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Issue 102

Winter 2016/2017

Fortune favours the brave The bumpy road to 2020 John W Wirtz: grid mentor for an industry passes on

President Trump and the new US energy landscape

Too easy to blame Exide for everything at Vernon

Pivotal moment as Indian solar+storage appears

UltraBattery 2.0: India’s Exide agrees production

‘Palm trees too tall’: critics slam Goa conference resort

Bringing the industry together





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WHEN THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE BECOMES THE COMMONPLACE Batteries International and sister magazine Energy Storage Journal asked senior figures in the battery and energy storage market for their views on the years ahead. An unlikely consensus emerged of rapid and radical change in all energy sectors but — at the same time — a confused and confusing picture of how change will occur. Primary lead path to be ‘erratic’ — CRU Lithium ion world faces threats — Greensmith Prices driven yet lower — Eos Energy New business models on maturing technology —Leclanché Upward price pressure for near term perspective — Wood Mackenzie ALABC advancing lead battery research — ILA Lead to be the product of choice — ILA Bitrode: project opportunities await DSR technology to the fore — Reactive Technologies Energy storage to unlock European opportunities — EUROBAT Daramic: innovation to the fore — Daramic Drive to solar, storage unstoppable — Sunverge Consolidation of lead battery trends — FOCUS Consulting The global ‘Internet of Energy’ — Geli 2016 trends reinforced in year ahead — Solarwatt Industry to look for longer duration storage — ESN The need for big data management — Global Smart Grid Federation Californian C&I to forge ahead — Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas Storage to open up the lower cost of solar — RedT Energy UK poised to lead great energy storage break out — Moixa Energy

62 62 64 66 67 70 71 74 74 75 75 76 76 78 79 79 81 83 83 84

OVERVIEW: Europe’s critical juncture on the road to 2020






Challenging times ahead








John W Wirtz, one of a legendary generation of battery entrepreneurs and innovators that helped shape the modern industry, died in December.



Former EaglePicher president Randy Moore quits lead to head up ZAF • Smith steps down as Daramic president, Moorehead takes over



Aqua Metals signs JCI as first recycling licensee • China implements 10 stricter rules on secondary lead industry • Chinese e-bike lead battery maker expands output with $870m annual sales • Four major battery firms take $6m stake in Gridtential • EC fines lead cartel which used coded language to fix scrap prices • Advanced Battery Concepts signs licensing agreement with JCI • Skeleton Technologies launches ultracapacitor for heavy machinery • Entek partners Separindo to expand separator capacity in Asia • Exide Technologies submits plan for final closure of Vernon site • Californian state regulators delay release of Quemetco pollution report results • German utility buys UK lead acid/lithium firm for solar+storage • Groundbreaking supercap polymers could transform the battery industry • Axion Power announces two new applications for its PbC battery • Latest market reports predict expansion in lead battery industry to 2026 • AES launches Open Innovation Contest for unmanned inspection approaches • NidecASI joins German utility to install one of world’s largest BESS • Soaring Australian power prices open doors for Redflow • ZincFive eyes global markets with purchase of Ni-Zn battery maker • UK’s largest grid-scale battery approved after two-year trial • Lightsource to invest $740 million for revenue flows from pre-installed solar • Carbon nanotubes create ‘spectacular’ improvement in lead batteries • AES 50MW facility in Scotland advances • RedT Energy deploys 17 vanadium redox flow energy storage machines • Largest microgrid in central America commissioned for Costa Rica

NEWS FOCUS  A watershed moment for UltraBattery 2.0

John W Wirtz: 1925-2016


EaglePicher’s Moore moves on  4

39 That UltraBattery 2.0 moment 39

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 1



The huge task of cleaning up lead polluted soil around Exide’s smelting plant in Vernon begins later this year. But assignment of full blame is unclear. Pre-judgement is worthless. Exide: reality check needed 40





The election of Donald Trump as US president could have a profound effect on the energy storage industry. Deleting the climate change pages on the EPA website is just a start

INDIAN FIRMS GET READY FOR STORAGE Vanadium shortage hold-ups100


Rising energy demand and its ambitious goals for renewable energy deployment have opened up opportunities in India



A new vanadium energy storage committee has been set up to address issues such as supply and how costs of the technology can be reduced.

Events Review: Goa’s IBRX 103



AABC Mainz, Germany • IBRX 2017, Goa, India



Batteries International’s comprehensive listing of conferences and meetings worldwide





Michel Armand has been at the forefront of many advances in electrochemistry theory and related applications and offering milestones in advancing lithium battery technology

LAST WORD Brace, brace: Jacksonville anticpates BCI meetings 126


Storm clouds gather over Cowford…. as BCI arrives • Just kidding … • Never satisfied • Digatron takes to the high seas • Something for the bookshelf (parts 1 and 2) • ABC secrets • The world according to Maccor

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2 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

EDITORIAL Mike Halls •

Legacy issues and the leaders of a lost tribe “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening — moreover, it doesn’t know that it doesn’t know.”

But what if the construction were late by a week? Grab your notepad! Why? Who’s to blame? How big a headline can we write?

Not so much a deep thought or an even yet-to-bediscovered known-unknown Cheneyism. Rather a statement of fact by linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

And the media — rightly or wrongly — like to keep these stories going. There’s nothing like a good disaster story to sell papers and attract readers.

But it holds true. We cling to the biases that formed us. Advertising that shaped our childhood consciousness is still earning dollars for firms that continue to sell us baked beans or soup a generation later. For most of us born when efforts were being made to stamp lead out of petrol, toys and paint, lead had the image of the bogeyman. The trouble is those perceptions linger on. It’s a legacy issue, just like that childhood advertising. Battery Council International— with financial support from its related lead battery bodies, EUROBAT, the Association of Battery Recyclers and the International Lead Association — has spent a million dollars trying to understand the mythology that is lithium and also that of lead. This has been money well spent. Some of the results have been startling. The findings show that the general public is ill-informed. (Misinformed is probably a better word though the two go hand-in-hand.) They cling credulously to beliefs that make little sense to anyone who’s not a psychologist. An example. When the BCI asked people if they knew whether lithium was recyclable (or not) the majority of Americans interviewed thought it was completely recyclable. They also agreed it was the battery medium for the future. When asked if they would still prefer lithium over lead — even though lithium is completely unrecyclable and comes at an economic cost that makes only the slightest bit of sense — guess what? There was still a resounding yes. Lead was the past, lithium the future. The wave of media misinformation over issues such as this has created a generation of ill-informed, gullible people swayed by an equally ill-informed and gullible media. So why have the media taken such a down on lead and such a high on lithium? Partly it’s the innate fault of journalism. The Brazil Olympics were built on time? So what? No story at all.

