Batteries International, Issue 103. Spring 2017

Page 1

Issue 103

Spring 2017

Turning that light bulb moment into a reality The BCI innovation award Developing world telecoms to embrace energy storage

Cybersecurity 2017: the latest in hacking

Software to tie intelligence with distributed energy

Enabling fast formation of lithium ion batteries

Bringing the industry together












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For the last two years Battery Council International has presented an award — dedicated to the memory of East Penn’s chief executive Sally Breidegam — to the most innovative lead acid battery firm that year. In 2016 there were 17 entries and Hammond Group won the award with its K2 paste formulation. This year there have been seven strong entries. NorthStar


Aqua Metals


Hammond Group


Advanced Battery Concepts




Remy Batteries





Challenging times ahead



Trading — the price of everything, the value of nothing. Could cobalt spell an end to lithium EVs?



TBS appoints two new directors• Crown Battery hits the acquisition trail• BCI legislative triumph after lead battery recycling law kicks off in California• Skeleton secures, opens factory line, wins €15m funding • Siemens chooses Hoppecke to service UK rolling stock• China doubles its lead recycling targets for 2020 • EnerSys wins $71m contract to supply TPPL batteries to US Army• Chinese recycler announces new $52m lead battery recycling plant• Chaowei Power develops grapheme technology to improve lead battery technology• Exide application to re-open formation plant prompts local opposition • Lithium replaced with lead in ALABC/Missouri University project• Lithium battery inventor Goodenough advances with solid-state batteries• Saltwater battery firm Aquion Energy enters Chapter 11• Black Diamond Structures opens batterytesting facility for nanomaterials technology in Texas• Maxwell to acquire Nesscap’s energy business for $23m • Primus Power launches second generation zinc bromine flow battery • Kentucky power plant becomes new energy storage testing ground • UK firm plans increase lead and lithium home storage devices 50-fold by 2020



Time to rethink the history of alternative batteries! Industry veteran Ray Kubis reminds us of some of the hazards of introducing radical new chemistries, The Samsung multibillion dollar recall last year makes just one point.


Kubis: the lessons of history 13

EUROBAT:regulatory coherence 19


The need for greater regulatory coherence is a challenge facing the whole of Europe.





The telecoms sector too has always been reliant on batteries as a relatively low maintenance and cost-effective way of providing back-up power in remote areas. But it now offers much more.

Software, the next new direction 34

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 1



Microgrids, the future for energy security

CYBERSECURITY Cybersecurity: time to open the vaults to discussion 80


Batteries and storage systems are playing an increasing part in protecting critical infrastructure.

BACK TO BASICS Battery pack diagnostics and new charging possibilities.

CONFERENCE IN PRINT PROTECTING LITHIUM BATTERIES Air pollution controls could be positive for lead powered EVs 97


Venting excessive pressures that can develop within lithium batteries protects the user.



A new method of forming passivation layers on electrodes can reduce the formation time for lithium batteries

NAATBATT: intelligent difference ... and fine dining too 98



EVENTS AND EVENTS REVIEW Conference reviews of The Battery Show; the Electricity Storage Network Annual Symposium; and NAATBatt — plus our comprehensive listing of battery exhibitions and conferences.

BATTERY PIONEERS Garche: turning electrochemical theory into reality 123


Jürgen Garche has become one of the driving forces behind advances in fuel cells and batteries.

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2 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

EDITORIAL Mike Halls •

The price of everything, the value of nothing Forget all that guff about free markets working in an efficient manner. And all that nonsense that the freer the market, the more efficient they become. In a previous lifetime as a financial journalist I quickly became aware of how much markets swing and lurch from one extreme to another. And oddly enough those same rules apply to the vagaries of battery prices and profits as they do to international capital markets. I used to be fascinated by the way that two opinions could create buy/sell opportunities. Sometimes ludicrously. I once asked 20 banks to say where the Japanese yen versus US dollar exchange rate would be in five years’ time. The spread was huge enough to be ridiculous. Two extremes stood out — one predicted ¥40/$, the other ¥180/$. It was trading at $/¥90 at the time. Five years later the rate stood at $/¥107. Both were impossible positions but each highlighted the difference in opinions in what was then, and still is, the most traded market in the world. In those dark pre-internet days in the early 1990s, Citibank in New York even had a different price forecast for the dollar than Citibank in London. And they all traded happily on that. Interesting times, watching freewheeling capitalism at its crankiest. There were days when I interviewed traders who would take a view from the daily newspaper — the pin-up page — on the strength of the dollar. Which way would her anatomy be facing? Left a dollar climb? Right a slide? And yet these traders made a fortune for themselves and their banks. Short term trading is rarely about longer term consistency ... or accuracy! Price discovery from everything to the cost of lead to the value of the dollar is rarely about the fundamentals or economics of a situation — the laws of supply and demand are only part of the process. Not to be ignored but just part of the process. Instead it’s almost invariably about how market participants feel about the situation. Not plain logic about fundamentals but feelings. Hunches. Guesses too. This has been a long preamble before we touch the world of batteries — and the worries about to erupt into the world of lithium batteries given the price of cobalt — but these illogical logicalities underpin the battery business For the car battery industry the cost of lead is fundamental to pricing a battery. Given that batteries are — mostly, anyway — a commoditized product, 4 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

manufacturers differentiate their mainstream products on the basis of price. The trouble is: volatile commodity markets do few favours to the price sensitive. If a shift in the price of lead has suddenly added $10 to the final tag for your battery to be profitable, you’re in trouble. (Or at least until everyone else is paying the same premium.) Look at the price of lead for the past 10 to 15 years. You’d have to be a magician to understand it properly — at least in the longer term. From about 1989 to 2004, the price of lead was mostly stable. LME figures showed it traded around $500 a tonne. In the summer of 2006, a different trend emerged. Market expectations took over, the lead price rocketed. In October that year a tonne of lead would have cost you $1,500. A year later it had soared to $3,700. But by October 2008 the price had slumped to $1,500. These prices changes had little to do with real supply and demand. They were based on market expectations of supply and demand but — and here’s the most important bit — with a huge dash of speculation mixed in. Guesses, hunches and a huge mix of greed had been added to the price. (Which way were the pin-up’s assets pointing?) So why did investor sentiment change in 2006 to 2007? With hindsight it’s clearer (it always is) to see the larger picture. The collapse of a housing bubble that ravaged North America — dragging many of its leading financial institutions to collapse — and large swathes of European real estate made the whole investment world tremble. So, as the bubble popped, investors rushed for the hills. Where would it be safe to place their money? Why not commodities? Everyone needed oil and steel and developing countries looked a safe bet for an emerging world where car sales (and their batteries) would soon be happening. In the event, the speculation proved fruitless as the global economic crisis started to bite — the result was a lot of money was lost by investors and many battery manufacturers had their fingers burnt. But ever since the first futures market in rice was established in Dojima, Japan in the 1730s — do you want to lock in a price for rice now or wait to see if the harvest is good or bad? — markets repeat themselves. And that’s just what’s happening now. For the past couple of years many lead traders have

EDITORIAL Mike Halls • quietly been building stockpiles of the metal in the expectation — let’s be honest, the hunch — that prices are about to go up. Their expectation is that with demand outstripping supply in the next couple of years, they will be able to sell at a very tidy profit. Who cares if the battery makers lose out? It’s all about buying and selling — nothing to do with making things.

Cobalt and the death of the EV dream Fascinatingly enough, the same trend is happening in the cobalt market. And this could have spectacular implications on the health (or rather the ill-health) of the lithium ion battery industry and so to the electric vehicle industry. Cobalt is the magic ingredient in high energy lithium batteries. Lithium batteries come in about five basic chemistries. Some, such as lithium iron phosphate with a specific energy of just 120Wh/kg, need no cobalt. However, more powerful batteries, such as lithium cobalt oxide ones — where cobalt oxide is in the cathode and graphite carbon is the anode — can punch out almost double that. The trouble being that cobalt accounts for 55% of the materials in the anode. Since at least the end of December 2015 speculators have been stockpiling the metal. As a glut of supply had depressed prices to under $25,000 a tonne, it seemed an ideal moment to corner a part of the market. Market rumours suggest that at least two large investment funds (and countless other firms taking smaller positions) have bought large stocks of cobalt in the past year. The US and Chinese governments are known to be stockpiling it. The market expectations are that we will see a huge boom in EVs in the coming years. China, for example, says it plans to make five million EVs by 2020. As the world shifts from a cobalt glut to a cobalt shortage, prices will have to change. Analysts at Macquarie Research expect shortfalls of 885 tonnes next year, 3,205 tonnes in 2019, and 5,340 tonnes in 2020. The supply and demand balance is, they reckon, going to become heavily lop-sided as less ore is mined — and cobalt is almost completely a side-product of mining for copper and nickel. If demand for copper and nickel diminishes — prices are near 10-year lows and some mines are being temporarily shuttered — so will cobalt production. Moreover, cobalt has a variety of uses for more highvalue products such as superalloys, hardened steel for machine and diamond tooling and desulphuring

catalysts for cars, as well as pigments and magnets. In a price squeeze it’ll be the EV manufacturers that will lose out. And in a huge land-grab that is still taking shape, it’s clear that China is ensuring it will be in control of large chunks of the cobalt supply. Some estimates suggest that China Molybdenum’s recent acquisitions will give it huge control of the cobalt supply — and that supply will be geared to China’s domestic interests rather than international ones. It’s not the place of an editorial such as this to suggest where cobalt prices will go — though of course it is worth pointing out that the price has doubled in the past year. Rather it is to put forward an idea, already mooted in various blogs, and even suggest that a world shortage of cobalt might mean that the lithium ion EV revolution that people have been calling for this past decade is about to stall. The vagaries of capitalism, the shifting sands of market pricing and, finally, the essentials of supply and demand may spell the shipwreck of a decade of hype and speculation.

A world shortage of cobalt might mean that the lithium ion EV revolution that people have been calling for this past decade is about to stall. Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 5

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TBS appoints two new directors TBS announced two UK senior appointments in April. Mark Gardiner has been appointed as sales director. He joins the board of directors with responsibility for global sales and customer relationships. For the past five years he has worked as sales manager for TBS. Before that he spent two years in the US as business development manager, and was instrumental in the successful integration of Tekmax into TBS, adding enveloping technology to complete its end-to-end assembly line capability. More recently he played a key role in the TBS joint venture with Digatron in Qingdao, further expanding growth in China. He has over 15 years’ experience in the battery engi-

Steve Sharpe, technical director

neering sector, since joining TBS in 2001. Steve Sharpe has joined TBS as technical director. He was previously group technical director at Froude, a manufacturer of test equipment for the

Mark Gardiner, sales director

automotive, gas turbine and shipbuilding industries. “He has a strong pedigree of innovation and New Product Development in addition to proven experience in assembly line optimisation and automation,

Trojan picks Menjak for global products

Trojan Battery, the deepcycle flooded AGM and gel battery manufacturer, announced on March 28 that it had appointed Ivan Menjak as director of global product solutions. Menjak was previously a consultant for his own firm Alpha Concept Solutions. From June 2013 to September 2015 he was senior director of business development and strategic marketing at Energy Power Systems, a lead acid battery technology developer. Before that he worked for A123 Systems, the lithium battery manufacturer, for five years where he was latterly vice president of corporate business develop-

ment. Before that he spent five years with Cobasys, the nickel metal hydride battery firm. “He has an impressive deep knowledge of multiple battery technologies,” said senior vice president of global market development Bryan Godber. “His focus will be on helping us expand the Trojan brand beyond our current product portfolio as we aim to become the innovation leader in our space,” The appointment of Menjak would fit in well with the business strategy Jeff Elder, Trojan’s CEO, told Batteries International in an interview in 2014. “By 2025 I expect that Trojan will clearly be identified as a global energy storage solutions company, not just a battery company,” he said. Elder said at the time that the future business development of the firm was set to change following the decision in 2013 by the Godber family to sell off some of its

shareholding to private equity firm Charlesbank. “The recent partnership with Charlesbank through its majority share investment in Trojan is opening up even more opportunities for us to expand globally into new markets such as renewable energy, remote telecom and transportation, as well as into new geographies including India, southeast Asia and Africa,” he said. “It is exciting to see a business that started as a battery repair shop turn into a global energy storage solutions provider.” Trojan Battery prides itself on having built the first lead acid battery for golf carts in 1952. The firm’s deep-cycle batteries are also used in aerial work platforms, ground support equipment at airports, floor-cleaners and utility vehicles and also in the marine, material handling and oil, gas and renewable energy industries.

having worked with the world’s biggest automotive brands, including VW, Toyota and BMW,” says TBS. “He will be responsible for all engineering design and development, where he will be using his 35 years of engineering expertise to develop and evolve TBS’ fully automatic high speed assembly equipment.” He replaces Chris Barge, who departed after 24 years with the firm.

Bitrode appoints Richardson as regional sales manager

John Richardson, joined Bitrode, the battery testing firm in March as its regional sales manager for the western US and Mexico. Richardson has over 30 years of sales experience.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 9

The greater we think, the greater we can be in life. Truly courageous is one who lives through strength and beauty. Berta Rieder

Elke Oschmann

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Elke Oschmann passed away on the second of January 2017. After the unexpected early death of her husband, Klaus Oschmann, she took over bfs as CEO. Her origin as graphic designer had a significant impact on all bfs-products. Based on the ideology “synthesis of technology and design”, bfs products became a design object, in addition to being a highly technical quality product, for which bfs was rewarded the IF design Award twice. During her career, Elke Oschmann put an emphasis on assisting people all over the world, especially women, working towards equal chances for all members of society. Always participating in her success, her employees were cared for as her greatest capital. She constantly motivated for autonomous action.

The warm, reliable and respectful atmosphere, which also conveyed a feeling of trust to our customers, was of great importance to her. Over the many years, quite a number of our business partners became appreciated friends. Thanks to her heartful and unconventional ways, the company came to be the global enterprise it is today. Her daughters, Anna Oschmann and Berta Rieder are following her corporate philosophy, to lead bfs to the future together with the successful bfs team. Elke Oschmann was one of the warmest, most generous and loving people, we miss her a lot. Her love lives on in our hearts.

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‘Déjà vu, all over again’ in the battery industry Ray Kubis, long-time battery veteran and chairman of Gridtential Energy, says we need to bear in mind some of the mistakes of the past as they are bound to happen again. The title quote was one of many simple classics by a special personality, Yogi Berra, who also played very good baseball for the New York Yankees for many years. In my opinion, the phrase applies to lessons being relearned frequently in the energy storage business over the past 20 years, often with ever bigger numbers and more serious consequences. I refer now to the two most recent examples: Samsung’s recall of phones and Aquion’s bankruptcy filing. Without wanting to chill any enthusiasm for further energy storage innovation, let me offer an opinion to potentially reduce the risk of learning familiar and expensive lessons again in the battery industry.

have been promoted aggressively worldwide, promising ever greener, cleaner energy storage solutions. The company raised nearly $200 million, before announcing a stop of production and layoffs for 80% of its staff. Behind these events are some very smart people from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley and South Korea, and a lot of money and experience. These expensive events were not by inexperienced engineers, operators, or investors. Aquion, no less than Bill Gates following the bright folks at Kleinwort Benson, jumped in to invest in the innovative claims and plans of the bright scientists from Carnegie Mellon. And Samsung is not a struggling start-up from an emerging country with developing management, supply chains, and controls — rather, it is one of the three largest and best producers globally of lithium based batteries.

• Though lithium-based batteries have achieved impressive, higher standards in energy density over Not many companies can rival the engineering and the last 25 years, their safety hazards remain very financial support behind its battery unit, even before real, with huge consequences when something explaining its capability in goes wrong in design, chip-making, electronics, assembly, controls, “Across the entire supply chain of or other ventures. usage, or collection and lithium batteries I expect we will return after use. So, what are the two

continue to see periodic serious lessons being re-learned? • Long after recalls for accidents, fires and recalls … the lesson In the field of energy Sony laptops, a fleet of cars dramatically is simply that more real problems have storage, do not expect burning in New Jersey to be expected across the full supply (like Aquion’s strategy) and the grounding of to go it alone successfully chain for lithium batteries.” the magnificent new and quickly (meaning Dreamliner jet design under 10 years) with from Boeing, there was the really expensive (>$5 truly different cell design concepts (including electrobillion) global recall of Samsung phones. chemistry changes) with a plan to go all the way through to production, marketing, distribution and We have also recently seen a high profile bankruptcy final solutions in diverse applications by yourself. (chapter 11) in the US, this time by Aquion, the maker of so-called saltwater batteries. These designs

Managing cell design, safety, commercial scaling of Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 13


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OPINION: RAY KUBIS supply chains and manufacturing for good costs, understanding complex and different applications, achieving customer confidence (to launch a vehicle or plane or other platform) – all of these factors work against timely commercial success.

than that very selfsame thing.... Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery it brings out his latent capacity for lying.”

Though there are probably 20+ companies and claimed breakthroughs in recent years where this There are other industry examples where disruptive saying might apply, the companies above all had new technologies have serious, committed, successfully gone from experienced people, and I believe it will be 10 to 20 years (if then) great design to sustaining yet their company’s results success alone, resulting in before recycled lithium battery materials in batteries came up high usage and profitable will be used again. By contrast, leadshort, regardless of the big sales. opportunities in the large based batteries are nearly 100% growing markets for Yet in energy storage, recovered with nearly all the lead finding and energy storage products. the track record of going

its way back into high-quality new

it alone has been really batteries different and expensive. The following are a few examples of major “go it alone” strategies before Aquion. These technologies “worked,” yet these companies did not achieve commercial success.

• Ovonics in the 1990s with their nickel-metal hydride (NMH) development and large new plant in Ohio • Sodium nickel chloride batteries in Switzerland • Even GE with sodium nickel, also in the US less than 10 years ago • Others with nickel-zinc • Many lithium start-ups including Ballard, A123, Sakti3, et al Some of these, like sodium nickel and Sakti3 (solid state lithium) might yet achieve commercial success, yet the timelines are notably different than envisioned by many investors. Why did all of these companies not mature to significant commercial success in their highly promoted efforts? Their products generally worked in the labs and also in pilot applications, or, in the case of NMH and select lithium companies, matured successfully through other already existing battery or major user companies. And, again, these companies were led by bright scientists and managers, with a lot of money invested, so it was not lack of talent or funds. Was it over-promising on performance? Thomas Edison had a famous, critical quote about energy storage devices: “The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stocks companies. The storage battery is one of those peculiar things that appeals to the imagination, and no more thing could be desired by stock swindlers

A number of hurdles may explain why we keep seeing the go-it alone strategy fail: • Customer adoption of new energy storage technologies goes much slower than optimistic developers believe, generally because of the risks seen in the market of so many earlier claims. • Advanced lead batteries and now even advanced lithium batteries have reached tremendous scale in efficient supply chains, and production for each now has efficient design variations allowing them to supply across almost all of the large battery market sectors. This often only leaves niche or emerging applications for new companies with notable subsidies required to get pilot or trial sales. • Competing new developers may underestimate the steady technical/performance/cost improvements of lithium and advanced lead batteries. It may be ‘incremental only’ improvement, yet it is steady and cumulatively pretty impressive. Laboratory tests for extended cycle life, done by all developers, regardless of their rigor, cannot begin to match the variation of duty or work cycles that happen in the field across different applications, or match the unintended abuse by power supplies, chargers, and consumers. • So ultimately, delays and economic challenges to compete profitably with advanced lead or lithium batteries wear out the patience and bank books of investors or sponsors. Turning to the safety issues with lithium-based batteries (of almost all electrode combinations and sizes of the energy packs), they continue to surprise producers and users regardless of their scale and experience. The causes of the problems can be explained afterwards, and the fixes, or new, better solutions, are claimed or announced almost weekly. Yet, more Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 15

OPINION: RAY KUBIS than 15 years after the first recalls, dangerous and expensive events keep occurring and, in my opinion, will continue to happen.

batteries have to now include the probable returns, recalls and product liability costs of these batteries, whether paid by the battery producer, OE user, consumer or insurance companies.

It is fair to acknowledge two of the biggest users, Apple and Tesla, have had fewer problems than most, given their designs, “Managing cell design, safety, supplier selections and commercial scaling of supply chains controls. This could help and manufacturing for good costs, other users by example understanding complex and different to lower the risk and potential size of future applications, achieving customer events. confidence … all of these factors work

Another view by some providers and users of lithium batteries is that fires will happen given the nature of lithium-based battery electro-chemistry, but their control systems should enable safe consumer exit, shutdown or other limitation on the fire risk.

Yet further events are to against timely commercial success. be expected. And clearly, lithium-based batteries have challenged the existing I am not sure how many cars, garages, homes and battery industry to improve faster and facilitated warehouses will have to burn before consumers and great product advances across many applications and insurance companies force safer energy solutions or industries. even insist on a waiver of your insurance coverage. Yet I expect this will come, and clearly the Samsung Yet without detailing the expensive product recalls experience has further dramatically conditioned we have seen over 15+ years as evidence of the risks, regulators, airlines and consumers about the risks of clearly the task of assuring safe products is something lithium batteries even in the smallest of energy packs every airline, shipping company, and original within cell phones. equipment user of any battery technology is trying to better understand. Even last month, one of the original inventors of the lithium-ion version of batteries claimed another breakthrough assuring safe future lithiumbased batteries with a solid-state structure. Even Google’s chairman jumped right out to support the breakthrough. Maybe it will mature, yet across the entire supply chain of lithium batteries I expect we will continue to see periodic serious accidents, fires and recalls. It is not just in new product launches. As products come back due to end of life or due to damage before end-of-life use, accidents are being seen more often, including injuries to people, burning trucks and warehouses, and recycling center incidents as these products make their way to landfills worldwide. Some are claiming recycling and reuse of materials, yet I believe it will be 10 to 20 years (if then) before recycled lithium battery materials will be used again. By contrast, lead-based batteries are nearly 100% recovered with nearly all the lead finding its way back into high-quality new batteries continuously through an efficient recovery and recycling chain that is a prime example of the sustainable or circular economy advocated by the EU, and the EPA in the US. The lesson is simply that more real problems have to be expected across the full supply chain for lithium batteries. Engineers specifying their use can mitigate the risk, as I acknowledge Apple and Tesla have done pretty well so far, but the real costs of using lithium 16 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Additionally, the stored energy content of some emerging applications for lithium batteries are 100 or 1,000 times the capacity of that in the cellphones that prompted the recent concerns, implying the problem when things go wrong could be that much more dramatic. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: those who do not study history are bound to repeat it. It is in that spirit that I add to the debate about strategy and investing in energy storage solutions. Like so many I am still cheering, hoping and investing for more promising battery advancements to help address many challenges in developed and emerging markets for our generation and those who follow.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Though many battery companies may be good investments in the growing markets for energy storage solutions, I am invested in only two companies in the battery business. They are BYD of China, which makes a lot of lithium-based batteries in addition to electric cars, buses and other products, and Gridtential Energy, which is a technology start-up licensing silicon-joule bipolar technology, which combines treated silicon wafers with lead plates to deliver unique performing products. Also, I serve as chairman of Gridtential Energy and as a director to EcoBat Technologies, which is the world’s largest recycler of lead batteries.


Crown Battery hits the acquisition trail Crown Battery, the lead acid battery manufacturer, announced at the end of March it had made two acquisitions: distributor and servicer of industrial batteries Industrial Powersource and Warehouse Energy Power, a supplier of batteries and chargers. The acquisition of IPS gives Crown Battery a factory-owned facility in southern California, North America’s largest material handling battery market at more than $75 million per year. Industrial Powersource has distributed Crown’s batteries for 15 years. It will operate as a Crown subsidiary and Crown will take

over its 20,000 square foot factory facility in Santa Fe Springs Crown, which is based in Fremont, Ohio, will take over Warehouse Energy Power’s four sales and service facilities in the US state — in Minster, Columbus, Toledo and Cleveland. “Our core business as one of the leading providers of new and reconditioned industrial batteries, chargers, and battery handling equipment in the Ohio region will continue,” said a Crown official. The staff of both firms — 25 at Industrial Powersource and 30 for Warehouse Energy Power — will be retained.

Skeleton secures, opens factory line, wins €15m funding Two important coups for Skeleton Technologies, the German-Estonian ultracapacitor manufacturer, happened in February and March. The first was the opening at the end of March of a new production line in Saxony, Germany capable of producing up to 4 million supercaps a year. It will be the largest of its kind in Europe. “The investment that we were able to make in expanding our production line here is indicative of the demand that we are seeing for ultracapacitors from a huge variety of industries, including the automotive sector, power grids, heavy transport and haulage,” said CEO Taavi Madiberk. The second coup was the signing of a €15 million ($16 million) loan with the European Investment Bank in February. “This is a milestone for the company,” said Madiberk.

Jan Vapaavuori, a vice president for the European Investment Bank, said: “The EIB financing will provide Skeleton with a powerful financial boost to accelerate production, R&D and commercial development with a view to deploying its graphenebased ultracapacitors not only across the European continent, but also globally. “It will allow the company to fully exploit its leading scientific knowledge in the field, gain critical mass and become significant in a market with huge potential. Given Skeleton’s cuttingedge technology and the eco-friendliness of its products, it’s only logical that EIB supports such European innovators.” The company says its patented graphene based ultracapacitors provide four times higher power density and up to two times higher energy density than its closest competitors.

BCI legislative triumph after lead battery recycling law kicks off in California Lead battery manufacturers and consumers have to pay a $1 fee for each battery they make or buy following the implementation on April 1 of the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act. Better known as AB2153, this was signed into law last year by California governor Jerry Brown. This has been a huge success for Battery Council International, which has been responsible for turning the proposed legislation around. Amendments to the bill filed by California Assembly members Christina Garcia and Miguel Santiago in April 2016 had proposed, among a host of other things, to add a $15 to $20 fee to every lead battery sold in the state. Most of the concern had been generated by a kneejerk reaction to the lead contamination scandal

around Exide’s recycling plant in Vernon. “We were able to explain to assembly officials and those drafting the documentation around the bill that this was counter-productive,” says Mark Thorsby, executive director at BCI. “We were able to show that lead is completely recyclable — the most recycled metal on the planet — that chemicals facing stricter standards should be limited to those that directly exposed consumers to toxicity.” The fees should generate $26 million a year and will be used to investigate, clean up and monitor any area believed to have suffered contamination from the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility. From April 1, 2022, manufacturers will no longer pay the fee but consumers’ fees will be doubled to $2 per battery.

Siemens chooses Hoppecke to service UK rolling stock Lead acid battery manufacturer Hoppecke Industrial Batteries has agreed a new service contract with Siemens, one of the largest global train manufacturers, to service the battery systems on new rolling stock owned by South West Trains in the UK. In 2016 a contract was agreed with Hoppecke and Siemens for the Thameslink line, the line that runs out of Moorgate in London and operates Siemens’s Desiro City trains. The batteries on the Desiro City trains are VRLA batteries made

by Hoppecke, and the company will provide after-sales support, spare parts and warranty support services. The design of the equipment is such that the battery, which delivers 108V of power, can be slid out of the box in which it is housed, allowing maintenance in situ. Hoppecke batteries are already used in 75% of Siemens trains worldwide and in almost 90% of its trains in the UK. Hoppecke Industrial Batteries is the UK arm of Germany’s Hoppecke Batterien.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 17

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INDUSTRY VIEWPOINT: INTERNATIONAL LEAD ASSOCIATION Alfons Westgeest, executive director of EUROBAT, argues that greater regulatory coherence is needed for the European battery industry.

