodium cell, which meant the cost per kWh for NMC in a typical lithium cell was about $48/kWh, compared to $35/ kWh for the university’s Na6C6O6 cell. Then there is sodium ion performance. Kendrick says the theoretical energy densities depend upon the materials, but theoretical normally meant unachievable. “If you are interested in achievable energy densities, then we have shown already 250Wh/L and have predicted with this same technology and further optimization we can get 320Wh/L. If the anode is changed for an alloy anode then 500Wh/L could be achieved,” she says. Min Ah Lee said last October that in a half cell (versus sodium metal anode), the  specific energy density of the technology was 726 Wh/kg and the  maximum  specific power was around 3,151 W/kg. However, she added the caveat that the value was normal to “only” cathode mass. “In a  full  cell (versus phosphorous), the energy density normal to total anode and cathode mass was 281 Wh/kg and we did not conduct any rate tests of full cells for getting high power density number as it would be limited not by our cathode but by the anode that we used as one of possible candidates,” Lee told Energy Storage Journal. “I remember when considering the total mass for battery casing, it should be roughly one third, and this should be carefully optimized in an industry level.” While work continues to boost the performance of the cathode, the technology is still limited by the performance of its other electrode, with


leap forward “So it is this sodium that I extract from sea water, and of which I compose my ingredients, I owe all to the ocean; it produces electricity, and electricity gives heat, light, motion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus.” — Jules Verne’s 1870 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Stanford researchers currently working on developing better sodium anodes.   Other than Aquion’s Hawaiian installation, and another 25kWh sodium ion battery installed over a day and a half by UK-firm Wattstor in Ireland, the technology has not yet been proven in devices. For widespread adoption to occur demonstrators must show that the technology has a long life-time, is safer than lithium ion and cheaper, says Kendrick. “The lower cost is related to the materials, and to realise that cost, the same manufacturing lines must be used. Therefore for this to be adopt-

ed I believe the larger cell manufacturing companies must buy in to this technology.” She foresees sodium ion cells being manufactured in the same formats as lithium ion, ie pouch and 18650 formats, with the larger being more useful for the residential, industrial and grid-scale applications. In the case of the Stanford technology, Lee says the mass production of their cathode materials and the resource myo-inositol — which is naturally occurring present in the human body foods, particularly in corns, nuts, fruits — is already available commercially available as an overthe-counter nutritional supplement.

The abundance and affordability of the basic materials means that sodium ion, if made on the same manufacturing lines as lithium ion, can be up to 30% cheaper as an alternative. Cycle life will also be a factor; with Kendrick saying it will depend on what variation of the chemistry is used. “Prussian white systems have been shown to exhibit remarkable cycle life — but they are high power and not high energy,” she said. So when can we expect sodium ion to become an ESS technology of choice? Kendrick says that within two to three years the technology will be commercially available, but adds a cautious ‘hopefully’.

TIAMAT, THE BABYLONIAN GODDESS OF THE SALT SEA Last November a French start-up company, called Tiamat was set up to commercialize the manufacture of sodium ion batteries. With several dozens of functional prototypes in place Tiamat hopes to launch larger scale production by 2020. The batteries will be 3.5V and 90Wh/kg (roughly the equivalent of a LiFePO4 battery). “These batteries have better performance,” says the firm. “They have a life expectancy of over 10 years, compared with three to four under continuous use conditions. They also charge and recharge 10 times faster than lithium ion ones. “The major asset is the use of sodium, a less expensive and more abundant element than lithium (2.6% of sodium is found

in the earth’s crust, versus 0.06 % of lithium). Sodium is found everywhere on the planet, in particular in sea water, in the form of sodium chloride (NaCl) whereas lithium resources are located in only a few regions of the globe. (Argentina, Chile and Bolivia hold two thirds of the world’s lithium.)” Tiamat says its initial focus will be on fleets of rental vehicles, which require short recharge times and need service continuity for users. “With sodium-ion technology we can envisage new everyday uses, such as electric vehicles with 200 km of autonomy that recharge in a few minutes,” says the company. “In the longer term the firm says their greater affordability and greater manufacturing output makes them an ideal candidate for stationery storage.”

The firm is a natural extension of research in November 2015, where a team as part of RS2E designed the first sodium-ion battery prototype in the 18650 format used for lithium ion batteries. RS2E is the French network for electrochemical energy storage whose researchers here came mainly from CNRS (France’s national centre for scientific research, CEA (the country’s alternative energies and atomic energy commission) and several French universities.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 23

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE Zinc air technology, for primary batteries, has been around a long time — it’s been the staple of specialist markets such as that for hearing aids for decades. But it has now found renewed life in secondary battery formats completely — even as a flow battery.

Zinc air technology rises to the challenge It is a long road from a primary battery powering a hearing aid or watch to a secoincndary cell being used in grid-scale applications, but zinc air is beginning to tread that path. The story began in 1878 when a porous platinized carbon air electrode was found to work on Georges Leclanche’s wet-cell, which was patented 12 years earlier. In 1896 the  National Carbon Company  began marketing a dry cell version of the technology for widespread consumer use with its paper-lined, sealed, six-inch, 1.5 volt Columbia battery. Advances in the technology have meant smaller button and prismatic cells were able to be used in personal devices such as hearing aids. In 1996 Slovenian inventor Miro Zoric developed a rechargeable ver-

sion of the battery. The following year he commercialized a battery that was used in the first AC-based drive trains to power small and midsized buses in Singapore. More recently chemical engineers at the University of Sydney, Australia, and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, announced they had developed a way of producing a bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst that could enable easier cycling of the cell. Researchers from the institutes published a paper in Advanced Materials journal in August 2017 said trials of the battery developed with the new catalysts had demonstrated improved rechargeability — including less than a 10% battery efficacy drop over 60 discharging/charging cycles of 120 hours. According to the paper’s lead author, professor Yuan Chen, the new method produced a family of new high-performance and low-cost catalysts, rather than the traditional expensive precious metal catalysts, that used materials including platinum and iridium oxide. The new catalysts are produced through the simultaneous control of the composition, size and crystallinity of metal oxides of elements such as iron, cobalt and nickel.

The dawn of Eos In 2004, Steven Amendola filed patents for a zinc hybrid cathode technology. Four years later he founded US firm Eos Energy Storage with Michael Oster in 2008 to develop and commercialize the technol-

Solving the uncontrolled growth of dendrites on electrodes associated with the chemistry is the biggest problem facing the technology — Suresh Singh, ZincNyx 24 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

ogy. Eos is the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn and refers to Amendola’s ambition to bring about a new dawn in energy storage. Details on the chemistry are still proprietary, but involve stacking cells made with six ingredients, including titanium, salt water and carbon. Importantly, especially when trying to break into the ESS market, the company’s technology is capable of performing grid scale services such as frequency control, peak shaving and demand response. The company’s Aurora 1000|4000 1MW/4MWh system was launched in January 2017, in partnership with Siemens. Using an aqueous electrolyte the product costs $160/kWh — the company hopes to bring that cost down to $95 per usable kWh by 2022 — and boasts a 5,000 cycle life at 100% depth of discharge. Last October Eos installed and commissioned a 250kW/1MWh system in the US state of New Jersey, and in April 2017 announced plans to install a 1MW/4MWh system in Brazil using Northern Power’s FlexPhase power conversion technology and intelligent controls. In 2009, metal air firm Fluidic said it had solved the uncontrolled growth of dendrites on electrodes associated with the chemistry, which according to Suresh Singh, president at zinc air flow battery company ZincNyx Energy Solutions, is the biggest problem facing the technology. Fluidic’s development enabled it to commercialize a viable, rechargeable zinc air battery for critical backup power, microgrids/off-grid and grid-scale service applications. The Arizona, US, company has plans to reach an installed energy storage cost below $100/kWh through cell chemistry advancements, product architecture improvements, and


Last October Eos installed and commissioned a 250kW/1MWh system in the US state of New Jersey economy of scale. In March 2017 one of its systems, owned by Indonesian telecom operator Indosat, fulfilled its five-year warranty in effect proving the realworld application credentials of the technology.

And flow batteries too Canadian firm ZincNyx, a 100% owned subsidiary of MGX Minerals as of the end of January, has developed a zinc air flow battery based on its patented zinc air fuel cell technology, that it says will reach the MWplus scale, has an eight hour duration and 20 year life cycle, but most importantly — if it is to usurp lithium ion — is safe, flexible, and cheap. ZincNyx’s system consists of three main subsystems, a regenerator, fuel tank system that offers scalable storage capacity, and a cell stack, with a common electrolyte composed of fine particles of zinc suspended in a potassium hydroxide solution. Its patented system uses the negative of dendritic growth as a positive by allowing them to grow in its regenerator under controlled conditions where it is then used as fuel. The regenerator takes power from the source (grid) to generate the zinc particles, which are stored in the fuel tank. When power is required from the system, the zinc fuel is pumped into the cell stack and electricity is generated. The zincate produced by the reaction is returned to the tank and eventually converted back to zinc particles in the regenerator, thereby completing the cycle. Zinc is conserved within the system and does not have to be replaced. The system also uses a sodium carbonate impregnated electrode that converts sodium carbonates into metal ions, the characteristics of which are a trade secret, says Singh.

Lithium’s cobalt supply is tightening, its recycling infrastructure is still in its infancy at best, and the technology’s safety is questioned by no-fly bans on commercial planes. This makes a technology that contains no toxic, explosive or combustible materials, and readily available materials a potential game changer to the ESS industry. Because zinc air uses commonly available materials, the technology is virtually 100% recyclable, which means little ends up in a landfill, giving it credentials that only lead acid can boast. A recycling infrastructure, albeit of zinc air hearing aids, is already well established with US stores such as Radio Shack, Pay Less and KMart participating. It doesn’t, therefore, require a huge leap of faith to see how the process involving the extraction of zinc and other toxic metals while the remaining harmless materials are sent to

land fills, could be scaled up to include industrial-scale batteries. The company has had beta test systems operating for a year, and expects to have pilot systems operating at customer sites by mid-2019, with shipments expected later that year for industrial/commercial and micro-grid applications. To date its system’s scalability goes from 5kW to 1MW with a specific energy of 42Wh/kg. Its target applications include grid-scale services such as renewables firming, peak shaving, and supporting an electric vehicle charging support. The costs of zinc air may also pave the way for greater adoption. Firstly cheap materials can bring the incremental cost of the technology down to less than $25/kWh, and its insensitivity to the number, and depth-of-discharge, of cycles means its levelized cost of stored energy can match alternative technologies. The MW-plus scale system will target the industrial and commercial industries, remote micro-grid, mobile-phone tower and generator replacement applications. In January the company began development of a scaled-up 20kW system that offers end-users lower costs, higher energy density and the ability to serve a broader market segment over its existing 5kW systems.

ZincNyx’s system consists of three main subsystems, a regenerator, fuel tank system that offers scalable storage capacity, and a cell stack, with a common electrolyte composed of fine particles of zinc suspended in a potassium hydroxide solution. Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 25

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE Until recently magnesium-based batteries had one handicap: they were not rechargeable. But the race to tap the energy density of the metal — it has two available electrons not one like lithium — is on, as the first signs of secondary batteries emerge.

Could magnesium ever become the new lithium?

Magnesium batteries in their primary form have a long, if not distinguished, life. The first batteries using the technology were available by 1943 using a water activated silver chloride/magnesium chemistry. In 1968 the US military began using the technology until it was replaced with lithium thionyl chloride 15 years later. Critically, these were primary batteries, and no use in the plethora of applications lead acid was traditionally used for, and which lithium ion and other technologies are beginning to dominate, especially in new largescale projects that require the ESS to be paired with renewable energy sources, and the battery capable of performing a number of critical grid services. Development of magnesium secondary cells remains an active topic of research, with researchers exploring ways of fully exploiting the chemistry’s volumetric energy density. This research includes the use of solid-state electrolytes that use a solid magnesium anode, which in turn requires a deintercalated cathode. Unlike today’s current state-of-theart batteries, which use a potentially flammable liquid electrolyte, using solid-state technology also improves the inherent stability of the batteries under extreme conditions, preventing catastrophic failure, while ena-

26 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

bling manufacturers to minimize the size of the battery. However, swapping the liquid electrolyte for a solid one is proving difficult, and it is hard to estimate how long it will be before a solid-state magnesium battery will be commercially manufactured. One of the biggest hurdles to commercialization of reversible magnesium batteries is the electrolyte. Solid-state batteries replace liquid electrolyte with a solid capable of shuttling back and forth ions. By replacing the liquid with a solid one, researchers hope to separate more effectively the chemistry of the anode from the cathode. Its other big advantage is the fact that it can use a

Magnesium batteries can achieve cell-level volumetric energy densities of ~750Wh/l at a cost of ~$100/kWh … as a comparison, stateof-the-art lithium ion technology can reach a cell-level energy density of ~480Wh/l at a cost of ~$230/kWh

magnesium metal that limits the development of dendrites. But, the liquid electrolyte has several limitations, including a low boiling point, corrosion, low transference number, and difficult synthesis. But despite this, it remains the only type found in prototypes so far because magnesium is thought to move quicker through liquids. However, as lithium ion’s high profile battery explosions demonstrate, a liquid electrolyte and dendritic formation makes any battery potentially flammable. A solid-state conductor is thought to be far more fire-resistant. A breakthrough came last December when a team of researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research hub announced they had discovered the fastest magnesium-ion solid-state conductor to date. It was a major step towards increasing the chemistry’s energy density and safety. Stymied by the unavailability of a suitable liquid electrolyte, researchers at the Lawrence National Berkeley Laboratory decided to leapfrog this difficult hurdle and make an electrolyte using a material called magnesium scandium selenide. The discovery, according to Brian Ingram, a materials scientist at JCESR/Argonne, provides direct evidence that magnesium can effectively move in a solid material at room temperature, which was previously not considered an option. News of the discovery, which offers magnesium mobility comparable to solid-state electrolytes for lithium batteries, was published in Nature Communications  in a paper titled,  High Magnesium Mobility in Ternary Spinel Chalcogenides.”  The lead authors were Pieremanuele Canepa, Shou-Hang Bo, Sai Gautam Gopalakrishnan and Gerbrand Ceder. Canepa says the material is a po-

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE tential game changer for the technology because magnesium migration in solids had always been regarded as poor. “This is because magnesium is a +2 ion, which exhibits strong electrostatic interactions with anion species such as O2- or S2- in oxides and sulfides, respectively,” he says. “MgSc2Se4 and MgSc2S4 are two solids in the new family of MgSc2X4 compounds that can indeed migrate magnesium at good rates. “Due to the high magnesium diffusivity in the material, MgSc2Se4 could pave the way to make magnesium-based batteries a commercial success.” But commercialization is proving tricky. Ingram points to the technology’s lack of a functioning high voltage electrode for its lack of commercial success to date. Solving this would pave the way to enabling a high energy density storage, and a paired electrolyte. “In order to achieve a cost-competitive battery relative to today’s lithium ion chemistries, a functioning high voltage positive electrode must be developed in conjunction with a stable electrolyte,” he says. Canepa says the other issue is poor magnesium diffusivity in materials curbs the development of energy dense cathode materials, especially oxides, and hence prevents the full exploitation of the superior volumetric energy density of a magnesiummetal based battery. Techno-economic modelling based on experimental and theoretic results of the JCESR program predict that magnesium batteries can achieve energy densities nearly 50% greater than today’s state-of-the-art commercial lithium batteries at a substantially lower cost, says Ingram. “The association of two electrons per Mg, relative to a single electron per Li, provides a pathway to this increase in energy density.” From a theoretical techno-economic study, magnesium batteries can achieve cell-level volumetric energy densities of ~750Wh/l at a cost of ~$100/kWh, which is in line with the targets set by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium and the Department of Energy for electric vehicles. As a comparison, state-ofthe-art lithium ion technology can reach a cell-level energy density of ~480Wh/l at a cost of ~$230/kWh.

However, swapping the liquid electrolyte for a solid one is proving difficult, and it is hard to estimate how long it will be before a solid-state magnesium battery will be commercially manufactured. Commercialization How long before we see reports of magnesium batteries being chosen for large-scale ESS projects? The answer is no one really knows. In 2016 reports abound that Saitama Industrial Technology Center, in partnership with vehicle OEM Honda, had developed a practical magnesium rechargeable battery. There is still no launch date for this. Canepa is pragmatic. He says that if the technology’s problems can be solved it could still be 10-20 years, “but this is a very, very rough estimate”, he points out. Ingram is also cautious, saying: “It is very difficult to predict when a magnesium battery, much less a solid-state magnesium battery, will be commercially available. These chemistries are in early-stage development; however, at this time we believe there are no show-stopping impediments to realizing the benefits of magnesium within the next decade.” One issue is that, for now, prototypes remain at the coin cell level. But, if the technical problems mentioned earlier can be solved, Canepa

believes the technology could be scaled up to MW plus level. When pushed on what he sees as the main applications for this technology, Ingram says any application that requires small volumes would suit it. Speculatively, if the above issues are solved, Canepa thinks the technology could be used in automotive applications and maybe micro-grid. This is because the availability of the transition metal, mostly cobalt, an essential ingredient for cathodes in lithium ion technology, ahead of a global shortage in the next five years with increasing consumption of lithium ion batteries, alongside the well known safety and thermal runaway issues faced by this technology. He says: “The interesting aspect here is that magnesium has a lower price than lithium and it’s readily extractable from sea water. In addition, magnesium can be plated and stripped at reasonable current densities without forming dendrites. This is the game-changer versus a technology mounting lithium metal, which still doesn’t exist.”