For years lead has been up there with oil spills and Saddam Hussein in the popular mind. Sometimes rightly so. The levels of lead in blood caused by petrol additives was a scandal for those living in inner cities in the 1960s and 70s. It was a tragedy that ruined many lives. Two recent outrages in the US — the Exide recycling plant contamination and lead in the water supply in Flint, Michigan — relit the media condemnation of lead. In both instances much of this is a legacy story of lead misuse in the past. In the case of the Exide inheritance from GMP before it and its continued misuse, yes, it was a scandal. But the knee-jerk reaction from the Californian authorities means that the policies of these politicians and civil servants have more to do with preoccupations of a generation ago than anything else. A legacy of misunderstandings. There’s too much fuss without confirming the picture. It’s zero tolerance lead without the data to back it up. Exide has confessed to the matter but it — and rightly so — isn’t going to put its hands up to the full picture of pollution until this is properly confirmed. The reason is simple. Lead in the soil doesn’t go away. So testing soil near, say, what were the busiest of highways in the 1970s, is looking in the wrong direction. The days when lead additives were essential to keep cars efficient is over, but the legacy lives on. Moreover — as we point out in our story on the Exide clean-up — the area around Los Angeles has some of the busiest airports in the world. And, as is well known, lead has historically been a major additive in jet fuel. The reality of the issue perhaps doesn’t matter as much as the perception of the reality of these issues. We’ve lost the world of accuracy and truth for a stranger world of perceptions. For that we again have to fault the media for their irresponsible reporting. The classic conception of perfect news telling — set in the founding charter of the UK broadcaster the BBC — is to inform, educate, and entertain.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 3

EDITORIAL Mike Halls • Nowadays huge swathes of the media believe that selling newspapers, magazines or television programmes is only possible if entertainment is the backcloth to what they do. If you’re a journalist writing about the environment, what’s so interesting about clunky old and poisonous lead? Why not write about the more entertaining la-la-land of renewable self-sufficiency with its shiny roof top solar paneling and those exciting new lithium storage thingies in the back room? What’s new and interesting to a motoring journalist, for example, is a car that’s new and different. A Tesla, say, with its shiny Apple-like dashboard? Or any EV for that matter. Hey. you’re driving a car and saving the planet at the same time! If you’re a more serious journalist or commentator, what is more interesting to your readers? Is it to talk about a high tech future as we march into a new age? Or our great leap forward but using the tools and language of another age? If perception is king — and legacy perceptions are the poison that is causing rational thinking to go out of the window — then how do we change these perceptions? For a long time the lead battery industry has been — well, mostly — a gentlemanly affair. The industry has managed to do two contradictory things at the same time: engage in fierce competition with its rivals, but also be able to circle the wagons together against outside challengers. But now is the time to take the gloves off. Yes, we continue to announce that lead is the most recycled metal on the planet — but do we have to have every speaker at a conference tell us this every time? If the lead battery business is to fight off the attack from other chemistries it needs to be strident in its defence. So no more Mr Nice Guy. No more writing stories to a press that isn’t interested in printing them. Lead being 99% recycled isn’t of great interest to a general public who barely recycle their wine bottles. There are lots of places to go on the offensive. Every month there are horror stories of laptops exploding in aircraft, a huge ban about shipping lithium batteries in your hand luggage and the hold, yet where is an outcry similar to the Flint lead piping stories in Michigan? Rather than positive announcements of better lead acid batteries — though of course that is to be welcomed — what’s so wrong with shouting from the rooftops that

4 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

rival chemistries to lead batteries have major problems with them? This is an industry that needs to do this while there’s still time. If, as one commentator told us, the level of R&D into lithium last year was equivalent to the last 15 years into lead, then time is pressing. Already this huge weight of R&D money is mitigating lithium’s weaknesses. Price used to be a major disadvantage of lithium. But now it’s far less of a concern. This is perhaps not surprising given the huge injection of money into lithium battery research and how manufacturing scale has chipped away at costs. It isn’t unwelcome either. Safety, although the boat has mostly left the harbour for this one, used also to be a concern but it’s now at a stage where this is gradually becoming an irrelevance in the EV world. Perhaps the real knocking copy should be directed at lithium recycling. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. The general rule of thumb is that it takes about 10% of the cost of a lithium battery to recycle it rather than dump it. A $10,000 Chevy Volt battery drive will cost around $1,000 to clear it up. Costs for this are going to come down rapidly. Scale will make a great impact here. But at the moment this is the weakness at the heart of the myth that lithium is the new lead. If we want to shape the future of the lead battery business we need to create a legacy for the future that may, indeed, be made by bad-mouthing our rivals.

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OBITUARY: JOHN WILLIAM WIRTZ John W Wirtz, one of a legendary generation of battery entrepreneurs and innovators that helped shape the modern industry, died in December. Michael Halls reports.

John William Wirtz, 1925-2016 John W Wirtz, the man who took his father’s small family engineering business and turned it into an international battery machine manufacturing firm, died on December 3. He was 91 years old. He was a well known, well liked and entrepreneurial businessman with a fine grasp of technical detail — including numerous patents to his name. He

was known for his great personal generosity, especially to those pushing out the boundaries of battery technology. The story of John W Wirtz is, in part, the story of the family firm that he was to spend his life working for and building up. His father, John Wirtz, founded Wirtz Manufacturing in 1932 during the great depression after he lost his

job in Detroit as a toolmaker. With a young family to support —John W was just seven — he had ideas how to design and build better molds for casting lead. Slowly a living for the family emerged. In 1937, his father developed and patented one of the first grid casting machines in the US. (Before this, most battery grids were cast by hand.) For the young John W, grid casting was in his DNA from the beginning. As a teenager he helped out his father in the garage and worked as a machine operator during his high school years. He was there when, in 1940, his father built a cement block building — eight metres by 16 — that was to become the first Wirtz factory. That same year he met his future bride Wanda Ogden — they were both 15 years old. They later recalled that they immediately knew that they would be together for the rest of their lives. They married in January 1950 in a union that was to last 66 years.

“For the young John W, grid casting was in his DNA from the very beginning.” John and Wanda Wirtz were married in January 1950. They met at high school aged 15 and knew from the start they would get married. Their union was to last 66 years.

8 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

OBITUARY: JOHN WILLIAM WIRTZ “The result was that John made us competitive and really got us into the battery business while many other small battery manufacturers dropped by the wayside … We were keeping pace with the big boys and could not have done that without John’s help.” But, for like many of his generation, war intervened. John W graduated from Port Huron High School in 1943 and immediately joined the US Navy, serving in the Pacific until 1946. He was a gunner on B-17s, better known as the Flying Fortress, where in the European theatre of war, crew members had a life expectancy of just 14 missions. The return to peacetime meant also a return to the family business which, effectively, had been shuttered during the war as battery materials were unavailable. Peacetime meant better times for Wirtz Manufacturing. A backlog of some 300 orders for the small gridcasting machines, retailing then for around $700, kicked the firm back into life. Upon being discharged from the Navy he went to the University of Michigan before graduating in business studies in 1949. He then went to work for his father full time.


The combination of technical and engineering understanding and a knowledge of business proved a powerful one and through the 1950s and 1960s John criss-crossed North America as an ambassador for the firm. In later years he was to criss-cross the globe. By 1955, when Wirtz Manufacturing Company was incorporated, John W — now aged 30 — was a real force in the firm and was looking for ways to grow the business. At that time, the firm had about 15 employees and increased the facility to 10,000 square feet. Wirtz added products such as pasting machines, drying ovens, and paste mixers to its battery equipment line. At about that time a second product line was added; mechanical molds for molding industrial rubber molds.