Towards a ‘2030 Battery Strategy for Europe’ EUROBAT, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, is proposing the development of a ‘2030 Battery Strategy for Europe’. For Europe as a whole, it is important to enable the future of its battery sector and ensure coherence between EU, regional and national policy initiatives. The recent references to batteries across many EU policy fields recognize them as a key enabling technology, and acknowledge the huge and growing importance of batteries and their need in several sectors: • The recent European Commission proposal on new energy market design has finally recognized the importance of battery energy storage for the integration of renewables in the energy mix. We hope that the final package will create a level playing field for batteries to compete on an equal footing with other flexibility services, remove double grid fees and any other unintended regulatory barriers. • Several legislative initiatives are promoting the decarbonization of the transport sector, and the European Commission is discussing with several stakeholders the future of the automotive sector in the framework of GEAR2030. To achieve the targets highlighted in the European Strategy for low-emission mobility, it will be paramount to increase the efficiency of all ICE vehicles (cars, vans, buses, trucks) while at the same time develop an internal market for hybrid and electric vehicles. All types of batteries will play a key role in this regard, from advanced start-stop batteries to batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. • The EU is also investing in several research, innovation and development initiatives specifically focused or involving batteries, from Horizon2020 to the SET Plan, including the ETIP SNET2 and the Batstorm project. These research projects are impor-

tant for the future of the battery sector and the development of an R&D strategy for batteries, but they should always take into account the existing landscape of EU battery production base and be linked to other policy initiatives in a coherent way. • Several policies address sustainability and recycling-aspects of batteries, including the Batteries Directive and the Circular Economy Package. EUROBAT members support the circular economy approach of the EU, and automotive and industrial batteries are all collected and treated at end of life in accordance with the recycling efficiency targets of the EU Batteries Directive. Lead-based batteries, for example, have a collection and recycling rate of almost 100%, creating a closed loop for this technology. Overlaps of EU legislation that regulate the batteries sector, notably the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive, the REACH Regulation and the Battery Directive, need to be clarified to ensure business certainty. In terms of minimizing exposure risks of workers to heavy metals essential in battery production, our members have created voluntary

industry programmes that even go beyond regulatory requirements. One important objective that EU policy-makers are pursuing is the further development of a European manufacturing base for lithium-based cells. Moreover, keeping the production of all different battery technologies in Europe will be paramount for the competitiveness of different EU industrial sectors. We are convinced that the various EU initiatives on batteries would benefit from an overall EU strategy, taking stock of existing markets, technologies and policies. To be in line with the concept of better regulation, the strategy should also include an assessment of which developments can be left to the market and in which fields policy-makers need to intervene and regulate. As the representative association of European manufacturers of automotive, energy storage and industrial batteries, EUROBAT and its members wish to deepen the dialogue with policy-makers at EU and member states level to define the regulatory framework for batteries that is needed for the next decade and beyond. We believe the best way to achieve this is to develop a long-term ‘Battery Strategy for Europe’ which sets out the guiding principles for EU policy-makers for this period. This strategy should be prepared in cooperation with all stakeholders (trade associations, the supply industry for batteries, users of batteries, civil society etc.). The coming two years of the current European Parliament and European Commission should be used to develop the strategy. The next EUROBAT AGM and forum will be held on June 8, 9 In Brussels

Overlaps of EU legislation that regulate the batteries sector, notably the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive, the REACH Regulation and the Battery Directive, need to be clarified to ensure business certainty Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 19


China doubles its lead recycling targets for 2020 China has more than doubled its output target for recycled lead, setting a 2.5 million tonne target for 2020, the information agency S&P Global Platts reported on March 21. This figure will increase the total output of recycled lead in 2015, 1.5 million tonnes, by 67%, the agency quoted the Henan Provincial Nonferrous Metals Guild as saying. “These are laudable, realistic targets,” said Farid Ahmed, principal analyst, lead markets, at Wood Mackenzie. “There’s an awful lot of lead available for recycling: more than five million tonnes, before you take

out the quantity that is exported. “Our forecast is that 2.5 million tonnes is a realistic figure if we consider that the average battery life is four years, and batteries made in and around 2015/16 will be available for recycling by 2020. “The problem is that the Chinese need a formalized recycling system – they need to establish a closedloop system. This is under way, however. Smaller producers are getting together to try to collaborate with bigger producers to form a closed-loop system.” Ahmed quoted a report by the Beijing University of Technology, which in 2015

Ahmed: “2.5 million tonnes, realistic”

said that some 40% of lead ‘disappeared’. “That’s not to say it’s not being recycled — it prob-

EnerSys wins $71 million contract to supply TPPL batteries to US Army EnerSys has won a $71 million contract to supply thin plate pure lead batteries to the US Defense Logistics Agency for up to five years, the company announced on March 21. EnerSys, a reserve and motive power battery

maker, has supplied the US army with Hawker Armasafe Plus batteries for a variety of applications for the past 15 years. The contract will be renewed for three years with an option for a further two, the company said.

The 12V AGM lead acid batteries are maintenance free, have a shelf life of 24 months and an expected operational life of up to 53 months, according to the product specification. They will continue to be made at EnerSys’ Warrens-

VSun completes home battery storage design VSun Energy, the whollyowned subsidiary of mining company Australian Vanadium, has finished the design of a residential vanadium redox flow battery in Australia that will soon provide an alternative to the lithium-based Tesla Powerwall. VSun Energy business development manager Sam McGahan told Batteries International that the design of the battery for home storage was

complete, and a study had been commissioned to look at timescale and market size in Australia. “What we would like to do is to manufacture in Australia, so we need to partner with someone who has manufacturing expertise,” she said. “Other angles we’re investigating are things like having a larger battery at the substation level which can be used to soak up excess production from

the suburb and then can be drawn upon by the householders. “This would involve a product such as Reposit or Power Ledger to manage the ownership of the energy and would enable people to trade their generated energy.” Reposit and Power Ledger are two software systems that can be fitted to solar panels and allow consumers to trade surplus energy.

ably is — but it needs to be formalized.” Ahmed said the Chinese government could introduce measures such as a refundable battery levy, which would be repayable once the old battery was presented. In December, the Shanghai Metals Market reported that new regulations for the secondary lead industry would go in force. They included upgrading technology and protecting the environment, and also dictated that each scrap battery facility must process at least 100,000 tonnes a year — therefore eliminating the smaller, unofficial operations. burg, Missouri facility, which also produces batteries for US Navy nuclear submarines and military aircraft. “Over the past several years EnerSys has expanded its technology to include batteries that power everything from submarines to satellites,” said Jeffrey Long, president Americas at EnerSys. He said the company was prepared to support the army as it transitioned from traditional flooded lead acid batteries to valve regulated lead acid batteries. Separately, Exide Technologies was awarded a $47.4 million contract to supply storage batteries to the Defense Logistics Agency, also for three years with an option to renew after two, the US Department of Defense confirmed on its website on March 17. Exide has supplied batteries in one form or another to the US military since the First World War.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 21


Chinese recycler announces new $52m lead battery recycling plant Chinese lead recycling company Tianjin Toho on March 3 announced plans to begin building a $52 million battery recycling plant in Tianjin, a port city of 15.5 million people on China’s northeastern coast. The plant will dispose of 160,000 tonnes a year of lead battery scrap, the Shanghai Metals Market reported. The plant, construction of which will begin this June, is slated to be completed by 2019 and is predicted to be able to produce 108,000 tonnes of secondary lead and lead alloy a year, — 42,000 tonnes of lead-antimony alloy, 29,000 tonnes of lead-calcium alloy and 37,000 tonnes of refined lead. Once complete, the Tian-

jin smelter will have the capacity to produce 5% of China’s recycled lead output, forecast by metals and mining analysts Wood Mackenzie to reach 1.9 million tonnes in 2017. The plant will also produce 30,200 tonnes of anhydrous sodium sulphate and 10,900 tonnes of plastic scrap, according to the SMM. “As a rough rule of thumb for North America and Europe, to build a new lead recycling smelter you’d expect to pay around $1 million per 1,000 tonnes of output capacity,” says Farid Ahmed, lead analyst at Wood Mackenzie. “Despite costs being lower in China, this price of construction and equipment for a recycling plant does seem very

much at the lower end of the price spectrum.” The SMM said Tianjin Toho would import fully enclosed, oxygen-enriched shaft furnaces from Italy and Japan, which comply with the Secondary Lead Industry Standards that were released in December 2016. “With stricter environmental requirements, the approval of the project shows an advanced and environmental technology at Tianjin Toho Lead Recycling,” said the SMM. In December 2016, the Chinese ministry of industry and information technology published new regulations for the secondary lead industry in China, which included forbidding the construction of new plants inside a “1km

red line” away from residential areas and the removal of existing plants to industrial parks. Smelters had to comply with new national standards, which included only allowing recyclers to operate if they treated more than 100,000 tonnes a year, therefore eliminating the smaller, less regulated plants. Complete management systems for product quality had to be implemented and only intact lead batteries could be bought for processing in smelters that complied with the Pollution Control Standard for Hazardous Waste Storage. Other regulations governing emissions and the disposal of hazardous waste were also included.

Chaowei Power develops graphene additive that improves lead battery performance Chinese battery manufacturer Chaowei Power launched a new version of its Black Gold battery for electric bikes at the end of February — a lead-acid battery that uses the nanomaterial graphene as an additive. “We have shortened the current road length from 312mm to 150mm between cells inside the battery, thus the battery resistance is greatly reduced by 52%,” chief scientist Dai Guiping told Batteries International. “Performance of the battery in low temperature operations has been greatly improved. “The capacity of the battery has also increased with additional active materials, and the terminal design has been optimized.” Chaowei makes lithium and lead acid automotive

batteries under the Chilwee brand. Its Black Gold highenergy VRLA series was launched almost exactly a year ago, on February 29, 2016, when it first applied graphene technology to a commercial, mass-produced rechargeable lead battery. Following its structural update, the firm says its total discharge time is 90 minutes compared with 65 minutes for a standard lead battery, and it offers 610 cycles at 100% depth of discharge as opposed to 400. “Graphene plays an important role in improving performance for lead acid and lithium ion batteries,” said Dai. “For example, in lead acid batteries, the use of graphene is envisaged as offering benefits in its high intrinsic electrical conduc-

tivity and being extremely lightweight, chemically inert and flexible yet with a large surface area. “The presence of graphene in the electrodes improves the electrical conductivity between the particles of the active mass through preventing thickening and the growth of large lead sulfate particles. This feature is attributed to the formation of a stable and conductive matrix that enables homogeneous delivery and distribution of current to all parts of the active material. “By enabling a uniform current distribution, and subsequently well distributed electrochemical redox reactions throughout

the electrode matrix, we arrested the formation of too large lead sulfate particles,” he said. “The addition of graphene is also considered able to increase both the mechanical stability and electrical integrity of the electrodes and to induce uniform changes in the active mass during chargedischarge cycling.”

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 23


Exide application to re-open formation plant prompts local opposition An application by Exide Technologies to re-open lead battery formation operations at a site in Bristol, Tennessee is meeting public opposition. On March 21, local residents signed a petition on the campaigning website to demand a public meeting to discuss “Exide’s Plans to Pollute in Bristol”. “This permit will allow Exide to produce and release 2,460lb (1,100kg) of sulfuric acid and 1.2 pounds of lead per year into the air/water in Bristol, which will negatively impact local homes, business-

es, residents’ health, our environment and wildlife,” the website says. Part of the opposition to Exide reopening the plant, which closed in 2013, is the public making a connection — which may easily not be valid — with the longstanding scandal about the lead pollution found in and around Exide’s recycling operations in Vernon, California. On January 23, Exide Technologies filed an application to the Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control to obtain an air contaminant permit for the plant, a portion of which

the firm would like to reopen in September. Operations would consist of filling, charging, cooling and forming dry unformed batteries to be sold off site, according to the application. In a statement to Batteries International Exide said: “Protecting the health, safety and well being of our employees and the people in the communities in which we operate and live is a clear Exide priority.” Exide says the plant will provide employment opportunities for the Bristol community, “creating a safe and rewarding environ-

ment for employees and residents”. “Our formations operations in Bristol, expected to begin this September, will create approximately 40 jobs for Bristol-area residents, with the intention to add additional shifts as customer demand increases. “Upon restart, our stateof-the-art formation line will be used exclusively for the formation of transportation batteries. Any associated air emissions will be controlled in strict compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.” The company said that the new leadership had established “robust environmental, health and safety processes and management that meet or indeed do exceed requirements of national, state or local laws and regulations”.

Lithium batteries replaced with lead in ALABC/Missouri University project Scientists at the University of Missouri Science and Technology are to work with the ALABC — the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium — to replace lithium-ion batteries with lead-acid in a project that begins in October. The project aims to create a solar-powered EcoVillage microgrid to power six homes on the university campus in Rolla, Missouri, using solar panels with lead battery energy storage units. In past projects, Missouri S&T has used lithium batteries. Initial project planning took place at a meeting between the Missouri Department of Economic Development Division of Energy, the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance, and ALABC members Ameren, Doe Run, NorthStar, Exide and Enersys. “The quantity of batteries

will depend on things such as the depth of discharge, length of time we want the village to be able to operate when islanded from the main power grid and the actual power requirements for all of the homes,” Angie Rolufs, a project engineer for the S&T Microgrid Industrial Consortium, told Batteries International. “From an ALABC point of view, this project is expected to highlight how lead batteries are the right choice in this type of application as we believe that they provide an excellent energy storage option for the project,” said Alistair Davidson, technical director for the International Lead Association which runs the ALABC. The lessons learnt about the performance of lead batteries in the project will be available to all the ALABC 70+ member com-

24 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

panies globally, with the potential to help determine the future direction of research and development, according to Doe Run. The project is in line with the ALABC’s recently announced technical communications programme. This has already been put into action during a visit to China, where many of the Chinese big hitters in lead acid met to discuss sharing technical information. The ALABC has also begun working with automotive OEMs and lead battery makers in a collaborative programme to push the development of the next generation of energy storage systems that will be advanced enough to meet the needs of micro hybrids which are due to come onto the market within two years. European standardization committee CENELEC,

Aachen University battery chair professor Dirk Uwe Sauer, and Ford’s European research centre all joined a technical workshop in Germany, where more than 70 professionals discussed the need for better charging performance and high-temperature durability in lead batteries. Members of the meeting agreed that the consortium would work more closely with car manufacturers to standardize testing as well as push technical development. “The test standardization includes harmonizing methods for determining water loss, dynamic charge acceptance, and start-stop cycle durability — the key feature which has made micro hybrids the most successful electrified cars, accounting for more than 60% of the European car fleet,” said Davidson.


Lithium battery inventor Goodenough advances with solid-state batteries John Goodenough, the 94-year-old co-inventor of the lithium ion battery, and his research team at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering have developed the first solid-state lithium battery. The research is likely to mean a step-change in the potential of lithium as an energy storage medium. Writing in the journal Energy and Environmental Science on March 4, Goodenough says the new

battery cells use a solid glass electrolyte instead of a liquid one, using an alkali metal anode which means dendrites do not form. Senior research fellow at Cockrell School Maria Helena Braga, who began developing solid glass electrolytes with colleagues at the University of Porto in Portugal, was also on the team. “The glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lith-

Open Energy, CES in collocated energy storage project Open Energi is working with Camborne Energy Storage (CES) to deliver revenues from CES’s first co-located energy storage project. Open Energi’s technology has been integrated with a 500kWh Tesla Powerpack to enable it to provide balancing services to National Grid. The battery energy storage system will automatically charge and discharge in response to second-bysecond changes in electricity supply and demand UKwide. The system — which is co-located with a solar PV plant in Somerset — the capacity to provide power for over 500 homes. In addition to generating revenue from

balancing services it is also making money from time of use discharging; storing electricity generated during periods of low demand and releasing it when demand peaks. Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand technology optimises the system’s operating profile to maximise revenue opportunities throughout the day, applying designed state of charge management techniques, while limiting the degradation of the battery lifetime to the lowest value possible. CES is developing energy storage systems throughout the UK and starts 2017 with around 50MW of consented sites ready for construction.

EaglePicher Technologies acquires Lithiumstart EaglePicher Technologies announced in February that it had acquired San Francisco based Lithiumstart Inc. The firm has been renamed EaglePicher Lithiumstart. Jim Voss, chief executive of Vectra, EaglePicher’s parent said “By combining Lithiumstart’s expertise with our earlier investment in Yardney and our lithium ion Center of Excellence in

Joplin, we are well positioned to become the world leader in mission critical lithium ion energy storage systems.” EaglePicher said: “Lithiumstart’s proven lithium ion battery management, safety, and power conversion technology is highly complementary with EaglePicher’s suite of existing products.”

26 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

ium. Sodium is extracted from seawater that is widely available,” said Braga. Goodenough says the team has developed cells that would lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for electric cars and stationary energy storage. “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are

critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” writes Goodenough. “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries. “The result is a battery with much greater energy density that can be recharged in minutes instead of hours and performs well at low temperatures. Best of all, it won’t ignite or explode the way a conventional lithium-ion battery can.” According to the university, Goodenough and Braga are working on several patents and hope to collaborate with battery manufacturers to develop and test their new materials.

“We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries” — John Goodenough

Eight years on ARPA-E projects receive over $1.8bn in private follow-on funding Shortly before its budget was slashed in March the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced that a group of 74 project teams has attracted more than $1.8 billion in private sector follow-on funding since the agency’s founding in 2009. The announcement was made at the eighth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. In addition, ARPA-E, tasked with supporting transformative innovation in the energy sector, announced that 56 projects have formed new companies, 68 projects have partnered with other

government agencies for further development, and an ever-increasing number of technologies have been incorporated into products sold on the market today. ARPA-E has provided approximately $1.5 billion in R&D funding across more than 580 projects through 36 programs and three open funding solicitations. The agency is charged by the US Congress to maintain US competitiveness in the energy space, which it achieves through targeted support of projects that, if successful, could, it says, transform how Americans generate, store and use energy.


Saltwater battery firm Aquion Energy enters Chapter 11 Just over a week after announcing its biggest ever battery installation in Japan, the saltwater battery firm Aquion Energy on March 8 made an announcement of a rather different kind: Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The firm said in an statement that it had filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware. “Immediately preceding the Chapter 11 filing, the company retrenched to a core R&D team by terminating approximately 80% of its personnel (several of whom have also entered into consulting agreements with the company to assist it in the sale of its assets), paused all factory operations, and stopped the marketing and selling of the products,” the statement said. Aquion Energy officially began life in 2008 when Jay Whitacre, with support from Carnegie Mellon University, produced the first Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery. In its years of operation,

Aquion spent a total of $190 million on honing its battery technology, which works with a saltwater electrolyte, manganese oxide cathode, carbon titanium phosphate composite anode and synthetic cotton separator. By 2011, low-volume production of the batteries had begun under chief executive Scott Pearson, and the ground was broken on a full-scale manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. In mid-2014, Aquion began shipping its batteries commercially and had installations in Japan, South Africa, Northern Ireland and Australia, as well as California. The team travelled far and wide to spread the word about its technology, declaring on its website: “In 2016 we attended, presented or exhibited at more than 50 different solar, energy storage and other industry events around the world. If you didn’t catch us this year, there will be just as many opportunities (if not more) to say hello in 2017!” It had a string of well known investors, includ-

ing Bill Gates, Shell, Total, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Bright Capital. So what went so wrong, so suddenly and so soon after the company on January 24 won the North American Company of the Year Award from the Cleantech Group, which included Aquion in its 2017 Global Cleantech 100? “Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital-intensive,” said Pearson. “Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern. “We believe that Aquion is the furthest along among emerging energy storage companies offering a new battery technology. Our world-class team was able to achieve tremendous results in the past several years. Therefore, we are optimistic that we can achieve the expected results and complete an asset sale under Chapter

11 in the coming months. “We have appreciated the tremendous support of our employees, investors, customers, and vendors throughout our history and look forward to maintaining positive relations during this important phase.” The collapse of the firm followed one of the firm’s most successful deals to date. On February 27 it agreed with one of Japan’s largest electric power companies, Kyushu Electric, to provide storage for solar power in Kagoshima Prefecture, on southern Japan’s Kyushu Island. The EIWAT Storage I project can store 122kW of energy in the Aspen 48M-25.9 battery. The power is generated by a solar array provided by the French energy management and automation firm Schneider Electric working with the Japanese firms EIWAT Solar Company and Re-Energy, an energy storage provider. The battery has a 100% depth of discharge, the company says, with a cycle life of 3,000 times to 70% retained capacity.

Black Diamond Structures opens battery-testing facility for nanomaterials technology in Texas Black Diamond Structures, a developer and manufacturer of nanomaterial additives for lead-acid and lithium batteries, opened a new testing facility for advanced batteries at its plant in Austin, Texas in February, bringing total spending on analytical and testing equipment by the firm to $2 million. The testing will be carried out on its own products but the firm will also test control batteries that do not contain the additives

so that a valid comparison of performance benefits can be made, chief marketing officer Dru Kefalos told Batteries International. “The primary purpose of the investment in this enhanced testing capability is to support our product development process for new nanomaterial-based solutions and the rapidly growing application developments with our customers around the globe,” said Kefalos.

“Our facility is used to test a wide range of leadacid batteries. For example, we specifically added 16-300A circuits so that we could support startstop testing like the SBAS0101 and other high current testing. “This facility is strictly used by us and our customers to support our nanomaterial development process and our customers’ need to develop higher performing batteries.”

Black Diamond Structures is a joint venture between Molecular Rebar Design, whose technology uses carbon nanotube additives in a battery’s active material, and the global chemical company SABIC. Black Diamond Structures was created in 2014 to research, develop and promote the Molecular Rebar technology for use in the energy storage, coatings and composites industries.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 27

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Maxwell to acquire Nesscap’s energy business for $23m Maxwell Technologies announced in February that it planned to buy the operational assets of supercap firm Nesscap Energy for $23 million. The deal has been approved by the boards of the two firms but has yet to be agreed by Maxwell shareholders who vote at the annual general meeting on the acquisition and Nesscap stakeholders when a special meeting will be held in Q2 this year. Nesscap, which was set up in 1999, provides research, development and manufacturing of energy storage and power delivery solutions that complement Maxwell’s large cell format ultracapacitor product portfolio, with operations in Korea, Germany, and China. Maxwell says it expects to capitalize on synergies between the two companies that will accelerate top-line growth and earnings, increase the innovation rate, and create an expanded and strengthened product portfolio.

Positive EBITDA

Maxwell says it expects the Nesscap business to deliver positive adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) in 2017. “With the acquisition of the Nesscap business, Maxwell will be stronger and better equipped to address the growing demand for ultracapacitor solutions to improve energy efficiency and meet government mandates for reduced emissions,” said Franz Fink, Maxwell’s president and CEO. “Our highly complementary product portfolio and development pipeline will address these challenges

and likewise enable our customers to continuously innovate and deliver in their key markets over the years to come.” A Maxwell statement said: “With a strengthened sales channel, increased R&D capabilities, and improved manufacturing efficiencies, Maxwell will be able to deliver more products, faster into target markets thereby benefitting customers and other technology adopters. “Key benefits include: an expanded and solidified opportunity in wind, automotive, and industrial markets. In wind pitch control, the transaction creates a leading-edge product portfolio including a full range of competitive small cell and large cell offerings. With respect to the automotive market, the acquisition brings pre-existing design wins and revenue in back-up power and extends Maxwell’s reach in the market. “Moreover, small cellbased product solutions also broaden opportunities in the rapidly growing industrials market. Nesscap already has a solid position in this market with a strong base in Europe, which adds revenue diversity and creates further opportunities for growth.” Maxwell says it will provide “accelerated innovation and product time to market with an expanded portfolio … improved small-cell competitiveness through cost structure improvement … and accretive growth with positive financials and product/customer synergies. Maxwell will purchase the operating entities of Nesscap for a total purchase price of $23.175 million, or about 1.1 times

annualized revenue based on Nesscap’s nine-month revenue ended September 30, 2016. The purchase price will be paid by the issuance of approximately 4.6 million Maxwell shares, subject to a 10% upward or downward adjustment based on the average closing price of Maxwell shares for the 10 consecutive trading days ending two days before closing.


In approving the transaction, Nesscap’s board received a verbal fairness opinion from its financial adviser, Paradigm Capital stating that the consideration to be received by Nesscap is fair from a financial point of view to Nesscap and it expects to receive the written fairness opinion in connection with the mailing of a circular to its shareholders. Based on recent share price ranges and subject to the payment by Nesscap of outstanding indebtedness owed by Nesscap to I2BF Energy and Arbat Capital Group in an aggregate principal amount of $4.5 million (plus accrued and unpaid interest) and of certain other outstanding liabilities, Nesscap shareholders and debt holders are expected to own approximately 12% of Maxwell’s total outstanding common shares following completion of the Transaction. Maxwell has entered into a principal shareholders agreement with I2BF and Arbat, which together own approximately 80% of the common shares of Nesscap, and will represent approximately 10% of the ownership of Maxwell following closing, subject to

any adjustment based on Maxwell’s share price. Pursuant to the terms of the principal shareholders agreement, Maxwell has agreed to appoint a representative of I2BF and Arbat to Maxwell’s board of directors, which such representative shall initially be Ilya Golubovich. Such appointment is subject to the closing of the transaction and is intended to be no later than one business day following Maxwell’s 2017 annual general meeting of shareholders. The transaction must be approved by two-thirds of Nesscap shareholders. In addition, I2BF and Arbat are both a related party to the company, meaning the deal will also be conditional upon the approval of a simple majority of the Nesscap shareholders, excluding I2BF and Arbat. The deal is also conditional upon customary terms for transactions of this nature including the approval of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List). Further particulars of the meeting, the arrangement, the dissolution and the arrangement agreement will be included in the information circular for the meeting. If all approvals are obtained and other conditions met, it is expected that the arrangement will be completed by the second quarter of 2017, says the firm. I2BF, Arbat as well as all the directors and officers of Nesscap have entered into voting agreements with Maxwell in support of the deal, and Nesscap has agreed to use its best efforts to obtain voting agreements from other key shareholders in advance of the Meeting.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 29


Primus Power launches second generation zinc bromine flow battery Zinc bromine flow battery producer Primus Power has launched its second-generation battery, the EnergyPod 2, the US firm announced on February 21. Paul Ferrera, a business development official at Primus Power, said the new model was being tested by corporates including Microsoft and utilities such as Samruk Energy in Kazakhstan. “The EnergyPod represents a breakthrough in energy storage technology due to its long life — 20 years — long duration and fadefree performance (no loss of capacity for the life of the battery),” said Ferrera. Other flow battery manufacturers also point to the long duration and fade-free performance as being a

characteristic of their batteries, but Ferrera says the EnergyPod2 offers fewer maintenance costs because it does not have a membrane. “The membrane in a typical flow battery degrades over time, which causes capacity degradation and the eventual need for replacement,” said Ferrera. “So, while other flow batteries may quote a 20-year life, those batteries will not offer full capacity for all those years and will require replacements. Without a membrane, our battery can offer a 20-year life with no loss of capacity and low operating and maintenance expenses. Also, due to our single flow, single tank design, we only have one set of

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pipes and pumps, again cutting down on costs.” The EnergyPod 2 differs from its predecessor, the EnergyPod, in being modular, which means it can scale from 25kW to more than 25MW, depending on application, Ferrera told Batteries International. “When looking at the

long-term economics of a battery storage project, as many utilities and corporations do, our battery has an industry-leading levelized cost of ownership,” said Ferrera. “EnergyPods also have a single-loop, single tank, membrane-less design that is unique and allows for the 20-year fade-free life.”

A123 Systems opens Czech plant A123 Systems, a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, hosted an opening ceremony in March to celebrate its new manufacturing facility in Ostrava, Czech Republic. A123 will produce more than 600,000 units of its low voltage automotive systems annually for European customers. A123 plans to build its 12V lithium-ion starter battery and what it calls “next generation 48V” batteries which deliver lower emissions and increased fuel economy in low voltage hybrid

systems. The ceremonial opening followed the first customer shipments in March of its starter batteries and the installation of a second production line. Later this year, A123 will begin production of its 48V units at the facility. A123 operates manufacturing facilities in China and the US. The Ostrava facility gives the firm direct accessto the European market. A123 is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wanxiang Group.



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30 • Batteries International • Spring 2017


Kentucky power plant becomes new energy storage testing ground Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities — a utility based in Louisville, Kentucky — has launched a new research and demonstration site near Harrodsburg in Kentucky. The project, which was developed in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), became operational in January and will allow the utilities to develop, test, and evaluate the potential benefits of utility-scale battery technologies, and investigate operating needs and associated costs. Additionally, researchers will be able to use the site to advance control technologies, increase value gained from storage, and determine solutions to integration challenges for energy storage on the electric grid. The site includes three testing bays for energy storage technologies, each able to house up to 1MW of storage, resulting in a total

hosting capacity of up to 3MW of energy storage. The first energy storage system installed on the site consists of a 1MW lithiumion battery system, a 1MW smart power inverter and an advanced control system. This storage system was custom-engineered for the site and can support a number of advanced control functions and use cases during testing. “Our Energy Storage Research and Demonstration Site is unique among other sites in the utility industry because it provides us with a testbed for evaluating multiple utility-scale energy storage technologies at the same time,” said David Link, research and development manager for LG&E and KU. Testing multiple storage technologies at one time will allow researchers to assess how the individual systems operate and any potential grid integration challenges as the systems work together,

simulating these technologies operating at the same time on the electric grid. The site is also designed to be collaborative, creating a virtual lab for use by other utilities working with EPRI to address potential gaps associated with utility-scale energy storage, while also providing a platform to share knowledge gained across the utility industry. The testbed is part of EPRI’s Integrated Grid Initiative Pilot Projects, through which utilities across the US are collaborating in R&D projects to understand the benefits, costs, and technical challenges of integrating new, distributed energy resources, with more traditional, centralized generation. The team expects research and development on the LG&E and KU testbed to last about three years. Equipment suppliers for the project include LG Chem, Dynapower and Greensmith Energy.

UK firm plans increase lead and lithium home storage devices 50-fold by 2020 Powervault, a UK energy storage company which makes home energy storage devices that are suitable for both lead and lithium batteries, announced in March that it was preparing to increase its production of units 50-fold by 2020. Managing director Joe Warren told Batteries International that the device was compatible with all kinds of battery chemistry and would be rolled out according to demand. “Although our first product in 2014 was a lead acid device, we are battery agnostic,” he said. “Different customers have different

demands and when we are specifying a system we explain the pros and cons of each. “Historically lead has had much lower upfront costs, but its energy density and lifetime is lower. We believe there’s a lot of research suggesting that lithium ion batteries are going to come down by 75% in price, but the reduction hasn’t happened yet.” Because the Powervault’s basic unit is the same, it will always be compatible for whichever battery chemistry a customer selects, said Warren. “Different batteries have

different voltages and control systems to allow the energy storage device to interact,” he said. Warren said there were a million homes in the UK with solar panels on their roofs, and while that was a key market, it was not going to be the future focus: that would lie in smart meters. Ofgem, the UK government regulatory body for gas and electricity, says millions of homes and small businesses will have smart meters installed by the end of 2020. It means that it will be much easier to store energy from the grid at cheaper times and use it at peak times instead.