IT’S EARLY DAYS YET The first record of a rechargeable magnesium cell appears in 2000 by Doron Aurbach, an Israeli research scientist who continues to be at the cutting edge of development. The barriers to producing a commercially useful magnesium battery continue to be the lack of practical electrolytes and cathode materials, though progress continues to be made in both fields. Aurbach’s first cell was based on a chevrel-type Mo6S8 cathode with a magnesium organohaloaluminate/THF electrolyte. In 2014 a team led by Jetti Vatsala Rani at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical technology (CSIR-IICT) in Hyderabad announced that: “The Mg-ions from the anode diffuse into the graphite layers of

the cathode during discharge and while charging they revert back to the anode. The ionic liquid used as electrolyte was prepared in house. “The capacity of the cell is 5mAh at a voltage of approximately 2.0V vs Mg, studies are in progress to improve the capacity of the battery. The cycle life of the battery is established for 800 to 900 cycles. As of now, the shelf life of the battery is estimated to two to three years. The electrode materials are reusable and also biodegradable.” Although the announcement made headlines across India little progress has subsequently been reported. This is perhaps not as unusual as it might seem, it frequently takes at least a decade for work achieved in the laboratory to reach the production line.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 27

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE Nickel iron technology is neither new nor mainstream. But although its use has been sidelined to special functionality, it has a place in the energy storage world. And possibly a greater role to play in larger scale systems of the future.

Nickel iron returns to the fray As long ago as the turn of the last cen- battery conference, demonstrated how and co-founder of Encell was because tury Thomas Edison, the great US in- he resuscitated a defunct 80-year-old “everyone thought you had to make it ventor, said Nickel iron technology was battery from the 1930s. in a pocket cell design due to iron mi“far superior to batteries using lead Nickel iron batteries continue to be gration”. plates and acid”. His faith in the bat- manufactured though nowadays they The technology’s use fell further in teries was such that he wanted them to are mostly made in India and China. the 1980s when portable consumer be the battery of choice for the first genOne interesting start-up in the US — electronics meant that rechargeable eration of electric vehicles in the 1900s. Encell Technology — says it has revi- batteries needed to be smaller and First patented by Swedish inventor talized the technology and the battery lighter, and so lithium ion batteries beWaldemar Jungner in the late 1890s, is now suitable for large-scale storage came the standard. They had higher Edison also issued a number of US pat- applications. voltages than the nickel cadmium and ents in the early 1900s. The battery was The company says its fused iron bat- nickel metal hydride batteries, but belater used in various applications from tery is capable of 15,000, full 80% cause they work through intercalation the main DC supply in V-2 rockets in depth of discharge cycles; requires (shuttling) of lithium ions between elecWorld War II, to railroad signalling, minimal maintenance (you add deion- trodes, they had to be made with thin forklifts, mining equipment and stand- ized water to the cells about every six electrodes to maintain any reasonable by power applications. months if they are in daily use) to reach rate capability. Its manufacturing history started its estimated 20-year-life span. with production in Sweden of nickel Its cell architecture has historically How it works iron batteries (among others) at the Ac- held its active materials in Nickel The battery has a nickel oxide-hydroxkumulator Aktiebolaget Jungner from plated steel tubes or perforated pock- ide cathode and an iron anode, with a 1900. ets. This, says Rob Guyton, chairman potassium hydroxide (lye can be used as a substitute) electrolyte. This was followed in 1901 It harnesses energy from the with The Edison Storage rusting process in a reducBattery Company manu- “We invented a super low cost way of tion/oxidation (redox) reversfacturing nickel iron batter- fusing the iron particles together creating ible reaction of the electrodes. ies about a year or so later. The reactions take place at When the company was a much higher surface area electrode the interfacial surface of the bought by Exide Battery with high rate kinetics.  We can get the electrodes and the aqueous Corporation in 1972 man- same amp hour capacity as a pocket cell based electrolyte; the cathode ufacturing of the battery constructed electrode in a fraction of the gives up an electron by way stopped three years later. of giving hydrogen to the Since then the technology size” — Rob Guyton, Encell electrolyte so it can change has fallen out of favour: cost from hydroxide to oxyhyand rated capacity caused in droxide, and reduces by acpart by the pouch cell arcepting an electron by way of chitecture meant lead acid accepting hydrogen from the was always going to take electrolyte. The anode underthe market share and Nickel goes a simultaneous redox reiron the specialist parts. action oxidizing from iron to On paper the nickel iron iron hydroxide and reversing battery has many admirable back to iron again. characteristics. It’s robust“The reason that this chemness to abuse (overcharge, istry cycles so much longer over-discharge, and shortthan other chemistries is that circuiting), an operating the reaction takes place at the temperature range between surface of the particles and -30°C to 60oC, which doesn’t require shuttling ions means costs can be spared back and forth like a lithium on climate control for these ion battery,” says Guyton. batteries, making it ideal “Also, the iron hydroxides for harsh applications. Its are highly insoluble in the robustness is such that a electrolyte which is good and few years ago a speaker at bad.  It is good because you Battcon, the international

28 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

COVER STORY: GRID CHEMISTRIES OF THE FUTURE have extremely long cycle life since you are not losing active material into the electrolyte like you do when cycling nickel cadmium, nickel zinc and lead acid type batteries.” When the metal ions are soluble they move around in the electrolyte and often don’t return to their original location on the electrode — leading to the build up of dendrites that short out the battery. Iron oxides are 1,000 times less soluble than zinc and 100 times less than cadmium. “The downside to low solubility is that it can lead to high internal resistance manifesting in slow charge and discharge rates of the traditional pocket cell designed nickel iron batteries still being made by everyone else making nickel iron batteries except Encell,” says Guyton. Since iron oxides the minute it is exposed to air, Edison decided the only way to keep the oxidized particles on the conductive substrate material was to pack it like tea into a metal ‘tea bag’ that was formed into, or welded on to, the substrate. “So the particles, although packed tight, are only lightly touching and therefore don’t have good electrical connectivity.  This method of making the battery is expensive and it causes the poor charge and discharge characteristics of the standard nickel iron battery,” says Guyton. “We invented a super low cost way of fusing the iron particles together creating a much higher surface area electrode with high rate kinetics.  We can get the same amp hour capacity as a pocket cell constructed electrode in a fraction of the size.” So the technology is durable, potentially lower cost, and its energy density concerns have been addressed. The real test will be when it is used grid-scale applications when a battery is required to balance capacity loads, stabilize voltage and frequency, and manage peak loads, among a host of other services. Importantly, especially in today’s ESS market, any technology hoping to break the grip of lithium ion and flow batteries on the large-scale applications must be able to be paired with renewable energy sources such as PV/wind. This includes having the necessary rate capability to handle being charged by intermittent sources and a cycle and calendar life that lasts as long as the PV solar panels. Guyton says that because his company’s focus is on microgrid applications where the energy storage system is paired with a renewable energy source,

predominantly PV solar. “In these applications the ideal charge and discharge rates are C/4 to C/5—essentially charging while the sun is shining,” says Guyton. “To provide the best value to this customer base, we took cost out of the cell by using less conductive material for the current collectors. “So, this cell is recommended at a C/2 charge/discharge rate.  If a customer has an application that requires rate, we can upgrade the current collectors and the battery can perform at a higher rate. We are starting to get serious interest from customers in the emerging commercial and industrial, behind the meter market because of the batteries unique combination of power capability, safety and really low levelized cost of stored energy.” What is making Encell’s technology a more viable option for larger energy storage applications is the fusing process of the iron particles, which lends itself to very large strings of cells — which makes the cells, in part, self-balancing so you don’t have to use expensive, active battery management at the cell level like other chemistries-particularly lithium ion.  Also, the kinetics of the electrodes allow for large capacity cells, says Guyton. “The cells don’t have any capacity fade for the first 8,400 cycles driving maintenance costs down on long term storage applications.  So when you combine high capacity cells that can be safely used in large voltage strings eg 1000V, it works well for the larger energy storage applications,” says Guyton. New and emerging technologies live and die by their ability to make its way from the laboratory to the market place. So what needs to be done for nickel iron batteries to be manufactured at a commercial scale?  Encell, says Guyton, are in the process of scaling up high volume production. Cost is another factor when considering commercialization, and Encell claims to on par with the main ESS technologies lithium ion and flow batteries when compared in initial $ per kWh. However, Guyton says that when using more precise measurements like the levelized cost of stored energy where critical factors such as cycle-life, lifetime maintenance, capacity fade, watt hour efficiency, and initial purchase price are accounted for, the technology makes more financial sense for future ESS projects. He says his company’s LCOE is less than $0.04/kWh, which he believes

true lithium ion or flow batteries cannot reach. “One of the problems in the industry is confusion around lithium ion batteries, particularly because the best attributes of different types of lithium ion batteries get combined into one unicorn,” says Guyton. “If you are buying the really inexpensive lithium cobalt oxide or NMC cells from second tier Chinese OEMs, you aren’t going to get the cycle life of a much more expensive Sony lithium titanate battery.”

CHARACTERISTICS OF STANDARD NICKEL-IRON BATTERY Advantages • Very robust. • Withstands overcharge and over-discharge. • Accepts high depth of discharge — deep cycling. • Can remain discharged for long periods without damage, whereas a lead acid battery needs to be stored in a charged state. • The ability of this system to survive frequent cycling is due to the low solubility of the reactants in the electrolyte, potassium hydroxide • Lifetime of 30 years possible • Can be cost effective over longer periods   Shortcomings • Low cell voltage.  • Heavy and bulky.  • The low reactivity of the active components limits the high rate performance of the cells. They cells take a charge slowly, and give it up slowly. • Low coulombic efficiency, typically less than 65%  • Steep voltage drop off with state of charge  • Low energy density. • High self discharge rate. • More pronounced hydrogen gassing than nickel-cadmium • High initial costs Source: Electropaedia

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 29

UNUSUAL BATTERY HISTORIES The scientists of the 18th century believed that silver was one of the metals tipped to be a source of power. They were right — but not, as Kevin Desmond, battery historian, reports — in any way that they would have recognized. potential, however, was low, only 0.6V-0.8V. Even before this, Jungner had worked with cadmium as an active material in negative electrodes, but that work had not been encouraging. In these preliminary experiments he used a mixture of cadmium and graphite, which he pressed into pockets, but such electrodes had poor efficiency. After unremitting experimental work, he succeeded, however, in producing a porous cadmium metal with acceptable mechanical and electrical properties by a chemical electrolytic method. This material, in combination with silver oxide, gave a cell with an energy content of about 40 Wh/kg and a voltage of about 1.1V. The silver systems were thus capable of storing large amounts of energy per unit of weight.

The enduring magic of Zn+Ag²O In the 1780s, Alessandro Volta repeated Galvani’s frog-twitching experiments many times with many different materials and when in the 1800s he finally revealed his ‘pile’, it consisted of alternating disks of zinc and silver. During the late 1830s, still in his early 20s, Alfred Smee a London surgeon developed what he called a Chemico Mechanical Battery. It consisted of six cells, and its positive plates were made of amalgamated zinc and the negative plates were coated in a finely divided layer of platinized silver, thus ensuring perfect contact with the exciting liquid:

dilute sulfuric acid. During the 1850s Gaston Planté was also experimenting with all manner of metals, from tin and silver to gold and platinum. Eventually he settled on lead. And, of course, the rest is history. During his search for the ideal alkaline storage battery, Swedish inventor Waldemar Jungner also made experiments with couples of silver oxide-iron and silver oxide-copper. A silver oxide-copper prototype was tested in the summer of 1899 by Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish professor, who obtained energy of no less than 40Wh/kg from this system; the

A silver oxide-copper prototype was tested in the summer of 1899 by Svante Arrhenius, a professor at Stockholm University, who obtained energy of no less than 40 Wh/kg from this system; the potential, however, was low, only 0.6V-0.8V 30 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

5A for 75 minutes Over in France, during the 1930s Henri André had been working on battery development. After an almost endless series of experiments, written up in some 3,000 pages of notes, the first industrial operation of his silver oxide couple was made in September 1936, when a cell delivered 5A for 75 minutes. This cell weighed 377g. Up to that time, André constructed all his cells with soluble negatives. After 1940, however, he reduced the electrolyte to make a more insoluble zinc electrode. In André’s first US patent, granted in 1943, cellophane was used as a separator to retard the migration of silver specks from the positive to the negative electrodes, which had caused the early failure of previous versions. In the UK, Chloride Industrial Batteries at Swinton, near Manchester working along similar lines, made special primary silver oxide-zinc batteries for torpedoes for the Royal Navy. The research had been initiated by chief designer Robin Gray with Harold Jones and Norman Bagshaw. In 1962 they applied for a patent for “Deferred action type electric battery having electrolyte guiding

UNUSUAL BATTERY HISTORIES means…. This invention relates to electric cells comprising a casing containing an element consisting of electrodes and separators, of the type that is activated by introduction of liquid to the element shortly before use. Such a cell comprised an element consisting of silver oxide and zinc plates interleaved and separated by separators of suitable material such as absorbent paper or similar thin felt-like sheet material.” The drawing from the patent is pictured on the right. By this time, the Soviet Union had become interested in silver-zinc, and intensive work was done at the Moscow Academy of Sciences in the battery group of Vladimir Bagotsky. Between 1949 and 1965, Bagotsky worked at the All-Union Research Institute of Current Sources. He contributed substantially to the development of a series of innovative batteries for submarines, aircraft, and spacecraft, most notably silverzinc batteries.

Sputnik The first space satellite, Sputnik, which was launched on October 4, 1957, was equipped with three silverzinc batteries made under Bagotsky’s supervision. The power supply, with a mass of 51kg, was in the shape of an octagonal nut with the radio transmitter in its hole. Sputnik-1 transmitted signals for 22 days before its batteries failed. Later, other Soviet spacecraft, including the Vostok with Yuri Gagarin in 1961, were equipped with these batteries. During the 1960s, researchers across NASA worked to resolve these challenges, making only minor improvements. However, outside NASA, the Astropower Laboratory of Douglas Aircraft Company had come up with an experimental cell using a novel, inorganic ceramic separator, which showed promise. The agency teamed up with the lab to advance the technology, and by 1972 NASA had tested and proven a battery that could be recharged shallowly, even after heat sterilization, some 400 to 500 times. It was a huge improvement, but well below the 10,000-cycle life of the nickel-cadmium batteries commonly used in space applications of the time. However silver-zinc batteries were one-third the size and provided a substantial weight savings — enough

to keep NASA on the trail. Throughout the 1970s, NASA helped develop chemistries with better performance and a new method to manufacture the batteries cheaply and efficiently. However, the rechargeable battery lasted longest if it were only drained a little bit — deeper discharge-recharge cycles caused it to fail more quickly. As a result, NASA has not made heavy use of the technology. During the late 1960s, several early

NASA spacecraft, including the Apollo command module, used silver-zinc batteries. The agency worked hard to make such batteries rechargeable, with some major advances made at Glenn Research Center, then called Lewis Research Center. Rechargeable silver-zinc batteries didn’t make it into space, but NASA’s research and development served as a starting point for anyone trying to develop them. The Apollo Lunar

The first space satellite, Sputnik, which was launched on October 4, 1957, was equipped with three silverzinc batteries made under Bagotsky’s supervision Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 31

UNUSUAL BATTERY HISTORIES Command module used fuel cells as its primary source, but peak power limitations required supplementation by silver-zinc batteries which became its sole power supply during re-entry after separation of the service module. Only these batteries were recharged in flight. After the Apollo 13 near-disaster in 1970, an auxiliary silver–zinc battery was added to the service module as a backup to the fuel cells. Zinc was used in the wheels and the batteries of the moon buggy. The Lunar Roving Vehicle was a zinc-silver battery-powered four-wheeled rover used on the moon in the last three missions of the Apollo program during 1971 and 1972. The wheels of the Lunar Rover were designed and manufactured so as to suit the surface and the environment of the moon. Made by General Motors Defence Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, California, Ferenc Pavlics, the engineer, was given special recognition by NASA for developing the “resilient wheel” used tires made of zinc-coated steel strands attached to the rim  and discs of aluminium. Power was provided by two 36volt zinc-silver-potassium hydroxide non-rechargeable batteries, yielding a range of 57 miles (92km). These were used to power the drive and steering motors and also a 36-volt utility outlet mounted on the front of the vehicle to power the TV camera. The three Lunar Rovers still remain on the Moon. The Apollo service modules used as crew ferries to the Skylab space station were powered by three silver– zinc batteries between undocking and SM jettison as the hydrogen and oxygen tanks could not store fuel cell reactants through the long stays at the station. During this time, the US company, Eveready Industries, commercialized the world’s first button-type silveroxide battery. In Japan, Hitachi Maxell, commercialized a buttontype silver-oxide battery for the first time in Japan in 1976. As Japanese quartz watches started to dominate the world market, sales

of silver-oxide batteries that drive them also grew. Along with the advances in IC chips in the computing machine field, electronic calculators became widely used, and compact calculators incorporating mainly silver-oxide batteries were produced in large volumes. Later, portable electronic game machines became popular with children, and this also contributed to the growth in the use of silver-oxide batteries.