There was a rubber molding company in Port Huron so it allowed Wirtz to have a customer to work with to develop this product line. This new product line allowed Wirtz to buy more and larger productive machining equipment and utilize it throughout the year since the rubber business was a contract build-to-order business and the battery business was a proprietary line which could manufacture parts for inventory. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Wirtz continued to design and develop more equipment for the battery industry. And it was here that John W made a huge impact on the firm. A key development came in the late 1960s when the battery industry was looking to develop lowmaintenance batteries. By that time John W had put together a design and de- John W graduated from high school in 1943 velopment team, and Wirtz and immediately joined the US Navy, serving developed a grid caster in the Pacific until 1946. He was a gunner on which was capable of han- B-17s, better known as the Flying Fortress dling the grids made from lead calcium alloys which he would suggest improvements that were required for a new generation of would make his product effectively batteries known as low maintenance obsolete as a supplier. and maintenance free. “He’d just laugh and say ‘it’s better The Wirtz Model 40C calcium cast- to make yourself obsolete as a super quickly became the world standard plier than let someone else do that for for the newly introduced maintenance you!’ — he was a one-off, the world is free batteries. John W became its am- a sadder place without him.” bassador. And a popular ambassador At around this time, Delco was to boot. looking for ways to automate the grid “I was hugely impressed by John,” casting process so it could control larecalls Bob Flicker, now chief operat- bor costs and grid consistency and the ing officer at East Penn Manufactur- expanded metal process was develing. “For me as a rookie engineer just oped and introduced to the industry. starting at the firm in the 1970s, he While the expanded metal process was unusual in that he was genuinely addressed both the labor costs and interested in the problems that we were grid consistency, John W thought the having making better grids. He under- grid design of expanded metal was stood the subject deeply. Moreover he inferior to cast grids (because it had was not just friendly but amazingly no side frames and every grid was generous with his time and sharing his the same diamond shape pellet design knowledge of the casting process. and there were no tapers in any of the “He stood out from the rest in that wires or frames for the necessary curhe genuinely wanted the best for us rent carrying capability). — for us to be successful. Later on So he embarked on a development

“He’d just laugh and say ‘it’s better to make yourself obsolete as a supplier than let someone else do that for you!’ — he was a one-off, the world is a sadder place without him.” Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 9

OBITUARY: JOHN WILLIAM WIRTZ “For me as a rookie engineer just starting at the firm in the 1970s, he was unusual in that he was genuinely interested in the problems that we were having making better grids. He understood the subject deeply. Moreover he was not just friendly but amazingly generous with his time and sharing his knowledge of the casting process.”

Technical drawing filed with the 1937 patent for an automatic grid casting machine from John W’s father that was to form the basis for an international business

project to continually cast the grid which had side frames and wire patterns which were designable — continuous casting was born. The continuous casting process won the first prize in the competition for Innovation in Battery Technology from the Lead Development Association. His enthusiasm to make his customers successful had some extraordinary results. Industry veteran Roger Winslow, the ex-president of Voltmaster, says John’s impact had a profound impact on his business. “John W encouraged me to purchase four of his latest model grid casters. In doing so he promised that we could shave the grid thickness from 0.080/0.090 to 0.050/0.060 and increase the casts per minute from three to four to eight or 10 with substantially lower antimony. We worked out the money terms and the new grid designs. The result was that John made us competitive and really got us into the battery business while many other small battery manufacturers dropped by the wayside. “Ultimately we were casting 0.040 negatives at 16 per minute using 1.4 Sb with Se in the late 1980s. “We were keeping pace with the big boys and could not have done that without John’s help.”


His son, John O Wirtz, now chief executive of the firm, says: “Dad had so many skills in the business world, but maybe his best attribute was that he truly cared about everybody and was always there when someone needed help. When he heard someone had a problem, he would immediately go to them and ask how he could help. Between 1976 and 1984 John W filed a patent a year as he and colleagues improved and refined the machinery — here a by-pass arrangement for battery grid casting machines

10 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

“And then after understanding their problem, he would come back to them the next day and tell them that it wasn’t so bad and offer his suggestion on how to address it.” Continuous casting for negative grids was introduced to the industry at the IBMA in Chicago in 1984 but was slow to be widely accepted because expanded metal provided an acceptable negative grid. It wasn’t until the automakers demanded their original equipment batteries have a full framed grid for both the positive and negative grids that the continuous casting process gained worldwide acceptance and was recognized as the premier negative grid making process.


John W’s knowledge of battery making was extensive, but so too was his enthusiasm to share his knowledge with the industry. The word mentor is a term that came up frequently when researching this article. David Prengaman — sometimes called the ‘Lead Pope’ for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the metal and how it works in batteries — told Batteries International this: “I am forever grateful to John for what he has done for me and the whole battery industry. I count myself fortunate to have known John Wirtz Sr as a mentor and friend for most of my career. “He was one of the major mentors in assisting me in my professional life. I had ideas about how to prevent grid cracking in low antimony alloys. In my first visit to Wirtz in 1975 I discussed nucleant sand grain structure control with John.  He helped me learn bookmold grid casting in all aspects and we cast grids from R275 alloy which became the first low antimony alloy which did not suffer cracking and did not suffer penetrating corrosion. “John changed the temperature controls on his casters to accommodate the need for tighter control of melt pot, feed line, and ladle temperature for best casting.   He allowed me to publish the results for the industry. “He assisted me in developing control parameters for casting lead calcium alloys with aluminum once again

“He’d just laugh and say ‘it’s better to make yourself obsolete as a supplier than let someone else do that for you!’ — he was a one-off, the world is a sadder place without him.”

OBITUARY: JOHN WILLIAM WIRTZ at his headquarters in Michigan. He and his company sent customers to me with casting problems and promoted me to the industry!” But he was more than just a genial industry expert, keen to share his knowledge. Roger Winslow recalls: “John was a fine gentleman and a credit to the entire battery industry. I was privileged to know him on a more intimate level than most customers. After 60 years in the battery industry, as I reflect on those who made a profound impression on me while I was learning the ropes, I remember John as one of just two key figures.” He was respected by the industry — serving on the board of directors of Battery Council International — and by his competitors. “John was a well respected member of our industry,” says Mike Tole, chairman of MAC Engineering. “A true gentleman.” Another industry veteran recalls meeting him when he was new to the business. “He was courteous, kind and very helpful to myself as a much junior person.” Colleagues and friends recalled a thoughtful and considerate person. “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have known him and to have worked for him. For all of his success ... both personally and professionally ... I have not met a more humble person,” said Ken Benardino a former employee. The close relationship between father and son — John O Wirtz and now head of the family business — continued well past his retirement. “For over 40 years we spoke about everything,” says his son. “Even up until a month before his passing, he’d stop in and see what we were doing.” His love of his family ran deep. “My mum and dad were married for almost 67 years and their relationship was the basis and foundation for everything he would do in his life,” says his son. “If you saw them just three weeks before his death you’d have seen them walking together and holding hands like they were teenagers.”