Younicos to upgrade ESS on Kodiak Island, Alaska Younicos signed an agreement earlier this year with Kodiak Electric Association in Alaska to design, install and commission an upgraded 3MW battery-based energy storage system on Kodiak Island that will replace a lead acid battery system installed by the company in 2012. “The implementation of li-on batteries will increase the operational lifetime of the storage resource,” said the firm. The project should be completed by mid-August in time to support increased seasonal levels of wind power on the island.

“Our main goal has always been to bring more renewables to the island” The agreement calls for Younicos to replace earlier-generation leadacid batteries and battery racks with advanced lithium-ion batteries. Darron Scott, chief executive of Kodiak Electric Association said: “Our main goal has always been to bring more renewables to the island and reduce the cost of using diesel fuel. We realized early on that battery storage is the best solution to help us achieve these goals.” In 2007, KEA set a goal to produce 95% of Kodiak’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, to reduce reliance on diesel fuel and lower the cost of generation to customers.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 31



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LITHIUM RESEARCH The lattice structure within lithium ion batteries is only partly understood. Using positrons it is possible to explore these spaces further.

Positron power Rechargeable lithium batteries with nickel, manganese, and cobalt cathodes comprising, are currently the most potent today. But they have a limited lifespan — in just their first cycle they lose up to 10% of their capacity. A team of scientists using positrons at the Technical University of Munich have looked at why this happens to see what can be done to alleviate this loss of capacity. NMC batteries, whose cathodes are made up of a mixture of nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium have largely displaced conventional lithium-cobalt oxide batteries in the market. They are cheaper and safer, and are thus deployed in electric and hybrid cars, among other applications. But ultimately, less than 50% of the lithium atoms contribute to actual capacity. While electrodes investigated at the Technical University of Munich released 62% of their lithium atoms during the first discharge, only 54% of them returned upon recharging. Although the loss is significantly lower in subsequent cycles, the capacity continues to decrease gradually. After a few thousand cycles, the remaining capacity is so small that the battery becomes unusable. Investigations by other researchers have shown that during charging not all of the lithium atoms find their way back into the respective vacancies in the crystal lattice. However, until now, previous methods were not able to shed light on the underlying atomic processes. Irmgard Buchberger, researcher at the Chair of Technical Electrochemistry at Technical University of Munich turned to Stefan Seidlmayer, who also researches battery technologies in the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center at the neutron research source FRM II. He organized the contact to Christoph Hugenschmidt, who supervises the NEPOMUC instrument at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum. The NEPOMUC provides a high-intensity low-energy positron beam for applications in solid state and surface physics as well as for fundamental research in nuclear and atomic physics. The posi-


Thomas Gigl and Stefan Seidlmayer at the positron

trons can be used to directly search for vacancies in crystal lattices. “As tiny and extremely mobile particles, positrons can easily probe matter. When they meet an electron, positrons are instantly annihilated in a flash of energy. However, when they find a vacancy in the crystal lattice, the positrons survive significantly longer,” says Markus Reiner, who conducted the experiments at the NEPOMUC instrument. Since the positrons remain briefly trapped in vacant spots of the lattice before they ultimately decay, positron annihilation spectroscopy, as the technique is called, can be used to draw precise conclusions on the immediate surroundings – and that with a very high sensitivity that allows the determination of vacancy concentrations as low as 1:10 million. The study clearly shows that lingering “voids” in the lattice of the cathode material accompany the irreversible loss of capacity, and that this blockage is attributable to the failed refilling of vacancies in the material. “Now it is up to us, as chemists,” says Hubert Gasteiger, a professor at the Chair of Technical Electrochemistry. “Using tar-

The positron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1 e, a spin of 1/2, and has the same mass as an electron. When a low-energy positron collides with a low-energy electron, annihilation occurs, resulting in the production of two or more gamma ray photons.

The research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the ExZellTUM project. Operation of the Coincident DopplerBroadening Spectrometer used in the study was also funded by the BMBF. geted modifications of the cathode material, we can search for possibilities to circumvent this barrier.” “The Garching Research Neutron Source is an extremely useful instrument for battery research,” says Ralph Gilles, who coordinates the measurements at FRM II for the ExZellTUM battery research project. “Using neutrons, we can observe small atoms like lithium very well while in operation, even through the metal casing. With positrons, we have now developed a further option for understanding the processes better and improving them.”

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 33


The electronic skeleton that turns distributed energy into a reality

34 • Energy Batteries Storage International Journal • Spring • Spring 2017 2017


The acquisition by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction of 1Energy Systems last summer was a signal that managing a digital distributed grid required a level of software not seen until now. Sara Verbruggen reports


ithium ion batteries might be synonymous with high-tech energy storage. But you’d be wrong in thinking that. Underpinning the grid’s transition to distributed generation — where the traditional energy customer is also a purveyor of grid services to the utility — is a deep and complex network of programming. Software has always been a component of energy storage systems. Today the majority of installed grid-scale energy storage installations have been designed to be used for one or two main functions, or applications. However, the more functions the system can carry out, the more value it creates. No wonder, then, that some major energy players and also their suppliers have been making investments in energy storage firms. Companies like Younicos, Greensmith Energy, Sunverge and Green Charge have all been recipients of investment from the energy industry’s bellwether players: the Eons, the RWEs and the AGLs. In mid-2016 Doosan, which has supplied equipment for most of South Korea’s nuclear reactors, acquired 1Energy Systems, now renamed Doosan Gridtech, to get its hands on some advanced energy storage software and carve out a business supplying utilities and commercial and industrial customers with energy storage systems. 1Energy Systems was founded in 2011 to develop the software platform needed to automatically integrate distributed energy resources into electric power systems. The company’s software architecture is two-tier. The first tier is an intelligent controller embedded in the individual storage asset, many of which to date are substation sited. The controller contains algorithms that implement the different use cases for the storage plant, such as renewables integration, peak shifting, power factor correction, frequency

regulation and so on. According to David Kaplan, the founder of the company, who became chief operations officer when Doosan acquired it, from the outset the company designed its intelligent controller software to enable energy storage systems to be able to address multiple applications, to provide stacked services. More than a dozen different operating modes, such as peak shaving and solar firming, and variations of these main modes, have been developed. Different modes can operate simultaneously and the company has also extended the platform to work with third party systems and platforms. “You might have a merchant storage developer with a unique insight into how a regional energy market values services like frequency regulation,” says Kaplan. “They could license our Doosan GridTech Intelligent Controller (DG-IC) as their platform and we would give them a developer’s kit so that they could create their own operating mode and then deploy that on

the DG-IC and we would not have to know anything about how that mode worked.” However, to date most deployments of the company’s energy storage systems and software have been with utilities as the direct customer. The second tier of Doosan Gridtech’s software architecture, called the Distributed Energy Resource Optimizer (DG-DERO), enables, for example, multiple storage-equipped substations owned by a utility to be networked together and controlled and managed singularly or at the same time, so they can be operated as a fleet. “Just like capacitor banks, load-tap changers and transformers, we see energy storage as another resource that utilities need to be able to integrate into their distribution systems. But if the utility has to manually control each energy storage system that is impractical and the resource will never be truly integrated,” says Kaplan. “We saw DG-DERO from the beginning as essential to enabling automatic dispatch of a fleet of energy storage assets. Without that capability, utilities would never be able to get the full value from the resource.” The DG-DERO software is also designed to communicate with other grid control systems in the utility’s grid operations centre, such as their supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) or distribution management systems. Before Doosan’s acquisition, which completed on June 30 last year, the company grew organically, through customer revenues, project by project,

“You might have a merchant storage developer with a unique insight into how a regional energy market values services like frequency regulation. They could license our intelligent controller as their platform and we would give them a developer’s kit.” – David Kaplan, chief operations officer, 1Energy Systems

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SOFTWARE FOCUS: DOOSAN GRIDTECH advancing the software platform as it developed each new project. In terms of where Doosan Gridtech is in terms of its technology, Kaplan says the focus and effort is more directed at the DG-DERO layer at this point. “Though we are not done innovating in the DG-IC, in terms of new modes and iterations, by any means,” he says. Should a third party customer only require either the intelligent controller (tier-one) or the DG-DERO (tier-two) portion of Doosan Gridtech’s software

architecture for their energy storage offering, they can use one or the other part of the architecture depending on their requirements. “We have designed both products to be able to be used independently, though of course we think they work great together. The MESA standards are what really enable this,” says Kaplan. Depending on their requirements the third party might have their own operational mode controls for energy

“We saw DG-DERO from the beginning as essential to enable automatic dispatch of a fleet of energy storage assets. Without that capability, utilities would never be able to get the full value from the resource.” MESA — THE NEW STANDARD FOR STANDARDS In November 2016 the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) Standards Alliance released the first draft of a protocol for communications between utility control centres and energy storage systems. Open standards are defined, publicly available specifications for how different elements of a system communicate with each other. In energy storage, open standards break down a complex system into components so that each component can innovate at its own pace without the entire system

“MESA-ESS enables electric utilities or grid operators to scale the deployment of energy storage.” — Mike Rowand, Duke Energy

having to wait for the slowest piece to move forward. The open, non-proprietary specification, referred to as MESAESS, provides a standard framework for utility-scale energy storage system data exchanges. The draft addresses areas such as energy storage system configuration management, operational states, and the applicable functions for these types of systems from the IEEE 1815 (DNP3) profile for advanced distributed energy resources (DER). “MESA-ESS enables electric utilities or grid operators to scale the deployment of energy storage and manage energy storage assets and fleets of assets, from various vendors, to meet specific needs and use cases with minimal custom engineering,” said Mike Rowand, director of technology development at Duke Energy and MESA’s board chair. As big boxes of batteries, flywheels or other storage systems multiply on utilities systems, MESA’s efforts in standards and standardization will help reduce the complexity of managing these distributed assets. The MESA-ESS specification supports the use of non-proprietary communication standards, promoting interoperability, which also reduces the amount of nonrecurring engineering that is required to integrate an energy storage system into utility control systems using DNP3.

storage but may want to use the second tier, aggregation architecture for example. Or if they had only designed their own controls to do one or two modes with such a frequency regulation in a specific wholesale market they could, therefore, be looking at licensing other modes to include in their own system controls. “It’s probably a little early to say on this. We believe there will be a wave of energy storage system owners that want to upgrade their control software as they begin to truly understand what it means to get the full value out of the resource,” says Kaplan. “However, we have only done one upgrade to date. And we are just beginning to have customers come to us that already have energy storage systems deployed and are interested in using DG-DERO to dispatch them as a fleet and to access the bulk power system value streams that are available. Of our 10 projects to date, only one has been an upgrade or has involved technology other than our own software written to the energy storage system. “As a predominantly software-based company we kept our head down and got on with our knitting, and as our systems got deployed and MESA came together, there was more attention. There are companies that call themselves energy storage developers, but were more like providers of turnkey battery systems. They were realising that software able to do only one or two modes of operation wasn’t enough,” he says. Kaplan’s start-up began working closely with Doosan several months before the acquisition was completed on June 30 last year. “Some might think that the cultures of a small Seattle start-up mixing with that of a large Korean conglomerate might be tricky to pull off, but there was a high degree of resonance between what they wanted to achieve and what we have been doing,” he says. The company represented several new opportunities and entry points for Doosan to allow it to gain more of a foothold in the electricity distribution segment of the energy sector, a very different industry from generation. “Energy storage systems are a new grid tool, which utilities are using, and also we’ve given Doosan a software capability it didn’t previously have. Our architecture is a basis for software-led technology for modernizing the grid and distribution systems,” says Kaplan.

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SOFTWARE FOCUS: DOOSAN GRIDTECH Installations and projects

To date, eight to 10 projects have been supplied by Doosan Gridtech. In most of them the company has acted as integrator, supplying the whole system along with its software. Most operational systems are in the single-digit megawatt capacity. Kaplan says: “In total we’ve installed about 30MW/25-28MWh. Most projects are in the US.” The exception is the Cochrane project in Chile, for the customer AES, which installed a 20MW battery storage array, and which uses Doosan Gridtech’s software controls. “With Doosan as our parent we’ve been looking at how to expand the business. Potentially we are looking at applications on both sides of the meter. Currently we do mainly front of meter utility-integrated projects,” says Kaplan. The company is looking at the high end of the commercial and industrial (C&I) market, where there may be industrial customers that would benefit from its megawatt-scale experience and where there may be a benefit of interacting with the utility and providing grid services in addition to the customer’s on-premises needs. “We think our experience would be valuable in these situations,” he says. Doosan Gridtech’s pipeline is expanding beyond the US too. In South Korea and in east Asia, there are projects for solar PV integration and also some for wind integration. Projects in the US include two with Austin Energy in Texas, where in one project Doosan Gridtech is selling energy storage to the utility, which is the Kingsbery substation project. The company is delivering the whole energy storage system as a turnkey project. In the other, called Austin SHINES, set up by the utility, Doosan Gridtech’s intelligent controls will be deployed. The project consists of different sized solar PV projects, including rooftop, as well as a utility-scale substation sited storage project at the Mueller substation. Over the various distributed generation assets sits the company’s DGDERO architecture, to demonstrate a distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) project.

“Some might think that the cultures of a small Seattle start-up mixing with that of a large Korean conglomerate might be tricky to pull off, but there was a high degree of resonance between what they wanted to achieve and what we have been doing,” In some cases Doosan Gridtech will supply the whole energy storage system by acting as integrator and in other projects it is vetting other suppliers of energy storage. Kaplan says: “The component suppliers into the Austin projects will be well-known energy storage component providers. Our software will provide the controls. The benefit of using open standards and putting out to tender the battery and power conversion system components is that these two components comprise the vast majority of the cost of an energy storage system.” “By standardizing your control software and using open standards in your design, you preserve the ability to easily complete the most expensive parts of each new energy storage system you buy while avoiding the headache of having each energy storage system come with its own control software that has to be integrated into existing grid control systems in order to have the system deliver maximum value to the utility.” Doosan Gridtech will work with any energy storage technology but to date most of it has been lithium ion battery technology. In its latest project with Snohomish

“By standardizing your control software and using open standards in your design, you preserve the ability to easily compete the most expensive parts of each new energy storage system you buy.”

PUD, Doosan Gridtech’s software will be used with a vanadium redox flow battery supplied by Unienergy Technologies. The project requires an energy intensive application, a 2.2MW/68MWh battery. “In this case, Snohomish applied for a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce that helped fund the project and the UET battery was specified as part of the grant application, as was our software,” says Kaplan. Through Doosan Babcock the company is exploring opportunities in Europe.

OPEN STANDARDS APPROACH Since its inception Doosan Gridtech has been an advocate and pioneer in open standards architecture and put out portions of its software into the public domain along with one of its first customers, Snohomish Public Utility District (PUD), which helped to set up Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) standards. Open standards and standardization enable the industry as a whole to build economies of scale much more quickly than if each individual energy storage system has to be entirely customengineered for a specific project.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 39


Going beyond back-up in telecoms

The telecoms sector too has always been reliant on batteries as a relatively low maintenance and cost-effective way of providing backup power in remote areas. Sara Verbruggen reports. Think telecoms, you think phones, wires and even masts. But support for the entire industry is behind the scenes. In the back office are the batteries. These are critical yet ubiquitous pieces of equipment in the telecoms and wider information and communications technology industry. Every node in a network that transmits data has a back-up battery. Much like batteries for other uninterruptible power supply applications, these batteries tend to sit on float, occasionally called upon to provide power in event of an outage.

40 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Of the 4 million cell phone masts and towers situated around the world, 1 million fall into the off-grid or very poor grid categorization, where grid availability is less than eight hours a day. But over the last 10 years or so, demand for mobile communications has tended to come from countries

and regions where existing electricity grid infrastructure is patchy, to say the least. Africa and south-east Asia are cases in point. Demand for mobile telecoms is among the highest in the world in these regions, but in most places grid availability is limited to a few hours a day.

“We’re definitely keeping an eye on alternative technologies, but lead acid continues to offer the best total cost of ownership”

TELECOM BACK-UP Of the 4 million cell phone masts and towers situated around the world, 1 million fall into the off-grid or very poor grid categorization, where grid availability is less than eight hours a day. Africa and south-east Asia are cases in point. Demand for mobile telecoms is among the highest in the world in these regions, but in most places grid availability is limited to a few hours a day.

According to the GSMA, an association that looks after the interests of the mobile phone industry, there are more than 250,000 telecom towers in sub-Saharan Africa and this figure is expected to grow to almost 400,000 by 2020. A significant chunk of this proportion will consist of towers being built in rural areas, away from large cities and out of reach of electricity grids. To power its communications networks in areas punctuated by blackouts and grid intermittency, mobile telecommunications have relied heav-

ily on diesel-generated electricity to fuel its colonization of the developing world. However, in the past few years the batteries industry has been working with the telecoms sector and its suppliers of off-grid power equipment to promote the deployment of batteries as a more cost-effective means of providing power, not just back-up. Telecoms towers are expensive infrastructure investments, costing upwards of $150,000 to build. But then there are the costs associated with running the towers, which include providing power in off-grid locations or places where grid availability is a few hours a day. In an area where grid availability is low a telecoms base transceiver station might need 50 litres of diesel fuel a day, 365 days a year. Depending on different regions, the price of diesel fuel differs and needs to include the so-called ‘landed’ fuel price, which takes into consideration the costs associated with getting the diesel to the end location, where it may have taken hours, days or even weeks to get to the telecom site, and often it is trucks and other vehicles running on diesel that have to transport the fuel across often troublesome terrain. Theft is another issue that has to be factored in. According to some estimates, around 10% of diesel intended for power telecoms sites is stolen, because it is such a valued fuel in many developing countries, used to run vehicles and generators for local villages, hospitals and other communities. Mechanical machines like diesel gensets also need to be maintained. The more they are run the more checks they require, such as filter replacements and oil changes. According to some estimates, roughly $10 billion is spent every year on diesel by the global telecoms industry. Initially when batteries started being deployed at radio base stations installed in unstable grid and off-grid locations, they were used to provide power for longer back-up time than in areas and countries with good grid coverage. For telecom operators, fuel and associated costs can make up as much as 40% of total network operating

“Ideally batteries like to be charged fully. Smart carbon reduces the degradation rate when the battery is in partial state of charge (PSoC). It can add about 15%-20% of additional life, compared with a standard deep cycle battery.” — Ganesh Balasubramanian, Trojan Power

cost. Furthermore, individual off-grid telecom sites consume roughly 13,000 litres of diesel each year at an annual energy operational expenditure of more than $21,000 per site.

Experimentation over

If batteries can be installed to reduce diesel consumption by half or 60% then the savings can be considerable. But it has taken the telecoms industry the last five or six years to discover this, through piloting and trialling hybrid systems using batteries, diesel and in some cases solar PV arrays, to reduce diesel consumption further. According to Ganesh Balasubramanian, director of new market development at Trojan Power, this period of experimentation has come to an end with the telecoms industry increasingly looking to batteries to take on the heavy lifting of power supply where

“The idea was about ensuring batteries were not just a box that you put on a site, forget about and expect to work when required to.” Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 41



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“In Pakistan alone, over 5,000 off-grid sites with diesel gensets have been upgraded with NorthStar’s batteries, resulting in 75% fuel saving and an investment payback time as short as six months.” — Thierry Tardivent, NorthStar tower sites are off-grid or grid availability is low. “But while the experimentation phase is over, I wouldn’t say we are at the stage where there is a standardized offering,” he says. For one thing it has meant that the battery producers have had to adapt to a different supply chain. “In places such as North America and Europe, where the demand for batteries for telecoms is for back-up as most sites are grid-connected and the grid is robust, telecoms operators tend to contract directly with the battery OEMs, because they are ordering batteries in such high quantities,” he says. In emerging markets, where batteries are required to take on less of a passive back-up role and a bigger role in terms of electricity generation for lengthy periods of time, this presents challenges. “You can’t just take a battery and stick it in a cabinet and hope it is going to run for the operational lifetime that has been stated by the manufacturer,” Balasubramanian says. Because the remote site power systems tend to consist of several different components from different suppliers, such as the diesel genset, the power controller, the battery, cooling systems, and in some cases a solar

PV array, telecoms operators want a single point of contact to deal with, which supplies an off-grid power system optimized so that all the different components work together. Crucially that means the battery is optimized to work within the system, ensuring that it gets charged properly, for example. There is also a trend in emerging markets for independent companies to build towers and rent capacity to operators, treating towers like realestate, which is placing greater emphasis on reducing the operational costs associated with telecom towers and masts, as well as ensuring tower availability is not impacted by power outages. This is helping to create demand for batteries to take on a bigger role as the main power source instead of diesel.

Indian integration

In India for the past few years Trojan Battery has been working with local systems integrator Team Sustain, which has specially designed a climate-controlled battery enclosure to protect the deep-cycle flooded batteries from the elements and provides access for routine maintenance such as battery watering. The company has also developed a remote monitoring software programme to enable operators and tower owners to keep tabs on the operation and health of the system, including the batteries. The cabinets are alarmed so that if they are tampered with, operations and maintenance teams are notified immediately. The systems have been commercialized with American Tower. To date Trojan has supplied batteries in the thousands for deployment in India, mainly by American Tower, which operates about 45,000 towers across the country — in total there are about 400,000 telecom towers across India. In most cases the return on investment is under four years. “To be successful in the deep-cycle hybrid telecoms power market, you have to work with local integrators, which we are doing in other countries and regions too,” says Balasubramanian. In addition to India’s off-grid and remote grid telecoms market, battery companies are also targeting Nigeria, which is the fastest growing mobile market in Africa, with more than 28,000 masts, as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

DITCHING THE DIESEL The telecoms market offers huge potential for all kinds of batteries and other energy storage technologies in the long term because the greatest demand is occurring in developing markets, which often lack a robust electricity grid infrastructure. Batteries and other storage technologies offer the industry the means to end its use of costly diesel fuel. Indeed, energy storage, especially longer duration storage, opens up the possibility of using renewable energy in the form of solar PV to power remote telecoms sites. The cost of panels and other equipment has fallen significantly and solar continues to get cheaper. Flow batteries occupy the energy end of the energy storage spectrum, whereas conventional lead acid and lithium ion are more suited to power-intensive deployments like back-up before a generator kicks in, or shooting electrons into the grid in sharp hits for balancing. That means flow batteries are well suited to discharging energy for long periods of time, ideally over four hours or longer. Like deep-cycle lead carbon batteries and variants, flow batteries can displace the amount of diesel required at site during the course of a year. Flow batteries can either be used as part of a microgrid alongside a solar PV array to provide firm, stable power to the tower, reducing the requirement for a genset to be run. The alternative is to use the flow battery to optimize the genset itself. Gensets are much more efficient when run at higher loading (see attached chart). By coupling a genset with a flow battery, an operator can run the genset at optimized loading to charge the battery, instead of running for much longer periods of time at inefficient load levels, to running the tower directly for example. > (continued on page 45)

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 43

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TELECOM BACK-UP — ALTERNATIVE STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES CIRCLING TELECOMS This type of deployment is already being handled by lead acid battery deployments in telecoms, such as those supplied by NorthStar. A unique characteristic of vanadium redox flow batteries, such as those supplied by UKbased RedT, is that they do not degrade in the same way as other batteries. This means that they can be cycled heavily, every day, without loss of usable capacity or otherwise degrading (see attached capacity vs cycles comparison). This attribute could become attractive to the telecoms industry in future because the towers run 24/7. Because of their size – RedT’s 60-300 module is in a 20ft shipping container in the picture – flow batteries cannot be moved or opened forcefully without heavy equipment, making them far less of a target for theft than small, portable lead acid or lithium ion batteries. The downside is that getting them out to remote locations could prove challenging, though they will need replacing much less often once installed. For more than a year, British company Intelligent Energy has deployed a number of its ‘305’ modular hydrogen fuel cell power units to power remote telecom tower sites in India, half of them providing prime power 24/7 in offgrid locations. The units have delivered more than 50MWh of power to the telecom towers so far. As well as providing an uptime close to 100%, 47,000 litres of diesel have been saved over the last 12 months. In February 2017 Intelligent Energy signed a deal to supply its fuel cell modules to US-based Luxfer-GTM Technologies for diesel genset replacement in a range of markets, spanning telecoms to back-up, emergency power and disaster recovery for off-grid power or microgrids. Finland-based Proxion Solutions is on a mission to supply the telecoms market in

Asia-Pacific with power systems that drastically reduce diesel consumption. The company’s core technology was originally commercialized for power supplies for railroad crossings. The company has installed projects in Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan and Azerbaijan and customer feasibility studies and trials are under way in countries such as Georgia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Africa is the next focus. Proxion Solutions has optimized its BluES systems to work with lithium ion batteries. A typical application involves only running the diesel genset to recharge the battery.

The company claims operators can cut their diesel costs in half using its system. NEC has recently had its batteries qualified to work with Proxion Solutions’ systems. The telecoms sector is gradually starting to deploy lithium ion, with suppliers of back-up power infrastructure to the industry doing proof-of-concept trials and pilots, according to Tim Hurd, sales director commercial products, NEC Energy Solutions. “This involves identifying areas where telecoms sites are very difficult to access or it is challenging to get power to them or where the lead acid battery turnover is high,” says Hurd.

Diesel loading vs efficiency REDT

Capacity vs Cycles REDT

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 45

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“The telecoms sector is gradually starting to deploy lithium ion, with suppliers of back-up power infrastructure to the industry doing proofof-concept trials and pilots.” — Tim Hurd, NEC Energy Solutions “We have also supplied projects in central America, in places such as Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay. The grid is not so poorly developed as in Africa and rural India but the blackouts, when they happen, can be severe,” he says. For a telecoms operator in Nicaragua, Trojan’s batteries were supplied for integration with solar PV for a telecoms power system to replace diesel with the battery as back-up, saving in the region of $6,700 in annual running costs for the tower, mainly from significant reduction in diesel fuel. Batteries developed for especially tough off-grid conditions, such as remote telecoms, are not standard lead acid products. Balasubramanian says: “In places where the grid is really poor our smart carbon technology helps to extend the life when batteries cannot be fully charged. In places where grid outages happen frequently and in off-grid locations a normal lead acid battery would be dead by the second or even in the first year of operation. “Ideally they like to be charged fully. Smart carbon reduces the degradation rate when the battery is in partial state of charge (PSoC). It can add about 15%-20% of additional life, compared with a standard deep cycle battery.” In terms of all the remote telecoms

towers that Trojan has supplied its batteries for in India, about half also deploy solar PV arrays, to further reduce the diesel consumption at these sites. Typically on a daily basis in a gensetbattery hybrid system the genset runs for about half the day and the battery for the other 12-14 hours. The genset battery hybrid configuration tends to be more popular for tower sharing, which is when a tower operator builds a tower and rents capacity to different telecoms providers. In a solar PV-battery-genset system, the solar PV array provides power for five to six hours during the daytime, with the genset providing power for another five to six hours and the battery providing power for 12-14 hours. The trend to reduce reliance on diesel within the telecoms industry is a positive step for segments of the leadacid battery industry, increasing demand for deep-cycle and other types of robust, high performance lead acid technologies. However, Trojan is also conscious that the trend is providing opportunities for other battery and storage technologies, from lithium ion, to flow, to zinc air, to fuel cells. “We are seeing niches emerge. For example in south-east Asia where island archipelagos prevail, a hurricane can knock the grid out — power outages can last for days — so there is interest in long-duration storage technologies,” says Balasubramanian. “Lithium ion is making inroads but it is still largely unproven in this type of application, compared with lead acid. It probably has the biggest market base in telecoms in India but that share is very small.” Alternative technologies also cost significantly more than lead acid batteries. “When I worked at General Electric the company introduced a sodium nickel battery, which was a proven technology, but because the battery was seven to eight times as expensive as lead acid it didn’t gain traction,” says Balasubramanian. “We sold a couple of thousand but you have to spend a lot of time explaining the benefits to customers, especially when there is the question mark over cost. “We’re definitely keeping an eye on alternative technologies, but lead acid continues to offer the best total cost of ownership. Other batteries don’t need to be the same cost, only 20%, 30% or 50% more, but they are not there yet. And lead acid has a track record

of many decades of deployment that the alternatives do not have.” NorthStar, a Swedish-US lead acid battery manufacturer supplying reserve and transportation applications, makes lead acid batteries for telecoms back-up as well as deep-cycle versions for hybrid power systems, used by telecoms and other applications where the grid is weak or there is no grid. In North America the company supplies its batteries to providers of UPS systems often installed at datacentres or other applications placing high demands on uptime. In the rest of the world, NorthStar has been targeting developing countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, with millions of batteries in operation. NorthStar’s route to market has traditionally involved developing close relationships with large telecoms operators in countries or regions. But in more recent years the company has been investing in regional networks with support centres on the ground and approved distributors to support the replacement market. Local regional offices and centres are in Brazil for Latin America, Dubai for the Middle East and Africa, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Shenzhen in China for Asia-Pacific, which includes south-east Asia. NorthStar also provides local training for operators to help extend battery life, save energy and increase site reliability.