Specialist applications Silver zinc batteries because of their high specific energy — until the arrival of lithium-ion cells, they had the highest specific energy — found their way into some specialist automotive applications. Perhaps the most notable was their deployment in the World Solar Challenge — a dash from Darwin in the north of Australia to Adelaide in the south — in cars powered only by photovoltaic panels. In the first event, held in 1987, roughly half of the 22-strong field used silver-zinc as their rechargeable power source. But by 1999 their use waned with the progressive development of lithium-ion batteries and their superior specific energy. From 2001 to the latest challenge in 2017, they have not been used at all. Traditional hearing aids run on disposable batteries, usually zinc-air based. As a result, hearing aid users have to replace their batteries every week or so. Changing the small batteries is no easy task, especially for the elderly who are their primary users. And to conserve battery life, users will often turn off the hearing aids for stretches of time, inevitably leaving them without hearing at inconvenient moments. Enter Ross Dueber, former vice president of Emerson Climate Technologies and Emerson Corporation. Before that Dueber had a successful career as an officer in the US Air Force which included R&D and specification of batteries for aircraft and space applications. In 1989, he received a patent for a cathode con-

Using NASA’s publicly available research as a jumping off point, ZMP began in the 1990s to develop silverzinc batteries that could last through more and deeper recharge cycles. 32 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

tainer for sodium-sulfur cells. Dueber then concentrated on the silverzinc option, founding Zinc Matrix Power (now ZPower), in Camarillo, California. Using NASA’s publicly available research as a jumping-off point, ZMP began in the 1990s to develop silverzinc batteries that could last through more and deeper recharge cycles. The company has improved all four active components of the battery: the two electrodes, the electrolyte and the separators, earning some 100 new patents. The batteries can now survive up to 1,000 discharge cycles without losing significant capacity. The company launched its rechargeable hearing aid battery in 2013. Troy Renken plays a pivotal role in the long range planning and development of the electronics and packaging of ZPower’s silver-zinc battery technology. In 2015, the company was named a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree. By 2017, nearly every major hearing aid manufacturer was offering select products with ZPower rechargeable microbatteries built in. ZPower has strategic partnerships with, and venture investments from, Intel, OnPoint Technologies — a venture capital fund of the US Army — and PowerVentures, a large private equity group.

Small is beautiful As devices get smaller, more sophisticated and hungrier for energy. Dueber also launched the Battery Bowl Design Challenge, an undergraduate engineering competition where qualifying applicants develop and prototype a product or device that makes the best use of ZPower’s technology. Other firms have, of course, been active too. Most notably Sony in 2004 started producing the first silver-oxide batteries without added mercury. Because silver-oxide batteries become hazardous on the onset of leakage — this generally took five years from the time they are put into use (which coincides with their normal shelf life) — all silver-oxide batteries contained up to 0.2% mercury. The mercury was incorporated into the zinc anode to inhibit corrosion in the alkaline environment. Kevin Desmond is author of “Innovators in Battery Technology: Profiles of 95 Influential Electrochemists” published by McFarland & Company)


Meet the team

Mike Halls, editor Mike, a former journalist with the UK newspaper the Financial Times, has been involved in journalism, publishing and print for three decades. “I’m particularly fond of writing about the energy storage industry,” he says. “It’s an unusual mixture of being fast-paced but slow to change — and friendly too. There’s always something more to learn.”

Claire Ronnie, office manager and subscriptions Claire’s our unflappable person — she’s the go-to girl for subscriptions or account enquiries. Go ahead and challenge her!

Karen Hampton, publisher In her recent years of working within the energy storage business Karen has become a well known figure at conferences — not least as our social butterfly. “My job,” she says, “is to get the maximum benefit for our advertisers to make sure their name and brand is out there, while maintaining the integrity, fairness and excellence our publications are renowned for.”

Antony Parselle, page designer Better known in the office as ‘Ant’ he’s been working in magazine design and layout since the early 1990s. Not so good on showing his best side however!

Jade Beevor, Advertising Manager Jade, who joined the team in early 2015, is already getting a feel for the industry. “This is an incredible business we’re in,” she says. “These people are literally changing the future of our lives — and the planet too!”

June Moutrie, business development manager She’s our accounting Wunderkind who deals with all things financial — a kind of mini Warren Buffett. But more fun!

Jan Darasz, cartoonist Jan has won international fame as a cartoonist able to making anything — including an electrolyte! — funny. And as for LiCFePO4 ...

Wyn Jenkins, Supplements Editor Don’t let his boyish charm deceive, Wyn’s been a journalist and respected editor on major financial titles for some 20 years. When not heading his own publications firm, Seren Global Media, he looks after our supplements.

Kevin Desmond, historian More than just a historian on energy storage and batteries as he’s written about many things. He’s the inspiration behind our Heroes of the Grid section.




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Investment in energy storage may be skyrocketing but the projected return on investment for such projects often remains difficult to calculate with any degree of accuracy…

…indeed, it’s problematic even getting an accurate handle on their pricing per kilowatt hour. Wyn Jenkins reports

Smoke and mirrors Investment in energy storage is soaring. In the first nine months of 2017 alone, some $1.23 billion was raised by battery storage, smart grid and efficiency companies, up from $910 million raised in the same period in 2016. In battery storage alone, some $563 million was raised in 25 deals in the first nine months of the year, com-

34 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

pared with $209 million raised in 29 deals in the same period of 2016. What is more, its anticipated growth is very bullish. A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance called ‘Energy Storage Forecast, 20172030’, predicts that the global energy storage market  will double six times in this time period, rising to a total of

125GW/305GWh. The report notes that this trajectory mirrors the incredible expansion of the solar industry between 2000 and 2015, in which the percentage of total generation from photovoltaics doubled seven times. The report predicts that approximately $103 billion will be invested


— the pricing puzzle that taunts energy storage investors in energy storage between 2017 and 2030. It also suggests that energy storage is essential to flexibility during this period, both utility-scale and behind the meter. It makes the case that energy storage will become integral to the increasing penetration of renewable en-

ergy across the world’s electrical grids. With so much money pouring into a sector, it is perhaps inevitable that not all deals will complete smoothly and not all investors will realise the return they were hoping for. But in some cases investors could misunderstand or even be misled — deliberately or

otherwise — by the way in which energy storage units detail their project return on investment and detail key elements such as pricing per kilowatt hour. The reality is that the basis of the figures varies. And that’s the nub of the problem. >

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 35


But intrinsic to a growing number of these projects is the energy storage component, which will help determine the overall cost of such an operation and have a huge bearing on its long-term potential return on investment. Sometimes figures are given for a whole installation; sometimes calculations are offered per cell or per pack. But these differences can make a big and important difference to the relative attraction of an energy storage project to investors and its commercial viability. The multiple variables present in any energy storage project make it extremely difficult to accurately calculate the cost of energy storage, never mind the ‘value’ of it or the pricing per kilowatt hour. But the extent to which this is a problem is a moot point. Geoffrey May, director of FOCUS Consulting, says that individuals will naturally focus on the pricing metric that shows a particular projector installation in the best possible light. “To be fair, it depends on what question you ask — I don’t think people are setting out to mislead,” he says. “If you ask for the all-in installed cost of an energy storage system you should get what you ask for. And most investors are very sophisticated. They are spending large amounts of money on very expensive kit — I would be amazed if they do not understand the information they are getting. But that said, it is possible some users could find it confusing.” But this can become a problem for

several reasons. May notes that the use of certain pricing metrics can be used to make some battery chemistries look better than others. “And that is important when you consider the way in which perception of their merits then develops, and investments and grants are awarded based on these perceptions. The winner based on this can often be lithiumion; some in the user community think it is the only game in town, whereas really you want a level playing field,” May says.

Total cost of ownership May believes that most owners of energy storage installations will primarily be interested in the total cost of ownership. But when it comes to calculating this, every chemistry or technology used will vary dramatically. A pumped hydro system, for example, may have a life expectancy of 25 years or more; compressed air energy storage a life span of 15-20 years; a flywheel a life span of 20 years or more. In contrast, most chemistry-based energy storage systems will only have a life span of between five and 15 years. But these too vary dramatically in other ways. Lithium-ion is more expensive up front but delivers very efficient power and energy density. Lead acid is cheaper but can have a shorter lifespan and a poor depth of discharge. “The power-based electronics will last longer but their upfront costs will be greater than a battery based on any chemistry. This all needs to be fac-

tored in. Batteries need more monitoring and the batteries may need replacing at certain times. It is very difficult to compare like for like,” May says.

A question of perspective This dynamic also becomes closely tied into the outlook of the investor, their timescale for a project and their expected return on investment. This can vary, depending on the type of investor backing a project and their wider expectations. “This will depend on the top level thinking of investors and things like the balance between capital costs and its life in service. But investors will generally understand the nuances of different forms of energy storage and act accordingly,” May says. Don Karner, president of Electric Applications Incorporated, agrees that differences exist in how the pricing per kilowatt hour is calculated, often depending on the perspective of the person doing the calculation. “The cost for a kWh in and out of storage varies significantly whether you are listening to a supplier or a customer,” he says. “Battery companies typically talk about the cell. We hear a lot of this because they have an advertising budget. However, this rarely includes many of the most significant costs of ESS operations. “It is more typically the cost of the cell divided by the tested cycle life of the cell (though this typically has no relationship with the warranted life of the cell) multiplied by the capacity of the cell.” However, for an ESS customer, what really counts is the lifetime average cost of putting a kWh in and taking it back out of the entire ESS. But as this is a complex calculation, involving many confidential factors, it is rarely discussed. For such a calculation to be made accurately, at least eight factors need to be considered, including: battery war-

“Battery companies typically talk about the cell. We hear a lot of this because they have an advertising budget. However, this rarely includes many of the most significant costs of ESS operations. It is more typically the cost of the cell divided by the tested cycle life of the cell (though this typically has no relationship with the warranted life of the cell) multiplied by the capacity of the cell” — Don Karner, Electric Applications Incorporated 36 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

ESS PRICING ranty period, specific warranty terms, labour costs for battery replacement, costs for battery disposal or credit for battery recycling, cost of service outage cost (replacement power, etc), round trip battery efficiency, power conversion system efficiency and the cost of input energy and/or value of output energy. That said the reality is that most of these costs are either very difficult to come by or are a closely guarded secret, so full disclosure of actual costs for a kWh in and out of an ESS is a hard — and elusive — nut for the industry to crack. The calculation also depends on how the storage facility is used. Unlike technologies related to conventional generation, such as the creation of electricity, energy storage technologies have a variety of uses, some of which are in front of the meter or power-grid oriented, while others are behind the meter related to the distribution of energy. Moreover, a single energy storage unit may be used for several different uses — in front of the meter this could be improving transmission grid performance, frequency regulation or PV integration. Behind the meter uses could include microgrid, peak shaving, back-up power and more. The way in which an energy storage application is used has an important bearing on the energy storage units to calculate their pricing per kilowatt hour. “The numbers will also be subject to some argument and it depends on the objective of the person giving them and what they are trying to achieve,” May says. “There are so many factors to cycle in on top of the obvious things such as capital investment and lifespan. It depends on the number of cycles, the frequency and voltage, whether high power is needed and for what duration. There are many moving factors you have to consider. “The way in which the National Grid in the UK may use a hydro pump station to stabilize the grid is very different from the way in which a solar farm may use energy storage to sell energy at a more attractive rate at a certain time of day.” May admits that as the energy storage sector has grown, the calculations used to determine pricing per kilowatt hour have become more and more important to the sector. It is especially relevant in tender processes where the companies tendering for a project will

“The numbers will also be subject to some argument and it depends on the objective of the person giving them and what they are trying to achieve. There are so many factors to cycle in on top of the obvious things such as capital investment and lifespan. It depends on the number of cycles, the frequency and voltage, whether high power is needed and for what duration. There are many moving factors you have to consider” — Geoff May, FOCUS Consulting know what they will be able sell the electricity for. He gives the example of National Grid putting out a tender for enhanced frequency response in which it is explicit what they will pay for the service. Operating costs referenced here would include fuel and maintenance, depreciation, end-of-life costs and finance costs. In the case of a battery storage system it would also include the cost at which electricity is available for charging as fuel costs and the energy price is the available price on discharge. For frequency regulation services the price model is different. In this case, the battery operator would get paid a fee to provide a set amount of specified capacity which can be either input or output over a contract period under agreed conditions.

Seeking standardization The closest thing to a standardized calculation relating to costs for all generating assets and battery energy storage is the so-called Levelized Cost

of Electricity, conceived by financial advisory firm Lazard. This calculation is usually the average cost to build and operate a power generating asset over its lifetime divided by the average minimum price at which electricity must be sold to break even over the life of the project. The most comprehensive work on the potential use of this calculation for energy storage costs has been done by Lazard and published in a series of reports, each improving on the model and analysis, the most recent of which was published in November 2017. The third version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage provides socalled “value snapshots” for energy storage technologies across all major use cases. Independent non-profit the Rocky Mountain Institute is also trying to quantify the value of battery energy storage, focusing on opportunities with multiple use cases and value stacking. According to the Energy Storage World Forum (ESWF), which is seeking perspectives on this issue ahead of an event in May 2018, it is increasing-

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 37

ESS PRICING ly important for the industry to both agree on a ‘value’ calculation for energy storage and also to get some idea of how quickly costs are dropping in this sector. But it acknowledges that this is a big challenge. “With installation and operating costs being the major barrier to further uptake of energy storage, having clear figures for current costs, speed at

which costs are dropping and realistic predicted future energy storage costs are of great importance to the whole range of related industries,” says the ESWF. Interestingly, May notes that while public domain calculations are available from US and UK sources for the so-called Levelized Cost of Electricity, more specific commercial calculations are not.

ESWF acknowledges that calculating the cost of energy storage is not an easy task, especially as the term covers a whole range of technologies ranging from hydroelectric storage to electrochemical to flywheels to thermal. “Creating an apples-to-apples comparison is challenging even before the different energy storage applications are taken into account,” it notes. It also acknowledges that as this re-

World of solar investments expanding Investors are becoming more specialized and targeted in the way in which they invest in solar projects, but the single biggest driver of investor interest in this sector remains what incentives governments put in place to encourage growth. According to Tyler Ogden, an associate at Lux Research, these are the main drivers of these energy storage projects globally. A wider range of investors, ranging from banks to private equity, has moved into this sector with specialized units in recent years and projects are increasingly being bought and sold by investors with different return horizons. In the UK, for example, WIRSOL Solar, a German solar energy provider, specializing in the planning, financing, construction and maintenance of solar power plants, recently sold 19 solar projects to investment company Rockfire Capital. The 19 solar sites, each ranging between 2.5MWp and 20.5MWp, have a total capacity of around 105MWp. Cumulatively the portfolio that has been sold produces enough energy to generate almost 100 gigawatt hours a year. WIRSOL suggested that the deal worked well for both parties and it would consider similar deals in the future. “Collaboration with Rockfire in the transaction was altogether positive,” said Peter Vest, the managing director of WIRSOL. “We will be continuing to build further solar parks in Great Britain in future. “In the process, we will decide on a case by case basis whether it makes more sense to adopt and operate a plant on our own portfolio, or to pass it on to a suitable investor who is interested in a secure and very long-term investment, for example with a view to providing a stable basis for pension funds.” Ogden says it is increasingly common for such projects

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to receive investment from different types of investor at different stages, depending on their timeframe and expected return on investment. The US is now one of the fastest growing markets for investment in solar energy, predominantly because of the supporting policies that are in place to encourage the growth of this sector. It has replaced Europe in recent years because many of the supporting policies in Europe have expired or been rolled back now. By contrast, China generates the most solar energy globally in part thanks to historical government supporting policies and subsidies there. India is tipped for strong growth in this area because of ambitious targets and supportive policies. The country plans to have an installed solar power capacity of 100GW by March 2022. The installed capacity at the end of September was just over 14.7GW. So it needs to add an additional 85GW in the remaining four years and six months. Recent reports suggested it planned to auction off 20GW of solar power capacity in one go to help meet these targets. Along with India, the US is anticipated to have the strongest growth in the coming years. Some of the European players big in this market in recent years, such as the UK and Germany, are tipped to stay flat. Ogden say the reason for such strong growth in the US is the mixture of incentives offered at a Federal level and by individual states to promote and drive the growth of this sector. “We are anticipating big growth in the US,” he says. “But we will also see strong growth in many markets across smaller markets in Latin America and the Middle East as more governments pass supporting policies designed to kick start investment.”