John W was board member of Michigan National Bank, Southeastern Michigan Gas, The United way of St. Clair County, Port Huron Hospital, Battery Council International, and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. In 1990 he received the Spirit of Port Huron Award for his charitable efforts in the City of Port Huron. Wirtz was an active Christian, being a member of the Grace Episco-

John W holding a piece of continuously cast grid strip in 1980 with the 1937 grid caster and the continuous cast system shown

The Wirtz plant in the early 1950s. The home of John and Sophie Wirtz and the garage where the company was started are in the lower right corner

pal Church where for many years he served in the vestry. John William Wirtz is survived by his wife Wanda, his two children John and Wendy; his nine grandchildren, John W Wirtz II, Jason Wirtz, Robert Wirtz, Justin Wirtz, Alexis Wirtz, Molly Anderson, Robert Smith, Johsua J Thompson and Jacob J Thompson; and his seven great grandchildren John O Wirtz II, Jacob Wirtz, Makayla, Jason Anderson, Dylan Anderson and Gus and Leo Thompson. He was preceded in death by brother Walter and sister Dorothy. n John William Wirtz August 11, 1925 – December 3, 2016

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 11

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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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Former EaglePicher president Randy Moore to head up ZAF ZAF Energy Systems, the US-based zinc battery developer, announced Randy Moore, the former president of EaglePicher Technologies, was appointed president and CEO on January 17 with Tom Shireman as new vice president of manufacturing operations. Moore is a founding member, former chairman and director of NAATBatt. He brings Shireman with him, the former plant manager at EaglePicher, the USbased manufacturer whose batteries include lead acid, lithium, nickel and zinc.

Moore claimed the firm’s nickel zinc batteries were: “poised to disrupt the $50+ billion lead acid battery market. ZAF]s nickel-zinc battery is one of the most disruptive technologies available today as a competitive replacement for lead acid and nickel cadmium batteries,” he said.

“With better performance, safety, cost, and reliability, nickel zinc can make a significant dent in the lead acid market. — Randy Moore, ZAF Energy Systems

Smith steps down as Daramic president, Moorehead takes over Pete Smith, the president of Daramic, the battery separator manufacturer, has stepped down following a reshuffle announced on January 6. Bryan Moorehead, vice president and managing director of the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa for more than two years takes over. Moorehead previously spent eight years as a vice president of global operations with Celgard, a subsidiary like Daramic of Polypore. Smith had been president of energy storage, transportation and industrial at Daramic, which was bought by the Japanese Asehi Kasei group – since October 2013. “This move surprised us,” said one commentator, “as Pete combine an unusual commercial flair — he had a masters in business administration — and a deep technological understanding with a doctorate and 10 patents to boot.” The appointment came

shortly after the company announced a new manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India, which will produce separators for all kinds of lead acid batteries. “We have a long-term commitment to India and south Asia,” incoming president Bryan Moorehead, said. “Our new plant will play a strategic role in our plans to meet the rapidly growing demand for high quality lead acid battery separators in the region. The investment increases our global production capacity, while providing flexibility to more efficiently and effectively meet the needs of our customers around the globe.” The Gujarat plant marks the first major PE separator supplier to open a dedicated manufacturing facility in India. “Local production allows us to significantly shorten lead times, improve supply chain efficiency and develop industry-leading products that meet local

14 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

customer needs,” said Ahila Krishnamoorthy, managing director of the south Asia region. “Part of our approach to what we intend to do in Asia,” said Krishnamoorthy,” is to add what in India is called ‘Kosuru’ — that extra bit that keeps customers coming back for more.” The Gujarat plant will be Daramic’s sixth manufacturing site in Asia, bringing the number of global facilities to 10. The company did not want to discuss how much investment had been made but, spokesperson Dawn Heng, said that local demand was a major factor in the plant’s creation. “There is a special application in India — the inverter — which has maintained an 8% growth in the last decade,” said Heng. “Previous practice was to use either automotive or industrial products which are standard in other regions, while there was no specific R&D or production in India.

“With better performance, safety, cost, and reliability, nickel zinc can make a significant dent in the lead acid market. I am excited to join the ZAF team and look forward to leading the company through its commercialization phase.” Moore claimed that compared with conventional lead acid batteries used in motive sectors such as stopstart and deep-cycle industrial and recreational applications, ZAF’s nickel zinc offering yielded twice the energy density and, on a cost per kWh basis, worked out as half the cost. “With our local end-toend production and local R&D centre in India, we can really deliver the ad hoc products for local customer needs and support their innovation and growth.” Daramic says it is the world’s largest manufacturer of lead acid battery separators, and its sister companies within the Asahi Kasei group make separators for lithium-ion batteries. “By leveraging that capability, we are able to deliver full solutions to automotive applications from basic SLI to start-stop to hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Heng. “There is a huge number of aftermarket vehicles – more than 1.1 billion – equipped with lead-acid batteries and they will continue to need the same technology. We are also seeing innovations in lead-acid in new applications such as startstop to expand its scope. We still see bright future of lead-acid. Daramic expects to launch a new product on to the market — probably before year end — but did not give details.


Aqua Metals signs JCI as first recycling licensee Aqua Metals, the inventor of a water-based lead battery recycling process, announced a licensing agreement in early February with multi-industrial giant Johnson Controls, signalling a massive boost for the firm. And, says the firm, the lead recycling industry as a whole. JCI becomes Aqua Metals’ first licensee, and has bought just under 5% of the recycler for just under $11 million. This gives it an “observational” role on the board, Joe Walicki, president of Johnson Power Solutions, told Batteries International. Aqua Metals’ share price leapt 41% from the previous day’s closing price. Steve Cotton, chief commercial officer for Aqua Metals, said: “JCI will supply Aqua Metals’ facility at Reno, California, with all the feed stock we could ever consume and purchase the 99.99% pure lead produced in a closed-loop network.” Cotton said the agreement meant Aqua Metals had potentially captured 40% of the lead recycling market, a $22 billion market, and that the deal was a “win, win, win”. “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 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. Joe Walicki, said the “blue printing” could take several months to finalize, when a clearer picture of the next steps would emerge, but the deal with Aqua Metals demonstrated the company’s commitment to clean technology. “This is something we have been exploring for a while,” Walicki told Batteries International. “Our focus is not only on producing better performing batteries but doing it in a way that’s right for the environment, and Aqua Metals fits with our view. “We are trying to use clean technology, always looking at to improve on the standards that we already bring to the industry.” Walicki said that the prime focus would be in North America, where the company has just announced a $450 million investment in eight AGM battery-making facilities. The company has also opened two new AGM battery-making plants in Shandong Province, China. All this, said Cotton, meant there would be even more demand for the raw material, and really the question was how fast plants could be built to meet that demand. “It validates that lead is here to stay, and there is going to be a lot more talk at a global level about what is truly sustainable,” said Cotton. “Lead is 100% recyclable, whereas lithium is practically disposable. With lead there were issues with recycling but we are solving these issues — it makes economic sense, and now

Johnson Control’s Walicki: North America the initial focus

there’s JCI investing in the future of lead.” Cotton says there are three immediate business positives to Aqua Metals’ refining process. The first is that AquaRefining is more efficient than smelting. The amount of energy needed to be input into the system is smaller — making it cheaper by around a third — and because the process is modular can be tuned to demand. (As opposed to smelters typically which have to be operated with a highoutput to make economic sense.) Lead is also not lost in the slag of smelting improving the economics as well as vastly reducing the environmental impact of hazardous disposal of slag. Second, says Cotton, AquaRefining is modular

— making this a scalable product and creates a business model that offers a different approach to market such as a franchise model. Typically smelting requires the smelter to be built on site and in large size. However, AquaRefining can be located at the hub of any distribution network or battery manufacturing location at a scale that suits the amount of lead batteries coming in for recycling. Lastly — and probably the most important in the longer term — the process itself is environmentally friendly and sustainable. The present legislative climate in Europe and the US is one where emissions and environmental regulations are becoming ever tighter. (As well as frequently irrational to boot.)