Handling high temperatures

NorthStar has developed a varied range of enhanced absorbed glass mat using thin plate pure lead technology, for different grid requirements and temperature profiles. The company claims its batteries can deliver one and a half to three times longer life at an additional cost of 20-30% on standard batteries. Thierry Tardivent, vice president reserve power division, for Europe, Middle East and Africa and for Asia Pacific and China at NorthStar, says: “Changing batteries prematurely is very costly for telecoms operators and often generates downtime periods which are no longer accepted by mobile telecoms operators.” For hybrid applications, NorthStar supplies its NSB Blue+ thin plate lead carbon technology. Its NSB Red battery is also popular in the telecoms market, and there are several million of these batteries still in operation around the world.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 47







TELECOM BACK-UP “In Pakistan alone, more than 5,000 off-grid sites with diesel gensets have been upgraded with NorthStar’s batteries, resulting in a 75% fuel saving and an investment payback time as short as six months,” says Tardivent. In a typical installation in a weak grid or an off-grid area, NorthStar’s batteries are able to perform in tough conditions. He says: “It would depend on the specific conditions of course, but in a very unstable grid area most competitor products would be replaced within two years because of high temperatures, undercharging and frequent power outages. In these areas, our Blue+ battery will outperform most competitors, providing up to two times’ longer life.” As well as partial charging, high temperatures can also have a big detrimental impact on the performance life of lead acid batteries. Usually, in stable grids and temperature conditions, NorthStar’s batteries can work for 10 years or more before needing replacing. But the company has also developed a high temperature version that is able to deliver seven years of operational life in hot climates where temperatures are in the 35°C-40° C range. Costs associated with running cooling equipment are also reduced because less energy is used, compared with a standard battery. NorthStar has also developed its High Rate UPS battery for applications that need high power for up to five minutes of back up. The HT (high temperature) Red battery is being targeted at Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. In Saudi Arabia a large telecoms operator recently approved the battery for its operations following a two-year trial and the battery passing an extensive factory audit to demonstrate high quality. “We also see a big market potential in North America, where operators will be able to reduce use of cooling power in some areas as the battery is better able to operate in higher temperatures without seeing the same rate of degradation as more standard products,” Tardivent says. “It would depend on the market and temperature conditions but an increase of 10°C inside a shelter could save several kilowatts of cooling energy.”

Keeping tabs on batteries

NorthStar has been advancing its bat-

50 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Initially, when batteries started being deployed at radio base stations installed in unstable grid and off-grid locations, they were used to provide power for longer back-up time than in areas and countries with good grid coverage. tery technology to address other challenges the telecoms industry faces, especially as the build-out of infrastructure continues into places further from cities and a grid connection. Tardivent says: “Most customers today are still experiencing premature battery failure in operations related to the wrong choice of battery, bad storage conditions, wrong power system settings, errors when installing the battery and exposure to high temperatures. “Customers have had no way to control and solve these problems.” In response, NorthStar launched a battery-level monitoring technology, called Advanced Connected Energy (ACE), late last year. Wirelessly connecting each individual lead acid battery can enable continuous monitoring of the device’s health and status from cradle to grave. The company also offers installation guidance and automatic power settings during commissioning, which reduces risk for battery misuse. NorthStar’s entire 12V telecom battery range will be the first to be equipped with ACE. The plan is to eventually add it to the company’s UPS and transportation lines. Ulf Krohn, NorthStar’s technical director, says: “The idea was about ensuring batteries were not just a box that you put on a site, forget about and expect to work when required to.” The ACE technology uses Bluetooth and works by enabling the retrieval of real-time and historical performance data wirelessly, both locally through a smartphone app and remotely through a cloud service. The batteries are managed from manufacturing throughout the life of the product. In certain developing regions where

mobile telecoms expansion is happening, battery theft is often a major problem. If sold, batteries can achieve the equivalent of several months of income or even an annual salary in some regions. Coupled with modern communications technology, which includes apps that show locations of telecom masts, battery theft is a lucrative opportunity. In parts of Africa, anecdotally telecoms operators and their suppliers estimate that between 10% and 30% of lead acid batteries are stolen. Most security measures deployed by the industry to date have been about deterring opportunists. Trojan, for example, supplies 48V batteries for telecoms applications where in most places, home appliances run on 12V batteries. Preventing physical access to the battery, with secure cabinets, alarm systems and sometimes enclosures, even secutiry guards, around the whole asset, is the next step. However there are issues with this as determined criminals will risk breaking in — creating further cost — to steal the battery. The ACE technology can alert the user when the battery has been removed — for further details see our cybersecurity feature. Since its launch, NorthStar has already had some ideas about how the ACE technology could evolve in future. “We strongly believe the antitheft aspect is something that could be developed further. “However, the first step is to get this basic version of the technology out there and then we can start having discussions with our customers about other features and functionality that would be beneficial in future iterations,” says Krohn.

In certain developing regions where mobile telecoms expansion is happening, battery theft is often a major problem. If sold, batteries can achieve the equivalent of several months of income or even an annual salary in some regions.

w o r ld

w id e


A bright new landscape as invention comes to the fore For the last two years Battery Council International has presented an award — dedicated to the memory of East Penn’s chief executive Sally Breidegam — for the most innovative lead acid battery firm that year. In 2016, there were 17 entries and Hammond Group won the award with its K2 paste formulation. This year there have been seven strong entries. The winner will be announced after we go to press. This year, seven companies — Advanced Battery Concepts, Aqua Metals, Daramic, Gridential Energy, Hammond Group, NorthStar Battery Company and Remy Battery Company — submitted entries for the 2017 Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award. Submissions were opened in December and remained open until February. Each submission was judged on eight areas: sustainability, safety, cost, performance, detail, uniqueness, value and quantifiablity. Sustainability – Does the submission show environmental stewardship and /or innovative recyclability? Submitters were asked to provide tangible aspirations, goals and objectives in helping to create a greener tomorrow. Safety — Does the submission

52 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

show product or process stability and the ability to be safely commercialized? Submitters were asked to demonstrate a clear commitment to the best interest of the general public and industry from a safety standpoint. Cost — Can the submission be easily commercialized, provide costoptimized advantages and be an affordable alternative to existing technologies and processes? Performance — Does the submission meet or exceed the needs for application and industry requirements? Submitters were asked to demonstrate how the innovation meets its intended key objectives, goals and benefits as well as other outstanding attributes. Detail — Does the submission provide adequate information that thoroughly explains the innovation?

Uniqueness — Is the submission the first of its kind to market or rarely used by other organizations? How does it differ from existing products? Submitters were asked to provide information about similar applications and clearly define what makes this product, process or discovery unique or innovative. Value — How does the submission directly benefit the lead battery industry? Can the value be quantified with numerical data, such as material reduction or pollution avoided? Can the product be utilized outside of the company that created it? Quantifiable — Does the information provided meet the criteria and clearly describe in numerical data the key measurable areas. Submissions that provided actual data received a higher score.


“Innovation is the thing that gives you the opportunity. It’s the promise of our future.” Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 53

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: NORTHSTAR Hans Lidén, chief executive of NorthStar, gives the low down on the innovation behind this year’s entry.

A groundbreaking development in remote monitoring

“It started with a technology assessment to find a good solution for embedded sensors, and when this succeeded, we started developing the sensor communication system, including the cloud portal and mobile app. The work was initiated as part of a broader development strategy, where we analyzed and identified the future growth regions for telecom back up power and concluded that the growth in remote regions, with challenging conditions, was significant.” 54 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

NorthStar has applied for the BCI Innovation Award on the basis of what its CEO calls its most groundbreaking innovation: NorthStar ACE (Advanced Connected Energy), which is an IoT service where it connects batteries to a cloud portal. This means that the battery users can review the battery health and status at anytime from anywhere. Furthermore, the embedded battery sensor communicates with both the site technician and the power system, to ensure correct installation and settings. The device has been primarily launched for the telecom sector, but can quickly be expanded to new segments. Hans Lidén, chief executive of NorthStar, says the project started in 2015 with a review of technology opportunities. “It started with a technology assessment to find a good solution for embedded sensors, and when this succeeded, we started developing the sensor communication system, including the cloud portal and mobile app,” Lidén says. “The work was initiated as part of a broader development strategy, where we analyzed and identified the future growth regions for telecom back-up power and concluded that the growth in remote regions, with challenging conditions, was significant. “This was a clear driver for developing a remote monitoring solution. In addition, our strategy is to continuously improve both performance and sustainability of our products and we wanted to provide a solution which makes battery usage more efficient and prolongs battery life.” Lidén says that the key members of the technical development have been Ulf Krohn (head of development pro-

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: NORTHSTAR ject), Christer Lindkvist and Frank Fleming, all knowledgeable in the field. Krohn has more than 18 years’ experience from product and systems development within information and communication technology and is experienced both in designing systems as well as business solutions. Lindkvist is a technical sales manager with more than 15 years of development projects within communication and IT. Krohn and Lindkvist have also, together with a few selected sub suppliers, designed the system from both architectural and functional point of view. Fleming is one of NorthStar’s founders and a battery expert with more than 30 years of experience from designing batteries and developing battery chemistry. Fleming and his US-based team have been instrumental in developing the algorithms for interpreting and analyzing the battery data, which Lidén says is the foundation of the cloud portal. In addition, a sales and marketing team have in parallel been developing the business proposal for NorthStar ACE. In terms of how this innovation could potentially change or benefit the batteries industry, Lidén says that the absolutely biggest direct impact will be longer battery life, but also reduced operational costs for site owner. “The battery life will be prolonged as installation and settings are done correctly from the start, and the continuous monitoring enables corrective actions when needed and only when needed. Added benefits are better warehouse control, less scrapping and the like, which of course lowers operational costs. An unmeasurable indirect consequence of better control of the reserve power, is less site downtime, which in turn means that lost revenue due to outages is reduced,” Lidén says. In terms of the wider world, Lidén says that remote monitoring of reserve power will have an impact on a number of areas. It can, for example, be used in professional transportation, where truck drivers more and more depend on power in their cabins when engine is off. Datacenters are another critical area, Lidén says, which depend on reliable reserve power. “With a better controlled back up power source, these applications will improve the situation for the users. Enabling re-

“NorthStar ACE is an advanced solution in a simple package. The batteries look exactly the same on the outside as our traditional batteries, but with advanced features. As the world is talking about the Internet of Things, this may be the first example of connected energy.”

NorthStar’s ACE (Advanced Connected Energy), uses an IoT service where it connects batteries to a cloud portal — and from there to any internet connected device, here a smart phone.

mote monitoring also enables better use of renewable power instead of fossil fuels, as the variation of the main power source is compensated with better control of the backup power,” he says. Looking at a broader scope, increased battery life and improved battery utilization means that less batteries are needed, which improves sustainability even if the batteries already today have a high recycling rate, Lidén says. “Furthermore, remote control eliminates a high portion of unnecessary transports to site, which again benefits the environment.” The NorthStar ACE solution was launched to a broader audience at Mobile World Congress 2017. In addition, the company has agreed on a number of trial installations, which it is preparing rollout for. The first test installations already in place are continuously being followed up, Lidén says. “We expect to have a broader rollout for selected customers by this coming May. This rollout will be

monitored thoroughly to enable further fine-tuning. “NorthStar ACE is an advanced solution in a simple package. The batteries look exactly the same on the outside as our traditional batteries, but with advanced features. As the world is talking about the Internet of Things, this may be the first example of connected energy.”

NORTHSTAR NorthStar Group is a SwedishAmerican energy storage provider owned by the Swedish private equity firm Altor. NorthStar was founded in 2000 and consists of two divisions — Reserve Power and Transportation. The group employs over 500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and with manufacturing facilities in US. NorthStar also has global distribution and service centers around the world.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 55

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: AQUA METALS An alternative to smelting has been developed by Aqua Metals. It has the potential to completerly revolutionize the existing recycling order.

Recycling without the smelting Aqua Metals has developed a lead battery recycling process that it calls AquaRefining which until now has been dependent on high temperature smelting of a molten lead solution. AquaRefining, the firm says, is a fundamentally more efficient, less expensive way to build and produce a higher quality product. As a water-based room temperature process it eliminates the processes which produce lead-containing dust, sulfur dioxide and other emissions that are inherent to smelting. This makes environmental compliance simpler and less expensive.

“Instead of smelting lead acid batteries it has developed an electrochemical process that separates out the lead. Essentially this breaks down metals into nanoscopicsized particles that are dispersed in water creating a hydro-colloidal metal. It calls this process AquaRefining.” 58 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Aqua Metals is bringing the technology to market first by building and operating its own facilities, of which its Reno facility in Nevada which opened last summer is the first. It is planning to build four additional facilities which will collectively output a total of 800 tonnes of lead per day. Feed and off-take for these facilities has been secured through partnerships with Interstate Batteries and Battery Systems International. Earlier this year Johnson Controls took a stake in the firm (see box). Broadcasting the innovation behind Aqua Metals’ product has been difficult because the firm has been notoriously reluctant to discuss the actual chemical processes behind it. That said from early on it has allowed prospective investors to see demonstrations of the commercial pod in action. Steve Clarke, co-founder of Aqua Metals and its chief executive, says he planned to do with lead what Henry Bessemer had done for steel. Within 15 years of the Bessemer process being patented, a revolution had been made with cheap steel flooding the foundries of Europe and the US. In all Aqua Metals has attracted some $100 million in funding. Rob Romero, the founder of investment firm, Connective Capital visited the firm before the July 2015 IPO. In a briefing he described the visit saying he was sceptical of breakthrough new processing technologies, “especially when it comes to a chemical process that is over 100 years old”. He later related: “So I hired the best independent electrochemical expert I could find: Ralph Brodd, who has served in technical committees for the Department of Energy, NASA, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and is past-president of the Electrochemical Society. Needless to say, he was sceptical too, having seen lots of inventions come and go, trying to purify lead without smelting. “To allow us to see the commercial-

scale production pod, the company required both of us to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA). We went to Oakland, and got a demonstration of the commercial-size pod operating at full tilt. “We were surprised,” says Romero. “One look at Ralph told me what we needed to know. We were not only impressed by the ease by which the machine pulled out highly purified lead from the aqueous solution, also how knowledgeable and forthright the CEO Steve Clarke was with us in explaining details about their process.” Romero said that typically he looked at three criteria when assessing new technology start-ups as potential investments. “The first,” he told Batteries International, “is the simple one of looking at the technology — does it work and can that be demonstrated as such? Then of course is it scalable? Technology that works in the lab or in a batch process doesn’t necessarily translate into something that will work on the production line. So you look at the product engineering. As part of this you look at the financial side of things — what are the gross margins on the technology, for example? “Second, you look at the business model. What are the market opportunities out there? Where will the supply channels come from and where will the products be sold — and how. “Last is the more intangible; what’s

The 2014 prototype

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: AQUA METALS the market sentiment for the product. Even if it works in terms of the technology and business model, if it doesn’t fit the mood of investors it may well not fly. And sometimes, of course, even when the technology and the business model aren’t up to scratch investors will nevertheless support them.” Issues of intellectual property are working their way through the system. In November 2013, Aqua Metals filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, a provisional patent covering multiple aspects of the AquaRefining process, including all aspects of its proprietary water-based solvent and our novel electrolyzer.

“We were not only impressed by the ease by which the machine pulled out highly purified lead from the aqueous solution, also how knowledgeable and forthright the CEO Steve Clarke was with us in explaining details about their process.” In November 2014, the provisional patent application was converted into a non-provisional patent application which was filed in accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty and contained 35 claims. Aqua Metals’ modular technology

enables flexible and economically scalable lead production. AquaRefineries can either be stand-alone facilities or co-located with battery production facilities. This streamlines the process for battery manufacturers and distributors by allowing them to take control of the supply chain.



AquaRefining technology can be summarized as following: Breaking and separation Used lead acid batteries are processed through a modern battery breaking process, which separates the plastic, sulfuric acid and other components from the lead and lead compounds contained within the batteries. This is a clean, water based process from which water, plastics and sulfuric acid are recovered for re-use. Digestion Lead is dissolved through a proprietary bio-degradable and water based electrolyte dissolve the lead compounds in a safe and room temperature process. The electrolytes also form a closed loop process and are recycled over and over again rather than being consumed. Electrolysis – The lead dissolved in the electrolyte solution is then recovered by electrolysis using a proprietary and continuous process.

JCI, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, signed up as Aqua Metals’ first licensee in February and has bought just under 5% of the recycler for just under $11 million, which gives it an observational role on the board of directors. JCI will supply Aqua Metals’ facility at Reno, with “all the feed stock we could ever consume’ and purchase the 99.99% pure lead produced in a closed-loop network, said Steve Cotton, chief commercial officer for Aqua Metals Cotton said the agreement meant Aqua Metals had effectively captured 40% of the lead recycling market, a $22 billion market, and that the deal was a “win, win, win.” Cotton said thjat: “It’s a win for Aqua Metals, obviously, and for Johnson Controls, for many reasons, but from the Aqua Metals point of view it’s also a major win for the industry,” said Cotton. “Now the industry knows that to have a company like Johnson Controls invest in it, the rest will be in line to take advantage of the Aqua Refining with a much lower sense of risk. It’s a major vote of confidence.” Cotton said the exact terms of the licence could not be disclosed, but that the technology would be introduced into JCI’s own facilities with the technical support and know-how of Aqua Metals’ engineers.

The lead produced is 99.99+% pure. “Together we call these processes AquaRefining. The process and equipment is automated and the lead does not require operators to handle it. “The equipment is robust, using materials that have delivered service lives of more than 20 years in more aggressive environments,” says Steve Cotton, chief commercial officer for Aqua Metals. “The process occurs at room temperature and consumes relatively small amounts electrical energy, unlike smelting which requires large amounts of heat energy to achieve the temperatures necessary. “The electrical source of fuel provides the opportunity to use a high degree of renewable energy content — as an example, beginning with 40% and targeting nearly 100% over time with the first AquaRefinery in Tahoe-Reno Industrial Complex.”

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 59

THE LOWEST COST PROCESS FOR FLOODED BATTERIES. AND THE ONLY PROCESS FOR AGM BATTERIES. The Lowest Cost Method To Make Grids. The Wirtz Continuous Casting Process is the only negative gridmaking process which produces grids with side frames and designable wire features, to exact thickness and weight tolerances. The process casts directly from pig or hog lead with no additional process steps and does not generate any scrap lead to be reprocessed. It’s also the only continuous negative gridmaking process suitable for the new generation of AGM batteries. A Fully Automatic, Integrated Platemaking System. With our Continuous Platemaking Process, every step in the plate manufacturing process can be automatically controlled. Plates pasted on either a Wirtz steel belt or fixed orifice pasting machine can be accurately overpasted on both the top and bottom of the plates to +/-.002 inches of thickness (0.05 mm) and +/-2 grams of wet paste weight, making Wirtz pasted plates your only choice for AGM batteries. Our new plate stacker completes our platemaking line and is completely synchronized to our line speed producing stacks of aligned single or double panel plates. The machine features a patent pending reject station which eliminates stacker downtime due to misaligned plates. To put the Wirtz totally automated continuous platemaking system to work for you, call us at +1.810.987.7600 or email


BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: HAMMOND Gordon Beckley, vice president and chief technical officer of Hammond Group, explains how the company’s innovation could help the US save more than $19 billion in energy waste costs per year.

A step forward that could benefit the whole planet

“The result of these efforts was an innovative approach that allows lead-acid batteries to operate within these new standards without sacrificing cycle life. In fact, testing has demonstrated 62% greater energy even when the overcharge is limited to only 5% versus controls” — Gordon Beckley 62 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Hammond Group, a specialty chemical company that is advancing hybrid automotive and renewable energy markets through proprietary battery chemistry, has entered the awards on the basis of its development of novel positive and negative paste additives that enhance the charge efficiency of deep cycle antimonial lead-acid batteries. Gordon Beckley, vice president and chief technical officer of Hammond Group, says the idea came after several US states adopted new charger regulations that limit the amount of overcharge to conserve energy. In response to these new standards, battery manufacturers have been seeking a cost-effective solution to meet new performance requirements for deep cycle antimonial lead-acid batteries, Beckley says. Typically, these batteries perform best with 15% to 20% overcharge to obtain peak performance and long cycle life. When overcharge is limited, a cycle life penalty is incurred. “The Hammond Group team felt that this industry challenge could be effectively addressed by applying our expertise in high performance additives,” Beckley says. “Furthermore, our rapid material testing and screening capabilities allowed us to develop a solution on an aggressive timeframe. “The result of these efforts was an innovative approach that allows leadacid batteries to operate within these new standards without sacrificing cycle life. In fact, testing has demonstrated 62% greater energy even when the overcharge is limited to only 5% versus controls.” Beckley credits Hammond’s research team comprising himself, Maureen Murphy, Tom Wojcinksi, Anne Hoover and Dave Petersen for the innova-

tion, working alongside a partnered battery company and their technical team comprising David Boden from All Points Consulting, Rosalind Batson from Clear Science Consulting and Ian Steele from Notre Dame Advanced Imaging Department. He says that this innovation will allow battery manufacturers to now be able to meet new charger efficiency standards in a cost-effective manner without sacrificing performance. It should also have a significant positive impact on the wider world. Beckley says that research has shown that idle load electricity consumption wastes over 150 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year — the same energy as 50 large power plants. “This energy waste costs the US over $19 billion per year and results in the emission of over 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Multiple US states have pursued energy conservation policies to reduce idle load consumption and parasitic losses, and the US Department of Energy is expected to adopt these policies nationwide by 2018,” Beckley says. “Hammond Group’s innovative solution will allow battery manufacturers to comply with these new policies with less than a 1% increase in production cost. By partnering with battery manufacturers to bring this innovation to market, Hammond will be able to reduce the harmful emissions caused by idle load consumption.” Last year Hammond Group submitted a joint package of achievements as its entry for the BCI Innovation Award and won the contest. The first part of the package was the continuing expansion of its K2 Expanders, the second is its newly completed Lead Acid Battery Lab — known as LAB2. K2 expanders provide lead acid


Last year’s winning entry: K2 expander and E=MC2 laboratory

Maureen Murphy, product development chemist, Hammond

batteries with dramatically improved dynamic charge acceptance while the LAB2 is dedicated to industry technical development. Its goal is to enable lead acid batteries to achieve 80% of lithium-ion’s technical performance. But at just 20% of its cost. Dynamic charge acceptance — the way batteries can accept and rapidly store large influxes of energy — is the next big thing for the lead acid business. It opens up two worlds — that of microhybrids in the automotive sector and the huge new areas of business opening up with grid scale storage. In laboratory testing and now in production batteries, Hammond has achieved an order-of-magnitude increase in dynamic charge acceptance while simultaneously increasing cycle life. The innovation — generically known as K2 — does not require a change in other battery paste ingredients, grids, or plates. No change in any other material component or process. No new tooling, production technique, distribution, use, scrap characterization, or recycling. K2 represents a new expander family, with no safety concerns or known adverse effect Moreover K2 is customizable according to the needs of the batteries being made and the operating condi-

tions that they will run in. Hammond has a long tradition in providing lead in a variety of forms and which has been extensively used in glass, ceramics, colour, and plastic applications. “We’ve always pioneered technical substitutes and advancements in answer to an ever changing market,” CEO Terry Murphy told Batteries International at the time. “We’ve been very successful adapting to industry’s shifting demand for lead-based chemicals.” Hammond’s investment in both K2 and LAB2 is effectively an attempt at a company level to compete against the US government subsidized advanced battery research which has focused on lithium-ion. “Somehow, this expensive, non-recyclable technology was expected to evolve to enable hybrid electrics to be half of vehicle sales — but that didn’t happen,” says Terry Murphy. “And recycling and sustainability issues remain unaddressed, protection from thermal runaway and crash rupture resistance remain questionable. “By contrast, the traditional lead acid battery suffers a critical, but certainly not unsolvable, technical deficiency. When subject to high-amp, irregular re-charging intervals — such as energy re-capture from braking, battery life may be seriously shortened.” This helped form the background for Hammond’s thinking in looking at ways to see how a better hybrid vehicle battery could be made to accommodate rapid and intermittent charging and discharging. Similarly, an energy grid storage battery must handle the inherent gaps between in-

termittent wind and solar energy generation and its consumption. “These applications require a battery to perform well in high-rate partial state-of-charge (HRPSoC) operations, accepting a wide range of charging amps at various states of overall charge, and maintain this quality over a normal cycle life,” says Murphy. “Traditional lead acid battery configurations and additives have not performed under these conditions, primarily due to the development of dense, electrically-inert films of lead sulfate on the plate surface. As a result, the battery’s dynamic charge acceptance declines rapidly and drastically shortens operational life.

David Boden, senior consultant, All Points Consulting

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 63

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Advanced Battery Concepts is the first company to successfully design a bi-polar lead acid battery and develop and implement a commercially viable manufacturing process for such batteries. ABC’s GreenSeal® batteries reduce the lead content in a battery by 46% for the same energy as conventional lead acid batteries whilst delivering significantly improved cycle life, improved power and faster recharging. Advanced Battery Concepts is currently working with existing lead acid battery producers and engaging licensees to realize the commercial potential of its technology, as well as on-going production of batteries and additional research from its Battery Research & Engineering Development Centre in Michigan to broaden its technology portfolio with the aim of producing better batteries for a better world. SOVEMA S.p.A. Via Spagna, 13 37069 Villafranca di Verona - Italy | e-mail:

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BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: ABC Don Hobday, business development director of Advanced Battery Concepts, explains how it has more than halved the lead used in its battery yet improved its performance.

On the brink of conquering a $10bn marketplace This will be the second year in a row that Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC) has entered the BCI’s Awards for its innovation and the firm says that it has solved many of the problems associated with developing a

true bi-polar battery capable of being widely commercialized. ABC has developed GreenSeal technology, a full suite of patented technologies and simplified production processes, to enable the construction

Hobday (above) identifies a big opportunity in energy storage if the cost of storing the energy can be brought down below what he sees as the magic number of 10 cents per kw hour cycle.

“The beauty of using our patented GreenSeal bipolar technology in this advanced automotive application is that it’s so easy to build high voltage battery stacks. We can design our system to have as much capacity as lithium-ion, but have the advantages of being lower cost, safer and fully recyclable. It’s as simple as building a stack of pancakes”— Ed Shaffer 66 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

of reduced lead content, high performance, lower cost lead batteries in existing formats for today’s and newly enabled future markets. ABC’s intellectual property is also protected globally: in seven geographies, six patents granted, 28 patents filed or pending, 30 trade secrets, one US Trademark. ABC began licensing its technology in 2016 with two global licences secured to date and a further five licences under negotiation as of the beginning of 2017. Its founders predict that $10 billion of the global lead battery market will use GreenSeal technology by 2023. The company is managed by Ed Shaffer, its founder and chief executive, who has a background in material science, and Don Hobday, business development director of the company. A year on from last year’s entry, in a significant development says Hobday, the company has now licensed the technology to two global battery manufacturers, one of which is JCI, and it is in talks with five more. Hobday says the basic idea of the bi-polar battery is a good one and the battery industry has always recognized that if a bi-polar lead acid battery could be manufactured successfully it would have significant advantages for the battery manufacturer and the end user. These include the fact it would utilize the active chemistry far more efficiently, it would reduce the lead content for the same energy, it would be cheaper to make, would be smaller and lighter, better for the environment and have a faster recharge time and greater cycle rate. Previous attempts at making a commercially viable bi-polar battery at scale have met with limited success because of a number of problems. These include the inability to seal between cells and to the external environment, the use of exotic materials to overcome corrosion and conductivity issues, the requirement for an external strengthening structure to provide uniform


Advanced Battery Concept’s founders predict that $10 billion of the global lead battery market will use GreenSeal technology by 2023. AGM compression and overcome cycling stresses and a poor performance in terms of power and cycle life. These things also mean the cost became prohibitive and the original equipment manufacturers making the products needed to significantly restructure their existing operations. So while there have always been challenges to be overcome to achieve full commercialization. ABC has simplified the process and taken it to a new level. It has taken the company five years, but Hobday is convinced that ABC has overcome the majority of these problems in bi-polar lead acid batteries. He won’t go into full detail on some of the technology used as the company is still awaiting various patent approvals but he says it now uses simple low cost ubiquitous materials already used in the construction of lead acid batteries today. In the past two years, ABC has been working with battery producers in a number of territories to gain more data and establish true proof of concept for the technology. He says the results on all fronts have been very positive. He stresses that all the validations and testing have come from the world’s key battery producers giving the company third party validation. The fact it has now secured two licensees with more in the pipeline is proof that the innovation is ready and has overcome all previous challenges. One of the biggest breakthroughs in the design is that it reduces the lead content in the battery by some 45%. That reduction means a significant reduction in the manufacturing costs, says Hobday.

The company has also achieved • a higher energy density (of 50 Wh/ kg with a path to > 60 Wh/kg vs 35Wh/kg) • has achieved higher power: - >1000 W/kg while maintaining high energy (>40 Wh/kg) • a faster recharge of 1.4x faster • a cycle life three to six times current VRLA battery life with a path to >10x and all at a lower cost. He claims that the application of these batteries is applicable to $28 billion of today’s existing lead acid battery markets growing to $70 billion by 2020. Other markets served by ABC’s products include traction and motive, mobility, golf carts, EV, E-Bikes, standby/backup power, off grid wind & solar and telecoms. Hobday says the technology is moving into sectors that had either been using less advanced lead-acid technology or had increasingly been adopting lithium-ion batteries. “If we can capture even a 1% market share of that $70 billion market in 2020 that is a huge opportunity for us,” he says. “But we need to outsource this to a certain extent for it to work which is why we are also looking to licence the technology.” He also identifies a big opportunity in energy storage if the cost of storing the energy can be brought down below what he sees as the magic number of 10 cents per kw hour cycle. At this level, it starts to make economic sense to store the energy being produced by power stations during periods of low demand, he says, before moving it back into the grid when needed.