ESS PRICING mains an emerging technology, there is simply not enough data available yet to make strong future predictions. “Energy storage costs are coming down, which promotes uptake, which brings costs down further — this much we know — but the rate becomes exponentially less predictable the more it is projected forward,” it says. “While a great amount of effort has been expended determining the cost

of energy storage, there has not been the same focus on the value of energy storage — a factor more elusive and harder to quantify. The beneficiaries of the value of energy storage can roughly be divided into end users, the grid and the wider environment. “Value to consumers is one aspect that can be easily calculated. The benefit of backup energy storage, reducing demand charges and the opportu-

nity to further lower future electricity costs are generally easy to quantify and then compare to the lifecycle cost of an energy storage installation. “The value of energy storage to the grid is where the most research is currently being carried out. With so many real world cases that directly benefit from energy storage — frequency regulation and response, energy arbitrage, ramping support, voltage

and now backed by storage Ogden says there are three main ways in which governments do this: by setting a feed-in tariff, meaning they agree to buy renewable electricity at a certain price (though this can lead to surges and reliability issues in terms of connections); via a government-led tender for a certain amount of capacity and accepting bids for that; and through offering tax credits to companies. The last of these has represented a big driver of capacity in the US in recent years. In November, the latest version of new tax reforms tabled by the Republicans threatened to slash such tax credits as they apply to wind projects, but solar had been left largely unscathed. The tax credits, which can be claimed for as much as 30% of the upfront investment costs in a renewable project, have proven increasingly popular with some of the large banks, which make qualifying investments through dedicated investment arms. But they do not always hang on to these investments. Once built, they are often sold on to a different type of investor more interested in taking the steady revenue from the sale of electricity long term. “A 30% tax credit is a good incentive and has led to more innovation and technology being development in this field,” Ogden says. The rate at which that electricity can then be sold varies state by state and will depend on a number of factors, with subsidies varying state by state. But intrinsic to a growing number of these projects is the energy storage component, which will help determine the overall cost of such an operation and have a huge bearing on its long-term potential return on investment. While not all projects will include the storage aspect of this from the start, there are places where it is almost always an intrinsic part of the project. This includes in Hawaii, for example, where a number

of very high-profile projects have been launched. Most recently, US solar manufacturer and developer SunPower and battery storage maker AES Distributed Energy revealed plans to build one of the largest solar and battery storage  projects in the world on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The 28MW SunPower solar system will be accompanied by a 20MW, five-hour battery storage system — making it the largest solar plus storage system in the state of Hawaii and one of the largest battery storage installations in the world. Hawaii is aiming for 100% renewables by 2045. Kauai is already becoming a centre for solar and storage projects. Tesla and its now fully owned Solar City built a 13MW solar plant with a 52MWh battery system that delivers as much as 13MW of power to the island grid during the evening peak hours of 5pm to 10pm. Such projects use lithium-ion batteries and other countries including India, where the grid is less stable than more mature countries, may well replicate the concept. This has led to the rise of investors willing to back the engineering, procurement and construction phase, whether it be banks or private equity firms, which then sell the project on once complete. First Solar, for example, which predominantly makes solar panels, has its own EPC arm that will finance projects at an initial stage before selling them on to long-term investors seeking less risk at a later stage. Meanwhile, there has also been strong growth in the number of securitizations used to fund solar schemes. In October, the size of this sector surpassed the $1.5 billion mark thanks to strong issuance this year from a handful of companies increasingly leveraging this sector, including Solar City, Mosaic, Sunnova and Dividend Finance.

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ESS PRICING support and capacity firming — accurately calculating value allows for smart long-term grid planning. “The area where the value of energy storage is the most difficult to quantify is coincidentally where it has the chance to have the greatest impact. Reducing carbon emissions is the end goal of switching to a majority renewable grid. The inherent variability of such a grid is the main driver behind stationary energy storage development. One way countries are recognising this value is using energy storage as a way to further cut emissions and meet their ambitious national and international targets.” The report concludes by admitting that, due to the number of interlinked variables involved, it may be almost impossible to reach a point where value can be calculated for each energy storage technology as a whole, although recent research continues to move in a promising direction. “However, as energy storage technologies continue to mature and more performance data is gathered, the timeline of future predictability for both cost and value can be extended further into the future,” it says. The most recent version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage report acknowledges that “a rational and costbased analysis is necessary to enable a modern grid, cost-effective energy development and an increasingly clean energy economy.”

It explains that alternative energy costs have decreased dramatically over the past eight years, driven by advances in technology, maturation of the supply chain and the resulting economies of scale in manufacturing and installation and, in the US, by federal subsidies and related financing tools. “A key question for industry participants will be whether these technologies can continue their cost declines and meet growth expectations as the industry continues to mature, and after the near-term step down and forthcoming permanent expiration of such subsidies,” the report notes. However, adding storage to renewables often eliminates the LCOE advantage. As an example, Lazard calculated that utility-scale crystalline-silicon PV now has an LCOE range of $46/ MW to $53/MW of generation — this is less than the lowest levelized cost for coal, at $60, or natural gas, at $68. But adding a battery and bidirectional inverter to the PV system to deliver 10 hours of storage with a 52% capacity factor brought the cost up to $82/MW. This could also become an important issue given the growth of the use of corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which are designed to provide major corporates with clean, reliable and competitively priced power. In recent months, a number of deals

have emerged that illustrate this trend. Norwegian aluminium company Norsk Hydro unveiled a long-term PPA with Swedish wind power firm Markbygden Ett to provide Norsk Hydro with an annual baseload supply of 1.65TWh. The wind farm, owned by GE Energy Financial Services and Green Investment Group, will be built close to Piteå in northern Sweden. Swedish utility Vattenfall also recently signed a 10-year deal to power Microsoft’s international data centre operations in the Netherlands using wind power. Microsoft will receive all the energy output from the new Wieringermeer onshore wind farm to be built close to Amsterdam. Vattenfall is set to invest more than €200m to “repower and expand” the 100-turbine Wieringermeer facility. And aluminium producer Alcoa signed a 281.4MW deal with the Norwegian firm Norsk Miljøkraft in late October. The Nordlicht project consists of two sites (Kvitfjell and Raudfjell) near Tromsø. Alcoa is buying the electricity for its smelter in Mosjøen, with Siemens Gamesa supplying 67 4.2MW turbines. As energy storage as a sector grows it will indeed become critical for the industry to establish a standard way of establishing the cost and value of such projects — and therefore their potential return on investment.

Unsubsidized levelized cost of energy comparison

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CEO PROFILE: CATHERINE VON BURG, SIMPLIPHI The new emerging business models for energy storage are often a strange mix between new solutions for legacy businesses and new approaches to new business. Jim Smith looks at SimpliPhi’s evolving model.

Taking a good idea to ever broader markets SimpliPhi is a company of two halves. The first is a story of adopting new technology to solve existing problems, the second is about taking that further and opening up new vistas of business, both geographical and application. And where Stuart Lennox is the main character of the first half, the second belongs to the vision of SimpliPhi’s president and CEO, Catherine Von Burg. In 2002 Stuart Lennox — a veteran of some 20 years in the movie production business — started the company, then known as LibertyPak, from a garage in Los Angeles. His idea was to design and manufacture portable plug-and-play energy storage and management systems primarily for the film and movie industry to extend access for film shoots beyond the grid. At that time the film industry used diesel generation, lead acid batteries or a hybrid of the two to provide power for off-grid movie shoots. But the logistics of shipping power supplies was fraught with complications. Think weight and size. Lennox had struggled with these production problems in the past but the first wave of electric bicycles offered him possibilities. For him the eu-

reka moment came when he decided to customise battery packs from the bicycles to develop power packs for 35mm movie cameras. The packs proved to be an instant success. Film producers quickly wanted more and more. Today the latest iterations of those packs are used in TV series such as 30 Rock and blockbuster movies such as Tron and Avatar. The first LibertyPaks and LibertyBelt products used an lithium cobalt ion battery because of its high energy density properties.

Pathway to storage But first how did a psychology and social policy graduate become a CEO of an energy storage company? Before joining SimpliPhi, Von Burg’s career spanned a diverse portfolio of strategic planning, policy development, executive management and multidisciplinary team building in the fields of human services, environmental conservation, biomedical engineering, and research and health. She also spearheaded national program, policy and business-driven initiatives with organizations such as the Rockefeller Institute, Columbia University, and John Hopkins School of Biomedical Engineering.

Then, 16 years ago she decided to move with her family to Ojai in California from New York City. It was here, in 2009, she met Lennox. The pair quickly realized they could work together to take LibertyPak to a new level, expanding the technology far beyond the film and movie industry. The pair founded a new company in 2010, OES Optimized Energy Storage, of which Von Burg became its president and CEO. Working alongside Lennox she helped design the initial Optimized Energy Storage (OES) product line, which included the OES2.6 and OES3.4 energy storage and management solutions. Then, in 2015, Von Burg led the company through its rebrand to SimpliPhi Power. “The company name SimpliPhi really comes out of our desire to simplify the relationship people have with energy storage,” says Von Burg. “Our storage proposition is really to create balance in people’s lives as acceptable as possible. “The SimpliPhi name reflects our desire to capture in our brand what our technology does for our customers that is, to SimpliPhi Power - and bring balance and proportion to people’s lives with safe, non-toxic, lightweight

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CEO PROFILE: CATHERINE VON BURG, SIMPLIPHI and scalable on-demand energy assets.” Skip forward 18 months later and the company had raised $2 million, increased the amount of its deployed energy storage by 55% to 9MW and increased its revenue by 100%. As CEO of SimpliPhi, Von Burg has expanded the company’s customer base to include US military, commercial, industrial, residential, emergency response, off-grid exploration exhibitions, mobile, off-grid humanitarian projects in the developing world, and more. She has also expanded SimpliPhi’s market presence beyond the US to include all of North America, Europe, South America, Africa and the Asia Pacific. Von Burg said: “I have always been dedicated to professional work that promised to make a social impact at its core. “By creating an opportunity to harvest, store and utilize any power generation source beyond centralized top-down infrastructure, people are empowered, rather than marginalized, to become active participants in their own power generation and security. “Whole communities can gain control of their own resources, efficiently capture renewable generation and

become less dependent on large centralized corporate interests, ushering in the transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.”

Birth of the baby Genny? The start of Simpliphi’s success came in 2007. Lennox was at a crossroads because the original LibertyPak’s had issues due to the chemistry’s capacity shortcomings, small cycle life — Lennox was getting at best 600 cycles — and its thermal runaway threat. So in 2007, with the arrival of prototype lithium iron phosphate cells, Lennox began work with LFP cell manufacturers to refine the chemistry and developed a proprietary architecture and battery management system that exponentially extended cycle life (5,000 to 10,000 cycles), deepened the depth of discharge, increased the rate of charge and discharge and increased the efficiency rate to 98%. The fruition of this change came in 2011 when the company designed the Baby Genny, partly in response to a Japanese earthquake. The system stores electricity from disparate power sources, and discharges it through USB and AC outlets. Von Burg says she realized they were especially effective when paired with solar blankets

The company now has the Genny series of portable mobile power solutions for the film and movie industry, which has replaced generators and entirely replaced lead acid batteries.

The Baby Genny stores electricity from disparate power sources, and discharges it through USB and AC outlets

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for off-grid charging for people who lost power, or worse, their home. It was to become the backbone of the company’s business and formed the basis for the second half of the company’s life. This second phase has seen the company take the Little Genny from the movie set to the residential and commercial markets for both on and off grid applications to deliver back-up security, peak-shaving, and load shifting services. “There was a need for real-time power for the equipment and Stuart [Lennox] came up with a better solution in 2002 using Panasonic’s lithium cobalt battery which had the advantages because of its higher energy density, which is why it was being use in consumer electronics such as cellphones and laptops where lead acid would have been too large and heavy for those kinds of applications,” says Von Burg. The company now has the Genny series of portable mobile power solutions for the film and movie industry, which has replaced generators and entirely replaced lead acid batteries. Another area that was crying out for better transportable energy storage was the military. At the time the military was looking for a solution to powering forward operation bases that required the same kind of access to power as the film industry, in so much as they were often remote and unable to access grid power. A key issue was that studies, such as the Army Environmental Policy Institute’s Sustain the mission project: casualty factors for fuel and water resupply convoys found a relationship between fuel consumption and casualty rates. A Deloitte report even went as far as to claim a 10% reduction in fossil fuel consumption could save up to 35 lives. The US military was using lead acid batteries, which relied on diesel generators to be recharged. This meant that by the time an army convoy had delivered the fuel it was costing around $800 a gallon and lives were unnecessarily being lost or put in jeopardy. At this point, step forward SimpliPhi. “The US Department of Defense mandated the need to reduce reliance on diesel, and very early on we were developing LiFePO4 solutions that no other manufacturer could provide,” says Von Burg. “This displaced lead acid batteries, because it could meet cycle demands, not drop discharge and not require ventilation.

CEO PROFILE: CATHERINE VON BURG, SIMPLIPHI “The secret is creating solutions for pinch-points, delivering power that doesn’t cost $800 a gallon or the loss of lives, which was the reality of convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan. The DoD required real time solutions, so we built a product that can be deployed in the field and the harsh conditions represented in the DoD applications.” The result was that by the time the company was ready to roll out its product for residential and small commercial applications it was relatively plain sailing — the technology had already been tested to those harsh DoD applications.

Finding the right niche A number of companies have placed products on to the small-scale energy storage market, Von Burg highlights Mercedes — the company unveiled a home energy storage system this June— but she believes that like Tesla, its cells are not appropriate for energy storage in homes or hospitals because of the inherent risk with the chemistry. “In a car you have a temperature gauge, but in an energy storage solution predicating how a battery designed for cars will operate when you install that in homes, businesses or hospitals is not easy,” she says. “So it’s something that’s critical and will play out in a way that none of us can foresee.” Although a relatively new company, just seven years dealing on the wider energy storage market, Von Berg reckons they are one of the longest standing in the industry. “That creates a competitive edge and validation of our performance in this field,” she says. “There are laboratory devices with lots of data, but that is not validated by third parties. “The truth is that in 2017, looking at Samsung, and looking at the challenges Boeing had with lithium cobalt with overheating and fires, there is a need for another technology that had the advantages but mitigate the thermal runaway and hazards found with cobalt, because there is still always the risk of fires,” adds Von Burg. To date the Liberty Pak has never had a reported fire. The switch to lithium iron phosphate, also made the packs more environmentally benign. Principally this is because the supply chain does not have the issues that surround the mining of cobalt. One estimate reckoned that there are some 40,000 children exploited in cobalt mining in Africa.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for residential and small-scale commercial energy storage systems in the Asia Pacific Region, driven by its high solar uptake, soaring electricity prices and falling PV tariffs?

This June SimpliPhi moved into the UK with small-scale residential applications. The system (pictured underneath the stairs) uses two PHI 3.4 batteries to store excess energy generated by the Winchester home’s rooftop solar array.

Grid reliability or grid resiliency? In 2016 the Eaton Blackout Tracker revealed that 3,879 blackouts (a jump of 9% from 2015) had caused problems for roughly 17.9 million utility customers across the US. In 2009, there were 2,840 outages affecting 13.5 million people. Together, the blackouts in 2016 totalled 130 days without power. The annual monetary damages resulting from power outages, surges and spikes are estimated to cost the US economy more than $150 billion. An IHS Markit report assessed the cost of a network outage at more than $9,000 per minute, with larger enterprises losing tens of millions of dollars for each hour their networks are down. In all the outages have seen a 45% increase from 2008 —highlighting how the nation’s electrical grid has grown steadily more unreliable. Von Burg says that to SimpliPhi, grid reliability is grid resiliency — the grid is only as resilient as its weakest link. “Grid-tied storage solutions that can separate from the grid and operate independently during power out-

ages make the grid more reliable and resilient during its weakest times,” she says. “At SimpliPhi, we believe in putting power back in the hands of the people to create true power security, reliability and resiliency anytime, anywhere and on their terms.” SimpliPhi’s products are able to disconnect from the grid during failure to ensure that there is no loss of power, which is critical during catastrophic events when the grid may be down for an extended period of time, such as the recent hurricanes that swept through Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Eaton’s BlackOut Tracker report stated that 60% of network outages last longer than an hour. Making homeowners, businesses and communities safer by giving them the ability to remain operational in the absence of the grid is the essence of putting power back in the hands of the people and creating security on their terms, says Von Burg. “Creating this self-reliance, even with grid-tied systems and projects in partnership with utilities, is central to our mission.”

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CEO PROFILE: CATHERINE VON BURG, SIMPLIPHI “So our company, and with Stuart’s vision, stepped away from that and now use a more environmentally better lithium ion chemistry. We’ve made the tough choice between power and running the risk of fire, and so we eliminated that and our technology also has the advantage of reaching 2,500 cycles,” says Von Burg. However, in some ways it was more of a disadvantage than an advantage being a first mover, says Von Burg. “We were ahead of the market, and what happens in the industry is if a company such as Aquion, which emerged from bankruptcy in July, raises a lot of capital to scale up manufacturing —but is too far ahead of where the market and demand is — you are really run a risk of failure. “There is an advantage in growing slowly and organically with demand for a nascent product, and where demand in the market is tied to customers’ education and understanding of energy storage. Education is critical, yet so tedious in some respects.”