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 15

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China implements 10 stricter rules on secondary lead industry China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has introduced a raft of measures aiming at cutting pollution caused by the scrap lead acid battery industry, the Shanghai Metals Market reported on December 21. Ten specific measures were listed in the regulations, including limiting the construction or expansion of secondary lead projects and the enforced relocation of existing smelters or storage facilities to at least a kilometre away from any residential or sensitive areas.

The regulations insist that complete management systems are put in place at lead smelters to ensure that any new products meet the new national standards. Secondary lead smelters can now only process intact batteries with no acid leakage, or those considered to have more than 5% damage. Automatic battery crushing and sorting facilities must be used to dispose of scrap batteries, and technology should be upgraded so that energy consumption is minimal and production made more efficient. Detailed requirements of

emissions targets and licence criteria are all included in the regulations. Pollution has been a contentious topic in China for the past few decades, and recent reports in Beijing’s own state media reported middle-class parents taking to social media to complain about the health risks to their children, with inadequate air filtering systems in schools and almost unbreathable outside air. The growing concerns appear to have had an effect, with the emphasis clearly on environment protection at the likely expense

of profit where the smelters are concerned. Earlier in December the SMM reported that Chinese lead smelters had reported lower production in the seven regions of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Hubei, Chongqing, Shaanxi and Gansu following environmental crackdowns in which inspection teams were sent to supervise operations. Secondary lead smelters in the metropolises of Tianjin and Hebei were also required to cut output as a result of heavy air pollution, the SMM said.

Chinese e-bike lead battery maker expands output with $870m annual sales China’s largest electric bike battery maker, Tianneng Power International, is to expand its facility at Changxing to produce 15 million kilovolt ampere hours of lead-acid batteries a year from 2017. The Hong Kong-based English newspaper South China Morning Post reported that the $230 million factory was expected to generate annual sales of $870 million. Trial operations will begin in January, according to Tianneng chairman Zhang Tianren. As well as being the largest E bike battery maker in China, Tianneng is also a licensed lead battery recycler. Senior vice president Chen Minru said its recycling business would become one of the company’s core focuses alongside battery production. The batteries will be made for the slower electric vehicles (often called ‘low-speed vehicles’) commonly used in the countryside by farm-

ers, where they can travel at speeds of no more than 80 kilometres an hour. The announcement comes after the Chinese government said it intended to grant legal status to these low-speed vehicles, as BESB reported on November 16. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently said that in Shandong Province alone, more than 330,000 low-speed EVs were sold in the first eight months of this year. Low-speed vehicles were unregulated in China until the ministry stepped in, saying “their production is unauthorized, poor quality, mostly unlicensed and its disordered development will pose serious challenges to road traffic safety”. The China Passenger Car Association said the move would force EV makers into speeding up the development of their product to compete, which would mean having to meet new regulations.

Yet despite positive forecasts for what some term the ‘green’ car industry in China, with reports saying sales were up 135% year on year during the first six months of 2016, one report out last week gave a less optimistic picture. Citi Research predicted that over generosity in government subsidies for new energy vehicles would end in 2017. “Beijing is changing its mind on the car of the future and is expected

to slash subsidies next year,” said the analyst firm. “Under Citi’s bear case, subsidies for electric buses could be cut by 66% next year, while subsidies for battery electric or plugin hybrid passenger cars would be cut by 40%.” Forecasts for the lead battery industry as a whole are optimistic, with research analysts at Technavio predicting a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% to 2019.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 17


RedT Energy deploys 17 vanadium redox flow energy storage machines RedT Energy, the UK-based vanadium redox flow energy storage machine company, confirmed mid-November that it had finished its so-called ‘Gen 1 market seeding phase’. This is where its first manufacturing run of 17 machines have been sold and deployed to customers in various market sectors around the world. The flow batteries have been manufactured under contract by Jabil. “The company has now proven both its small 40kWh and large 240kWh energy storage machines in

the field,” said chief executive officer Scott McGregor, who said 10 small and seven larger machines had been installed in Europe and Africa. “RedT is the first vanadium flow machine company to prove its technology in large commodity manufactured 240kWh energy storage machines,” he said. “This is crucial to the mass adoption of industrial scale energy storage.” McGregor said the firm was also “very excited” about the sale of its first Gen 2 storage machine, in South Africa, to what McGregor says is one of Africa’s largest

telecoms companies. “It needs to be stable and secure,” said McGregor. “Sub-Saharan Africa has over 240,000 telecom towers providing mobile coverage to 70% of the population. This figure is expected to grow to over 325,000 by 2020, with the majority of sites situated in either offgrid or weak-grid locations. “There are two good reasons why our machines are ideal. One is economic. Conventional batteries will eventually run out. Batteries are very good for back-up, and you can charge them up and down, but they will

degrade, no matter how advanced they are. “Vanadium doesn’t degrade. This is a liquid electrolyte and has been tested and tested, and it will last at least 20 years. “The second reason is theft. It’s very easy to pick up a lead-acid battery and take it home. No one is going to be able to take home a 20ft energy storage machine.” The Gen 2 machine has been sold to Jabil Inala, a South African energy solutions provider and systems integrator that operates across sub-Saharan Africa.

Largest microgrid in central America commissioned for Costa Rica Rio Grande Renewables, a pioneer in developing and financing microgrids in Latin America, and Demand Energy, an energy storage provider, announced in December the two companies have commissioned a battery storage-plus-solar-PV microgrid at Establishment Labs, a medical manufacturing plant in Costa Rica. The system is to provide multiple on-site and gridassisting services, including

peak demand reduction, solar PV shaping to smooth out variability, and back-up power for critical loads in the event of an outage. The microgrid, the largest in Central America, includes a 500kW/1MWh lithiumion battery storage resource connected to 276kW of solar PV. It is controlled by Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OS), which optimizes how these

First battery storage microgrid for low income NY apartments gets $1m loan The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation has made a 10-year project loan of more than $1 million to the energy storage company Demand Energy, bringing large-scale battery storage technology to a privately owned low-income housing development in Brooklyn, New York. Demand Energy’s lithium-ion battery system will be used to store power generated onsite by the Marcus Garvey housing complex’s solar panels

and fuel cell systems—or lower-cost off-peak Con Edison power—reducing power demand when electricity is at its highest cost. It will be the first battery storage microgrid installation at a low-income property in greater New York. The 625-unit apartments, located in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, are owned by L+M Development Partners, a large owner/ developer of low-income housing. L+M has already