Ed Shaffer (above), CEO of Advanced Battery Concepts, says that surprise announcements at a major car industry event held in Germany in March would be beneficial for the company in the future. Both Valeo, the vehicle component supplier and Bosch, a manufacturer of electric drives, announced they were building 48 Volt power trains for leading Chinese car manufacturers. It is widely predicted that the Chinese market for electrified vehicles will be the largest in the world, reaching 5 million vehicles by 2020. The automotive engineering community is divided as to what voltage is ideally suited for distributing electricity within electrified vehicles. While 12V is the standard in conventional vehicles, it is inadequate for advanced hybrid cars. And while much higher voltages are found in pure electric buses, 48 volts is seen as the right balance for delivering adequate power without compromising safety. Shaffer says:“The beauty of using our patented GreenSeal bipolar technology in this advanced automotive application is that it’s so easy to build high voltage battery stacks. We can design our system to have as much capacity as lithium-ion, but have the advantages of being lower cost, safer and fully recyclable. It’s as simple as building a stack of pancakes.”

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 67

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: DARAMIC Separator technology continues to advance rapidly and Dawn Heng, global marketing director of Daramic, explains the significance of its 2017 entry.

Separator advances on the edge of another decade of innovation

Heng: Daramic is working closely with major car OEMs globally and battery manufacturers to identify problems and drive innovation in the battery and car industries

Daramic RipTide combines the latest innovations of Daramic with novel separator profile designs using advanced computational fluid dynamics computer modeling to enhance EFB durability by reducing acid stratification in partial state of charge environment which is more typical in a Start-Stop application. 70 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Daramic has applied for the BCI Innovation Award for the second time. Last year, its entry mainly focused on its automotive SLI battery application; this year, it is to show its work in start-stop/ enhanced flooded battery applications which are emerging in the Americas. Dawn Heng, global marketing director of Daramic, says the company has worked with many OEMs globally in the past two years and the firm felt it was the right time to share its findings and solutions to the industry to accelerate lead acid battery innovations. Heng says that Daramic has worked in the lead-acid battery/separator industry for more than 85 years and, in that time, it has served as an ever-growing list of new and improved products in a wide range of applications. However, Heng believes that the lead-acid battery industry will be undergoing a further innovation revolution in the next five to 10 years that started just a decade ago, New emerging applications and technical requests for improvements such as start-stop/enhanced flooded batteries, better partial state of charge (PSoC) cycling, higher power output, deep cycling are driving the industry into pioneering innovation. Heng says that in the past two years, Daramic has worked with major automotive OEMs in Europe and Asia to understand the needs/trends and the challenges in start-stop/EFB applications. “It is interesting to note that OEMs are also quite open and even hungry to know lead-acid battery and the improvement opportunities — where asit was treated as a black box before. We’ve had much good insights from them and also they are very willing to collaborate with Daramic for the development of new products,” Heng says.

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: DARAMIC “EFB will boom in the next three to five years with the advantage of endurance at higher temperatures and a relatively lower cost structure versus AGM batteries, another key start-stop technology.” He says that one European luxury car OEM has started EFB adaptation planning, noting that because Daramic has signed a non-disclosure agreement, he cannot disclose the name of that car company. “However, EFBs must meet needs in power output, cycling in PSoC & dynamic charge acceptance, which are the gaps today versus AGM, while maintaining key benefits. “The innovation Daramic has is to bridge those gaps to significantly enhance EFB battery performance under partial state of charge.” He says that using advanced computational fluid dynamics, Daramic has developed two new separator solutions — Daramic EFS and Daramic RipTide. Daramic EFS is specifically designed to support start-stop vehicle battery by reducing battery internal resistance and improving voltage drop and CCA. “With this all the electric features of the car from the lights to the GPS tracking will operate if they pass the minimum voltage and also the battery management system can avoid confusion when switching from engine to battery,” Heng says. Daramic RipTide combines the latest innovations of Daramic with novel separator profile designs using advanced computational fluid dynamics computer modeling to enhance EFB durability by reducing acid stratification in partial state of charge environment which is more typical in startstop application. “It is also an innovation by leveraging vehicle movement to achieve better battery acid mixing in all directions of the plate,” Heng says. In addition to separator innovation, Daramic is also working with OEMs and battery makers on new test methods and equipment by leveraging vehicle movement to best simulate the working conditions of those batteries, which are put on the shuttle table or rock table for test than a traditional static/stationary way. “This can make lab test result closer to the field and more accurate to predict its performance under vehicle working environment,” Heng says. In terms of the timeline now, Heng says these two innovations are planned to be launched to the market by the third quarter of 2017. “We believe there will be a significant

Separators: leading a revolution in better functioning batteries

improvement in the EFB performance and an acceleration on the adaptation to follow that market trend,” he says. “I would say this is the first time Daramic is working closely with major car OEMs globally and battery manufacturers to identify problems and devel-

op solutions to drive innovation in the battery and car industries. And internally, it is also a good practice that Daramic’s team-work culture — where technology and marketing work closely— to drive forward these need-based solutions.”

Daramic EFS is specifically designed to support start-stop vehicle battery by reducing battery internal resistance and improving voltage drop and CCA

Daramic expects a further wave of innovation to engulf the industry in the next decade

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 71

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BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: REMY BATTERY Proper packaging may be, in some shape or form, at the heart of all distribution models but what if packaging can increase the shelf life and inventory of lead products. Batteries International spoke to Michael Moeller, president of Remy Battery.

The return of dry charged lead acid Remy Battery has applied for the BCI Innovation Award on the basis of its FreshStart packaging solution for utility, automotive and commercial dry charged lead acid batteries. The company says its FreshStart packaging solution solves a problem for a useful and age old product – how to activate a dry charged battery with the proper amount of electrolyte. Michael Moeller, president of Remy Battery, says there is still a market for dry charged lead-acid batteries, which have significantly longer shelf life than traditional wet lead acid or AGM batteries. He says these dry charged batteries meet a current niche where a battery may not be put into service within the first three to 12 months of the battery’s production date. “Increasingly, the challenge for dry charged batteries has been sourcing the battery electrolyte to activate these batteries,” Moeller says. “With increased shipping and environmental regulations over the past decade, securing and storing battery electrolyte has become increasingly difficult for the distributor and consumer. The FreshStart packaging solution solves this problem by packaging individual limited required cell volumes of electrolyte in high density polypropylene containers with the dry charged battery.” By packaging individual cell quantities of electrolyte it solves the problem of the consumer having to search locally for a source for electrolyte and also provides the exact amount of

Moeller: “We still have some testing to be completed but feel confident that we will be ready to start selling dry charged batteries with the FreshStart packaging solution on our e-commerce site by mid-summer this year”

electrolyte needed for each cell, no overfilling or under filling of cells, which will help extend the life of the battery once activated. This also has the added benefit of eliminating the need to dispose of excess electrolyte since current bagin-box electrolyte solutions typically contain more electrolyte than what is required for a single dry charged battery all while meeting new, stricter rules for shipping and handling battery electrolytes.

“We knew that there had to be a better solution to meet the new rules, standardize, reduce cost, make it easier for the user to activate the battery and provide better value to the consumer.” 74 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

“FreshStart packaging solution is the all in one solution for consumers looking for the advantages of a dry charged lead acid battery without the extra work to source battery electrolyte,” he says. The background for this work was the result of a government contract, which Remy Battery was awarded, which required the development of a larger dry charged commercial battery where each individual dry charged battery had to be shipped with the exact amount of electrolyte in a secure, durable performance shipping container. Moeller says that about the same time that this contract was awarded there were a lot of changes being made and implemented by the US federal government on shipping and labeling requirements for lead acid batteries and battery electrolyte. “Needless to say, there was a lot of shipments and rejected returned shipments where both sides were attempting to gain a handle on meeting the new rules,” he says. “We knew that there had to be a better solution to meet the new rules that could, standardize, reduce cost, make it easier for the user to activate the battery and provide better value to the consumer. This was almost four years ago now and we are just starting to bring the packaging solution to market.” Remy Battery is a small, third generation, family-owned company. Moeller says that while outsiders tend to assume that he is the primary individual that should be credited with the work, in fact credit should be given to all the company’s staff for their input and work helping him bring this packaging solution to market. “This truly was a team effort to find

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: REMY BATTERY and implement a necessary, required and better solution for our customers who purchase dry charged batteries from us,” he says. Dry charged lead acid batteries have been around for about as long as the lead battery industry has existed. However, it has only been within the last 20 years or so that manufacturing this type of battery has fallen out of fashion and given way to high speed production of wet lead acid and AGM batteries. “But we hear from consumers all the time about the disadvantages of the limited shelf life of activated batteries,” he says. “All that needs to be done is to look at a battery rack at a retailer or box store to identify the waste due to spoilage of activated batteries sitting on a shelf too long. “This is a huge waste for the store in having to write down this inventory but also for consumers that purchase and have to return an aged product that doesn’t perform. And not to mention the environmental impact of this aged product that was produced only to sit on a shelf and go directly back to the smelter. “For retailers this is definitely a solution to improve customer satisfaction and reduce inventory write downs. Also, there is a fundamental change going on with how products are being distributed and how consumers are shopping.” He believes the product has the potential to change the distribution model around batteries. “We feel that through our packaging solution we could effect change in the battery industry’s distribution model on how consumers purchase lead acid batteries similar to how Dollar Shave Club disrupted the razor distribution model,” he says. “We have overcome the problem associated with shipping individual traditional lead acid batteries directly to a consumer’s door and feel that we are positioned to affect change in the traditional battery distribution model.” He says that, as with a host of other consumer products, the world is becoming a smaller place as traditional distribution models are being disrupted and reinvented. “The FreshStart packaging solution will allow the lead acid battery consumer anywhere in the world to be able to get closer to the manufacturing source and

realize a better value,” he says. “Our timeline includes incorporating the FreshStart packaging solution with our existing offerings on the Remy Battery ecommerce site. There has already been initial interest and inquires in our packaging solution from both domestic and foreign battery manufacturers but it was too early in our design phase for a roll out,” Moeller says. “We still have some testing to be completed but feel confident that we will be ready to start selling dry charged batteries with the FreshStart packaging solution on our ecommerce site by mid-summer this

“For retailers this is definitely a solution to improve customer satisfaction and reduce inventory write downs.” year. We feel that once we can show how well this packaging solution performs it will help propel our conversations with individuals and companies looking to invest in or implement this packaging solution into their distribution model.”

“We still have some testing to be completed but feel confident that we will be ready to start selling dry charged batteries with the FreshStart packaging solution on our ecommerce site by mid-summer this year.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 75

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: GRIDTENTIAL Christiaan Beekhuis, chief executive of Gridtential, explains why the firm’s strategy of designing the technology to fit in with existing manufacturing, operation and recycling infrastructure could soon pay off.

An innovation to complement, not compete Gridtential, a California-based company that specializes in developing new forms of energy storage and which secured $6 million in investment from companies including East Penn and Crown Battery Manufacturing this January, has entered the BCI awards contest on the basis of an innovation that integrates silicon wafers into batteries to achieve better performance. The company’s Silicon Joule technology is described by the firm as a novel breakthrough that replaces the lead grid inside a traditional lead battery with a plated silicon wafer similar to a solar cell. This approach translates to performance levels that match or exceed lithium-ion battery performance in

many high power, medium energy and deep cycling applications, with significant cost, safety and recycling advantages, it claims. Gridtential is now licensing the technology and building out its dropin specialty silicon wafer supply, enabling manufacturing partners to adapt their existing factories to provide high performing 12V to 48V batteries to their customers, without big capital investments. “Our innovation Silicon Joule Technology is an advanced architecture and unique material for creating breakthrough performance in lead battery technology,” says Christiaan Beekhuis, chief executive of Gridtential. “By integrating silicon wafers into

“Our expectation is that the first customer shipment of Silicon Joule batteries will be approximately 1218 months following the first internal prototype build of our customers, which means towards the end of 2018” — Christiaan Beekhuis 76 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

the battery, we leverage the low cost, safety and sustainability of lead while achieving next-generation cycle life, efficiency and power characteristics. “Rather than compete with the industry, we have designed the technology to fit in with existing manufacturing, operation and recycling infrastructure and are offering it to battery manufacturers via license.” Beekhuis says the inventor of Silicon Joule technology was involved in the semiconductor and solar industries for many years. In 2010, the installed capacity of solar energy generation was growing quickly and it became clear that some form of energy storage would be needed to make solar energy available when it was needed most — not necessarily when the sun was shining. “The ideal solar energy storage needed to be low cost, safe, reliable and sustainable. Nothing on the market fit those requirements,” he says. “The inventor then asked the question: could we use semiconductor tools and techniques to reduce the cost and improve the performance of energy storage, as the solar industry had done with its technology? “The surprising answer was yes: by replacing lead grids with the same silicon wafers as used in solar, we could directly leverage the low-cost solar silicon supply chain and dramatically improve battery performance.” The project was initially funded by a $95,000 grant from the California Energy Commission, followed by more than $5 million in venture funding between 2013 and 2015. Since that time, Gridtential has built more than 275 ‘Alpha’ prototype batteries using seven different standard active materials from five battery manufacturers worldwide.

BCI INNOVATION AWARDS: GRIDTENTIAL Last December, four battery industry firms invested in Gridtential to accelerate development and commercialization of the technology. Beekhuis attributes the development of the technology to three individuals: Collin Mui, a chemical engineer who has experience in semiconductor process engineering for deposition reactor design and nanotechnology material development for energy applications and has previously worked for companies including Amprius and Novellus Systems. The second is Daniel Moomaw, a mechanical engineer with a diverse background in R&D who, before Gridtential, worked for companies including Jasper Ridge Prototype Battery. The third is Steve Hinojosa, a battery engineer who graduated in chemical engineering from Stanford University in March 2015. He says the three have persevered over the past years or more to advance the technology, which has the potential to change and improve many aspects of the batteries industry. “By integrating Silicon, now a commodity material, into the lead battery chemistry, Silicon Joule technology addresses three key failure mechanisms of the traditional battery design,” says Beekhuis. “That leads to substantially longer life, a wider safe operating temperature range, higher charge rates and dynamic charge acceptance, and higher efficiency. For the $40 billion lead battery industry, that means they can improve the well known, reliable products already being delivered to

With the reduction in lead use by Silicon Joule technology, the existing same closed-loop, sustainable system can produce many more batteries with the same amount of material existing applications while also enabling them to address the more challenging requirements of the emerging 48V hybrid automotive and grid storage applications.” He says that because the technology was designed to fit into other battery companies’ existing manufacturing lines, with a small investment in capital these lines can be converted to produce Silicon Joule batteries, leveraging the vast majority of capital equipment already deployed. “The lead grids and lead straps are eliminated from the system, so 40% less lead is needed to produce an equivalent battery,” he says. “The lead, plastic and even the acid can be recovered and reused making lead batteries — already — the most recycled consumer product on the planet. But with the reduction in lead use by Silicon Joule technology, that same closed-loop, sustainable system can produce many more batteries with the same amount of material.” Beekhuis adds that the Silicon Joule technology will enable a wide range of emerging applications including advanced 48V hybrid vehicles and renewable energy and grid storage. “These applications will be more affordable, safer, higher performance and more sustainable using the well

known, well established lead chemistry as enhanced by the inclusion of Silicon wafers,” he says. In terms of the next steps for the technology, he says there are two key milestones the company is working towards in 2017. The first is the establishment of prototype assembly capabilities at its battery partner facilities, so that they can further demonstrate, optimize and commercialize the technology. The second is the development of a secure, economic supply of silicon battery plates by one or more major silicon manufacturers. “Our expectation is that the first customer shipment of Silicon Joule batteries will be approximately 1218 months following the first internal prototype build of our customers, which means towards the end of 2018,” he says. He says the Series B financing round completed in December has also led to the firm forming a technical advisory council made up of technology experts from each of its investing manufacturing partners. “This council is helping us focus our development efforts on the areas of the technology that will have the most benefits for the end users of the technology,” he says.

Because the technology was designed to fit into other battery companies’ existing manufacturing lines, with a small investment in capital these lines can be converted to produce Silicon Joule batteries, leveraging the vast majority of capital equipment already deployed

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 77

MICROGRID STANDARDIZATION A Singaporean university and its industrial partners are building a series of microgrids to pave the way for the technology’s adoption across south-east Asia. Energy storage, in various forms, is integral to this.

Accelerating island microgrids across south-east Asia

Microgrid components — solar PV systems, wind turbines, diesel generators, power conversion and energy management systems — have come of age. But although they are mature technologies, there is a huge amount of unexplored potential waiting to be tapped. An ambitious initiative in Singapore is taking these technologies and configuring them to develop a standardized off-grid microgrid platform to bring reliable power generation to rural communities, many of them based on the island archipelagos that predominate in south-east Asia’s geography. In places such as the US, microgrids are increasingly being woven into the

fabric of mainland centralized electricity grids, to provide large energy consumers, such as university campuses, business parks and industrial businesses with resiliency when the grid is down and as a way of optimizing local generation from renewable energy resources. “But, tropical climates and near sea environments present some of the toughest places in the world for microgrid deployment and since Singapore is at the gateway of south-east Asia, that is where we intend to focus,” says Roch Drozdowski-Strehl, who is co-principal investigator and deputy director of the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator, Singapore (REIDS) initiative, at Nanyang

Part of the project’s focus will be about making loads that are flexible and adaptive to match the intermittency of power generation from the renewable resources, which could help communities keep the cost of energy supply low, rather than have microgrids optimized for maximum generation output. 78 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Technological University. South-east Asia has been identified, along with the Indian subcontinent, Africa, central America, the Middle East and China, as one of the world’s top five fastest growing energy production regions between 2010 and 2030. But it is also one of the most challenging in terms of proving energy infrastructure because so much of the population is located on scattered islands. The Philippines, for example, consists of about 7,000 islands while Indonesia has around 17,000. Also Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar are among the south-east island nations with the highest percentage of people without access to electricity, totalling over 100 million and a considerable portion are based in rural areas. Provision of electricity in rural and remote areas is only made possible by installing a diesel genset. The problem is that though the upfront cost of gensets tend to be affordable, the operational cost is high, when factoring in the cost of fuel and getting it delivered to far flung islands and remote places.

MICROGRID STANDARDIZATION In early December the REIDS project completed the commissioning of a microgrid, built on Singapore’s Semakau island. It is one of four, with the remaining three to be constructed in 2017. The separate microgrids will each be 400V, and each will include a few hundred kilowatts of solar PV, 50kW200kW of wind, different energy storage technologies, including lithium ion and redox flow batteries as well as supercapacitors and flywheels and up to 400kW of passive loads. Each microgrid will operate in a fully islanded mode, but will also function as an integrated bigger microgrid, through connected shared loads and resources. This is to show how neighbouring islands, each with their own microgrid, can function as an interoperable grid. The inter-microgrid operation demonstration will occur on a 6.6kV (AC) network and will be connected to bigger loads including a fish nursery, water desalination pland and in-stream tidal machines. Part of the project’s focus will be about making loads that are flexible and adaptive to match the intermittency of power generation from the renewable resources, which could help communities keep the cost of energy supply low, rather than have microgrids optimized for maximum generation output. Drozdowski-Strehl says: “Each microgrid will have its own energy management system, from different partners, which include Schneider Electric and General Electric. We are providing the various industrial partners with the environment to deploy these technologies together in an off-grid microgrid platform. “We are not just doing research. REIDS will help give the industrial partners the push to enable them to standardize off-grid microgrid systems.”

Building blocks

Other partners are suppliers of building blocks to the projects, including solar companies REC and Trina Solar, wind turbine manufacturer Vesta and battery supplier Varta. Other energy storage providers, including a flow battery company will be announced, once contracts have been signed. Meralco and Bawah are adopter partners. Meralco is the largest electricity distribution company in the Philippines and Bawah is developing a small group of islands 150 miles north of Singapore into an eco-tourist destination.

“Tropical climates and near sea environments present some of the toughest places in the world for microgrid deployment and since Singapore is at the gateway of south-east Asia, that is where we intend to focus” – Roch Drozdowski-Strehl REIDS will run for a total of nine years, which is the length of time the university is leasing the land on Semakau for. Over that time, the complexity of the microgrid will increase as various storage technologies as well as more loads are plugged in. The project is ambitious in its vision to deploy a wide range of technologies. REIDS has identified numerous building blocks that all need to be tested as part of the project. These include different types of renewables and various types of energy storage, from batteries to hydrogen storage and compressed air, but also waste to energy, sustainable mobility systems, as well as aquaculture productivity systems, different energy management and the ICT architectures needed to control, manage and operate the microgrids individually and as integrated systems will also be developed as part of the project. The main focus of REIDS is about reducing the technological barriers to off-grid microgrid deployment, by creating more rugged, lower cost and standardized platforms. However, there will be ample opportunity for REIDS to act as a high profile demonstrator to show government departments, financing institutions, utilities and stakeholders in the region that there is technology available to enable them to meet their rural electrification objectives and policies. “But there’s a lot of digging through the jungle to be done, to understand

the different regulatory and contractual regimes and establish contacts within regulators, utilities and explain our approach before we start to see tenders happen,” says DrozdowskiStrehl. Many of the communities REIDS is targeting have little access to electricity and are limited to running diesel gensets for no more than 12 hours of daily supply or less. “Assuming a leap to 24 hour seven days a week electricity access is probably unrealistic,” he says. “The microgrid will enable a community’s energy needs to evolve and to grow. The platform we are ultimately going to showcase will be much more complex than most communities will require. The shorter term target is about seeing what price per kilowatt hour is being paid for and developing a solution that can come under that cost,” he says. Over the next nine years, Drozdowski-Strehl sees hybrid off-grid microgrids commercializing into a “scalable structure.The legacy systems are diesel, so you might add some solar PV initially, then some storage, then some wind. Over time they become increasingly complex. It’s unrealistic to think that diesel power can be entirely replaced by renewable energy. “We envisage diesel being just one of many energy sources within the microgrid, so that eventually it becomes back-up as opposed to the primary energy source.”

“There’s a lot of digging through the jungle to be done, to understand the different regulatory and contractual regimes and establish contacts within regulators, utilities and explain our approach before we start to see tenders happen” Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 79


Energy storage, microgrids offer protection from cyber-attacks Batteries and storage systems are playing an increasing part in protecting critical infrastructure like electric grids and telecoms networks from cyber attacks, theft and catastrophic events, reports Sara Verbruggen. Picture the scene. A freezing cold winter afternoon. Inside the control centre of a power station one operator notices the cursor on his computer screen suddenly start to move of its own accord. With just a couple of clicks the cursor has opened the breakers and taken the substation offline. A dialogue window asks to confirm the action. The operator stares, powerless, as the cursor clicks ‘yes’. In a second hundreds of residential homes are plunged into darkness.

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It’s not a passage from a dark dystopian novel. This happened in 2015, in western Ukraine. The power outage, which affected nearly quarter of a million people, was the result of a cyber attack. Or that was the conclusion by the US Department of Homeland Security in March 2016, after three months of reviewing the situation. The event was the first time the US government officially recognized such a blackout as being caused by a malicious hack. It is also thought to be the first

known successful cyber intrusion to take a power grid offline. Cyber attacks and hacks are the price that firms, from the lowliest OEM supplier to the battery manufacturing giant to the energy storage and utility grid of the future, are paying for our inexorable march towards the digitalization of all reaches of our society, our industries and our critical infrastructure. The Ukraine power grid attack put the US on high alert. According to Ben Wrightsman, chief

Cyber attacks are a huge concern for the telecoms industry. We have dealt with their questions about what we have put in place and we have also worked closely with experts in security.

operations officer at the Battery Innovation Center, “the potential impact that hacking into the grid can have is potentially devastating. Power runs everything, buildings, major infrastructure, water supply, sewage. It’s the backbone of modern societies. If you can disable a power asset, you can bring a society to its knees.” Wrightsman hints at other cyber threats to power infrastructure in the US. “But no one wants to identify that a critical power asset is vulnerable, for obvious security reasons,” he says.

“The Ukraine event, to say the least, has highlighted to US utilities and also grid operators across the US — the NYISOs, the MISOs and the CAISOs — that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.” So how might batteries be part of the solution to make power infrastructure and the grid more secure from malicious cyber hacks? The answer could lie in microgrids. Last November Duke Energy, one of the largest utilities in North America, announced it was providing a grant

worth half a million dollars to the BIC to develop cyber-lab infrastructure consisting of hardware, security protocols and other associated control security infrastructure. The funding will support testing protocols for identifying threats, create plans to resist and react and find countermeasures for multiple threats. Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy president Rob Caldwell said: “Microgrids present unique security challenges that need specific tools to guard against threats. The BIC

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 81


Krohn: “Cyber security is always evolving. What is safe today may not be safe next year. The IoT system built by NorthStar is designed to allow remote upgrades of software and firmware to occur, so if we detect a security threat we can push our new updates, which eliminate it.”

is already well known as a microgrid test facility.” Generally the older the power asset the poorer the security, both in physical and cyber terms. “Older assets, such as large coalfired power stations on which typically tens of thousands of people and businesses, hospitals all rely, are the most vulnerable, as are assets that are more remote,” says Wrightsman. Newer assets, including distributed generation assets like microgrids, powered by renewable energy and energy storage, can help the entire system fight an attack. “Microgrids can be thought of as subsets of the main grid. We are looking at strengthening and improving the hardware and strengthening controllers and algorithms, the software architecture,” he says. The project with Duke Energy has several thrusts. “As we put more renewables and battery systems on the grid, we are looking at how we can deploy these assets, such as through aggregation, to provide emergency energy services, during the time it takes to bring that main asset, such as the coal power station, back online.” The Ukraine cyber attack ultimately knocked dozens of substations offline

and targeted power distribution centres at the same time, leaving 225,000 residents without power. The hackers also disabled backup power serving two of the distribution centres targeted. Another focus of the project between BIC and Duke Energy is concerned with physical security. “If an attack gets into the system and throws switches, how can these other assets like energy storage provide support until the main assets come online again?” asks Wrightsman. The software side is covering server capabilities, firewalls and secure interfaces. “Then there is the level of interfacing the microgrid assets with the network that deals with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and programmable logic controller (PLC) architectures.” The BIC will carry out simulations of attacks and breaches and will use United Laboratories (UL) and Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to validate that its protocols or solutions meet the requirements of these standards. Simpliphi, based in California, provides battery-based energy storage systems for off-grid applications,

though the company is also expanding into grid-connected markets for stationary storage. The company has supplied projects for defence and military agencies as well as installed its equipment in places where humanitarian crises have occurred, including Haiti, to provide power for hospitals. In the US, security has emerged as a significant driver behind the adoption of batteries within energy storage systems, in homes and commercial buildings. Whatever the cause of a grid outage, energy storage systems, often coupled with a rooftop solar PV roof system, can continue to provide power even when the main grid is down. In New York there is even a pilot, run by Con Edison, which is aiming to establish the price that residential customers are prepared to pay for back-up. Simpliphi has also developed distributed behind-the-meter energy storage systems that allow critical systems to operate when the overall grid is compromised. These assets do not rely on central control, and can return (so called ‘fail back’) to local, autonomous control when either the communication network or grid is compromised. The company’s chief executive, Catherine Von Burg, says: “This is the most basic kind of resiliency, the ability to remain operational in the absence of the grid or centralized grid control systems. Simpliphi’s hardware and software leverages distributed assets so that the end user can achieve power security in the case of catastrophic centralized failure, whether that failure is caused by inclement weather or cyber attack.” Many customers with rooftop solar PV installations often assume that their system will continue to generate power they can use when the grid is down. This is not the case. A grid-tied solar power system is required by law to have a grid tied inverter with an anti-islanding function, which senses when a power outage occurs and shuts itself off. In the case of distributed generation with battery back-up, also known as intentional islanding, the inverters disconnect from the grid and direct the distributed generation to power local electrical loads in the home or business. This is often used as a power backup system for buildings that normally sell their excess power to the grid. Since 1999, the standard for anti-islanding protection in the US has been UL 1741, harmonized with IEEE 1547.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 83

SECURITY IN A DIGITAL AGE These requirements cover systems that combine PV generation and inverters to provide AC output power for stand-alone use or for interacting with the grid — so-called bidirectional functionality — and power systems that combine other alternative energy sources with inverters, converters, charge controllers, and interconnection system equipment in system specific combinations. All the inverter charge controllers that Simpliphi’s storage products use have this function built in, so the end user has access to their rooftop solar, wind or diesel generator in the event the grid fails. “Therefore, this capability is already available by virtue of the 48-volt inverter charge controllers on the market and is an integral feature of the distributed Simpliphi Power installations at homes and businesses,” says Von Burg. “When batteries are combined with a generation source and inverters, the end user does not lose power and does not require trained utility personnel or electricians to get their system up and running or back on line. “Having this feature built into any grid tied asset, low or high voltage, in front of or behind-the-meter, no matter who owns it, is critical to the security and resiliency of the general public,” she says. For larger, high voltage microgrid systems, Simpliphi is introducing the software and hardware capability in the first quarter of 2017 with the requisite site controller and application’s protocol interface that allows these distributed assets to simultaneously meet the needs of the utility in front of the meter, and the end-user behind the meter. “Our first high voltage battery solution will be installed in a microgrid by the end of 2016 in Sonoma, California, with the software algorithms for utility interface developed and finalized in the first and second quarters of 2017.” Von Burg thinks that the more distributed and the less dependency assets have on a centralized software and hardware infrastructure to function or be serviced, the more resiliency end users have. “In a grid failure, if the distributed assets are safe, simple, and easy to service without trained electricians or IT experts, the home owner, business interest, school, hospital, or community is that much more likely to maintain its power assets during failure and not be dependent on utility experts and

84 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

services to get them back on-line,” she says. Microgrids have the potential to serve the interests of both the utility and the end-user. But to build true resiliency, the microgrid, even if gridtied, must be able to disconnect from the grid — the islanding feature — in the event of centralized grid failure, so that the local assets continue to provide power for local electrical loads. It’s not just grid infrastructure and the electricity network that needs batteries. The telecoms sector too has becoming increasingly reliant on lead acid batteries as a relatively low maintenance and cost-effective way of providing back up power in remote areas. But that also makes battery producers vulnerable to cyber breaches if hackers are seeking a way into telecom networks, where bringing down communication infrastructure can wreak as much havoc as bringing down portions of the grid. Northstar, a Swedish-US lead acid battery manufacturer supplying reserve and transport applications, has focused on putting in place various different levels of security to protect its business and by extension its customers in the telecoms industry. The company produces batteries for telecoms back-up as well as deep cycling batteries for hybrid power systems for telecoms, where the diesel generator is run to recharge the batteries. Christer Lindkvist, technical sales manager and IT security specialist at Northstar, says: “Cyber security is a major concern especially as we now are launching our Internet of Things (IoT) battery management system, ACE. “What we are seeing now is that objects and equipment linked up and networked, as part of the internet of things, are just as vulnerable to hacks just as computer servers are. Without going into too much detail, the steps we have taken are based on discussions with customers to ensure that cyber security threats are minimized. “Cyber security is a huge concern for the telecoms industry. We have dealt with their questions about what we have put in place and we have also worked closely with experts in security.” NorthStar’s own security system provides different levels of security. On one level it is concerned with ensuring the identity of the right, authorized personnel who gain access to its IT systems.