Proactive not reactive power Von Burg says SimpliPhi is not only about reactive solutions, but one that takes a proactive approach. Two humanitarian projects highlight this ideology best: the first through the Time Foundation brings 24 hour power to students. The second, a solar hybrid power project in Kisokwe village, in the Dodoma Region, Tanzania, supplies power to Kisokwe Primary School, which educates about 800 pupils. “What gets me out of bed every morning is the impact that this technology has on people’s lives in a very practical way,” says Von Burg. “The fact that we can emancipate families who are dependent on inadequate resources, whether it’s the intermittency from incomplete, inadequate or aging infrastructure, is astounding. “We can empower people, families and entire communities to generate their own power and be independent, and not rely on top-down, centralized generation and distribution systems. For me, seeing our technology at work and witnessing the difference it makes in these communities is a life-changing experience.” The Kisokwe project, 1.26kW of integrated solar PV and 5kWh SimpliPhi Power battery storage powers the electricity needs of the school. The Kisokwe Primary School, and surrounding community, use the solar+storage system to light classrooms, extend school operat-

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“We were ahead of the market, and what happens in the industry is if a company such as Aquion, which emerged from bankruptcy in July, raises a lot of capital to scale up manufacturing — but is too far ahead of where the market and demand is — you are really run a risk of failure.” ing hours and power electric teaching equipment, such as projectors. Also in Africa is Tanzania’s Falco’s Children’s Village, where some of the country’s 2.5 million orphans have been given a home, clothing, food and clean drinking water. Located in Karatu, in the more remote north of the country, the community’s nearest power line is 17km away. To help, a microgrid of solar+storage system provides 20.4kWh of power and consists of six SimpliPhi Power PHI3.4 48V batteries and three Outback VFXR 3048E inverters. The system provides power to nine dwellings that house 130 orphans and caretakers. It also powers an electric fence that protects the garden from wildlife – an extremely important duty, since the villagers raise their own food, says von Burg.

Moving beyond the film and military Recently, SimpliPhi has been moving into the global residential storage market. Since 2015, SimpliPhi has been partnering with Australian renewable power distributer DPA Solar to make its products available to homes and businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The company has since expanded partnerships to include Enirgi Power Storage and the New Zealand utility Powerco. This October Powerco ap-

proved the use of 20 new PHI 3.4 battery units over the next 12 months as part of an off-grid hybrid-renewable energy unit named Base Power. Base Power is an all-in-one system to bring reliable power to remote customers as a supplement, or alternative, to a grid supply to defer costly reinforcement costs. “There’s a tremendous opportunity for residential and small-scale commercial energy storage systems in the Asia Pacific Region, driven by its high solar uptake, soaring electricity prices and falling PV tariffs,” says Von Burg. This June the company continued its expansion through a distribution partnership with Streamline Power in the UK. To date a number of its products have been used in small-scale residential applications. The system uses two PHI 3.4 batteries to store excess energy generated by the Winchester home’s rooftop solar array. And so, from California film sets to storage systems under staircases in rural England, SimpliPhi’s philosophy of creating balance in people’s lives through energy storage has seen them grow and expand from a garage to an international business. SimpliPhi’s story is one of how adopting new technology to solve existing problems, expanding organically, and being an early mover within an industry can not only grow your business, but make it blossom.

This October Powerco, the New Zealand utility, approved the use of 20 new PHI 3.4 battery units over the next 12 months as part of an off-grid hybridrenewable energy unit named Base Power

Europe‘s Largest Exhibition for Batteries and Energy Storage Systems MESSE MÜNCHEN, GERMANY



FIND OUT MORE AT EES EUROPE Lithium ion battery production is key to both the exhibition and the ees Europe conference, held between June 20-22 in Munich. Attendees with an interest in battery production technologies can meet at the Battery Production Forum in hall C1 at Messe München. On each day of the exhibition, experts from production companies, associations and research institutes will be on hand to shed light on the latest developments and innovations.

The forum is part of an exhibition segment dedicated to battery production technologies and covering all of the industry’s hot topics, from plant construction and battery research to battery components. The ees Europe conference will also shine the spotlight on the topic during several sessions discussing the latest battery systems, innovative materials, product automation, design concepts and recycling.

Gigafactory. It’s an odd word, minted five years ago by Elon Musk in a fit of hype. He used ‘giga’ to describe Tesla’s plans for a new factory that would have an output larger than the then total world production capacity for lithium ion batteries. Since then gigafactories have emerged across the world — almost entirely in China and South Korea — but Europe has, or at least until recently, rather been left behind. But this is changing. Already plans are in place for at least three if not four gigafactories shortly to be built in Europe. The one that most recently hit the headlines was the announcement on February 12 that the European Investment Bank had approved €52.5 million ($63 million) to new car manufacturer Northvolt to build a demonstration lithium ion manufacturing line in Västerås, Sweden. Northvolt’s chief executive Peter Carlsson — a former chief purchasing officer for Tesla — says that if all goes well, the firm will complete construction on the factory in 2023, at which point it will be able to produce 32GW hours of storage per year, making it the largest lithium ion battery factory in Europe for that year. But the headlines shouldn’t overshadow one existing project by a consortium known as TerraE Holding, which kicked off in Germany in early 2017 and also hit the headlines early this year with the launch of its Projekt Fab4Lib to develop large-scale mass production for lithium ion cells.

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If the number of battery cells car makers require continues to rise, investing in such endeavours in Europe will prove more worthwhile than importing parts from Asia. The plan, according to Holger Gritzka, the chief executive and former manager of ThyssenKrupp, is to break ground on a new factory by the end of 2019 and to gradually extend manufacturing capacity to up to 34GWh a year by 2028. “The goal of Projekt Fab4Lib is to explore innovative solutions along the lithium ion technology value chain and validate these through demonstration projects,” a company spokesperson says. “By the end of the project, participants will have developed a competitive manufacturing unit with a production capacity of approximately 6GWh. This unit can be multiplied in the future wherever and whatever extra capacity is required. “Topics like autonomous energy infrastructure, cell design, innovative production processes and materials, Industry 4.0 or recycling strategies will be the focus of 11 work packages. Each package will be headed by one partner and handled in teams.” The consortium consists of 19 companies and research institutes, including manufacturer of industrial battery modules BMZ Holding, Siemens and ThyssenKrupp Engineering. The project is funded by Germany’s ministry for education and research. But there are other moves afoot in Germany. Car manufacturers such as Daimler, BMW and VW are also forging ahead with plans to develop their own battery cells. The most advanced so far has been Daimler, which in 2017 announced a €500 million investment in expanding its plant in Kamenz. It produces its own battery packs through its whollyowned subsidiary ACCUmotive. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, broke ground at the factory in May last year. “The automotive industry is facing a fundamental

SUPPLY NEEDS TO MEET DEMAND A new period of change — accelerated developments in battery production, new manufacturing technologies and the construction of assembly factories and facilities — is creating the basis for a wealth of opportunities for car manufacturers and suppliers. Consultancy firm Deloitte predicts that the market for batteries and fuel cells in Germany, China and NAFTA (US, Canada and Mexico) could grow from €5.5 billion to more than €81 billion by 2025. ees Europe – Europe’s largest and most-visited exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems – is dedicating an entire exhibition segment and an extensive presentation program to this important topic. The battery production sector is benefiting from the growing appeal of clean transport. For instance, the automotive industry has announced plans

to step up its activities in the area of electric cars this year, with the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW all intending to be in a position to compete with current market leader Tesla by 2025 by offering electric versions of at least 15-25% of their vehicle models. Meanwhile, in the area of energy supply, there is a growing need to store electricity generated from renewable sources such as photovoltaics, so that it can be used elsewhere and at a later point in time. This is because electricity storage systems are essential if the German government’s plan to increase the share of clean energy in the power supply to 50% by 2030 is to succeed. These developments mean that more batteries are needed across all energy sectors. Advances in battery production technology are vital to increase output rates and reduce costs.

Machine and plant construction firms will benefit from this the most in the long run, since the transition in the automotive industry is also bringing about change.

Partners in the project are: TerraE Holding, StreetScooter, BMZ Batterien-Montage-Zentrum, SGL Group, Umicore, Custom Cells Itzehoe, Litarion, M+W Group, Manz, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering, MEET Battery Research Center at the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) of RheinischWestfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH), Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung BadenWürttemberg (ZSW), Öko-Institut – Institut für angewandte Ökologie and the associated partners Solvay Fluor, Leclanché and H&T Battery Components Group.


By the end of the project, participants will have developed a competitive manufacturing unit with a production capacity of approximately 6GWh. This unit can be multiplied in the future wherever and whatever extra capacity is required. transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change,” Dieter Zetsche, chief executive for Daimler, said at the time. “The battery factory in Kamenz is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than 10 purely electric passenger cars in series.” Battery production at the new plant should start this summer. The aim is to take annual lithium battery production up from 80,000 units to 320,000. Daimler has also announced further investment of around €500 million in battery-making operations in Asia. Meanwhile battery manufacturer Akasol opened a new production facility in Europe in Langen, Hesse in Germany last November. The plant can produce high-performance battery systems for up to 3,000 hybrid or electric vehicles or other large commercial vehicles each year,” said Akasol. If the number of battery cells car makers require continues to rise, investing in such endeavours in Europe will prove more worthwhile than importing parts from Asia. Moreover, doing so could give them a crucial edge in the fiercely competitive car market. Germany is well on its way to establishing its own value chain for battery storage systems, allowing it to meet its demands self-sufficiently. Machine and plant construction firms will benefit from this the most in the long run, since the transition in the automotive industry is also bringing about changes to Germany’s traditional industrial sector. Instead of focusing on manufacturing cylinders and camshafts for internal combustion engines, mechanical engineers can strike out in new directions thanks to the increase in battery

production. This is an important development because to remain prosperous in the future, mechanical engineering firms must explore alternative, sustainable lines of business just like the automotive industry. German research activities are focusing heavily on developing battery technology. RWTH Aachen University, which is also an active member of the TerraE consortium, is conducting research along the entire energy storage value chain. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) is also driving forward innovations along the battery production process chain by regularly bringing together researchers, manufacturers and users. The German government’s decision to provide TerraE with €5.5 million of funding over 18 months is further helping to step up battery cell production in Germany. Moreover, the European Commission believes that gigafactories are eligible for funding and is planning to invest €250 million a year in expanding new mass and batch production facilities in Europe.  Research and development activities are also focusing on finding alternatives to using lithium and cobalt to manufacture batteries. The German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) estimates that the global demand for lithium-ion batteries will at least double by 2025 from its current level of around 33,000 tonnes. Work has already begun on developing battery technology in such a way that will allow replacements to be found for materials such as cobalt that have the potential to become scarcer in the future. As well as recycling becoming more and more significant, it will lead to automobile manufacturers and other battery users placing increasing value on environmental and social standards to make the battery supply chain sustainable. Other European locations that are being discussed as potential gigafactory sites include Poland, Hungary and Cyprus.

GIGAFACTORIES 1, 2, 3, 4 AND 5? Elon Musk’s announcement of the first gigafactory in 2013, immediately sparked speculation that a second, third and more were in the pipeline. Though there was probably more hot air than substance in subsequent announcements, Gigafactory 2 was identified relatively recently as the site of Tesla’s subsidiary SolarCity in Buffalo, New York State. Speculation that Gigafactory 3 was going to be in Europe faded last year after Tesla signed a preliminary agreement with the city of Shanghai to manufacture cars there. Talk that Gigafactory 4 was to be based in

Germany — in November 2016 Tesla took over German firm Grohmann Engineering — still remains despite rumours to the contrary. What is certain is that Musk, who announced in 2014 that he was looking to see what financial incentives four US states could induce him to locate in one of them, has been playing a similar game. In the last two years, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Lithuania and Estonia have made representations about the merits of their own country as being a suitable base for a gigafactory.


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2017 was a record year in many ways for the European renewable energy sector. It was an exciting 12 months of big themes being discussed — and acted upon — on the canvas of an entire continent.

HIGHLIGHTS TO COME: EES EUROPE 2018 THE EUROPEAN ENERGY STORAGE MARKET IS BOOMING. AND WITH IT, THE NEED FOR AN EXPANDED DIALOGUE CONTINUES TO GROW. EES EUROPE IN MUNICH, GERMANY CONTINUES TO OFFER A UNIQUE FORUM. 2017 was a record year in many ways for the European renewable energy sector. It was an exciting 12 months of big themes being discussed — and acted upon — on the canvas of an entire continent. It was a year when solar installations raced ahead again — some 8GW in all and a climb of almost 30% over the previous year and where mature countries such as Turkey installing almost 2GW over the year. It was a year when some of the largest energy storage installations came on line. In the UK for example, the National Grid’s request for 201MW of tenders in 2016 resulted in a wave of completed projects which finish this spring. It was also a year of growing business maturity in the sector as legacy energy companies bought into the wave of start-ups The 2016 trend for mergers and acquisitions — where Engie took a controlling stake in Green Charge

and French energy giant Total picked up Saft in the largest battery acquisition ever — continued in 2017. In January Demand Energy acquired European utility and renewables developer Enel and in May Finnish engine company Wartsila bought Greensmith. Scottish mobile power provider Aggreko picked up Younicos in July for $52 million and yet later on, AES signed a joint venture with Siemens to  merge their storage practices  under the name Fluence. With such major themes in play, it was only natural that the annual Intersolar/ees conference and exhibition — the longest running and also the largest in Europe — reflected these topics. Last year some 40,000 visitors flocked to Munich for ees and Intersolar Europe, more than 1,100 exhibitors attended of which almost 450 exhibitors presented innovative energy storage solutions.


Major automotive companies are in the process of setting up their own battery production facilities, thus making their contribution to the energy transition. This calls for advanced manufacturing and assembly technologies for batteries, focusing on higher speed and high output rates while keeping the energy demand low.

THE SMARTER E If 2017 was big, 2018 looks set to be bigger. The format of the conference is changing. From this year four exhibitions will take place under the umbrella brand of The smarter E Europe, — ees Europe, Intersolar Europe, EM-Power Europe, and Power2Drive Europe. Each has its own focus within the new energy world. The focal points of ees Europe are battery and energy storage technologies and systems, energy storage system components and equipment, as well as battery production technologies and machine and plant construction. Furthermore, grid infrastructure and solutions for the integration of renewable energy are areas of interest at the ees Europe exhibition and conference. In 2018, more than 450 suppliers of products for energy storage technology and systems will be present at ees Europe and the parallel exhibitions of The smarter E Europe taking place in Munich. The exhibition will be accompanied by a twoday energy storage conference where leading experts delve into current questions of this industry.

BATTERY PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY One important topic – both at the ees Europe conference and exhibition – is battery production technology. The demand for lithium-ion battery suppliers continues to increase, in a large

part due to the boom in e-mobility. Major automotive companies are in the process of setting up their own battery production facilities, thus making their contribution to the energy transition. This calls for advanced manufacturing and assembly technologies for batteries, focusing on higher speed and high output rates while keeping the energy demand low. With a separate exhibition area and a three-day presentation program in the Battery Production Forum in hall C1 with talks by experts in the field, ees Europe offers key players of the industry an opportunity to present their cutting-edge battery production technology. This includes the chance for participants to join a special shared booth organized by ees Europe.

EES SYSTEMS — A GROWING TREND The sales of electrical energy storage systems in Germany have been rising for some time now and are expected to continue to increase in coming years. One of the reasons for this are the reduced prices for solar storage systems and, particularly, lithium-ion cells. This can partly be attributed to the car manufacturers that have become new players on the storage battery market and will be producing batteries in their own large-scale production facilities. Furthermore, a subsidy program by KfW, the German development bank, supports the purchase of solar-plusstorage systems. A third reason is a change in supply structure. The increasing quantity of renewable energy necessitates an intelligent infrastructure with storage capacities. Different renewable energy installations can thus be connected and temporal fluctuations in supply can be offset.

➔ THE EES AWARD First introduced in 2014, the ees AWARD is an integral part of the batteries and energy storage exhibition. The award is presented each year by the event’s organizers in cooperation with international industry associates and it is one of the most renowned prizes within the energy storage industry. The innovations that are submitted for the award range from components and production to business models and concrete applications that drive the energy transition.

The winners chosen in different categories are pioneering products and solutions in renewable energy storage. They benefit from great international media attention and a chance to showcase their achievements. The ees AWARD ceremony 2018 will take place on June 20 at The smarter E Forum Messe München in hall B2.


One goal of the energy industry is to connect many different and decentralized energy installations in utility-scale energy storage systems. These devices will help stabilize the power grid and integrate renewable energies on a larger scale.

OTHER OPTIONS FOR SHORT-TERM AND SEASONAL STORAGE Energy storage systems in on-grid and off-grid applications for the most part rely on battery technologies. For shortterm and seasonal storage, however, new and exciting alternatives are being developed. Options for short-term storage include fly wheels and supercapacitors. For seasonal storage, power2gas technologies, hydrogen, and fuel cells offer great advantages. This becomes necessary in power supply systems in which great fractions of renewable energy with fluctuations over the seasons are stored. If you wish to present your solutions in the field of hydrogen, power2gas, and fuel cells, you can be a part of ees Europe’s shared booth in hall B1. Participants enjoy numerous benefits such as booth cleaning and surveillance as well as inclusion of the company’s logo in The smarter E Europe Event Directory.

RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL AND UTILITY SCALE STORAGE The output of renewable energy, whether sun, wind, or other forms of generation, varies from day to day and over the course of a year. This makes storage a necessity both for homeowners and on a commercial level. Residential and commercial energy storage systems can be used to preserve excess energy and make it available when necessary. Residential energy storage is often characterized by the consumer wishing to use as much of his self-generated energy as possible (catchword: self-consumption or on-site consumption). In addition to this, a new business model continues to increase – that of the so-called “prosumers” who make their energy available to the utility company. These prosumers can be connected in “energy storage communities” that provide to each other and potentially to the grid. One goal of the energy industry is to connect many different and decentralized energy installations in utility-scale energy storage systems. These devices will help stabilize the power grid and integrate renewable energies on a larger scale. Numerous small wind farms and photovoltaic installations can be turned into a cluster to provide reliable electricity. These so-called swarm, combined or virtual power plants can provide a balancing effect to offset fluctuations and replace conventional large-scale power stations.

From this year four exhibitions will take place under the umbrella brand of The smarter E Europe, — ees Europe, Intersolar Europe, EM-Power Europe, and Power2Drive Europe. INTERNATIONAL POWER2DRIVE … AND MORE ➔INTERSOLAR E-mobility was a key theme of the Sim exeraessequi blamconsed 2017 ees/Intersolar conference. This year the new moluptat ip exPower2Drive eugait landre cor Europe exhibition will take this aliquis velesenim dolorfurther andmolestin become one of the four separate arms of The smarter That gives the industry less than tio odolutpat, quatum dioE Europe show. five years to prepare and update At Power2Drive, the spotlight will electrical grid infrastructure to cope etue eland delis at wismodit adnew ma-loads, adjust business beConsequi on tractiontebatteries charwith the ging infrastructure for e-mobility. models — in particular whether EV Attendees will have the chance batteries can be a future reservoir to engage in detailed discussions of energy to be tapped when about sector coupling, which is a needed — and roll out enough key component of the new energy charging stations to meet demand. world. According to Rocky Mountain In total, the automotive industry Institute, having 2.9 million EVs on is expecting 127 battery-electric the road by 2022 could add over models to be introduced worldwide 11,000GWh of electricity demand over the next five years. to the world’s grids.

➔ IN BRIEF Key players of the industry will present new innovations in battery technology and energy storage. Focal points are renewable energy storage such as residential, commercial, and large-scale systems,

battery manufacturing, and nonbattery storage technologies. The next ees Europe in Munich will take place June 20-22, 2018, with the ees Europe Conference running from June 19-20.





Intersolar and ees Summit USA East, April 4, 2018 | New York, USA

OUTLOOK EES NORTH AMERICA 2018 ➔ DON'T MISS… 130 energy storage companies at Moscone West • Free expert presentations, discussions and events at the ees stage. • The top networking party - Summerfest - at Metreon rooftop with 2,000 energy storage and solar peers. • 13 sessions at the ees conference dedicated to the energy storage market and the latest innovations in the energy storage industry. • Learn about the outlook for energy storage in California, the Chinese/Indian battery market and its implications for North America, financing energy storage, e-mobility topics and a lot more.

Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies, ees North America is the ultimate hot spot for energy storage solutions in the U.S. It takes place in the epicenter of the U.S. storage market: California. Co-located with Intersolar North America, the premier networking platform for the North American solar industry, ees North America provides the best opportunity to explore energy storage systems in combination with PV and beyond.

• 6th Intersolar & ees Summit USA East • taking place at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan • dedicated energy storage track • high-class speakers will discuss trends & developments, chances & challenges of the energy storage market • Meet face-to-face and build new business partnerships with 400+ stakeholders incl. government authorities, legislatures, utilities, investors, manufacturers, project developers, equipment suppliers, legal experts and many more • Expand your network and secure customer loyalty on a regional basis.

➔ EES NORTH AMERICA 2018: QUICK FACTS Dates: July 10-12, 2018 Location: Moscone Center West, San Francisco, USA Areas of Focus: Energy Storage Technologies, Energy Storage System Components and Equipment, Battery Production Technologies/Machine and Plant Construction, Energy Storage Systems, Electric Mobility Facts and Figures: 18,000 visitors (expected), 130 exhibitors (expected)


The numbers are in, and in the US alone, electric vehicle sales increased 21% last year – from 158,614 vehicles sold in 2016 to 199,826 vehicles sold in 2017 For the first time, there‘s a Special Exhibition at ees North America dedicated to bringing together the energy and transportation sectors: Power2Drive North America, the platform for the future. The Special Exhibition will be an industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and start-ups in the field of charging infrastructure, EV batteries and electric vehicles.




The International Energy Agency reckons that by 2020, developing nations will need to double their electrical output to meet rising demand.

Energy storage systems for the past few years have very much been the preserve of the richest nations on the planet. Everything from the panels that generated the electricity to the inverters that converted into power for the grid or storages systems have been expensive items and available only to the few. But that’s no longer the case — energy storage systems are coming down in price dramatically. Last year the cost of ESS tumbled across the world as economies of scale, advances in technology and speedier deployment weighed in for another year of reduced costs. Some items, such as the cost of solar panels came down by as much as 30% and the idea of grid parity for renewables moved from fiction to reality. That said, for the most part, ESS are still too expensive to play a large part in the energy needs of the developing world. But that is set to change. For the last three years the first island microgrid projects have are happening across the globe where the economic logic of swapping the import of fossil fuels for renewable energy — and most recently ESS — is compelling. The International Energy Agency reckons that by 2020, developing nations will need to double their electrical output

to meet rising demand. (It also estimates that by 2035 these countries will account for some 80% of total growth in energy production and consumption.) Energy storage deployments in emerging markets worldwide are going to grow rapidly expected from a low base — around 40% annually in the coming decade, adding approximately 80GW of new storage capacity to the 2GW existing today. Rather than simply list the expansion of these projects, it’s more useful to look at some of the major themes in how ESS will develop. (These incidentally are a major theme in ees and Intersolar conferences held annually in India, Brazil and the Middle East.) Perhaps the most striking difference between the development of ESS in emerging markets and first world nations is that the traditional centralized grid model will never provide the basic electrical needs of the 1.2 billion human beings on the planet that have no access to mains power. Partly this is because of the way that electrical grids have developed. In the US and Europe, in particular, power generation has largely followed two patterns. In the US, the grid has developed in a radial pattern, following the expansion of the network into the suburbs. In Europe, where the population is more concentrated distribution circuits are shorter in length. In emerging nations hybrids of these two deployments can be found. But given the prospective 35 megacities predicted by the United Nations for 2025, few will have pockets deep enough to afford the cost of expansion that Tokyo, with a projected population of 39 million or New York with 24 million will be able to afford. The populations of New Delhi (33 million by 2025) Mumbai (27 million), Dhaka (23 million), Karachi (20 million) will inevitably have to find more radical ways of providing cheap




➔ BARRIERS TO GROWTH Countries around the world will experience growth in the energy storage market at different rates, driven by differing factors. Numerous factors are limiting the growth of the stationary energy storage market worldwide. Several of these barriers, according to the IFC, include: • Lack of familiarity with storage technology among utilities, regulators and financiers • High upfront costs • The need for highly skilled and experienced technicians to maintain and operate systems correctly • Regulations preventing third-party or customer ownership of certain DERs • Regulations preventing storage from competing in energy, ancillary service, or capacity markets.

renewable energy and its concomitant affordable energy storage. Today, innovative cities such as Curitiba in Brazil are rethinking entire mass-transportation strategies while debating visions of making autonomous cars and drones obligatory. The notion of e-Mobility — perhaps one of the newest driving factors in the way that distributed energy and storage will evolve — is more than likely to find extreme business models in the developing world to cater for such huge demands on space, resources and, most particularly, energy. At the other end of the spectrum is the fact that in the developing world — think the continent of Africa, for example — the bulk of the population is mostly rural. The concept of microgrids and islanding will have a different developmental pattern. The big factor will be one of size. In the western world the concept, even for microgrids, is that size and its adjuncts, such as functionality, are key to its working successfully. By contrast the business case for nanogrids is emerging where non-urban populations the size of a small village will have access to renewable power and storage. Although many of the same arguments used on behalf of microgrids will apply — the potential for savings from a reduction in fossil fuel consumption creates a compelling business case for storage systems — the technology is more than likely to be at a lower level. The busy ESS units working with top of the range lithium ion batteries balancing the grids will be replaced by simpler and cheaper methods of storage — banks of recyclable lead acid batteries are now commonplace for these nanogrids. TElaborate data management and related computer software also becomes unnecessary.

The notion of e-Mobility — perhaps one of the newest driving factors in the way that distributed energy and storage will evolve — is more than likely to find extreme business models in the developing world to cater for such huge demands on space, resources and, most particularly, energy.

➔ INTERSOLAR INDIA India, perhaps the developing nation most watched for the commercial opportunities that will arise from its government’s decision to embrace renewable energy and energy storage, hosted the ninth year of Intersolar India in December 2017. Part and parcel of the show included new special exhibitions for ees (electrical energy storage) and Power2Drive. The two new features of the show were well received — around 50 companies showcased electrical energy storage solutions on the show floor and highlighted the ever-increasing importance of stabilizing the grid in India. In the related conference some 800 conference delegates heard analysts from 109 conference speakers. “As long as solar continues to remain cheaper than coal, it will continue to overtake it as the fastest growing energy generation source, bringing with it tremendous environmental benefits,” said one of the speakers. “And an enormous boost to the energy storage industry.” Battery industry professionals shared their views on how to steer developments in India more actively at the presentation stage on the exhibition floor. There were more than 30 free-of-charge presentations on mini-/micro grids, e-mobility, PV manufacturing, skill councils for green jobs and other related subjects. AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR INDIA India is at the vanguard of the world’s rapid transformation to smart energy. With its goal of 24/7 Power for All, the government has set itself a highly ambitious task of generation 175 GW of green energy by 2022, including 60 GW from wind and 40 GW from rooftop solar. Shri Singh, minister for power and renewable energy, says India’s energy consumption is set to double over the next six to seven years — even thought the nation will meet two-fifths of its power requirements through renewable sources by 2030.

➔ SOMETHING FOR THE DIARY … Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Bengaluru December 11-13, 2018 • Intersolar India, • ees India • Power 2 Drive India


54 | 55

“The smarter E Europe is the innovation hub for empowering new energy solutions and the planning that goes on behind the scenes is enormous.”


"We know that the week after, once the tidying up has been done, the preparations for the next event kick off again. But it’s fun.” Barbara Niemeier, operations head of Solar Promotions

Want to move a 30-tonne energy storage system into this year’s ees? “Shouldn’t be a problem,” says Barbara Niemeier, operations Head of Intersolar and ees Global at FWTM GmbH & Co. KG “I shipped a 50 tonne one in here just a couple of years ago!” And that shipment proved a complicated one. The exhibitor thought the initial weight was going to be 30,000 kilos so a hoist system was arranged. But then a change of mind. “They came back. Could we do 40 tonnes?” she says. “We arranged another couple of hoists this time. ”Then they upped it by yet another 10,000 kilos. And another slight snag — it was 100 cubic meters in size! Getting it through the doors was going to be a challenge too and weighing in at 50 tonnes it was the heaviest object we’d ever moved into the hall — but we did it!” Moving an object so huge and so heavy is perhaps child’s play compared to the size of the event is itself. The challenge for Barbara Niemeier and her core team of about 25 — and a workforce if you include outside caterers of around 1,000 — is even larger. Within three days some 50,000 visitors will be admitted into the huge halls of the Munich exhibition and conference centre. And at the opening of the exhibition each day, a tidal flood of humanity will pour in. In addition to the logistics of allowing several hundred people to enter the space, within minutes they will all have to be registered, badged and provided with an exhibition guide — a feat in itself, it is several hundreds of pages thick and contains listings of every exhibitor. About five days before opening day some 1,100 exhibitors are busy installing booths across the space — some will be the size of a small house, others will require special security areas, bar areas to serve drinks, and even cooking facilities on some of the stands. “Our event is the most important in Europe and the planning that goes on behind the scenes is enormous,” says Barbara. “To the outsider, on the eve of the event, it looks like chaos and as if set up will never be finished, but it is incredible what happens

within a few hours and the show is always ready to open at 9am on the first day. And some years it’s half as big again.” The logistics include everything from fine-tuning security arrangements — from fire controls to emergency exits — to ensuring that exhibitors follow the rules for space and noise. “It sounds as if we’re being over-strict but if one booth is playing a marketing demonstration on a screen too loud — that’s why we set a 70dB maximum level — that’s unfair to the others. “We’re not setting rules for the sake of setting rules but to make sure that every exhibitor gets a decent chance of marketing themselves. And, although we’re broadminded about the way companies market themselves, there are occasions when — for example, let’s call it the lack of fabric on ‘booth babes’ promoting a display — we have to ask people to tone things down. If it’s not acceptable on a Munich street it won’t be acceptable here.” There are other considerations to take into account. “We’re about renewable energy and e-mobility so there are obviously some things that are inappropriate — we wouldn’t allow someone to exhibit a Formula 1 racing car, for example - unless it is an electric driven one.” At the end of the day, Barbara says it is not to do with slavishly following the rules but ensuring that exhibitors and attendees get full value from the show., So what happens when the doors shut at the end of the third day? “The partying begins!” says Barbara. “And Munich beer is some of the best in the world. But we know that the week after, once the tidying up has been done, that the preparations for the next event kick off again. But it’s fun.”

“To the outsider, on the eve of the event, it looks like chaos and as if set up will never be finished, but it is incredible what happens within a few hours and the show is always ready to open at 9 am on the first day.”

North America‘s Ultimate Hot Spot for Energy Storage Solutions MOSCONE CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO

Discover the perfect match – energy storage and solar power solutions. Network with 18,000+ visitors and more than 130 energy storage exhibitors in the number 1 US storage market – California. The best in store for North America – secure your space now!

Special Exhibition

co-located with

BACK TO BASICS Isidor Buchmann, chairman of Cadex Electronics and founder of the Battery University explains the basics of the six staple lithium chemistries used.

The basics of the six staple lithium chemistries Lithium-ion is named for its active materials; the words are either written in full or shortened by their chemical symbols. A series of letters and numbers strung together can be hard to remember and even harder to pronounce, and battery chemistries are also identified in abbreviated letters. For example, lithium cobalt oxide, one of the most common Li-ions, has the chemical symbols LiCoO2 and the abbreviation LCO. For reasons of simplicity, the short form Li-cobalt can also be used for this battery. Cobalt is the main active material that gives this battery character. Other Li-ion chemistries are given similar short-form names. This section lists six of the most common Li-ions. All readings are average estimates at time of writing.

Lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) Its high specific energy makes Li-cobalt the popular choice for mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras. The battery consists of a cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite carbon anode. The cathode has a layered structure and during discharge, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode. The flow reverses on charge. The drawback of Li-cobalt is a relatively short life span, low thermal stability and limited load capabilities (specific power). Figure 1 illustrates the structure.

Figure 1: Li-cobalt structure The cathode has a layered structure. During discharge the lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode; on charge the flow is from cathode to anode.

The drawback of Li-cobalt is a relatively short life span, low thermal stability and limited load capabilities (specific power). Like other cobalt-blended Li-ion, Li-cobalt has a graphite anode that limits the cycle life by a changing solid electrolyte interface (SEI), thickening on the anode and lithium plating while fast charging and charging at low temperature. Newer systems include nickel, manganese and/or aluminum to improve longevity, loading capabilities and cost. Li-cobalt should not be charged and discharged at a current higher than its C-rating. This means that an 18650 cell with 2,400mAh can only be charged and discharged at 2,400mA. Forcing a fast charge or applying a load higher than 2,400mA causes overheating and undue stress. For optimal fast charge, the manufacturer recommends a C-rate of 0.8C

or about 2,000mA. The mandatory battery protection circuit limits the charge and discharge rate to a safe level of about 1C for the Energy Cell. Specific energy


Specific power


Life span Performance

Figure 2: Snapshot of an average Licobalt battery Li-cobalt excels on high specific energy but offers only moderate performance specific power, safety and life span.

Lithium cobalt oxide: LiCoO2 cathode (~60% Co), graphite anode                                       Short form: LCO or Li-cobalt.   Since 1991 Voltages

3.60V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell

Specific energy (capacity)

150–200Wh/kg. Specialty cells provide up to 240Wh/kg.

Charge (C-rate)

0.7–1C, charges to 4.20V (most cells); 3h charge typical. Charge current above 1C shortens battery life.

Discharge (C-rate)

1C; 2.50V cut off. Discharge current above 1C shortens battery life.

Cycle life

500–1000, related to depth of discharge, load, temperature

Thermal runaway

150°C (302°F). Full charge promotes thermal runaway


Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras


Very high specific energy, limited specific power. Cobalt is expensive. Serves as Energy Cell. Market share has stabilized.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 57

BACK TO BASICS The hexagonal spider graphic (Figure 2) summarizes the performance of Li-cobalt in terms of specific energy or capacity that relates to runtime; specific power or the ability to deliver high current; safety; performance at hot and cold temperatures; life span reflecting cycle life and longevity; and cost. Other characteristics of interest not shown in the spider webs are toxicity, fast-charge capabilities, selfdischarge and shelf life. Li-cobalt is losing favor to Li-manganese, but especially NMC and NCA because of the high cost of cobalt and improved performance by blending with other active cathode materials.

Lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) Li-ion with manganese spinel was first published in the Materials Research Bulletin in 1983. In 1996, Moli Energy commercialized a Li-ion cell with lithium manganese oxide as cathode material. The architecture forms a three-dimensional spinel structure that improves ion flow on the electrode, which results in lower internal resistance and improved current handling. A further advantage of spinel is high thermal stability and enhanced safety, but the cycle and calendar life are limited. Low internal cell resistance enables fast charging and high-current discharging. In an 18650 package, Limanganese can be discharged at currents of 20–30A with moderate heat buildup. It is also possible to apply one-second load pulses of up to 50A. A continuous high load at this current would cause heat buildup and the cell temperature cannot exceed 80°C (176°F). Li-manganese is used for power tools, medical instruments, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.

Figure 3: Li-manganese structure. The cathode crystalline formation of lithium manganese oxide has a three-dimensional framework structure that appears after initial formation. Spinel provides low resistance but has a more moderate specific energy than cobalt.

58 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

Specific energy


Specific power


Life span Performance

Figure 4: Snapshot of a pure Limanganese battery. Although moderate in overall performance, newer designs of Li-manganese offer improvements in specific power, safety and life span.

Figure 3 illustrates the formation of a three-dimensional crystalline framework on the cathode of a Li-manganese battery. This spinel structure, which is usually composed of diamond shapes connected into a lattice, appears after initial formation. Li-manganese has a capacity that is roughly one-third lower than Licobalt. Design flexibility allows engineers to maximize the battery for either optimal longevity (life span), maximum load current (specific power) or high capacity (specific energy). For example, the long-life version in the 18650 cell has a moderate capacity of only 1,100mAh; the high-capacity version is 1,500mAh. Figure 4 shows the spider web of a typical Li-manganese battery. The

characteristics appear marginal but newer designs have improved in terms of specific power, safety and life span. Pure Li-manganese batteries are no longer common today; they may only be used for special applications. Most Li-manganese batteries blend with lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) to improve the specific energy and prolong the life span. This combination brings out the best in each system, and the LMO (NMC) is chosen for most electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and BMW i3. The LMO part of the battery, which can be about 30%, provides high current boost on acceleration; the NMC part gives the long driving range. Li-ion research gravitates heavily towards combining Li-manganese with cobalt, nickel, manganese and/ or aluminum as active cathode material. In some architecture, a small amount of silicon is added to the anode. This provides a 25% capacity boost; however, the gain is commonly connected with a shorter cycle life as silicon grows and shrinks with charge and discharge, causing mechanical stress. These three active metals, as well as the silicon enhancement can conveniently be chosen to enhance the specific energy (capacity), specific power (load capability) or longevity. While consumer batteries go for high capacity, industrial applications require battery systems that have good loading capabilities, deliver a long life and provide safe and dependable service.

Lithium manganese oxide: LiMn2O4 cathode. graphite anode                                           Short form: LMO or Li-manganese (spinel structure)  Since 1996 Voltages

3.70V (3.80V) nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell

Specific energy (capacity)


Charge (C-rate)

0.7–1C typical, 3C maximum, charges to 4.20V (most cells)

Discharge (C-rate)

1C; 10C possible with some cells, 30C pulse (5s), 2.50V cut-off

Cycle life

300–700 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)

Thermal runaway

250°C (482°F) typical. High charge promotes thermal runaway


Power tools, medical devices, electric powertrains


High power but less capacity; safer than Li-cobalt; commonly mixed with NMC to improve performance.

BACK TO BASICS Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNiMnCoO2 or NMC)

Specific energy


One of the most successful Li-ion systems is a cathode combination of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC). Similar to Li-manganese, these systems can be tailored to serve as Energy Cells or Power Cells. For example, NMC in an 18650 cell for moderate load condition has a capacity of about 2,800mAh and can deliver 4A to 5A; NMC in the same cell optimized for specific power has a capacity of only about 2,000mAh but delivers a continuous discharge current of 20A. A silicon-based anode will go to 4,000mAh and higher but at reduced loading capability and shorter cycle life. Silicon added to graphite has the drawback that the anode grows and shrinks with charge and discharge, making the cell mechanically unstable. The secret of NMC lies in combining nickel and manganese. An analogy of this is table salt in which the main ingredients, sodium and chloride, are toxic on their own but mixing them serves as seasoning salt and food preserver. Nickel is known for its high specific energy but poor stability; manganese has the benefit of forming a spinel structure to achieve low internal resistance but offers a low specific energy. Combining the metals enhances each other strengths.

Specific power


Life span Performance

Figure 5: Snapshot of NMC NMC has good overall performance and excels on specific energy. This battery is the preferred candidate for the electric vehicle and has the lowest self-heating rate.

NMC is the battery of choice for power tools, e-bikes and other electric powertrains. The cathode combination is typically one-third nickel, onethird manganese and one-third cobalt, also known as 1-1-1. This offers a unique blend that also lowers the raw material cost due to reduced cobalt content. Another successful combination is NCM with 5 parts nickel, 3 parts cobalt and 2 parts manganese (5-3-2). Other combinations using various amounts of cathode materials are possible. Battery manufacturers move away from cobalt systems toward nickel

Lithium nickel manganese Cobalt Oxide: LiNiMnCoO2. cathode, graphite anode. Short form: NMC (NCM, CMN, CNM, MNC, MCN similar with different metal combinations) Since 2008 Voltages

3.60V, 3.70V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell, or higher

Specific energy (capacity)


Charge (C-rate)

0.7–1C, charges to 4.20V, some go to 4.30V; 3h charge typical. Charge current above 1C shortens battery life.

Discharge (C-rate)

1C; 2C possible on some cells; 2.50V cut-off

Cycle life

1000–2000 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)

Thermal runaway

210°C (410°F) typical. High charge promotes thermal runaway


E-bikes, medical devices, EVs, industrial


Provides high capacity and high power. Serves as Hybrid Cell. Favorite chemistry for many uses; market share is increasing.

cathodes because of the high cost of cobalt. Nickel-based systems have higher energy density, lower cost, and longer cycle life than the cobalt-based cells but they have a slightly lower voltage. New electrolytes and additives enable charging to 4.4V/cell and higher to boost capacity. Figure 5 demonstrates the characteristics of the NMC. There is a move towards NMCblended Li-ion as the system can be built economically and it achieves a good performance. The three active materials of nickel, manganese and cobalt can easily be blended to suit a wide range of applications for automotive and energy storage systems (EES) that need frequent cycling. The NMC family is growing in its diversity.

Lithium iron phosphate(LiFePO4) In 1996, the University of Texas (and other contributors) discovered phosphate as cathode material for rechargeable lithium batteries. Liphosphate offers good electrochemical performance with low resistance. This is made possible with nano-scale phosphate cathode material. The key benefits are high current rating and long cycle life, besides good thermal stability, enhanced safety and tolerance if abused. Li-phosphate is more tolerant to full charge conditions and is less stressed than other lithium-ion systems if kept at high voltage for a prolonged time. As a trade-off, its lower nominal voltage of 3.2V/cell reduces the specific energy below that of cobalt-blended lithium-ion. With most batteries, cold temperature reduces performance and elevated storage temperature shortens the service life, and Li-phosphate is no exception. Li-phosphate has a higher selfdischarge than other Li-ion batteries, which can cause balancing issues with aging. This can be mitigated by buying high quality cells and/or using sophisticated control electronics, both of which increase the cost of the pack. Cleanliness in manufacturing is of importance for longevity. There is no tolerance for moisture, lest the battery will only deliver 50 cycles. Figure 6 summarizes the attributes of Li-phosphate. Li-phosphate is often used to replace the lead acid starter battery. Four cells in series produce 12.80V, a similar voltage to six 2V lead acid cells in series. Vehicles charge lead acid to 14.40V (2.40V/cell) and maintain a topping

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 59

BACK TO BASICS Specific energy


Lithium iron phosphate: LiFePO4 cathode, graphite anode                                               Short form: LFP or Li-phosphate. Since 1996 Specific power


3.20, 3.30V nominal; typical operating range 2.5–3.65V/cell

Specific energy (capacity)


Charge (C-rate)

1C typical, charges to 3.65V; 3h charge time typical

Discharge (C-rate)

1C, 25C on some cells; 40A pulse (2s); 2.50V cut-off (lower that 2V causes damage)

Cycle life

1000–2000 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)

Thermal runaway

270°C (518°F) Very safe battery even if fully charged


Portable and stationary needing high load currents and endurance


Very flat voltage discharge curve but low capacity. One of safest Li-ions. Used for special markets. Elevated self-discharge.


Life span Performance

Figure 6: Snapshot of a typical Liphosphate battery. Li-phosphate has excellent safety and long life span but moderate specific energy and elevated self-discharge.

charge. Topping charge is applied to maintain full charge level and prevent sulfation on lead acid batteries. With four Li-phosphate cells in series, each cell tops at 3.60V, which is the correct full-charge voltage. At this point, the charge should be disconnected but the topping charge continues while driving. Li-phosphate is tolerant to some overcharge; however, keeping the voltage at 14.40V for a prolonged time, as most vehicles do on a long road trip, could stress Liphosphate. Time will tell how durable Li-Phosphate will be as a lead acid replacement with a regular vehicle charging system. Cold temperature also reduces performance of Li-ion and this could affect the cranking ability in extreme cases.

Li-phosphate is more tolerant to full charge conditions and is less stressed than other lithium-ion systems if kept at high voltage for a prolonged time

Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide: LiNiCoAlO2 cathode (~9% Co), graphite anode. Short form: NCA or Li-aluminum. Since 1999 Voltages

3.60V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell

Specific energy (capacity)

200-260Wh/kg; 300Wh/kg predictable

Charge (C-rate)

0.7C, charges to 4.20V (most cells), 3h charge typical, fast charge possible with some cells

Discharge (C-rate)

1C typical; 3.00V cut-off; high discharge rate shortens battery life

Cycle life

500 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)

Thermal runaway

150°C (302°F) typical, High charge promotes thermal runaway


Medical devices, industrial, electric powertrain (Tesla)


Shares similarities with Li-cobalt. Serves as Energy Cell.

60 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide battery, or NCA, has been around since 1999 for special applications. It shares similarities with NMC by offering high specific energy, reasonably good specific power and a long life span. Less flattering are safety and cost. Figure 7 summarizes the six key characteristics. NCA is a further development of lithium nickel oxide; adding aluminum gives the chemistry greater stability.

Specific energy


Specific power


Life span Performance

Figure 7: Snapshot of NCA. High energy and power densities, as well as good life span, make NCA a candidate for EV powertrains. High cost and marginal safety are negatives.

BACK TO BASICS Lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12 ) Batteries with lithium titanate anodes have been known since the 1980s. Lititanate replaces the graphite in the anode of a typical lithium-ion battery and the material forms into a spinel structure. The cathode can be lithium manganese oxide or NMC. Li-titanate

has a nominal cell voltage of 2.40V, can be fast charged and delivers a high discharge current of 10C, or 10 times the rated capacity. The cycle count is said to be higher than that of a regular Li-ion. Li-titanate is safe, has excellent low-temperature discharge characteristics and obtains a capacity of 80% at –30°C (–22°F).

Lithium titanate: Can be lithium manganese oxide or NMC; Li4Ti5O12 (titanate) anode. Short form: LTO or Li-titanate. Commercially available since about 2008 Voltages

2.40V nominal; typical operating range 1.8–2.85V/cell

Specific energy (capacity)


Charge (C-rate)

1C typical; 5C maximum, charges to 2.85V

Discharge (C-rate)

10C possible, 30C 5s pulse; 1.80V cut-off on LCO/LTO

Cycle life


Thermal runaway

One of safest Li-ion batteries


UPS, electric powertrain (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Honda Fit EV), solar-powered street lighting


LTO (commonly Li4Ti5O12) has advantages over the conventional cobaltblended Li-ion with graphite anode by attaining zero-strain property, no SEI film formation and no lithium plating when fast charging and charging at low temperature. Thermal stability under high temperature is also better than other Li-ion systems; however, the battery is expensive. At only 65Wh/kg, the specific energy is low, rivalling that of NiCd. Li-titanate charges to 2.80V/ cell, and the end of discharge is 1.80V/ cell. Figure 8 illustrates the characteristics of the Li-titanate battery. Typical uses are electric powertrains, UPS and solar-powered street lighting. Specific energy

Specific power



Life span Performance

Figure 8: Snapshot of Li-titanate. Lititanate excels in safety, low-temperature performance and life span. Efforts are being made to improve the specific energy and lower cost.

Long life, fast charge, wide temperature range but low specific energy and expensive. Among safest Li-ion batteries.

Overall comparisons Figure 9 compares the specific energy of lead-, nickel- and lithium-based systems. While Li-aluminium (NCA) is the clear winner by storing more capacity than other systems, this only applies to specific energy. In terms of specific power and thermal stability, Li-manganese (LMO) and Li-phosphate (LFP) are superior. Li-titanate (LTO) may have low capacity but this chemistry outlives most other batteries in terms of life span and also has the best cold temperature performance. Moving towards the electric powertrain, safety and cycle life will gain dominance over capacity. (LCO stands for Licobalt, the original Li-ion.)

Wh/kg 280 240 200 160 120 80 40 0 Lead Acid NiCd








Figure 9 Typical specific energy of lead-, nickel- and lithium-based batteries. NCA enjoys the highest specific energy; however, manganese and phosphate are superior in terms of specific power and thermal stability. Li-titanate has the best life span.

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 61

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Energy Storage Europe Dusseldorf, Germany • March 13-15 Those who would like to get to know the entire world of energy storage, its leading technologies and key-figures, for those there is only one destination: Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf. Energy Storage Europe offers a unique forum to the leading research institutes and companies of the storage industry. Only here are you able to experience live all of the presently existing storage technologies. Contact Messe Düsseldorf

Battery Supply Chain Europe 2018

4th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum

March 13-14 Dusseldorf, Germany

March 13-15 Catania, Sicily, Italy

Understanding the battery supply chain has never been more crucial as demands on the sector grow with the strong drive by governments in Europe to increase penetration of hybrid, plugin and full electric vehicles. The race to meet emissions objectives, together with falling battery costs and improved battery range has seen different demands placed on various aspects of the batteries industry and its raw materials. Battery manufacturers are scrutinizing raw material requirements and the robust nature of all supply chains, with future demand increases in their sights. Roskill, the market leaders in providing market information on battery raw materials including lithium, cobalt, nickel sulfate and graphite is ideally placed to bring you Battery Supply Chain Europe 2018 to address the key issues in this market.

Since its first edition in Madrid in 2015, the annual forum has become the key milestone event in spring where the clean energy off-grid sector gathers together to learn more about upcoming

Contact Tel: +44 20 8417 0087

62 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

new support schemes and initiatives by the public sector as well as the latest industry trends and product and service innovations from the private sector. The ARE Forum in 2018 is organized in collaboration with RES4Africa and RECP and is the meeting place for 300+ participants from all over the world to identify and get introduced to the most interesting actors to present their own business proposals. Contact

Battery Tech Expo UK Telford, UK March 15 The battery industry is on the cusp of a power revolution with big technology companies investing heavily in the next generation of battery development and energy storage. Telford in the West Midlands is a major UK hub of the high tech industrial sector and will bring together professionals from across the advanced battery technology industry. The event will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the latest products, technologies and services covering the Battery Management Systems, EV Battery, Battery Storage, Battery Development/ Discovery, Commercial and Mobile Power Device sectors. Operated by 10four Media, the Battery Tech Expo will provide a unique and additional opportunity for companies within this industry to network with a high quality audience and do business. Running alongside this event is Power Electronics Expo UK.  Contact Tel: +44 1283 3 37291 Email:

Catania, Sicily will host the 4th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in March

FORTHCOMING EVENTS NAATBatt International Annual Conference San Antonio, Texas • March 19–22

Energy Storage China Beijing, China March 26-28 Energy storage is profoundly changing the world of energy across the world. The World of Energy Storage by Messe Düsseldorf, in partnership with leading partner organizations, has been growing since 2010 with the launch of Energy Storage Europe in Germany. Messe Düsseldorf offers five different events in every relevant region of the world: China, Europe, America, India and Japan. Products and sectors covered: Energy storage, Renewable energies, Marketfeasible applications, Transformation of the energy system, Overall context of the energy supply industry, Industrial energy storage solutions, European grid integration, Electro-chemical storage, Mechanical storage technologies, Thermal storage technologies, Future energy storage

NAATBatt 2018, the 9th annual meeting and conference of NAATBatt International, will be held on March 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency Hill County Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting will feature early looks at disruptive new technologies in the battery business, member update presentations, and the best networking and deal making in the industry. Also, in honor of the Texas venue, the meeting will feature the first Advanced Battery Shooting Competition. Contact NAATBatt International


Solar Pakistan: The 7th International Renewable Energy Exhibition & Conference Lahore, Pakistan March 29-31

35th Annual International Battery Seminar & Exhibit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA • March 26-29

As the longest-running annual battery event in the world, this conference continues to be the preferred venue to announce significant new developments in advanced battery technology.  This meeting provides not only broad perspectives, but also informed insights into significant advances in materials, product development and novel applications for all battery systems and enabling technologies. Make plans now to participate in the 2018 International Battery Seminar & Exhibit which will return to Fort Lauderdale from March 2629. Nearly 850 attendees from more

than 500 organizations representing 26 countries participated in the 2017 event. The entire advanced battery ecosystem was well-represented in Florida, including leading OEMs, top battery manufacturers, developers of advanced materials and components, plus national labs and universities from around the world. Attendance grew by more than 30% for the second year in a row, and has more than doubled since joining Cambridge EnerTech in 2015.