18 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

resources interact and perform. Under normal conditions the system will integrate intermittent solar PV for onsite self-consumption: when an outage occurs, the microgrid will island itself off from the grid and continue operating in standalone mode. “Like most sensitive manufacturing and laboratory operations, the Establishment Labs facility must reinstalled 400 kW of solar and committed to adding 400kW of fuel-cell generating capacity as part of a major property renovation. The energy storage and distributed energy resources will be integrated into a microgrid managed by Demand Energy’s DEN.OS software platform, which aims to optimize the value of L+M’s energy generation investments. The system will cut power expenses, help keep the grid reliable and provide off-grid backup power for emergencies.

ceive a continuous flow of quality power,” said Shane Johnson, vice president of operations for Demand Energy. “This DEN.OS-controlled intelligent microgrid offers a rapid payback thanks to significant savings from peak power reduction, and it will deliver instantaneous back-up power to support clean room operations when needed -- preventing production losses during outages. The system eliminates the stranded costs of traditional diesel generators while offering a healthy return on investment through optimizing renewable solar generation, which drives a reduction in greenhouse emissions that supports Costa Rica’s goal to be the world’s first carbonneutral country.” Brian Schmidly, president of Rio Grande Renewables, said: “This new generation of microgrid technologies is a game-changer in the region. They are also more affordable now than in previous years. We expect to see demand for microgrids grow as customer awareness increases and the benefits are clearly demonstrated.”


Four major battery firms take $6m stake in Gridtential Lead battery start-up Gridtential announced on January 12 that four major battery companies — East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery Manufacturing, Power-Sonic and Leoch International — had invested a total of $6 million in the company. The four now have a combined equity stake of around a quarter in Gridtential, according to Ray Kubis, chairman of the company. Other firms are also evaluating the technology, he says. Given the volume of batteries that three of these firms manufacture — and their strong balance sheets — large companies buying the batteries should be happier to accept warranties on the product. “A start-up company cannot replicate such a capability in the energy storage industry,” says Kubis. The extra finance will translate into a faster release of the product to the lead market — equating, as one battery commentator called it, the creation of the equivalent of a lead gigafactory for the battery market. “The added investments in Gridtential by battery companies, the founders, myself and the Roda Group, which specializes in CleanTech investments, will allow Gridtential to better support its manufacturing partners, further reduce the cost of the silicon bi-plate and broaden the application window for our technology,” Kubis told Batteries International. “We believe this strategy is efficient in many ways, enabling the existing battery leaders to apply their application and production knowledge and capacity, which has developed over decades. They can choose to

“This strategy is efficient in many ways, enabling the existing battery leaders to apply their application and production knowledge and capacity, which has developed over decades. They can choose to convert an existing production line or factory where well over half the installed capability (oxide conversion, pasting, charging, and the like) can be utilized.” — Ray Kubis, Gridtential convert an existing production line or factory where well over half the installed capability (oxide conversion, pasting, charging, et al) can be utilized. “They can integrate outsourced silicon bi-plates, and adapt assembly to sustain high volume output with modest capital expenditures, while keeping costs low.” This integration is key to an easier uptake of the technology. Silicon Joule is a substrate that replaces the grid in a battery, resulting

in a large reduction in the amount of lead required and better performance. “Gridtential bi-polar batteries can be produced on our existing plate-making lines, modified assembly lines and existing formation/finishing lines,” says Shawn Peng, Leoch vice present of technology in the US. “This will make the steps towards commercial production happen sooner and more reliably. We will have the capability to provide greener, safer, higher power, faster charging, longer life

lead-based battery solutions for our customers in the areas of telecoms, UPS, automotive and renewable energy storage industries. “In the next five years, we estimate that around 10%20% of all of our batteries will be made with Silicon Joule bi-polar technology. “This technology will effectively increase the specific power and energy density of lead acid batteries,” said Peng. “The cycle life performance can be extended up to five times normal VRLAAGM batteries. Because it’s a non-metal grid, there is no grid corrosion, and it has a much wider temperature adaptability compared with a lithium solution.” Kevin Smith, East Penn Manufacturing vice president of technology, said the scalability of Gridtential’s design would allow for 48volt operation, for which demand would inevitably increase along with features like stop-start. “The industry’s experts understand bi-polar technology is really the Holy Grail for design architecture change where you obsolete lead grids, whether they are lead calcium, pure lead or others,” said Kubis. “However, until now there was not a clear pathway to scale the technology securely to emerge from the lab to commercial production. Gridtential’s technology is a real breakthrough, so I expect other companies in Asia, Europe and the Americas to follow their initial investigations into Gridtential with investments and or licensing. “It is clear that the race is on to commercialize bi-polar technology and to provide real solutions in contrast to lithium batteries.”

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 19

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EC fines lead cartel which used coded language to fix scrap prices The European Commission on February 8 fined lead recycling firms Recyclex, Campine and Ecobat Technologies a total of €67.6 million ($72.4 million) for forming a cartel to fix the prices of scrap car batteries, breaching EU antitrust rules. The collusion was carried out via telephone calls, emails and text messages, and coded language was used to signal different price levels, the EC said. “Some contacts also took place in person, either in bilateral meetings or, less frequently in multilateral meetings.” “The parties were well aware of the illegal character of their contacts and sometimes tried to disguise them by using coded language, for example referring to weather conditions to signal different price levels,” the EC said. Between 2009 and 2012 the three companies and a fourth, Johnson Controls, “colluded to reduce the purchase price paid to mainly small and mediumsized scrap dealers and collectors for used car batteries” in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the EC said in a statement. “By coordinating to lower the prices they paid for scrap batteries, the four companies disrupted the normal functioning of the market and prevented competition on price.” Johnson Controls escaped a fine — it would have been liable for €38.48 million — because it informed the EC about the cartel in June 2012, the EC statement said. The following September inspections were carried out at several premises and in June 2015 the EC began

legal proceedings, which culminated yesterday in the fines. Ecobat, in the UK, received the heaviest fine, just under €32.7 million, and said it was “reviewing the decision and has not yet determined whether it will appeal any aspects to the General Court of the European Union”. However the firm did say in an official statement that it had already made provision for the fine, which would be borne by its German and French subsidiaries Berzelius Metall GmbH and Société de traitement chimique des métaux SAS. Under the EU’s so-called “leniency notice”— whereby cooperation with the Commission’s investigations is rewarded with a discounted fine — Ecobat’s penalty was halved. It could otherwise have been liable for €65.4 million. France-based Recyclex, which was fined €26.7 million, suspended its stock in response to the news. The EC said it had granted a 30% discount for its cooperation. “We can’t comment on the decision for the time being because we are still waiting for the formal notification of the decision,” communications director Gabriel Zeitlin told Batteries International. “As soon as we receive it we will analyse it and try to understand what the financial consequences will be.” Belgian firm Campine, which also suspended trading, was fined the least