Northstar’s Lindkvist: Cyber security is a major concern especially as we now are launching our Internet of Things battery management system, ACE.

“The potential impact that hacking into the grid can have is potentially devastating. Power runs everything, buildings, major infrastructure, water supply, sewage. It’s the backbone of modern societies. It you can disable a power asset, you can bring a society to its knees.” — Ben Wrightsman, Battery Innovation Center The company is also focused on ensuring that a hacker cannot gain access through its own networks and then use this as a back door into NorthStar’s customers’ own networks. Measures taken include how the company collects and transmits data from each customers’ sites and installations. This is transmitted to cloud services, but the company transmits the sensitive data via an isolated channel, so it is not combined with any








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“Simpliphi’s hardware and software leverages distributed assets so that the end user can achieve power security in the case of catastrophic centralized failure, whether that failure is caused by inclement weather or cyber attack.” — Catherine Von Burg, Simpliphi other traffic. “This system is isolated, we do it in a controlled way, according to specific APIs (application programming interfaces),” says Lindkvist. If such measures seem extensive, Lindkvist describes how easy it is for someone to go to a workplace, plug in a wireless gateway, and for that to be logged on from someone outside the building to gain access to the organization’s IT system. “You have created a back door,” he says. “Cyber security is always evolving. What is safe today may not be safe next year. The IoT system built by

NorthStar is designed to allow remote upgrades of software and firmware to occur, so if we detect a security threat we can push our new updates, which eliminate it. We can also, in terms of where we locate threats, narrow them down to a particular node in one thousand for instance, and isolate it and shut it down.” Recently Northstar launched a Bluetooth-based connectivity technology designed to give visibility to battery assets. NorthStar’s Advanced Connected Energy (ACE) technology enables the retrieval of real time and historical performance data wirelessly, both locally through a smartphone app and remotely through a cloud service. The batteries are managed from manufacturing throughout the life of the product. Ulf Krohn, Northstar’s technical director, says: “We bring predictability to telecom operators and UPS customers about when they need to replace their batteries. Often customers don’t know where these assets are once they are installed.

“After two or four years following the battery they can lose time trying to locate the battery at fault when a portion of the network goes down because there is no power. As well as providing predictability about when batteries need replacing we provide customers with a clear sense of where all of them are located.” ACE became available earlier this year, when NorthStar started to put it into specific battery models. These will be the larger batteries initially. The plan is eventually to introduce the technology across its range, which could take several years depending on customer contracts. In certain developing regions, where mobile telecoms expansion is happening, theft of batteries can be a major problem. Batteries, if sold on, can achieve the equivalent of months or even an annual salary in some regions. Coupled with modern communications technology, which includes apps that show locations of telecoms masts, battery theft is a lucrative opportunity. Most security is about preventing physical access to the battery, with secure cabinets, alarm systems and sometimes enclosures around the whole asset. “Quite often a lot of damage is sustained to get to the battery. The cabinet and the electronics inside are often damaged, which adds to the cost of replacing the battery,” says Krohn. The ACE technology can alert the user or telecom operator, with urgent push texts, when the battery has been removed, which also provides the geographic location of the mast from where the battery was taken. Krohn says: “Working with the customer we can then put in place measures to prevent the resale of the battery.” The company has ideas about how the ACE technology could evolve in future. “We strongly believe the antitheft aspect is something that could be developed further,” says Krohn. “However, the first step is to get this basic version of the technology out there and then we can start having discussions with our customers about other features and functionality that would be beneficial in future iterations.”

“Microgrids present unique security challenges that need specific tools to guard against threats. The BIC is already well known as a microgrid test facility.” — Rob Caldwell, Duke Energy 86 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

BACK TO BASICS Isidor Buchmann, CEO of Cadex Electronics and founder of the Battery University, discusses battery pack diagnostics and the new range of charging possibilities his firm is developing.

Battery diagnostics on the fly Battery users typically imagine a battery pack being an energy storage device that resembles a fuel tank dispensing liquid fuel. For simplicity reasons, a battery can indeed be perceived as a vessel storing electrical energy; however, measuring energy flowing into an electrochemical device and then drawing it out again is far more complex than handling liquid fuel. While a hydraulic fuel gauge measures liquids moving in and out of a tank of known size, a battery fuel gauge reads units of current. Battery size is specified in ampere hours (Ah), and what makes estimating battery state-of-charge (SoC) and state-of-health (SoH) so challenging is an unsteady state; a battery loses capacity with each charge and leaks energy in the form of self-discharge. The specified capacity of a new battery is (should be) 100%; replacement is typically 80%. A standard fuel gauge only shows SoC; capacity is not revealed. A full charge lights up the entire SoC scale, even if the capacity has faded to 50% and delivers only half the runtime. Estimating battery SoC is commonly done by coulomb counting. The theory goes back 250 years when CharlesAugustin de Coulomb first established the “Coulomb Rule”. It consists of units of electric charge in which one coulomb (1C) equals one ampere (1A) for 1 second. Figure 1 illustrates the principle of in and outflowing currents representing coulomb counting. Coulomb counting should be flawless but tracking errors occur. If, for example, a battery was charged for one hour at one ampere, the same amount of energy should be available on discharge. No battery can do this. Inefficiencies in charge acceptance,

Figure 1: Principle of a fuel gauge based on coulomb counting: A circuit measures the in-and-out flowing energy; the stored energy represents state-ofcharge. One coulomb (1C) equals one ampere (1A) per second. Discharging a battery at 1A for one hour equates to 3,600C.

especially towards the end of charge and particularly if fast-charged, reduce the energy efficiency. Losses also occur in storage and during discharge. The available energy is always less than what has been fed into the battery. Coulomb counting becomes part of a battery management system that also assists in controlling mobile phone and laptop batteries. Furthermore, a BMS keeps the battery voltage and current in check to maintain safety and prolong battery life. The user of a new gadget is usually inclined to trust a fancy fuel gauge graphic. A false sense of security may develop but this trust is dashed when the runtimes get shorter with each charge as the device ages. For the casual user of a mobile phone or laptop, a fuel gauge error is only a mild irritant. The problem escalates with medical and military de-

vices, as well as with drones and electric drivetrains that depend on precise range predictions. To maintain fuel gauge accuracy, a smart battery should periodically be calibrated by discharging it until the “low battery” symbol appears on the device. This can be done in the device. A full cycle sets the respective flags, as shown in Figure 2. A linear line forms between these two anchor points to allow reasonably accurate SoC estimations for a time. How often should a battery be calibrated? This depends on the application. A battery in continued use should be calibrated every three months or after 40 partial cycles. If the device applies a periodic full deep discharge, then calibration should not be needed. A user’s manual for an Apple iPad reads: “For proper reporting of SoC, be sure to go through at least one full charge/discharge cycle per month.” What happens if the battery is not calibrated regularly? Can such a battery be used with confidence? The battery should function normally and there are no safety concerns, but the digital SoC readout becomes unreliable. When designing a BMS, engineers often make the mistake of assuming that a battery will always stay young. But batteries age and this is manifested in capacity loss. The SoC gauge will always show a glowing 100% after each charge. Capacity is conveniently hidden from the user. Several methods to estimate battery SoH exist and are in development. This article describes five technologies. They are: • Coulomb counting as part of an integral battery system in mobile phones and laptops

Coulomb counting becomes part of a battery management system that also assists in controlling mobile phone and laptop batteries. Furthermore, a BMS keeps the battery voltage and current in check to maintain safety and prolong battery life.

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 87

BACK TO BASICS • Reading the FCC register in an SMBus battery. (SMBus stands for System Management Bus and is one of the most common so-called ‘smart battery systems’ for portable battery applications. Other systems provide similar features.) • Adding Read-and-charge (RAC) to a charger • Rapid-tests by taking a snapshot of the “chemical battery” • Traditional full cycle.

Coulomb counting

Some mobile phones and laptops come with software that estimates SoH. This is done by coulomb count, but service technicians familiar with such systems say that the readings are not reliable. Part of this arises from inaccuracies in measuring discharge current when running different applications. The load is pulsed and not all mobile phones allow current measurement. This prevents the use of the capacity app in such cases. Coulomb counting is also used to estimate the capacity of e-bikes. Although carefully monitored, the SoH readings are not revealed to the user. For reasons of anonymity, only authorized personnel have access by a security code. Device manufacturers fear that showing a capacity of less than 100% would raise too many consumer complaints, especially during the warranty period. Such secrecy typically only applies to consumer products; industrial applications differ. SoC of a portable device is usually shown in percentage or in runtime minutes: the EV does this with driving range in kilometers or miles. A

How often should a battery be calibrated? This depends on the application. A battery in continued use should be calibrated every three months or after 40 partial cycles. If the device applies a periodic full deep discharge, then calibration should not be needed true assessment in Ah, as is possible with a tank of gasoline in a vehicle, is not possible with the battery. The amount of Ah a battery can capture as it ages goes into hiding. Consumer concerns aside, knowing battery capacity has the benefit of connecting Ah with runtime and predicting battery replacement on capacity, the leading battery health indicator.

Reading the FCC register in an SMBus battery

Chargers are advancing and will soon offer battery SoH readouts. As industries switch to the SMBus battery, FCC (full charge capacity) stored in the battery can interpret SoH by the coulomb count taken while the battery is in service. This allows checking SoH by simply inserting the battery into a charger. The SMBus battery has a further advantage of providing a digital serial number that will enable storing historic battery performance information in a database. If the FCC reading in such a charger is above the user-set pass/fail threshold, then the battery will pass; if below, calibration is needed. Calibration applies a full charge and discharge cycle to reset the flags and ascertain the true capacity of the chemical battery. If the capacity is above target, then the battery passes and the FCC read-

ing is corrected; results below the line call for a battery replacement. Digital FCC peripherals are normally lower than the actual battery capacity and this prevents a false positive result. Figure 2 demonstrates the concept in graphics. (Cadex is developing a charger line that encompasses this feature under the Universal Diagnostic Charger (UDC) series.)

Read-and-charge (RAC)

The UDC chargers in development will also feature a new Read-andcharge (RAC) diagnostic to estimate battery capacity more accurately. Inserting a Li-ion battery, the RAC charger determines the residual SoC with a proprietary algorithm and then measures the inflowing coulombs to fill the battery. Combining the coulomb count with residual charge gives the full capacity. An analogy is topping a partially filled bottle by calculating the added amount. The bottle size represents 100%; what it can hold reflects the capacity. RAC requires a onetime calibration for each battery model. Cycling a good battery provides the reference reading that can be stored in the charger. The RAC charger has the ability to estimate the capacity of a regular (dumb) battery.

Figure 2 (left) : Full-discharge and full-charge flags. A full discharge sets the discharge flag, a full charge sets the charge flag. Figure 3. (right) Battery SoH evaluation on the fly by reading FCC. Pass/Fail is set to 80%. Not meeting the threshold does not constitute a failed battery but prompts to calibration. FCC references are normally lower than the actual battery capacity. This prevents a false positive result.

88 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

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BACK TO BASICS Tests are showing better accuracies with RAC than what is possible with the FCC capture of an SMBus battery. RAC validates battery performance and does quality control with no extra logistics. The green “ready” light at the end of service assures that the battery is fully charged and meets the required capacity threshold. A faded battery is identified and shown the back door.


The Rapid-test takes a snapshot of a chemical battery in seconds or minutes. Electrochemical Dynamic Response uses pulse technology; the more complex Multi-model Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (Spectro) scans the battery with multiple frequencies. Rapid-tests have the advantage of testing a broad range of batteries without smarts on the fly, but this requires complex software and hardware that is supported by battery-specific parameters and matrices. It is important to note that the capacity of a battery cannot be measured in the same way as voltage, current and temperature. SoH can be estimated to

various degrees of accuracy based on its symptoms; but a reliable measurement is not possible if the symptoms are vague or not present. Many makers of battery test devices promise capacity estimation by measuring the internal battery resistance. This is misleading and advertising features that are outside the equipment’s capabilities confuse the industry into believing that complex tests can be done with basic methods. Resistance-based instruments can indeed identify a dying or dead battery — so can the user! Battery testers are often overstated just as shampoos promise to grow lush hair on a man’s bald head.

Full cycle

This method applies a full charge/ discharge cycle to read the capacity of the chemical battery. The time discharging a battery with a regulated discharge current determines the capacity. Although accurate and also serving as calibration of a smart battery, a full cycle is time consuming and is not always practical, especially when checking mobile phone batteries.


For the past 30 years, Isidor Buchmann has studied the behaviour of rechargeable batteries in practical, everyday applications. He has written award-winning articles including the best-selling book “Batteries in a Portable World”, now in its fourth edition. He is also the founder of Battery University, www. and CEO of Cadex Electronics.

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This series of Conferences is recognised as the premier event dedicated to the ‘world of secondary lead’. The Conference brings together all aspects of secondary lead smelting, plant design, smelting regimes, refractories, burner design, slag formation and structures, pollution and environmental control and also discusses the markets.

The biggest and most comprehensive lead-acid battery conference in Asia will be held as part of a week of activities titled Lead and Battery Week Live. The exhibition will feature an impressive line-up of international speakers, a full social program and a sparked up exhibition across a dynamic floorplan of 140 booths.

The Conference will provide anyone with an interest in the secondary lead industry a better understanding of the process involved in the industry.

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CONFERENCE IN PRINT Venting excessive pressures that can develop within lithium batteries protects the user.

Protecting lithium batteries and battery packs from runaway thermal events The highly reactive chemistry of a lithium battery is carefully managed by design and control features within the individual cell and in the collection of individual cells that comprises a custom battery pack to fit an application. Under extreme abuse conditions, it is possible for damaged or malfunctioning components, short circuits, or other events to start a thermal runaway process that develops a rapidly rising pressure, leading to an explosive release of that pressure from a cell having a durable metal enclosure. To achieve the required power out-

put of an application, individual battery cells are combined into a single, turnkey energy pack such as those used in electric vehicles. If an individual cell within a pack is compromised and overheats or causes a fire, it can then cause a similar reaction in adjacent cells requiring that the battery pack to be vented. To optimize application safety, lithium battery manufacturers provide protective design and control features as well as last resort venting mechanisms for each metallic cell, as well as for battery packs. Traditional pressure

A delicate balancing act is needed between the shrinking diameters of the burst area, the limitations of the specific raw materials utilized for the membrane, and the variations in designs required at low, medium and high pressures

Traditional pressure relief techniques used in legacy battery designs are significantly less reliable with next generation low mass / high energy lithium chemistry cells and battery packs. To meet the demands manufacturers have had to re-engineer the whole safety device and have been able to miniaturize the pressure relief or rupture disks to sizes as small as 1/8 of an inch.

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relief techniques used in legacy battery designs, such as crimped seals or seams in the battery can that will open to relieve pressure, are much less reliable with next generation low mass/ high energy lithium chemistry cells and battery packs. This has left battery manufacturers searching to provide more reliable, stable pressure relief technology at the low pressures demanded for low mass battery and battery pack products. Interest in using battery technology alongside energy conservation and renewable resources has become so widespread that electric car sales and home back up power sales are soaring and are likely to fuel the future. As battery manufacturers continue to innovate spurred by the growth in consumer demand, higher energy combined with lower mass is the guiding design principle for the next generation of lithium-ion cells. Less visible applications will also comprise the mass deployment of next generation lithium-ion cell and battery pack technology. The use of lithium-based batteries is in industries where electric motors are used to lift and drop heavy objects, or where standby power is needed for critical applications, such as in medical suites and data centers. The rechargeable capability of next generation lithium-ion cells allows energy consumed to lift, such as a shipping container, to be recovered when the container is dropped back to ground level. Global demand is escalating rapidly, in particular due to new initiatives from the Chinese government that are driving the move toward electric vehicles as a national strategy and challenging the historic dominance of Japanese manufacturers in the lithium battery industry. Energy being of strategic importance, this Asian lead is being increasingly balanced by a fast pace of de-

CONFERENCE IN PRINT velopment in the North America and most recently in Europe. Although battery cells and packs typically feature active and passive safety devices and protection circuitry to prevent or mitigate potential cell failures, the last resort is typically a mechanical safety vent that is intended to release the internal pressure of the cell or pack when a specified pressure is reached. One of the most popular pressure relief devices for lower-pressure applications such as lithium batteries is the rupture disk. Also known as a pressure safety disk or burst diaphragm, the rupture disk is a passive pressure relief device long adopted by the oil, gas and chemical process industries to protect pressure vessels, tanks and other equipment from over-pressurization. Rupture disks are available in various designs, sizes, shapes and set pressures and can be installed on cylindrical, button, prismatic, or pouch cell designs. However, as battery cells become increasingly smaller, so must the rupture disks that protect them. This is driving the need for miniaturized rupture disks as small as 1/8” and challenging an industry in which products for many decades have been measured in inches. “As pressure relief devices become increasingly miniaturized, the rupture disk industry is running squarely into design and raw material challenges that often require reengineering the product itself,” says Geoff Brazier, managing director, BS&B Safety Systems, Custom Engineered Products Division, a supplier of rupture disks

As battery cells become increasingly smaller, so must the rupture disks that protect them. This is driving the need for miniaturized rupture disks as small as 1/8” and challenging an industry in which products for many decades have been measured in inches. that has been involved in the lithium battery industry for more than 30 years. According to Brazier, this is due to a delicate balancing act between the shrinking diameters of the burst area, the limitations of the specific raw materials utilized for the membrane, and the variations in designs required at low, medium and high pressures. Fortunately, the rupture disk manufacturer is embracing this challenge with novel structures and design elements that have led to a new category of miniaturized options from 1/8” to 1” at all ranges of pressure, with larger nominal sizes suited to battery pack applications that require a greater vent area.

The miniaturization challenge

Miniaturization of rupture disks presents unique challenges, best met utilizing reverse buckling technology. Unlike traditional forward-acting disks where the load is applied to the concave side of a dome, in a reverse buckling design, the dome is inverted toward the source of the load. Reverse buckling disks are typically sturdier than forward-acting disks which are thin and difficult to handle, and as a result have greater longevity, accuracy and reliability over time. “As burst diameters decrease dra-

matically it becomes challenging to design a reverse buckling disk that will reliably collapse through such small orifice sizes,” says Brazier. “In many ways it can be like trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle.” To resolve this issue, BS&B has created structures that control the reversal of the rupture disk to always collapse in a predictable manner. This includes, for example, a hybrid shape that combines reverse buckling and forward bulging characteristics that are pre-collapsed. In this type of design, a line of weakness is typically placed into the rupture disk structure to define a specific opening flow area when the reverse type disk activates. Small, nominal size rupture disks are sensitive to the detailed characteristics of the orifice through which they burst which requires close cooperation between the rupture disk manufacturer and the user to achieve the optimum mounting and installation arrangement. “With small size pressure relief devices, the influence of every feature of both the rupture disk and its holder is amplified,” says Brazier. For miniaturized products the rupture disk can be made from stainless steel, aluminium and nickel alloys to achieve compatibility with lithium battery operating conditions.

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CONFERENCE IN PRINT Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s research has developed a new method of forming passivation layers on electrodes that reduces the formation time for lithium batteries from weeks to a day. It also increases cell capacity retention, which significantly increases production throughput and extends cycle life.

Enabling fast formation lithium ion batteries

Figure 1. The top graph portrays the baseline and new formation method illustrated as voltage profiles, showing ten times faster formation time at the new method. The bottom graph exhibits capacity after the new formation retained more than one after the baseline. Error bars correspond to 90% confidence intervals

Electrolyte wetting and anode passivation film (called solid electrolyte interphase (SEI)) formation steps are the most expensive processes ($2.2/kWh for electrode processing and $7.5/kWh for wetting/formation cycling) due to the lengthy wetting and cycle period (for example 3-5 cycles at C/20 and 3-5 cycles at higher C-rate at a elevated temperature). This process may take up to two to three weeks, depending on the cell manufacturer, requiring a tremendous number of charge/discharge cyclers for mass production of lithium-ion batteries, large footprint, and intense energy consumption for the cyclers and environmental chambers. These processes are a major production bottleneck and therefore, it is important to reduce wetting and formation time without sacrificing cell performance for cost and production rate benefits. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a new fast formation method to generate the SEI in lithium-ion batteries consisting of graphite and LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2 as the anode and cathode, respectively. The new formation method is shown in Figure 1 (top, orange line) and compared with a baseline method (top, blue line). The baseline method consists of a series of full

charge and discharge cycles at a constant C-rate without any interruption between the lower and upper cut-off voltages (2.5V-4.2V).

Compared to the baseline, the new method reduced formation time from more than nine days to less than a day. The new method, however, involves repeated cycling within a high state-of-charge region (4.2V-3.9V) after the first charge until the last cycle where a full discharge takes place. Compared to the baseline, the new method reduced formation time from more than nine days to less than a day. The new method at ORNL resulted in higher capacity retention than the baseline (Figure 1, bottom) because of substantially lower SEI film resistance for the cells with the new method than the baseline. Thus, the new method not only reduced the formation time by a great deal, but also increased cell capacity retention, which significantly increases production throughput and extends cycle life. This new SEI formation method will also result in substantial capital equipment savings for new battery plants.

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ANOTHER VIEW German plans to decarbonize its electricity markets and improve its cities’ air quality could offer a boost to some types of lead-powered electric vehicles, writes Reinhard Marx.

A role for lead battery EVs The German government plans in the longer term to replace petrol and diesel powered vehicles with electric ones. Its thinking is based on two needs: improving the air quality from harmful exhaust gases and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the country’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Already the air quality — in terms of particulate matter as well as toxic gases — falls short of government targets in various European cities. Elsewhere in the mega-cities of the developing world, air conditions have become nearly unbearable. One simple measure would be to forbid all two-stroke engines, still found in many small vehicles, and replace them with four-stroke engines or electric motors. If a four-stroke engine were to use liquid gas as fuel the effect would be especially beneficial — there are many successful examples of this policy outside of Germany. Furthermore, public transport in cities should be managed by trolley buses if no electric tram or underground train infrastructure exists; an intermediate solution could be that buses equipped with diesel engines were converted to liquid gas engines. By these measures the smallest and largest exhaust gas emitters could be improved or eliminated. Now let us consider the medium size emission producers: ordinary cars and small delivery transport vehicles. Of these two types, we will consider only use in the cities and not for long distance travel. Such vehicles should be powered electrically, thus avoiding all toxic emissions. Already existing electric vehicles are equipped with powerful lithium-ion batteries that allow high speed and long distances before a recharge is required. Now, if the use of such vehicles were limited only to cities, then we would need a maximum speed of only 70 km/h and a range of not more than 100km, (compared to existing ranges of 200km to 300km and speeds of up to 140 km/h). This means that the required power charge of the battery could be lowered by a factor of perhaps six for

such limited urban use. This would further mean that a lead acid battery (33 Wh/kg), which weighs about four times as much as a comparable lithium-ion battery (130Wh/kg) for the same electric energy storage, would have a weight that would no longer be prohibitive, but lie in the range of already existing powerful lithium batteries (200kg-300kg). However, lead acid batteries have various advantages compared to lithium ones: • lead acid batteries are less expensive than lithium ones; • The electric performance of lead acid is optimal as to temperature range, charging and discharging properties, a short overload is not harmful; • Charging cycles are high — 2,000 cycles are normal and there is a solid and long-term experience with electric vehicles powered by lead acid batteries (for instance, fork trucks). Their performance costs are lower than for engine driven vehicles; • Scrap lead acid batteries can be entirely recycled, recovering all their components in a fully developed recycling industry; the toxicity of lead being totally shielded from the environment. Nothing of this scale or effectiveness has been developed for lithium-ion batteries which also do have some toxic components, • Lead recycling is the highest of all metals in Europe and the US. The success of battery recycling can be seen by the treatment of the generally used starting batteries. (As part of this lead is easily available compared to lithium; so, raw materials sourcing is no problem; • Recharging the battery of a vehicle with limited speed and range would be done at night with a relatively low power demand, perhaps 1kW would be enough and this is available in every household. • No special cables and plugs are required; furthermore, at night electricity prices are lower — another advantage for such cars. However, such vehicles should be equipped with a hybrid source for supplying energy to secondary power consumers. This should be a small water-

cooled gasoline engine with a generator (approximately 2kW) which provides electric current for lighting, electronics, rear window heating, wipers and similar features; the cooling water will be good for heating the car in winter. In this way the valuable energy stored for motive power will be reserved for just this purpose. Such an additional equipment motor will increase the price for the whole vehicle, but cannot be avoided nowadays — for any type of hybrid electric vehicle. If such vehicles were manufactured their number would not be very large and the required electric power should be easily available. The effect on the air quality in the cities would be noticeable and, in addition, traffic noise would also be reduced. However, power availability will be questionable in the case of a complete shift to electro-mobility as some German politicians are demanding. The existing capacity for renewable energy (biogas, solar and wind), at present, can supply only 25% of German electricity demand. It is better to make environmental improvements in small but rapid steps rather than look for a large new concept which is difficult to realise but likely to take a long time.

Reinhard Marx has worked for various primary lead smelters and later for lead oxide manufacturing firms. He is now retired, but continues working as a consultant for Penox in Germany which is active worldwide in the production of oxides for lead acid batteries.