The main focus of this exhibition is to highlight the importance of the most practical and readily available non-conventional renewable resource i.e. Solar Energy. Studies suggest that the reliance of solar energy can be effective in combating the current power crisis in the country. Many developed economies have already started utilizing clean and renewable energy solutions due to which their installation cost has decreased globally. This is high time that Pakistan began to adopt this trend so that it can get over the energy deficit and speed up the rate of its growth. Solar Pakistan will be the biggest energy event in Pakistan to bring together the decision makers, stake holders and concerned authorizes on one platform where they can discuss a way forward on how to move ahead with a plan to control the ever increasing energy deficit in Pakistan.



Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 63

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Li-Ion Cell Production Technology Seminar April 4-5 Itzehoe, Germany This seminar focuses on the industrial production of lithium-ion pouch cells. In practical modules, starting from the raw materials, slurries and electrodes going to the production of pouch cells and closing with the electrochemical characterization, the cell assembly will be performed hands on. The corresponding  lecture program  gives insights to the latest lithium-ion technology trends on material and on machinery as well as on processing side. The battery training takes place on site at  Custom Cells  production facility and the  Fraunhofer ISIT  as Custom Cells R&D partner in north Germany. Contact +49 4821 133 92 06 advert222.pdf

IDTechEx Show April 11-12 Berlin, Germany This show will have 2500+ paying delegates, 220 exhibitors and nine parallel conferences but there is a difference this year. One of those conferences is now Off Grid Energy Independence alongside the usual ones on closely related topics such as IoT, electric vehicles and energy storage. Stripped of the baggage of the past such as diesel gensets and biofuels this Off Grid conference is firmly on the present and future with star innovators in microgrid design and innovation selected to speak alongside the giants of the industry such as Siemens, DuPont and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory US. Contact Charlotte Martin Email: Tel: +44 1 223 810 286

Energy Storage Innovations Berlin, Germany April 11-12 Join us for the annual IDTechEx event focusing on future energy storage solutions, including advanced- and post-Lithium-ion technologies, new form factors and emerging applications. The event brings together different players in the value chain, from material & technology developers to integrators to end-users, providing insight on forthcoming technologies, material selection, market trends and latest products. Energy Storage Innovations Europe

64 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

is co-located alongside a series of synergistic events on wearable, sensors, 3D Printing, Graphene and 2D materials and printed electronics.

Battcon Florida, USA • April 22-25

Contact show/en/ Organizer: IDTechEx

Critical Power & Decentralised Energy April 18-19 Coventry, United Kingdom CPDe is the largest and most reputable, independently run, stand-alone Independent Power and Electrical trade exhibition in Europe. CPDe will be a two-day event incorporating an informative business conference focusing on aspects of independent power, gensets, CHP/ district heating, battery and UPS system results and many more aspects of modern energy needs. Exhibitors that already have taken provisional and confirmed reservations including Teksan, Cummins, FG Wilson, Edina, Deepsea and Aksa to name a few. CPDe provides the ideal platform for visitors to attend this leading event which is expected to showcase leading regional and international companies. Contact Tel: +44 1403 220 7750 Email:

Energy Storage Association 28th Annual Conference and Expo April 18-20 Boston, USA As the national trade association in the US, the Energy Storage Association is the leading voice for companies that develop and deploy the multitude of energy storage technologies that we rely on every day. Our member companies research, manufacture, distribute, finance, and build energy storage projects domestically and abroad. Our collective efforts help to create new, competitive markets and a fair regulatory environment that reflects the value provided by energy storage to millions of residential, commercial and industrial customers. The Energy Storage Association’s Annual Conference and Expo is  the premier gathering of those decision makers, leaders, and others stakeholders from around the industry who understand that energy storage is integral to all systems planning and deployment. Contact Energy Storage Association (ESA)

Battcon is a high-energy mix of industry specific presentations, panels, seminars and workshops, plus a trade show. More than 600 storage battery users meet at Battcon for three days of professional development and networking focused on the design, selection, application and maintenance of stationary battery systems. It’s a forum where those in the data center, nuclear, telecom and utility industries can learn from and network with industry experts. Battcon is an educational venue where users, engineers and manufacturers stay up-to-date by learning of the latest industry trends and how to apply best practices to the manufacturing, safety,  selection, installation, and use of stationary batteries. The core conference provides an intense learning experience unavailable from any other industry source. Presentations include cutting edge topics delivered by leading authorities. Open discussion panels and breakout workshops geared to the utility, datacenter and telecom segments are also included in the conference. Data center, nuclear, telecom or utility industry professionals who are working in mission critical facilities or are involved in the development of stationary batteries and related equipment will find the Battcon experience is second to none. Every year, more end users are discovering Battcon, the conference geared for industry novices and seasoned battery professionals alike. Contact

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Microgrid 2018: Markets and Models for the Greater Good

Battery, EV & Storage APAC Summit

May 7-9 Rosemont, Illinois, US.

Bangkok, Thailand April 25-26 All Energy 2018 Glasgow, UK May 2-3

The Battery, EV & Storage APAC Summit is an excellent platform to promote your organization to influential players and investors in the industry. Themed towards Exponential Growth-Lithium-ion Batteries in Mobility & Energy Storage, the conference aims to highlight the following key issues: • Breakthrough in lithium-ion battery performance & cost economics • Supply outlook for battery materials-cathode, anode, electrolyte, metals & etc • EVs (BEVs & Hybrids) adoption mandate in South East Asia • Next-Gen EV automotive technologies & standards • Demand growth for charging infrastructure • Power utilities’ adaption to stationary energy storage systems. Contact aspx?ev=180410&

Midwest Solar Expo & Smart Energy Symposium April 30-May 2 Minneapolis, USA The 2018 Midwest Solar Expo returns to Minneapolis for its 5th annual conference, exhibition and  Smart Energy Symposium. Join us as we continue to drive the conversation on the Midwest solar market — gain insights from industry experts, receive hands-on product training, enjoy the ‘happy hour’ and entertainment while networking with 400+ solar professionals from across the value chain. Once again, the  2018 Midwest Solar Expo will be co-located with the Smart Energy Symposium, a one-day speaker series dedicated to the smart, connected grid ecosystem, exploring how emerging smart energy technologies will interact with city infrastructure as it relates to communications, transportation, emergency resiliency and beyond. Contact

All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable energy event allows the entire spectrum of the renewables industry to showcase their energy solutions. The free-to-attend annual conference and exhibition brings together the UK’s largest group of buyers from the bioenergy, solar, offshore and onshore wind, hydropower and wave & tidal sectors, as well as those involved in energy storage, heat, low carbon transport  and sustainable cities solutions. Since its launch in 2001, All-Energy has provided the industry suppliers, experts and thought-leaders from the renewable energy supply chain the opportunity to connect with new customers, increase their sales opportunities and  expand business networks in this fast-changing marketplace. Contact Tel: +44 208 439 5560 Email:

ICCI — 24th International Energy and Environment Fair & Conference May 2-4 Istanbul, Turkey The ICCI 2018 Fair and Conference will present a general outlook on the global energy sector, worldwide and in Turkey. Accordingly, it will address issues such as energy and geopolitical balances, energy dialogue EU — Turkey, energy strategy of Turkey in today’s conditions, energy policies legislations and practices, as well as technical matters such as energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, developments in the renewable energy market, conventional energy technologies, operation and maintenance of power plants, cogeneration, mini-micro cogeneration and tri-generation systems, environment and recycling systems, new technologies and applications, energy trade, energy software, nuclear power, natural gas and petroleum, financing of energy projects and energy law will be dealt with both in national and international scale. Contact Tel: +90 212 334 69 00 Email:

Change is afoot in the fast-growing microgrid industry. Microgrid Knowledge invites you to be among those shaping and directing its growth by participating in our third annual conference, Microgrid 2018: Markets and Models for the Greater Good. Following our sold-out event in Boston in November, we bring our conference to Chicago, where we will explore the essential need for microgrids in today’s electricity-dependent world. The three-day event will feature expert speakers, lively panel discussions, in-depth workshops, technology forums, tours of active microgrids, vendor booths, and extensive networking opportunity. Contact

11th Energy Storage World Forum (Large Scale Applications) + 5th Residential Energy Storage Forum May 14-18 Berlin, Germany The two separate forums will feature brand new researched topics addressed by renowned industry leaders and practitioners from top utilities, EPCs and international regulators representing 22+ countries. We bring together the change makers from around the globe to share their business insights, lessons learnt and data driven analysis to help you discover which technology is best suited to your business model and application, allowing you to achieve the highest return on investment. Contact Dufresne Event Management

Berlin, Germany: 11th Energy Storage World Forum (Large Scale Applications) + 5th Residential Energy Storage Forum

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 65

FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2018 The Battery Show Europe Hanover, Germany • May 15-17 The Battery Show (Hanover, Germany) is Europe’s largest trade fair for advanced battery and H/EV technology, displaying the latest solutions from 300+ exhibitors including Bosch, BMZ, Valeo and Continental. Running parallel to the exhibition, the three-track conference provides insight into commercial opportunities and technical challenges from 170+ expert speakers. Contact Smarter Shows Ltd

The Solar Future Nigeria May 15-16 Abuja, Nigeria Nigeria is considered one of the biggest economies in Africa with more than 182 million people, yet about 55% of the population has no access to gridconnected electricity. As the Nigerian government and the private sector are increasingly turning towards Solar PV to solve this issue, Nigeria is emerging to be one of the most attractive solar markets in the region. Solarplaza organizes The Solar Future Nigeria, a two-day conference focusing on the opportunities and challenges in this exciting and evolving landscape, to be the key-platform for all stakeholders to connect. This will be Solarplaza’s 10th event in Africa. Get informed on the latest policies and regulations, market trends and project finance mechanisms, and network during exclusive workshops, roundtables and by using our networking platform. Contact Laura Fortes +31 10 3027911

Power & Electricity World Philippines May 23-24 Manila, Philippines As the largest energy show taking place in the Philippines, Power & Electricity World, offers unequalled opportunities to forge business relationships and access new potential partners. There is simply no better place in which to connect with the industry. Helmed by over 100 speakers representing senior–level policy circles, government and regulatory bodies, industry heavyweights and financiers from across the region, our content shares the views that really matter. Across two days and five tracks we conduct deep dives on many of the most challenging questions currently facing the market. With 8,000+ industry players in attendance, this is your best opportunity to meet, network and develop partnerships with the government, leading utilities, power producers, project developers, investors and more in a single platform. Over 250 sponsors & exhibitors will be showcasing their industry leading products, ideas and innovations. Following unprecedented growth over the last three years, our 2018 exhibition will be our biggest ever, taking place over two floors. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach out to over 8,000 industry players who will be sourcing for the latest products and services at the show. Contact Email Tel: +65 6322 2760

66 • Energy Storage Journal • Winter 2017/2018

Battery Raw Materials 2018 May 24-25 Hong Kong Roskill, the market leaders in providing market information on materials and minerals, including key battery raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel sulphate, are ideally placed to bring you the Battery Raw Materials Conference to address the key issues in this market. To take place at the five star InterContinental Grand Stanford Hotel on Hong Kong’s waterfront, the conference will bring together a panel of high profile international speakers to offer market updates and commercial insight sectors as well as news of latest developments in products and technology. Contact Tel: +44 20 8417 0087

China International Battery Fair May 22-24 China China International Battery Fair is organised by CIAPS and is held every two years. CIBF has been regarded as the preferred meeting venue for battery manufacturers and users to exchange ideas on new technology, expand their markets and promote their products and services to customers in the worldwide marketplace. Contact index

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 48th Power Sources Conference June 11-14 • Denver, Colorado, United States This year’s technical program reflects continued strong interest in high-energy batteries, fuel cells, and other portable and mobile power sources. We are sure that you will also enjoy the exhibit, hospitality suites, and social functions. This is the best possible conference for obtaining information and meeting with key influencers in the military power sources arena. Get updates on new military and government needs and requirements, and learn about the latest power sources technology from both government and industry spokespeople. Contact

ITEC 2018

Power2Drive Europe

June 13-15 Long Beach, California, USA

June 19-22 Munich, Germany

ITEC is aimed at helping the industry in the transition from conventional vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles. The conference is focused on components, systems, standards, and grid interface technologies, related to efficient power conversion for all types of electrified transportation, including electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs) as well as heavyduty, rail, and off-road vehicles and airplanes and ships.

Power2Drive is running in parallel with ees Europe (see overleaf) and Intersolar Europe. P2D showcases charging solutions and technologies for EVs backing a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply. It is an industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and startups in the emerging field of electric mobility and transportation. Our goal is to help companies to develop and distribute technologies and business in the field of traction batteries, charging infrastructure and electric vehicles and to push forward a sustainable future mobility.


EUROBAT June 14-15 Brussels, Belgium


Grid Edge Innovation Summit 2018 June 20-21 San Francisco, US The summit will examine the energy customer of tomorrow and how new innovative business models are quickly emerging. Join GTM as they bring together the most forward thinking and prominent members of the energy ecosystem and explore the future of the market. This year GTM will explore how frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Edge Computing and Blockchain will impact the sector and how market leaders are innovating core systems at the edge of the grid. Contact

EUROBAT is the association for the European manufacturers of automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries. EUROBAT has 52  members  from across the continent comprising more than 90% of the automotive and industrial  battery industry in Europe.  The members and staff work with all stakeholders, such as battery users, governmental organizations and media, to develop new battery solutions in areas of hybrid and electro-mobility as well as grid flexibility and renewable energy storage. Contact

San Francisco will host Grid Edge Innovation Summit 2018

Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018 • 67


ees North America

June 20-22 • Munich, Germany

July 10-12

Discover future-ready solutions for renewable energy storage and e-mobility at Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems and the industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. Key players of the industry present battery innovations along the whole value chain and smart renewable energy solutions like energy storage communities or electric cars on the grid. The exhibition and conference both focus on renewable energy storage, from residential and commercial applications to largescale storage systems for stabilizing the grid. The spotlight is also shined on topics like energy management, electric transportation and intelligent systems integration. Charging the Future!

Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies, ees North America is the ideal platform for all stakeholders in the rapidly growing energy storage market. It takes place in the epicenter of the U.S. storage market: California. Co-located with Intersolar North America, ees North America provides the best opportunity to explore energy storage systems in combination with PV and beyond. In 2017, 130 energy storage exhibitors and more than 15,000 visitors participated in the co-located events. ees North America is part of the ees global exhibition series. Together with ees Europe in Munich, ees South America in São Paulo and ees India in Mumbai, ees events are represented on four continents.



ees South America August 28-30 • São Paulo, Brazil

Intersolar South America will be hosting and highlighting the special exhibition “ees South America” to extend and round up electrical energy storage innovations and programs. ees South America is the industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies-from components and production to specific user application-it is the ideal platform for all stakeholders in the rapidly growing energy storage market. The focus at ees is on energy storage solutions suited to energy systems with increasing amounts of renewable energy sources attracting investors, utilities, installers, manufacturers and project developers from all over the world. Contact

68 • Energy Storage Journal • Spring 2018

13th European SOFC & SOE Forum

Plugvolt Battery Seminar

July 3-6 Lucerne, Switzerland

July 17-19 Plymouth, Michigan, US

This forum addresses issues of science, engineering, materials, systems, applications and markets for all types of solid oxide fuel cells, solid oxide electrolyzers and solid oxide membrane reactors. The forum is the largest international meeting on solid oxide technologies building the bridge from science to application and a leading international meeting place providing an excellent opportunity to present recent technical progress, establish new contacts by networking, and to exchange technical, industrial and business information. Business opportunities will be identified for manufacturers, industry, operators and investors. About 500 participants and 30 exhibitors are expected. 

This event will feature an entire day of in-depth training and presentations by EnerDel on lithium ion battery chemistry, its manufacturing, BMS design, thermal management, testing and validation methodologies, safety processes, etc. The following two days will include complementary industry updates provided by subject matter experts from automotive and grid storage OEMs, major battery manufacturers and global Tier 1 system developers. Attendees will also have an exclusive opportunity to tour Intertek’s 100,000+ square-foot Battery Testing Center of Excellence, along with a special evening reception for industry networking.



The Battery and Energy Storage

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ESJ, Issue 20: Spring 2018  

This issue our cover story has focused on the challenge that lithium ion batteries will face in the coming years as new and exciting — and c...

ESJ, Issue 20: Spring 2018  

This issue our cover story has focused on the challenge that lithium ion batteries will face in the coming years as new and exciting — and c...