Vestager: “well functioning markets reduce waste”

amount, €8.16 million. Although it said that the penalty should not have an impact on the short term continuity, it said it was “in complete disagreement with the decision and will undertake immediate action to appeal against this decision in front of the General Court of Luxembourg. “Throughout the investigation, Campine has cooperated with the European Commission in a transparent, professional and comprehensive manner at any time,” the firm said. The EC said, however, that “its application for leniency was rejected as the Commission found that the company had not disclosed its participation in the infringement.” Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy at the EC, said: “Well functioning markets can help us reduce waste and support the circular economy. Therefore we do not tolerate behav-

iour that undermines competition. The four companies fined have colluded to maximize their profits made from recycling scrap batteries, reducing competition in this essential link of the recycling chain.” Under the EC’s 2006 Guidelines on Fines, the EC used the value of purchases rather than sales to set the level of fines. “As those figures were presumably artificially lowered precisely because of the cartel behaviour, this was likely to result in a level of fines below the economic significance of the infringement,” it said. “Therefore, in order to avoid under-deterrence, the Commission used its discretion under the Guidelines on Fines to increase the amount of the fine for all parties by 10%.” At the same time Campine’s fine was then reduced by 5% as it had played a more minor role that the other cartel participants.

“The parties were well aware of the illegal character of their contacts and sometimes tried to disguise them by using coded language, for example referring to weather conditions to signal different price levels”

22 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017


Advanced Battery Concepts signs licensing agreement with JCI Bipolar lead battery firm Advanced Battery Concepts signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Johnson Controls in December for its GreenSeal bipolar lead acid battery. The firm, which announced the deal earlier in January, claims its technology heralds the next revolution for lead acid batteries. Speaking to Batteries International, CEO and founder Ed Shaffer said the battery world would be transformed with the technology, which he said would more than double profit margins and offer vast improvements like bet-

ter vibration durability and greater cycle-life performance. As well as JCI, Shaffer says another licensee is about to come on board and the firm is in talks with several others. “The materials used are much cheaper — the plastics, polypropylene, gradually reduce the cost,” he said. “It lasts longer because the construction is more robust and rugged. There’s no cast-on strap, no wells,” he said. “This is the next revolution for lead. We are going to change how lead batteries are made. They’re much

more attractive financially, and we are offering a margin of 50% where it used to be 22%, simply because they are cheaper to make and they last longer. “We don’t want to be a large battery producer. Our job is to get this technology into the production process within the next eight years so that lead can remain a viable part of our battery industry.” Shaffer said savings were made because of the reduction in the amount of lead needed in each battery, for example in golf cart batteries, which he said use 46% less than in traditional lead

Skeleton Technologies launches ultracapacitor for heavy machinery Ultracapacitor designer and manufacturer Skeleton Technologies on February 2 launched its latest product based on its curved graphene technology. The SkelStart Torque 24volt engine start module is capable of starting engines in the most demanding of environments, the company says, and is designed for mining and heavy machinery which have higher requirements than conventional batteries because of the large size of their engines and the harsh conditions in which they often have to operate. The 24V engine start module has a peak power of 93kW and 1200 cold cranking amps. “Conventional batteries are usually used to start the engines, but often fail or work poorly in extreme temperatures and have relatively short lifetimes, leading to high replacement costs and frequent maintenance requirements,” said the company. “Businesses operating heavy machinery in demand-

ing environments need to be certain that they can rely on their engines, or face reduced production and high costs,” said CEO Taavi Madiberk. The new ultracapacitor can be used as an addition to any existing batteries or

as a replacement. The firm says it provides reliable engine starting power in temperatures ranging from minus 40°C to more than 65°C, and has a lifetime of more than 10 years, compared with a two-year re-

Shaffer: “This is the next revolution for lead”

batteries. The company was opening a small pilot plant at its base in Clare, Michigan, Shaffer said. placement cycle of lead acid batteries. Skeleton Technologies uses patented nanoporous carbide-derived carbon, or curved graphene, in its ultracapacitors, which the company claims deliver twice the energy density and four times the power density offered by other manufacturers.

Exide Industries opens $100m plant in Bengal Indian lead battery manufacturer Exide Industries opened a $100 million assembly facility at its Haldia plant in West Bengal on January 2. The company will also spend $44 million over a period of 18 months from April to make motorcycle batteries at the plant. Part of the aim of the upgrade is to automate production and Exide will introduce punched grid technology from East Penn Manufacturing in the assembly process. “The new punched grid technology, as opposed to the older expanded metal technology, will catapult the industry to a new height in terms of product

24 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

reliability and customer satisfaction,” said Gautam Chatterjee, Exide’s CEO. He said Exide was the first battery manufacturer in India to use East Penn’s technology, which is carried out by robots to eliminate inconsistencies between different units of batteries. The technology also increases battery life by 20%, he said. These batteries will be sold at a premium under a new sub-brand. “The first phase of the project will be completed by the fourth quarter of this year,” Chatterjee said. “We are taking the human skill out of the manufacturing process

and not leaving anything to chance.” Exide Industries has nine factories in India, and the expansion will increase its annual production of around 34 million automobile batteries by 15 million batteries, the firm said. The company has also invested $18 million in a smelting plant on the same site, for which the state has agreed to allocate 25 acres of land. The developments came as Exide was preparing its last quarter results of 2016, with unaudited accounts showing a 12% increase in profits year on year.


UK’s largest grid-scale battery approved after two-year trial UK energy utility UK Power Networks on December 2 announced the success of a two-year trial of the largest grid-scale battery in Britain, 6MW, which it says could transform the grid and play a major role in transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The Smarter Network Storage facility at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, was designed by S&C Electric, a Chicago, US-based electric power systems designer that used 50,688 individual Samsung SDI lithium-ion cells with a total energy capacity of 11.2 MWh. The £18.4 million ($23.4 million) 6MW/10MWh facility —­­­the size of three tennis courts and able to store enough electricity to power 6,000 homes for 1.5 hours — has supported the National Grid for more than 7,500 hours, feeding the electricity network 180 times, said spokesperson Jenny Chapman at UK Power Networks. “The facility was the first multi-purpose grid-scale battery system providing support to the distribution

network operators and ancillary services to National Grid. When first energized it was the largest utility battery in Europe and doubled total GB DNO connected battery storage,” she said. Much of the funding for the project came from UK regulator Ofgem, which awarded £13.2 million from its Low Carbon Networks Fund. UK Power Networks added £4 million and ‘other project partners’ made up the rest. “We are anticipating that we will get over 10 years’ use before the battery capacity no longer meets our needs,” said Chapman. “This trial was set up to not only prove that the technology works but analyze the commercial and regulatory barriers that storage has. Our contribution to the project is part of this wider goal. The immediate benefits of implementing this solution is network reinforcement deferral, but the contribution it has made to the industry has also been very important.” Suleman Alli, director of

safety, strategy and support services at UK Power Networks, said: “As we move towards a low-carbon, decentralized, digital energy system, all eyes are on storage, especially batteries, in Britain’s electricity network. We believe grid-scale storage has a huge role to play in addressing the challenges the industry faces. “The trial has drawn attention to the fact that the UK’s regulatory framework needs to evolve to help exploit its full potential.” “The primary application of the system is peak shaving,” said S&C’s EMEA Business Unit sales director Cleverson Takiguchi. “The system is also able to derive value from additional services such as dynamic firm frequency response, static firm frequency response, enhanced frequency response, voltage control, wholesale electricity market tolling, reactive power support as well as short term operating reserve. The Leighton Buzzard facility is unlikely to remain the largest of its kind in the