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EVENT REVIEW: NAATBATT 2017 NAATBATT 2017 Wigwam Resort, Phoenix, Arizona, US • March 13-16

An intelligent approach

NAATBatt’s annual conference has always been different — distinctive is probably a better word — from other conference meetings, proving once again that intellectual rigour and a dash of imagination can create an event that is more than a bean fest with a few rounds of golf. What sets it apart from other conferences and industry trade shows is its unusual mix of a programme of discussions — many of which have never been aired at a conference level before — with a top-flight destination that attracts the most senior figures in US advanced batteries to meet and network. Part of the regular schedule of the meetings is to spend time to focus on new innovations in battery technology that are expected to impact the market within the coming five years. This year the programme included two new sessions. The first was a workshop on special

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intellectual property issues related to battery technology and perhaps the first to be aired at a major battery event. The workshop, organized by Matt Rappaport of IP Checkups, Dan Abraham of MPEG LA and John Platt of Snell & Wilmer, examined ways that battery companies can use intellectual property laws more effectively to monetize their proprietary battery technology and stimulate innovation. The workshop covered several topics. Representatives of the US and European patent offices outlined special factors that companies need to consider in seeking patent protection for energy storage technologies. James Jessop of Hydro-Quebec discussed its experience in protecting and licensing its extensive portfolio of battery technology, including the original LFP technology developed by John Goodenough. A panel also discussed the possibility of evaluating battery patent portfolios using Big Data analysis, which may open the door to more accurate valuation of battery companies in the

marketplace and greater access to capital. The highlight of the IP workshop, in the view of some, was a brief but heated exchange between one presenter, who was offering services to protect battery companies from patent ‘trolls’, and several in the audience who felt that they were being unfairly being characterized as trolls by the presenter. The upshots of the debate that followed were that who is a troll is largely in the eye of the beholder and that, whether you are a troll or not, it takes a lot of money to defend the validity of a battery-related patent against a determined challenger. The second new aspect of the NAATBatt 2017 programme was a session called the Federal Battery Technology Licensing Forum. During the forum, NAATBatt asked seven national laboratories and the Army Research Laboratory to make presentations about the best battery-related technology in their current portfolio that are available for license to private companies. Over the past several years, US taxpayers have contributed billions of dollars to the country’s national labs and other research institutions to develop technologies that will power electric vehicles and the energy needs of the defence establishment. Although advanced battery manufacturing projects in the United States have proved challenging, US research institutions continue to produce worldclass developments in advanced battery technology. The Federal Battery Technology Licensing Forum was intended to help those institutions, and the taxpayers that fund them, monetize that research, by having its government owners display and license the technology to companies in the private sector. NAATBatt says it was aware of several discussions between laboratories and private sector companies that followed these presentations. NAATBatt 2017 also included a half day of presentations about the state of several different sectors of the battery

EVENT REVIEW: NAATBATT 2017 market. Analysts from Avicenne Energy, GTM Research, BYD, and DNVGL, among others, discussed the opportunities for battery manufacturers and integrators in maritime, light electric vehicles, electric buses, ESS, IoT, industrial batteries, and vehicleto-grid services. The fourth annual Energy Storage Innovation Summit was also part of NAATBatt 2017. This year’s summit included presentations by 10 companies, chosen by a jury selected by a committee of NAATBatt member firms, presenting battery technology that is marketready and available for licence or purchase by third parties. While past summits have highlighted technology owned by startup companies, this year’s summit included, among others, a presentation by General Motors, which is offering a number of its own battery-related technologies for licence or sale. Another regular feature of NAATBatt annual meetings is Member Update Presentation sessions. Each year each NAATBatt member firm has the right to speak for about six minutes at the annual meeting about anything it wants to talk about. Generally, companies use this opportunity to make an ad for their goods and services. While listening to a series of six minutes ads may not sound particularly appealing, NAATBatt

believes that these presentations are generally the most productive part of its annual meetings. The fact is that most companies do not know what most other companies do in the industry do or what they are working on. The Members Update Presentations provide unparalleled market intelligence and generate a surprising number of unexpected discussions and business deals. They remain the most popular part of the NAATBatt annual meeting programme. Two other parts of the NAATBatt 2017 meetings deserve mention. The first was a panel discussion among senior battery industry executives about the impact of new battery technologies on the market. The senior executive panellists came from companies representing a diverse set of technologies: CATL (lithium-ion), EnerSys (lead acid), UniEnergy Technologies (vanadium flow batteries), and ZAF Energy Systems (zinc-based batteries). Each panellist expressed optimism about the opportunities for the technology his company represented. But it quickly became apparent that several of the purported opportunities were mutually exclusive. Several sectors of the battery industry will likely see two or more of these technologies battling head to head for dominance over the next few years. The second notable panel discussion focused on extreme fast and inductive charging of electric vehicles. Many believe that widespread acceptance of electric vehicles will require that consumers be able to charge them at least as quickly and seamlessly as vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. As one speaker pointed out, concern about vehicle range, which is what drives tremendous investment in improving battery energy density, is of less importance if that vehicle can be quickly and conveniently recharged. The panel examined that state of extreme fast and inductive charging technology, including significant technical challenges to both. But it was evident from the discussion that many look to these technologies as ways to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles and that investment is likely to continue flowing into them. Finally, NAATBatt annual meetings include presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards to individuals who have made outsized contributions to the business, policy or science

of electrochemical energy storage technologies over the course of a lifetime. NAATBatt 2017 presented three such awards. The winners were Michael Thackeray, Khalil Amine and Rick Winter. Thackeray and Amine were honoured for their contributions to the science of lithium-ion technology, with respect to which their work, including the development of NMC technology, has been prolific. Rick Winter, the COO of UniEnergy Technology, was honoured for his contributions to the business and the science of vanadium flow battery technology, of which he is generally recognized as being one of the fathers. NAATBatt 2018 will be held on March 19-22, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country resort in San Antonio, Texas. Out of respect to the Texas venue, NAATBatt expects in 2018 to supplement its usual golf tournament on the day before the meeting with a shooting tournament. Lock and load — reserve the dates!

Second life EV battery workshop this May NAATBatt International will host the first ever workshop on purposing and reusing electric vehicle (xEV) batteries at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 11. Repurposing and reusing xEV batteries in non-vehicle, energy storage applications is gaining growing interest from automotive OEMs and electric drive supporters. Several factors are driving this interest and creating a market for second life xEV batteries. The NAATBatt workshop on Repurposing and Reusing xEV Batteries will examine both the theory and practice of using batteries originally designed for vehicle use in non-vehicle applications. The workshop will examine the economic, engineering, legal and regulatory issues involved in repurposing and reuse. Major automakers, researchers and second use service providers will discuss their experience to date on a topic that is likely to have a major impact on the economics of vehicle electrification.

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EVENT REVIEW: THE BATTERY SHOW The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo’ Sindelfingen, Germany • April 4-6

The Battery Show makes landfall in Europe The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo’ Europe debut closed this April in Sindelfingen, Germany to a more than healthy reception. The Battery Show, arguably the largest battery related event in the US — coming from nowhere just a handful of years ago — has moved to Europe and appears to have immediately become a success. The event drew more than 4,000 visitors over three days and was representative of the entire industry spectrum, with engineers, R&D specialists, C-level personnel, and purchasing people all gathered together to discover the latest innovations and technology in the battery and electric vehicle sectors. “The expo had a unique offering for visitors: the opportunity to see first-hand the latest cutting-edge technologies and solutions for battery applications from more than 200 specialist suppliers including Daimler, Paraclete Energy, Voltabox, CATL, Continental, Valeo and Siemens,” says Steve Bryan, the organizer of the event for Smarter Shows. There were a variety of headline announcements. Automotive manufacturing giant Daimler presented its smart battery technology due to launch later this year, giving visitors to their booth an insight into what might be the nottoo-distant future of electric drive technology. Paraclete Energy marked an industry first when it announced its new pre-lithiated SM-Silicon PL – the first scalable air and moisture stable

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EVENT REVIEW: THE BATTERY SHOW prelithiated silicon. CEO Jeff Norris said at the unveiling, “The last disruptive technology to hit the battery industry was the lithium-ion battery in the early 90s. Air and water-stable prelithiated SM-Silicon/PL could be just as disruptive.” Jade Beevor, representing Energy Storage Journal — a sister magazine of Batteries International —at the event said she was impressed by the business cases being presented for the latest technologies. “You don’t have to drill down too deeply into the chemistries of these products before you’re aware that many of the products on display or being readied for market have the potential to change whole sectors of the automotive or energy storage market around.” Crowds gathered at Voltabox’s stand as Jurgen Pampel, vice president of sales, presented the 48V LTO module for mild hybrid applications. Mild hybrids looks set to be one of the EV markets that Meanwhile over at CATL’s booth, visitors enjoyed a demo of the 8V pack for mild hybrid powertrain, PHEV battery system, ‘EnerSpeedy’ fast-charging products, and the ‘EnerMagic’ large-capacity cell for commercial vehicles by Bob Galyen, chief technical officer who also spoke at the conference. Huber+Suhner demonstrated how its cooled cable and connector enables high-power charging of electric vehicles. Attendees said they were impressed by the sub 20-minute charging time. Another live demo took place at Sovema and Bitrode Corporation’s stand, where they made major announcements and unveiled new battery products. As well as showcasing their battery products, industry figures gave a series of presentations at the conference, which ran alongside the main exhibition event. The plenary keynote conference session set the tone for the following days, with a packed room as speakers from LG Chem, Renault, the European Commission, and PSA Group

shared their thoughts on the future of hybrid and electric technologies. The choice of subject matter was topical and they spoke in detail on the measures needed to strengthen the European battery sector and analysed how the growth and spread of both European and Asian battery producers could have an impact on the sector. In a sense this part of the session verged on the academic. Battery manufacturing has — at least mostly — left the European continent with production shifting eastwards. In terms of large scale lithium ion battery production the only major manufacturing site in Europe equivalent to a gigafactory looks set to be built for LG Chem in Poland. And, given the extraordinary volumes of lithium ion batteries predicted to come out of China in the next few years, the LG Chem operations looks a pale shadow to the gigawatts of production that firms such as China’s CATL will be pumped out in the next couple of years.” In the second day of sessions, the panel considered the global nature of battery manufacturing and examined clever new components for drive technology. One track was dedicated to the future of 48V – a theme that inspired perspectives from some of the industry’s leading minds. ADD-Solution’s Edmund Erich looked at 48V challenges and solutions, a theme built on by Daimler’s Michael Timmann, Continental’s Stefan Lauer, and Valeo’s Olivier Coppin, who discussed in detail the development and evolution of the 48V system. One thing was clear and that was the introduction of 48V as an industry automotive standard — if adopted universally —would require a complete shake-up of the lead battery industry. Speakers also tackled topics including how to improve battery manufacturing processes and how to drive advanced production capabilities, and delivered a market forecast for pricing and scale using cost scenarios

for manufacturing around the world. The organizers said: “the testimonials we’ve received have been positive, with attending companies praising everything from the quality of products on display to the high-level panel discussions and the opportunity to forge new business connections. “For example, Christian Veit speaking for Hongfa Europe said, ‘We were positively surprised about the amount of leads we had and definitely we will come next year.’ “And TE Connectivity Germany’s Uwe Hanck said, ‘We enjoyed the quality of the conversations with both technical experts and decision makers.’” The 2018 Battery Show Europe and Electric & Hybrid Technology Expo Europe, will be held next April in Hanover, Germany.

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EVENT REVIEW Electricity Storage Network 8th Annual Symposium London, UK • January 25

Where regulation meets cost savings

In January the Electricity Storage Network held it’s eighth Annual Symposium forum, hosting it a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament in the centre of London. Over a 100 delegates, including developers, manufacturers, suppliers, network companies and regulators, were present. The meetings began with the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) head of electricity system’s David Capper, giving a rundown of proposed policy changes that will level the playing field for energy storage in the UK energy market. Capper began with top-line numbers. By 2050, the UK could save between £17 billion to £40 billion ($21 billion to $49 billion) cumulatively, if a low carbon energy system is rolled out; one that deploys not only energy storage, but also demand side response (DSR), interconnectors and combined cycle gas turbines all needed to complement a larger renewables base. The savings can be broken down into four areas. The first is avoiding or deferring network investments. Cumulative savings are £4 billion to £13 billion in avoided distribution costs and up to £1.5 billion in avoid-

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ed transmission costs. The second is by reducing the requirement for overall back-up capacity. Cumulative savings to 2050 from capital costs are £14 billion to £19 billion due in part to fewer peaking plants. Third is by reducing the operational costs of the system, or balancing the system, and fourth is through maximising the use of low carbon capacity. Cumulative savings to 2050 from avoided generation costs could be £13 billion to £15 billion. However, energy storage technology to date has been able to provide services into the National Grid’s enhanced frequency response markets and capacity market. Though other markets exist they do not sufficiently guarantee income streams making investors wary of investing in the construction of energy storage assets. In response National Grid is reviewing other grid services markets. BEIS is close to publishing its findings, following a call for evidence — a consultation on a smart, flexible energy system in November 2016. “Removing policy and regulatory barriers is our first priority. We’ve identified these in areas including network charging, final consumption

levies, connections, planning and ownership. We’ve had good discussions with the ESN about these, and the association has been influential in helping to develop a new definition for energy storage,” said Capper. One of the areas that needs to be addressed is double-charging, where storage can be charged as an end-user of electricity, even when this electricity is exported and used a second time). “In the call for evidence we wanted input from the industry on how best to fix it. BEIS and markets regulator Ofgem are addressing these issues together; the government and regulator are committed to working together and setting out the same view in the regulatory space,” said Capper. BEIS will publish a Smart Systems Plan in the spring, outlining the actions it will take to remove barriers for energy storage and other smart solutions. A later presentation in the day, from the National Grid’s John West who is its policy and design manager, summarized changes that would enable the integration of more low carbon distributed generation, as part of the Future Role of the System Operator Programme. The general industry response, including that from major players such as RES, AES, and S&C, was that the “legacy barriers” to market deployment need to be removed quickly; there is no need for further reviews. The plan should contain milestones for action. Ofgem is consulting on the role of the System Operator Programme, as a separate National Grid entity, which would take a more neutral role in resolving challenges, look to promote new flexibility and whole system solutions. One of the first developments is to launch by this July a revised market tender for response services. There is also work underway to simplify the various grid service products.

EVENT REVIEW Other presentations from companies with energy storage businesses followed including S&C and RES. Both of these made the point that energy storage cannot be deployed most effectively unless distribution system operators (DSOs)/distribution network operators (DNOs) — the wires utilities — are able to own or be able to leverage the benefits of the technology. “We have the EFR market now, but still there are no investable signals for distribution networks or for services to defer transmission infrastructure upgrades. Ofgem also has to take a role in aligning market regulations to ensure stacking is restricted to make sure that DNO signals, capacity market and other grid services markets are aligned for stacking,” said RES’ John Prendergast.

Panel debate: EV challenges In the second session of the ESN’s Annual Symposium, four UK companies made up a panel debate, with Moixa, a supplier of residential behind-themeter batteries, Connected Energy Storage, a provider of energy storage for electric vehicle charging systems based on second life batteries, liquid air energy storage developer Highview Power, representing distribution scale storage and flow battery firm REDT, which is targeting grid-scale, long-duration storage applications. The panellists were asked if the network can cope with EV growth. Matthew Lumsden the managing director and founder of Connected Energy said while there have been various trials to see how EV charging as a new load on the grid, the unknown issue is how people will react towards charging EVs. An individual EV is equivalent to a house in terms of network connection. “While EV charging at home will happen, it seems likely that fastcharging public infrastructure will become part of the equation. Today public EV charging infrastructure is 50kW, with some 100kW and 350kW is being discussed. These will place huge loads on the grid. Energy storage will be required to manage demand from the grid,” Lumsden said. According to Connected Energy Storage, there are some 60,000 EVs on the roads of Britain already, with a capacity of some 1.5GW, accounting for the bulk of our electricity storage. However, the question was raised whether in, the highly competitive

environment of car sales, it was realistic to expect vehicle manufacturers to incorporate expensive grid integration equipment. Rather, Moixa suggested, the market for household batteries is soon to take off, with massive household appeal and ability to deploy far more rapidly than that of large units. However, argued RedT, larger units could operate as longer-life, multipurpose assets with >60% utilization rates, rather than as replaceable batteries. This was particularly important when usage entailed not only system stability services but network asset deferral and, later on, reduction of renewables curtailment, a point made by Highview Power. While cities can handle relatively high numbers of EVs before their impact on the grid starts to be felt, Gareth Brett, chief executive of Highview Power Storage, pointed out that growth in EV adoption will present DNOs with more challenges in rural areas, where pockets of people with EVs will be wanting to charge at the same time. “Storage located within the distribution network serving these pockets will help to alleviate the impact of EVs,” said Brett. Pöyry, in the session, “Who Pays Who Wins,” set out four broad applications of electricity storage: merchant service provision, network asset deferral, co-location on the grid with generation, and behind-themeter. Some of the potential positive and negative knock-on effects were set out, for example additional network management costs, retailer imbalance costs, and the question was raised as to whether all such “externalities” should be monetized. In relation to the range of services required, Flexitricity highlighted the challenge not of the service itself, but of managing the state of charge of the storage facility such that it is available when needed – where is the revenue stream for maintaining the state of charge? CER, the Commission for Energy Regulation in Ireland, set out their approach to the regulatory framework for the provision of services and providing adequate incentives, but highlighted the difficulty of supporting long-term service provision and availability contracts in the context of the EU Balancing Code. In the afternoon session on “Good Services, Better Services,” National Grid set out their proposed “wholesystem” approach to the procurement of services as a more independ-

ent System Operator. As well as outlining the principles for developing some simpler products, National Grid suggested there would not be another EFR tender, but rather EFR would be incorporated into a new FR tender in July 2017. TLT, having been involved in some 40% of EFR tenders, in their talk “From Spreadsheet to Deployment” set out the legal and contractual considerations for developing a storage project, including a focus on co-located and behind-the-meter configurations. EDF Renewables gave an account of the drivers for their 49MW West Burton EFR project, where co-location with existing generation assets was one of the keys to the success of their EFR tender bid. Kiwi Power rounded off the session on services with an account of how revenues from various services compared, noting that the potential for annual revenue ranged from £5,000/ MW under the Capacity Market to >£100,000/MW for frequency markets, albeit the risk profiles and utilization regimes differ. Turning the focus further afield, the European Association for the Storage of Energy (EASE) outlined the latest provisions for energy storage as set out in the Winter Package. EASE suggested the UK would continue to adhere to EU policy requirements on energy, regardless of Brexit. EASE also flagged the availability of some €2 billion for storage projects, for which post-Brexit eligibility seems less clear. To finish the day with hot news, BEIS arrived to announce funding support for innovation in energy storage, in particular: a £9 million competition for reducing the cost of energy storage; and £600,000 for a first-of-a-kind, large-scale storage facility. Questions arose around support for pre-commercial deployment of proven technologies. The organizers of the sessions gave a synopsis of the topics of discussion covered: • the need for quick solutions, notably removal of market barriers • the need to facilitate various scales of storage and prepare for the societal implications of each • the flow of value streams and the importance of aligning these • the need to keep an eye on European regulation and global markets • innovation support, with appropriate health and safety regulations.

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FORTHCOMING EVENTS The Battery Show Europe

Energy Storage Association — 27th Annual Conference and Expo

Stuttgart, Germany • April 4-6 The Battery Show Europe is set to become the premier exhibition and conference for advanced battery manufacturing and technology in Europe The battery industry in Europe has never been stronger, as manufacturers benefit from a growing European market with increases in e-mobility, grid storage, microgrids, renewables,

International Conference on Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology 2017 Putrajaya, Malaysia April 11-13, 2017 Clean energy is electric energy generated by utilizing renewable and nonrenewable technologies with zero or lowest feasible emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, and toxic air contaminants on-site. Deploying carbon-free clean energy systems is the best option that will reduce pollution and tackle the issue of environmental and population costs due to the increasing global energy demand. From the current cost perspective, clean energy is also capable of being permanently de-coupled from the oil and gas markets. As carbon-free energy sources, fuel cell and hydrogen energy systems can reduce fossil fuel-based GHG emissions drastically in order to give a significant impact on climate change. Challenges ahead include inefficient technologies for the current clean energy production, short supply of energy-related materials, little understanding of the fundamental processes in the chemical reactions involved, limited actions in terms of policies and R&D, and

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portable devices and tools along with medical technology. The world is becoming increasingly electric, and Europe is leading the way in much of it. Contact Steve Bryan Email: Tel: +44 1273 916 316

problems faced in large-scale adoption and implementation of more efficient, high-performing, and affordable alternative technological solutions. Fuel cell and hydrogen energy systems for electricity generation and storage are among the essential elements for the transition from high-carbon, fossil fuel-based energy generation to carbon-free, clean energy power generation. They have made vast improvements and their technologies are currently on the upward move, but there is still a long way to go before they can be as cost competitive as fossil fuels. Close collaboration, cooperation, and coordination between social scientists, climate and energy experts, and policymakers across all sectors of the energy systems can accelerate innovation and drive the most promising ideas to the marketplace. Governments with clear, long-term, and measurable goals for a carbonfree energy economy must be willing to invest on the fuel cell and hydrogen energy R&D efforts. The zero-carbon dioxide economy is achievable with fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies and crucial in transforming global energy politics. Contact

Denver, USA April 18-20, 2017 The Energy Storage Association 27th Annual Conference and Expo is the must-attend event in energy storage — bringing together the global energy storage industry for three days of relevant content, and unique networking and business development opportunities. Our conference this past April was record-breaking in many ways: we featured the first-ever multi-country USTDA reverse trade mission, and had more than 1,600 attendees, 130 speakers, 40 educational sessions, six site tours to cutting-edge installations and multiple workshops led by renowned experts. ESA will continue to build on that momentum when we bring the conference to Denver this April coming. As one of the largest renewable energy markets in the country, Denver will provide the perfect location for ESA to expand the conversation about storage and renewables. The showcase will include 90,000 square feet of exhibit space and we are planning more innovative content than ever before. Contact

CHARGING THE FUTURE Hear it here first! Network with 18,000 peers and learn about the latest trends and innovations from 100 storage exhibitors. 1 ticket – 3 events: ees North America co-located with Intersolar North America and SEMICON West. See where the energy storage market is heading – attend the ees conference and the versatile exhibition programs! The best in store for North America – register now!


FORTHCOMING EVENTS 8th Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technology Arlington, USA April 23-26, 2017

Battery Council International Convention * Power Mart Jacksonville, Florida, USA • April 30- May 2, 2017 Battery Council International’s Convention and Power Mart Expo is North America’s premier lead battery event attracting a huge national and international audience of around 500 delegates and some 50 exhibitors displaying their wares at the Power Mart Expo. Last year’s introduction of the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award proved a huge success as the industry displayed a huge range of new products that have the capability of changing the lead battery business completely. With applications for the 2017 award already being submitted, the next event looks set to become an another showcase of innovation

The conference will feature plenary sessions, panel sessions, technical papers, and tutorials by experts on grid modernization and smart grid applications and system integration. The theme for this year is “Innovative Trends in Grid Modernization” and will include an emphasis on how to economically and reliably integrate distributed energy resources in system operation, the needs for and trends in advancements of grid management technologies and systems, the seams between distribution and bulk power system operations, and approaches for planning, operations, and cross cutting disciplines to address end-to-end operational coordination and control issues, including practical application. Contact

The Sepa Utility Conference Tuscon, Arizona, US April 24-26 The SEPA Utility Conference provides a space where regulated utilities can network and learn from their peers in a confidential, intimate environment. Whether you are a utility professional interested in solar, energy storage, demand response, or the various technologies that enable distributed generation, there’s something here for you. Contact Tel: +1 202 857 0898

9th Annual MENA New Energy 2017 Dubai, United Arab Emirates April 25-26 With vast stretches of desert, windy coastlines and some of the highest solar radiation levels in the world, the Middle East & North Africa is a natural home for renewable energy. In the last decade, the MENA region has started to harness the abundant natural energy resources that it has in plentiful supply — namely, solar power — but also, more recently, it has looked to take advantage of the power of the wind. To augment this movement, MENA New Energy (formerly known as MENASol) was created to facilitate the discussions between governments looking to add renewable energy to their country’s grid and developers who would build out each project. Contact Tobias Crow Tel: +44 207 422 4358 Email:

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Contact: Tel: +1 312 245 1074 • Email: •

Battery Congress

All Energy

Novi, USA May 9-10

May 10-11, 2017 Glasgow, Scotland

To provide a forum for, engineers, managers, scientists, academic researchers, and industry executives to exchange advances in battery technology and applications and management systems. This forum will address key topics and issues related to OEMs, suppliers (all tiers), component manufacturers, governmental and non-governmental agencies. It also will provide a network to support educational research and publish technical findings in conference proceedings and technical magazines. This forum would provide a conference, exposition, and publication dedicated to the research integration of new battery technologies in vehicular and other energy system applications.

All-Energy has historically 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 fastchanging marketplace. 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 and tidal sectors, as well as those involved in energy storage, heat, low carbon transport and sustainable cities solutions.

Contact Email: Tel: +1 734 9979249

Contact Tel: +44 208 271 2179 Email:

International Stationary Battery Conference (Battcon) Florida, USA • May 8-10 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, data-

center 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. Contact Pam McCombs E-mail:

September 12 – 14, 2017 Novi, Michigan, USA North America’s Leading Conference for the Advanced Battery Industry Join thought leaders from across the battery supply chain, including:

OuJung Kwon, Ph.D.,

Mohamad Abdul-Hak

John Juriga

Cell Chemistry Technical Expert, Ford Motor Company

Manager, High Voltage Systems & Power Electronics, Mercedes Benz

Director of Powertrain, Hyundai

Carrie Okma

Mark Rychlinski

Robert Galyen, Ph.D.,

Lithium-ion Cell / Chemistry Specialist, FCA

Technical Fellow, Electric Power, General Motors

CTO, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited

View agenda at

Super early-bird rates now available online - conference passes start from $495.*

Free-to-attend exhibition Access more than 600 industry leading suppliers, including:

Register for your free expo pass online

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 6th Israeli Energy Storage Conference Herzelia, Israel May 10-11 Shmuel De-Leon is pleased to invite you to participate in the 6th Israeli Energy Storage Conference looking at batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells, storage for the grid and EVs) The 6th Israeli conference for Energy Storage, Batteries, Super Capacitors, Fuel Cells and EV will meet to discuss and provide a platform for technological innovations and business opportunities. The conference will discuss the latest advances in the field found in Israel and abroad and support the electrochemical, e-mobility and smart grid industries in Israel. All presentations will be in English. The conference is held every two years and is the leading Israeli Energy Storage conference, bringing together world wide participants from leading private and public companies, startups, investors, academics and businesses that are interested in the energy field. An exhibition will run alongside the conference. Participation includes lunch and all proceeding materials, presentations, posters as well as proceedings and technical magazines. This forum would provide a conference, exposition, and publication dedicated to the research integration of new battery technologies in vehicular and other energy system applications. Contact Shmuel De-Leon Email: Tel: +972 77 501 0792 asp?sType=0&PageId=70657

NAATBatt Workshop on Repurposing and Reusing xEV Batteries

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA • May 11 Repurposing and reusing xEV batteries in non-vehicle, energy storage applications is a growing practice. Several factors drive this trend. The increasing sophistication, growing volumes and rapidly falling prices of xEV batteries make them increasingly competitive in non-vehicle battery applications with batteries purpose built for those non-vehicle applications. Also, as xEVs are retired from service in the ordinary course, their batteries contain substantial remaining energy storage capacity.

Energy Storage Innovations (ESI) Berlin-Germany May 10-11 The event focusing on future energy storage solutions, including advancedand 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. The event assesses the most exciting battery technology developments from world-leading companies, start-ups and research institutes.

Analysts estimate that these used xEV batteries will collectively represent several gigawatts of energy storage capacity by the early 2020s. Many companies believe that they can redeploy these batteries in other, second life applications at relatively low cost. Contact James Greenberger Tel: +1 312 588 0477 Email:

application Integration with other components like displays, energy harvesters. • A focus on commercialization: End users and integrators from a diverse range of markets present their needs, requirements and case studies network with potential adopters/ end users and see the current products and state of the technology at the event exhibition Contact Corinne Jennings Email: show/en/

• New form and structural factors of future batteries such as thin-film, flexible, bendable, rollable, foldable, large-area and micro-batteries • New manufacturing techniques • Promising materials for emerging battery technologies Emerging applications including flexible wearable devices, Internet of Things, electric vehicles and grid-storage

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1O th International Conference on Lead-Acid Batteries 13-16 June 2017, Golden Sands, Bulgaria


the program includes     

Technical sessions focused on the latest research achievements and developments in the field of lead-acid battery technology and operation Discussions on the new challenges facing lead-acid batteries Exhibition fair as perfect opportunity for promotion of new products and services Gaston Plante Medal presentation ceremony Social events for an effective professional networking

labat’2017 main topics         

Fundamentals of lead-acid battery electrochemistry Advances in lead-acid battery technology and manufacture New additives and materials for lead-acid batteries Lead-carbon electrode / supercapacitor systems Modeling of lead-acid batteries Hybrid electric vehicle batteries VRLA batteries and oxygen cycle Battery recycling New machines and equipment for battery industry

You are welcome to join us to celebrate the 10 th anniversary edition of this traditional meeting of world-leading academic and industry experts! ORGAnized by Lead-Acid Batteries Department, Institute of Electrochemistry & Energy Systems, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Acad. G. Bonchev Str., Block 10, 1113 Sofia, BULGARIA Tel./Fax: +359 2 8731552

important dates to remember Registration at the Conference Desk in Hotel INTERNATIONAL Get-together cocktail party LABAT’ 2017 conference sessions

12-13 June 2017 12 June 2017 13-16 June 2017

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 5th Annual California Energy Summit Santa Monica, USA • May 16-18 The California energy market is at the centre of a maelstrom of change that will have profound impacts on strategic directions and opportunities for utilities, power producers, preferred resources providers and customers on multiple fronts: • The 50% RPS is driving not only wind and solar procurements, but also increased demands for investments in energy storage, demand response and other fast responding grid assets • Regionalization of CAISO is also being driven by increased reliance on renewables across the west, but the path forward to a multistate RTO is uncertain • IRPs from IOUs and public utilities will for the first time include distributed assets, with unknown impacts on long term power procurement • The loss of Aliso Canyon and quick deployment of storage assets points out both the challenges and creative solutions in solving local capacity issues • The California Demand Response Auction Mechanism is opening the wholesale market for the first time to add flexible capacity requirements that could affect wind, solar and gas power projects • Planners are for the first time trying

Battery Power 2017 Dallas, USA May 17-18 This an international conference highlighting the latest developments impacting batteries and power management in portable devices including smart phones, laptops/tablets, medical devices, wear ables and military applications. Conference topics will include new battery designs, improving power management, predicting battery life, regulations and standards, safety and transportation, battery authentication, charging technology, emerging chemistries, R&D and market trends. Contact Julie Hammond Email:

Renewable Energy World India 2017 New Delhi, USA May 17-19 Renewable Energy World India 2017 will bring together industry experts from across the globe to exchange knowledge and share their expertise, as

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to establish multiyear RA requirements, with the potential for revised flexible capacity requirements that could affect wind, solar and gas power projects. Only those that truly understand the complexity and confusion of California’s rapidly changing energy market will be able to develop strategies to get ahead and profit California Energy Summit 2017 will bring policy-makers together

well as showcase the latest renewable energy technology developments that will ultimately help India transform its power generation system Contact Samantha Malcom Tel: +44 1992 656 621 Email:

China International Battery Fair Shenzhen, China May 18-20 China International Battery Fair is a three day event being held from 18th May to 20th May 2017 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center in Shenzhen, China. This event showcases products like alkaline battery and new type chemical power sources branch, lead acid storage battery branch, lithium battery branch, dry cell branch, solar energy photovoltaic branch etc. in the industrial products industry.

with utility, IPP, energy storage and finance executives to provide the latest information and insights on the opportunities and threats in California, and discuss potential strategies for the future. Contact Maggie Trigueros Email: Tel: + 1 818 888 4444 x 55

231st Electro Chemical Society Meeting New Orleans, USA May 28-June 2 ECS biannual meetings are a forum for sharing the latest scientific and technical developments in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology. Scientists, engineers and industry leaders come from around the world to attend the technical symposia, poster sessions, and professional development workshops. Not to mention exciting networking opportunities and social events. Contact


FORTHCOMING EVENTS 9th Lithium Supply & Markets Conference

ees Europe

May 30-June 2, 2017 Munich, Germany

Montreal, Canada • May 30-June 1 The lithium market has continued to develop after huge growth in 2016. Investment is prominent and demand remains high as lithium continues to be a key mineral in major applications, such as batteries and electric cars. Speakers will share exclusive insight into industry advancements, with new research and developments

remaining a key topic. A focus on new lithium supplies will also be high on the agenda as growth in demand and upward price pressure continues. Contact Tel: +1 212 901 3828 Email: http://

Intersolar Europe

ees Europe, Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, takes place in conjunction with Intersolar Europe. The ees Europe covers the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies. Contact Gaby Kubitza Tel: +49 7231 58598-10 Email:

ESC ’17 — Energy Storage China June 2017, Beijing, China

May 30-June 2, 2017 • Munich, Germany Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners. It takes place annually at the Messe München exhibition centre in Munich, Germany and focuses on the areas of photovoltaics, energy storage and renewable heating, as well as on products and solutions for smart renewable energy. The accompanying Intersolar Europe Conference consolidates selected exhibition topics and showcases international markets, financing and

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pioneering technologies. Since being founded 25 years ago, Intersolar Europe has become the most important industry platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners in the global solar industry. Contact Gaby Kubitza Tel: +49 7231 58598-10 Email:

Since 2012, Energy Storage China has been growing alongside China’s energy storage sector, which has become a prestigious platform for crosssectoral integration, cooperation and development. ESC 2016 attracted 2,186 professional visitors from 12 countries attended the trade fair to source the latest products, gather market information and immerse themselves in ESC forums and seminars to explore various energy storage business models. At ESC 2017 — the 6th International Expo and Conference on Energy Storage in China, which will invite more than 6,000 global professional visitors from 18 countries and over 120 speakers, including wide range of industry leaders, policy makers and scholars to discuss the latest sector developments. The event was held under the theme of Solutions for the Next Generation Energy System. China’s premier solution platform for energy storage technology and applications, and guide the future development of energy storage together. Contact Emma Shen Tel: +86-10-6590-7101 Email:

FORTHCOMING EVENTS International Conference on Lead-Acid Batteries — LABAT’2017

18th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries Chicago, USA June 19-24 IMLB 2016 is the premier international conference on the state of lithium battery science and technology, as well as current and future applications in transportation, commercial, aerospace, biomedical, and other promising sectors. Convening in the heart of downtown Chicago, the conference is expected to draw 2,000 experts, researchers, and company representatives involved in the lithium battery field. Contact Email:

Battery China 2017 Beijing, China June 21-23, 2017

Varna, Bulgaria • June 13-16, 2017 LABAT’2017 conference offers a unique opportunity to lead-acid battery manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, technology and materials to the battery industry to hear about the latest, cutting edge innovations in this chemistry. This event bring together the international lead-acid battery academic and technological community to: • share fundamental knowledge achievements • present results from recent research studies • discuss development trends, challenges and opportunities ahead • demonstrate new products and

Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition Sydney, Australia June 14-15, 2017 This event attracts professionals from the energy industry at all levels and is for utilities, energy businesses, building management and the emerging electric vehicle markets. Contact Tel: +61 2 9556 8847

17th Annual Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) San Francisco, USA June 19-23 For more than 15 years, the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference has at-

equipment for lead-acid battery manufacture • report of new technological methods in recycling • present innovative ideas for future development • establish and develop successful networking with colleagues and friends Contact Mariana Gerganska Tel: +359 2 8731552 E-mail:

Battery China is one of the largest and most recognized state-level industry events, which is held once every two years. Since 1997, Battery China has been accompanied by the growth of China’s battery industry for 20 years. Covering more than 20 countries and regions from China, the US, Japan, Korea, Germany, UK, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, and Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc., last exhibition reached 30,000 square metres, and attracted more than 300 exhibitors worldwide. Contact Ms Yan Tel: +86 10 87765620 Email:

Power and Energy Conference and Exhibition Charlotte, USA June 26-30, 2017

tracted international thought leaders and battery technologists from major automobile makers and their suppliers to discuss key issues impacting the technology and market of advanced vehicles and the batteries that will power them. As the electric vehicle market expands amid increasing pressure from looming regulatory deadlines, the need to develop batteries with better performance and lower cost has never been stronger. AABC provides an invaluable opportunity to delve into these challenges, discuss breakthroughs and best practices, and learn from the researchers and engineers who are bringing these technologies forward to consumers. Contact Tel: +781 972 5400 Email:

ASME Power and Energy brings together ASME Power Conference, ASME Energy Sustainability Conference, ASME Energy Storage Forum, ASME Fuel Cell Conference, ASME Nuclear Forum and the colocated International Conference on Power Engineering (ICOPE). ASME Power and Energy focuses on power generation and energy sustainability and showcases industry best practices, technical advances, development trends, research, and business strategies, presented by a broad range of qualified professionals. You’ll also gain access to our 2017 colocated events, TurboExpo, the mustattend event for turbo-machinery professionals and ICOPE, the International Conference on Power Engineering (cosponsored by ASME, JSME, and CSPE). ICOPE is focused on both fundamental and applied topics in power engineering. Contact

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 115

FORTHCOMING EVENTS presentations by the eminent scientists and students in the field of batteries and fuel cells. Through this we can achieve great knowledge in modern advancements of batteries and emphasize current challenges in battery and fuel cell technology. Contact Email:

Energy Storage North America San Diego, California August 8-10

The International Flow Battery Forum Manchester, UK June 27-29 The 2017 IFBF meeting brings together all those interested in research, development, manufacturing, commercialisation, and deployment of flow batteries to join in a three day conference which includes keynote presentations, oral presentations, panel discussions and poster sessions. We place an emphasis on creating networking opportunities including an evening reception and industry visit. There will be an exhibition area inside the conference area for suppliers, manufacturers and developers to display their products and services. Contact Email: Tel: +44 1666 840948

20th International Lead Conference Berlin, Germany June 28-30 The 2017 IFBF meeting brings together all those interested in research, development, manufacturing, commercialisation, and deployment of flow batteries to join in a three day conference which includes keynote presentations, oral presentations, panel discussions and poster sessions. We place an emphasis on creating networking opportunities including an evening reception and industry visit. There will be an exhibition area inside the conference area for suppliers, manufacturers and developers to display their products and services. Contact Email: Tel: +44 207 833 8090

116 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

EES North America San Francisco, USA July 11-13, 2017 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 US storage market: California. Co-located with Intersolar North America, North America’s most-attended solar event, ees North America provides the best opportunity to explore energy storage systems in combination with PV and beyond. In 2016, more than 100 energy storage exhibitors and 18,244 visitors participated in the co-located events. ees North America is part of the ees global exhibition series. Together with ees Europe in Munich, and ees India in Mumbai, ees events are represented on three continents. Contact Dorothea Eisenhardt Tel: +49 7231 58598-174

2nd International Conference on Battery & Fuel Cell Technology

Energy Storage North America (ESNA), the largest gathering of policy, technology and market leaders in energy storage, will hold its annual event in San Diego this August. Mirroring the growth and maturation of the storage industry at large, ESNA last year grew in its attendee numbers, expo floor space, and the number of organizations represented at its conference and expo. More than 1,900 industry professionals attended ESNA 2016 hailing from over 1,000 different organizations and 25 countries. The nearly 15,000-squarefoot expo floor, the largest ever for Energy Storage North America, provided over 100 exhibitors with an opportunity to showcase the latest software and hardware storage technologies, systems and services. Senior executives from utilities, grid operators, investors and storage developers took part in panel sessions alongside elected officials and regulators to discuss the changing regulatory landscape, the process of valuing benefits of storage and the latest system deployments and assets, among other trending industry topics. In total, last year’s ESNA conference featured nearly 150 speakers on 21 different panel sessions, six keynote addresses and eight in-depth workshops. Contact Inga Otgon Email: Tel: +1 312 621-5820

Rome, Italy July 27-28 Battery Tech 2017 will impact an attractive moment to meet the people in the research field and development; therefore it takes a delight in opening a gate to meet the ability in the field, young researchers and potential speakers. The conference also includes essential topics on technologies related to batteries and fuel cells, especially on what we accomplished so far and what we will succeed in future. Our conference is going to deliver numerous keynote sessions, plenary speeches and poster

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Intersolar South America 2017 São Paulo, Brazil August 22-24 Intersolar South America takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on August 22-24, 2017 and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technologies, energy storage and solar thermal technologies. With 11,500+ visitors, 1,500+ conference attendees and 180 exhibitors, Intersolar has become the most important platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers, investors and partners of the solar industry. Contact Banu Bektas Email: Tel: +49 7231 58598-211

Offshore Battery Days 2017 Oslo, Norway August 22-24 The 2nd Conference for Oil & Gas, Marine, Subsea and Aquaculture batteries will meet to discuss and provide a platform for technological innovations and business opportunities with the latest updates in that fields in Norway and abroad. The conference is the only oil and gas, marine, subsea and aquaculture battery dedicated conference, bringing together participants from leading private and public companies, start-ups, investors, academics and businesses that are interested in the offshore battery field. Seniors speakers from Norway and abroad will participate. The conference will be held in English. The conference also includes an exhibition.

Battery Congress

Solar Power International

Frankfurt, Germany September 12-13

Las Vegas – USA September 12-15

To provide a forum for, engineers, managers, scientists , academic researchers, and industry executives to exchange advances in battery technology and applications and management systems. This forum will address key topics and issues related to OEMs, suppliers (all tiers), component manufacturers, governmental and non-governmental agencies. It also will provide a network to support educational research and publish technical findings in conference proceedings and technical magazines. This forum would provide a conference, exposition, and publication dedicated to the research integration of new battery technologies in vehicular and other energy system applications. Contact Email: Tel: +1 734 997 9249 Web: battery-congress

Solar Power International is powered by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). SPI held its inaugural show in 2003 and was designed to serve and advance the solar energy industry by bringing together the people, products, and professional development opportunities that drive the solar industry and are forging its bright future. This event focuses solely on creating an environment that fosters the exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise for furthering solar energy development in the US. Unlike other solar conferences, all proceeds from SPI support the expansion of the solar energy industry through SEIA and SEPA’s year-round research and education activities, and SEIA’s extensive advocacy efforts. SPI’s primary mission is to deliver on the missions of both SEIA and SEPA in a way that strengthens the solar energy industry domestically and globally, through networking and education, and by creating an energetic and engaging marketplace to connect buyers and suppliers. Contact Tel: +1 703 738 9460

The Battery Show

Contact Shmuel De-Leon Email: Tel: + 972 77 501 0792

Electric, Power & Renewable Energy 2017 Jakarta, Indonesia September 6-9 ASEAN’s largest electric and power exhibition takes place in south-east Asia’s most dynamic market, Indonesia. The last show attracted 943 companies and 20,215 trade visitors. The exhibition provides an ideal platform for key decision makers within the industry. Allowing major equipment importers, distributors and agents to network and discuss new business opportunities in this rapidly evolving industry. Contact Wiwiek Roberto Tel: +62 21 2525 320

Novi Michigan USA • September 12-14 The Battery Show Exhibition & Conference is a showcase of advanced battery technology for electric & hybrid vehicles, utility & renewable energy support, portable electronics, medical technology, military and telecommunications. Facts & Figures With over seven years of exponential growth, The Battery Show proves to be North America’s leading event for cutting-edge battery technology.

Here’s some facts and figures from 2016: there were 6,936 attendees, 171 speakers, 28 countries and 535 exhibitors. Contact Caroline Kirkman Email: caroline.kirkman@smartershows. com Tel: Europe: +44 1273 916300 Tel: US toll free: +1 855 436 8683

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 117

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 17th Asian Battery Conference 5th International Secondary Lead Conference

22nd International congress for Battery Recycling ICBR 2017 Lisbon, Portugal September 20-22 The ICBR is the international platform for discussion of the latest developments and the challenges of battery recycling, bringing together many decision makers in the battery recycling chain such as battery producers, recyclers, collection schemes, policy-makers, transport companies and many more. This top quality congress in battery recycling will focus on: • Safety aspects with lithium primary and lithium rechargeable batteries • Battery technologies development • Urban mobility: The gate to e-mobility? • Update of the review of the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC • Energy storage: Opportunities for a second use of batteries? • Energy storage and e-mobility: Complementary technologies? • Economic aspects of collection or take back schemes • New trends in battery recycling technologies: Primary and rechargeable • Eco-design: A critical approach to batteries removability?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia • September 19-22 The aim of this conference is to share and increase knowledge over all segments of this vital industry, as we all know producing over 65% of the world’s lead supply. No other metal industry comes close to our mark. We will bring together all aspects of secondary lead smelting; discussing plant design, smelting regimes, refractories, burner design, slag formation and structures, pollution and environmental control amongst other presentations. It is a further aim of the conference to open up for discussion all aspects of plant operations and control as to give not only operators, but people interested in secondary smelting a better understanding of the processes involved in the industry. Over the years, the conference content and its drivers have of course changed – from a very technical and scientific format to one that now also addresses the commercial and socio economic aspects of a growing, developing industry. At the time of 1ABC, back in 1988, the world lead tonnage consumed

118 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

was 5.5 million tonnes with 65% entering the battery market, today we consume over 11 million tonnes with 85% being converted to batteries. The range and types of batteries we now produce have also changed during this period with VRLA a standard product and designs for stop–start vehicles becoming commonplace. It’s a far cry from 2ABC when the market was dominated by the use of antimonial alloys and when many Asian producers were only starting to think about converting the negative into a calcium alloy and producing their first ‘hybrid’ battery. So it is with this history and background that the organizers welcome all delegates to the 17ABC in Kuala Lumpur, which aims to deliver an enhanced knowledge and a greater appreciation of our wonderful and growing industry.

• International developments in batteries collection and recycling An exhibition area is integrated into the conference facilities, where vendors meet their clients. Cocktail receptions and a networking dinner create an excellent atmosphere to get in touch with business partners and colleagues. Contact Jeanette Duttlinger Tel: +41 62 785 10 00 Email:

Contact Email: Tel: +61 3 9870 2611

FORTHCOMING EVENTS ees/Intersolar Middle East 2017

Batteries 2017

Dubai, United Arab Emirates September 25-27 The organizers of Intersolar, the world’s leading exhibition and conference for the solar industry, have been active in the Gulf region for the past three years. With Dubai, Intersolar Middle East has secured the ideal venue to reach all of the Gulf States as well as emerging solar markets such as Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. The event’s exhibition and conference both focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technologies, energy storage and solar thermal technologies. Since being founded, Intersolar has become the most important industry platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners of the global solar industry. Intersolar Middle East offers you the best possibilities to network with policy makers and government officials from the MENA region. Increase your profits in one of the most lucrative emerging solar markets and benefit from direct access to key buyers from across the Middle East and Northern Africa! Contact Susanne Bregazzi Email: Tel: +49-7231-58598-0

EVS30: 30th International Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition + World of Energy Solutions Stuttgart, Germany October 9-11

Nice, France • October 3-6 For 18 years, the Batteries event remains today one of the world’s most attractive event and the meeting place of technologies (lead acid, NiMH, Li-ion Post), applications (from micro batteries to large format batteries) and the value chain (chemists OEMs and end users). During three days, the conference will gather 70 speakers and internationally known experts. Contact Corina Orphanou Email: Tel: +33 1 43 20 21 38

EVS30: the Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition, is the industry meeting point for the entire electro-mobility industry. Manufacturers, users and decisionmakers can get the latest picture of all forms of electric mobility in Stuttgart and discuss new trends and possible uses of electric power transmission. Discover at the trade fair, how battery and storage, fuel cell technologies and hydrogen technologies will affect the future energy industries. Contact (EVS30) Sandra Bilz Email: Tel: +49 711 656960 5704 (World of Energy Solutions) Silke Frank Tel. +49 711 656960-55 Email: html

Interbattery 2017

Seoul, Korea • September 27-29 InterBattery, sponsored by Korea’s ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and directed by Korea Battery Industry Association and Coex, is Korea’s biggest secondary-cell battery convention that was first launched in 2013. InterBattery is Korea’s only battery industry exhibition that simultaneously accommodates the fast-growing

120 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Mobile market, automobile industry, as well as ESS and EV markets, and allows for the buyers and manufacturers to naturally and most efficiently interact while learning about the newest products and trends. Furthermore, the global conference The Battery Conference will be in session at the same time, allowing for the

opportunity to listen to international opinion leaders, exchange influential ideas, and estimate the future of the industry. Contact Tel: +822-6000-1393 Email:


Dubai Solar Show

Dubai, United Arab Emirates October 23-25 NEC Birmingham, England • October 10-12 Offering a wide ranging programme that explores a range of key issues, UK Construction Week works with key industry leaders and organizations to address policy issues, develop skills and personal development, and seek out, recognise and reward talent and ability. Alongside the largest product showcase in the industry, UK Construction Week provides the perfect platform to network and open new business op-

portunities like never before. Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week is the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. The event unites over 650 exhibitors with an audience of over 30,000 visitors. Contact Email:

Dubai Solar Show is an important B2B platform for the public & private sectors to make deals, build partnerships, review the latest solarenergy technologies, learn about current and future projects in the region opportunities to take part in solarenergy projects and programmes. Contact Tel: +971 4 322 3031 Email:

Intelec 2017

Gold Coast, Australia • October 22-26 Intelec is an international annual technical conference which, for the past 38 years, has been the premier forum for the science and engineering of energy systems for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Research and technical papers explore the needs and trends in the sub-

ject areas of power conversion, energy storage, and high-reliability and mission-critical powering infrastructure. Topics include DC power plants, powering architectures, converters, inverters, batteries, fuel cells, grounding, physical and thermal designs, building and equipment cooling systems.

Tutorials are included in the technical program as well as a comprehensive exhibition of products and equipment. Contact

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 121


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BATTERY PIONEERS Kevin Desmond tells the story of Jürgen Garche, who became one of the driving forces behind advances in fuel cells and batteries.

Chasing an electrochemical dream world

Garche’s special interest was the interface reactions between the Pb-grid and the PbO2 active mass in the positive lead-acid battery electrode. This positive electrode is thermodynamically unstable and in fact already a lead-acid battery system.

year — becoming the first university student in his family — he started reading chemistry at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden). His particular interest in electrochemistry brought him to the attention of Kurt Schwabe, rector of the TUD. He was also director of the TUD Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry which was founded in 1900 as Germany’s first electrochemical institute. From Schwabe’s invitation in 1966, the 24-year-old made his first contact with an applied electrochemical project, an industrial 3kW fuel cell forklift truck developed by BAE Berlin and TU Dresden. This project was directed by electrochemists; the main challenge was developing the hydrazine anode with a relatively low activity. Although Garche’s interest was related to applied electrochemistry, Schwabe persuaded him to do his PhD work in theoretical electrochemistry. In 1970 he submitted his doctoral thesis on “The Thermodynamics of Concentrated Electrolytes”, so helping to extend the validity of the

Figure 1: Forklift driven by a 3 kW hydrazine-air fuel cell (1966)

Figure 2: Garche in the lab during as PhD student at TU Dresden (1969)

Jürgen Werner Garche was born in Cottbus, a university town about 125km south east of Berlin, in February 1944. He was born at a time of great change: the Second World War was coming to a close — and when it did Cottbus fell into the Russian sector and so became part of the German Democratic Republic. By the time Garche was eight, the

GDR was detached from Western Europe, with consequences that affected much of the middle years of his future career. In 1962 Garche left home and started his professional training as a laboratory chemist at the huge Lützkendorf mineral oil plant, near Leuna — then about a three-hour drive from Cottbus. The following

Batteries International • Spring 2017 • 123

BATTERY PIONEERS Debye-Hückel equation to higher salt concentrations. During this period, Garche was a keen athlete, both as a middledistance runner and in basketball; he represented the TU Dresden basketball team. He also worked as a life guard on the cold Baltic Sea, near Warnemünde, where he spent his summer breaks to make money for his study. In 1975, he married Ursula Weiss, an orthopaedic doctor. They were later to have a son, Stefan, who in a sense has followed his father’s footsteps. He is a lawyer at the North Rhine-Westphalian Energy Agency responsible for the legal aspects of national and international fuel cell and battery projects. As was common in East Germany at that time, Garche continued to work at his alma mater where he was promoted to assistant lecturer, eventually supervising Klaus Wiesener’s applied electrochemistry R & D group, which looked at Galvanic Elements and specialized in batteries and fuel cells. Garche’s special interest was the interface reactions between the Pb-grid and the PbO2 active mass in the positive lead-acid battery electrode. This positive electrode is thermodynamically unstable and in fact already a lead-acid battery system. “At that time, the main measurement techniques were potentio-dynamic and impedance methods,” Garche says. “Of course, sophisticated and expensive equipment now available has been partially helpful to get deeper insights in electronic and chemical structures. For most investigations even today classical electrochemical methods are mostly sufficient.” In his Habilitation qualification in 1982 at TU Dresden, Garche described a model of the dynamic stability of PbO2 electrodes in lead acid batteries. This would later be republished in The Journal of Power Sources. This model explains the passivation and self-discharge behaviour of PbO2 electrodes. Furthermore Garche established a model of Pb corrosion that explained the influence of the active mass and polarization conditions. After German reunification in 1990, Garche moved to Ulm in southern Germany to join the recently founded Electrochemical Energy Storage

124 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Jürgen Garche in front of a ZSW 2 kW PEMFC test rig

This model explains the passivation and selfdischarge behaviour of PbO2 electrodes. Furthermore Garche established a model of Pb corrosion which explained the influence of the active mass and polarization conditions. and Energy Conversion Division of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) a notfor profit R&D institute established by Wolfgang Witschel. The main challenges at that time were to form an electrochemical team of scientists coming from other disciplines. In 1991 he was appointed privatdozent (external lecturer) for electrochemistry at Ulm University. Two years later he was made extraordinary professor for electrochemistry at the university. Four years later Garche took over from Witschel, expanding the ZSW into an internationally wellknown institute, employing nearly 100 co-workers and supported by a 15% basic institutional financing through the federal state of BadenWuerttemberg. The management tasks, as development of the new division and fundraising of a high number of projects, was very time demanding, shortening the research time. But as Garche says, “Managers

of R&D institutes should still reserve time to undertake their own research!” This period saw the development of a high-rate, long-life and safe polymer 2V lithium ion battery, which could be used to replace the lead-acid cell; basic work in catalysts and membranes field long-life direct methanol fuel cells; and especially R&D in the field of the proton exchange membrane for fuel cells. The latter started with basic research working with Ulm University, going via cell and stack development all the way to proton exchange membrane for fuel cells system integration — at first for stationary residential house energy supply and later also for EVs. As a consequence, in 2004 Garche, with the Ulm Public Utility, set up a spin-off company, Ulmer Brennstoffzellen-Manufaktur. This designs, manufactures and sells mainly complete proton exchange membrane for fuel cells systems up to 2kW.

In 1991 he was appointed as privatdozent (external lecturer) for electrochemistry at Ulm University. Two years later he was made extraordinary professor for electrochemistry at the university.

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BATTERY PIONEERS He was a cofounder of the first biannual JapaneseGerman workshop of electrochemists, then later the Italian-German workshop and later still the Japanese-ItalianGermany workshop. The 8th Japanese-ItalianGerman workshop took place last December in Japan.

Jürgen Garche speaking at the 14the Ulm ElectroChemical Talks

Participants of the 6th H2igher Educational Round, 26 May, 2015 at Wuhan University of Technology (China).

Another ZSW spin-off is BaSyTec, which has become a well-established worldwide producer of battery testing systems. In Ulm today about 350 people have formed an informal R&D centre for fuel cells and batteries, and Ulm now has an international reputation. As well as the ZSW, also in Ulm are the Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU), the University of Ulm and the Daimler R&D Center Ulm. In 2001, Garche was appointed

guest professor at Shandong University in Jinan in China. In 2012, he was appointed visiting professor at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and at the Sapienza University Rome in 2009, 2012, and 2016. In 2014 Garche was listed as “one of the world’s most influential scientific minds” by Thomson Reuters, as a reflection of his scientific contribution in peer-rated research papers. Garche is more reticent about this: “In this case ‘influential’ means

“The twice higher electrical efficiency of lithium-ion battery systems is a strong argument for EVs as are fuel cells in a future renewable energy-shaped society.” 126 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

probably ‘often read’ and is therefore not quite the same!” In 2015, after his retirement from the ZSW, he was appointed senior professor at the University of Ulm and he is still directing diploma and doctoral theses. In his academic carrier he supervised more than 60 PhD theses. One of his students, Dirk Uwe Sauer, has become a well-known and highly respected academic and international speaker. Despite spending most of his later career on advanced batteries and fuel cells Garche has always been interested in lead-acid batteries, regularly participating in lead-acid battery conferences. This interest has grown in the last five years with the introduction of lead acid batteries as an energy source for micro hybrid cars, where R&D continues to be a rich source area for finding new ways of increasing dynamic charge acceptance. This topic is discussed in detail in the new book Lead-Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles edited by himself, Eric Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand. He was a co-founder of the first biannual Japanese-German workshop of electrochemists, then later the Italian-German workshop and later still the Japanese-ItalianGerman workshop. The 8th JapaneseItalian-German workshop took place last December in Japan. An area of special concern for Jürgen Garche has always been education and training, particularly in fuel cells, which as a young technology needs well-trained specialists and not only academics. In 2003 he founded the Fuel Cell Education and Training

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BATTERY PIONEERS Centre in Ulm with large seminar rooms and laboratories for practical experiments. As a member of the executive board of the advisory council of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP), Garche has made a powerful impact on the development of fuel cell and H2 technology in Europe, especially in the field of education and training. He has also been the chairman of other organizations acting in the field. For almost 20 years, Garche has been a key figure in the formation of an informal fuel cell and hydrogen alliance which was the precursor of the German National Organisation H2 and Fuel Cell Technology. He was the deputy chairman of the advisory board until 2015. Garche has published several books and 300 papers on electrochemical energy conversion, mainly on batteries, fuel cells and electrochemical capacitors. For the standard book Encyclopaedia of Electrochemical Power Sources published in 2009 (5 volumes with 350 chapters) he was the editor-inchief. He is the inventor, or co-inventor, of 10 patents and has worked on the editorial boards of The Journal of Power Sources, Fuel Cells – From Fundamentals to Systems and The International Journal of Hydrogen Economy. Garche has been awarded honours for his contributions to electrochemical energy conversion: the First Prize of the Academy of Science of Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic for work on the oxygen electrode in 1985; the German Gas Industry’s Award for residential fuel cells in 2000; the Christian-Friedrich-Schönbein Gold Medal of the European Fuel Cell Forum for his work on PEMFCs in 2003; and the UECT award in 2006 for establishing an international forum for communication between industry and science on batteries and fuel cells.

Fourth European Lead Battery Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, September 21-23, 1994, From left to right: Ian Beecroft (manager for J. Power Sources), Jürgen Garche, David Rand (CSIRO), Kathryn R. Bullock (AT&T Bell Labs; president of Electrochemical Society 1995-1996), Eberhard Meissner (VARTA)

In 2016 he was appointed the Grand Master of the α/ß Society — an informal club of distinguished electrochemists established by David Rand and Ernst Voss in 1989. Since his retirement from ZSW in 2004, Garche has remained active as a consultant for his own firm, FCBAT Ulm, with clients ranging from international industry and research institutes to Germany’s transport and digital infrastructure ministry. Although he says he relaxes by reading, listening to classical baroque music such as Bach and Heinichen (this goes back to his time in Dresden which once was the capital of baroque music), biking and trekking — his main hobby remains, to this day, electrochemistry. After nearly 50 years of work in the battery and fuel cell field, Garche has firm opinions on the future technology for electric vehicles. “The twice higher electrical efficiency of lithium-ion battery systems is a strong argument for electric vehicles, as are fuel cells in a future renewable energy-shaped

This period saw the development of a high-rate, longlife and safe polymer 2V lithium ion battery), which could be used to replace the lead-acid cell; basic work in catalysts and membranes field long-life direct methanol fuel cells; and especially R&D in the field of the proton exchange membrane for fuel cells. 128 • Batteries International • Spring 2017

Lead Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles, co-edited by Jürgen Garche, Eckhard Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand.

society (hydrogen is produced via electrolyser from renewables),” he says. “But in today’s more fossil energybased society the well-to-wheel efficiency of fuel cell driven cars is about 1.3 times higher than lithiumion powered EVs. Furthermore a range increase is much easier with FCEVs, because only the hydrogen storage capacity has to be increased.” Garche reckons that in the future both technologies will be deployed — fuel cells for longer range EVs and lithium batteries for short to middle range cars.

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