Lightsource to invest $740 million for revenue flows from pre-installed solar Lightsource Renewable Energy announced in December it is looking to invest up to £600 million ($740 million) over the next five years to buy solar assets from households and businesses as it looks to diversify. The company, one of the largest developers and operators of solar assets in Europe, said the scheme would offer owners of residential and commercial rooftop solar arrays a cash lump sum for their installation. Under the terms of the proposed deal, Lightsource

would take ownership of the arrays and receive the feed-in tariff (FiT) payments associated with them. However, the original owner would continue to receive power free of charge from the solar panels and Lightsource would take responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the installation for the rest of the FiT payment period. “There’s no question that solar PV is a sound investment,” said Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource. “Our buyback scheme offers

early adopters the chance to realize an immediate substantial return on their investment with the added benefit of continued free solar electricity.” The company said it had already acquired more than 1,000 installations across the UK, with more than 2.25MW of capacity through its buyback scheme, but is looking to beef up funding with a focus on acquiring solar systems deployed before FiT rates were cut in April 2012.

UK for long. Planners at Dormington, Herefordshire, have just granted approval for a 20MW battery storage system that will be designed by the Brighton-based developer Energy Reservoirs, which is contracted to complete construction within three years. A decision has not yet been made as to which batteries will be installed.

Leclanché chooses Greensmith for 20MW/10MWh system Battery manufacturer Leclanché has selected Greensmith, the energy storage software firm, to provide a turn-key 20MW/10MWh system in Marengo, Illinois — just outside Chicago. This will be Greensmith’s fifth system within the PJM market. It will provide frequency regulation as the main use-case. Leclanché will provide the batteries and work with Greensmith to deliver the project. The site will be commissioned by May. PJM ensures grid reliability for 61 million people in 13 US states. “Leclanché is committed to acting as EPC contractor and providing fully integrated storage solutions,” said Leclanché chief executive Anil Srivastava. “As grid operators look to new technologies to improve power quality and reliability, advanced energy storage has proven to be an effective and superior provider of frequency regulation,” said John Jung, CEO of Greensmith.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 25








Exide Technologies submits plan for final closure of Vernon site Exide Technologies, the USbased lead battery manufacturer and recycler, submitted an implementation plan on January 9 for the final closure of the battery recycling plant at Vernon, near Los Angeles in California. The plan was submitted after a Closure Plan was published by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in December, which sets out in detail how the site is to be made safe and cleaned up. Exide confirmed it would make $38 million available to help pay for the work, with another $11 million paid into a closure bond and $8.25 million in an escrow account for the

same purpose. “Exide Technologies is committed to fulfil our obligations to the Vernon community,” the company said. “Our number one priority, and a key component of our company’s values, is to protect the health, safety and well-being of our employees and the people in the communities where we operate and live. “We have funded the remediation of more than 180 homes closest to the facility and outside the potential impact area as well as conducting ongoing bloodtesting in the area.” While Exide has carried out its pledges to assist with the clean-up around Ver-

non, the firm told BESB that a scientific study had found that only soil in industrial areas surrounding the plant had been found to have higher levels of lead, and not soil in residential areas. “Exide continues to stand by the conclusions of the only published scientific

study conducted to date, available on the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s website, that Exide has not caused lead contamination above urban background levels in the residential areas closest to the former Exide Vernon facility,” the company said.

Californian state regulators delay release of Quemetco pollution report results A report by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control revealing the results of soil tests nearby the lead battery recycling firm Quemetco at the City of Industry, Los Angeles, California, has been delayed until March, state regulators said on January 19. The report had been due to be published in December. Meanwhile, Quemetco, a subsidiary of RSR Corporation, has put in an application to the Air Quality Management District to increase its throughput by 25%. The Clean Air Coalition of North Whittier and Avocado Heights, a volunteer group set up to raise awareness and lobby agencies to get testing carried out in the surrounding area, says the Department for Toxic Substances Control is simultaneously processing a renewal of Quemetco’s hazardous waste permit —

which does not mention the application to AQMD. One of the reasons for the delay in the release of the report is the time it took to secure agreements for testing from commercial properties, according to Jose Diaz, project manager at the Department of Toxic Substances Control. More than 130 residential properties within a quarter mile radius of the Quemetco plant have had samples collected, and these will be tested for lead, arsenic,

cadmium and a number of other potentially harmful materials. When the agency finishes its report it may announce plans to test soil from a wider area. Since Exide’s recycling plant at Vernon was forced to shut down two years ago, Quemetco has been the only lead battery recycler west of the Rocky Mountains. “Quemetco is the number one emitter of lead in the South Coast, responsible for 74% of total lead com-

pounds released into our air and water in 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez, coordinator of the Clean Air Coalition. “It also generates, treats, and disposes of hazardous waste. But only limited tests for the presence of toxins like lead and arsenic in the neighbouring communities have been done —over 20 years ago — and without any subsequent clean up.”

Tesla’s gigafactory officially begins making cells in Nevada For the record, Tesla’s gigafactory in the US state of Nevada officially began making 2170 lithium-ion battery cells for its Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy storage systems on January 4, the firm said. The new cell — with dimensions of 21mm by

28 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

70mm, hence 2170 — is thicker and taller than the previous 18650 standard cell format. “We’ve flipped the switch on cell production at the Gigafactory,” Tesla posted on its Facebook page, alongside a video showing the battery cells,

which were jointly designed by Tesla and Panasonic, on the factory production line. The much-anticipated cell for the Tesla Model 3 car will begin production in the second quarter of 2017, and by 2018 the site should produce 35 GWh/year of lithium cells.


German utility buys UK lead acid/ lithium firm for solar+storage Innogy SE, the new name of German utility RWE, confirmed on January 3 that it had completed the purchase of UK-based lead-acid battery manufacturer Belectric. A change of name for Belectric is likely in the future. The deal, said to be in the high, double-digit million euro range, was agreed at the end of August 2016, but was only completed just after the new year. “Belectric will be working together with Innogy to design, install and operate utility-scale photovoltaic power plants,” said Innogy spokesperson Vera Bücker. “At the same time, Belectric will continue to provide services in the fields of engineering, procuring and construction, and operation and maintenance for third parties. The company will also remain active in regions that are not among Innogy’s target markets for

project development.” Belectric was selected by the UK National Grid last year as one of seven battery firms to provide sub-second enhanced frequency response support to the grid. It was the first time battery technology had been chosen for grid-scale energy storage in the UK. Belectric’s flagship product is its Energy Buffer Unit, which it makes with either lead acid or lithium ion batteries according to customer specifications. The EBU can store 10MW of power. Innogy is looking to move, it says, “right to the forefront as a global player” in the utility-scale solar and battery storage market, it says, and expects the UK firm to help it in its move towards decentralized power. “While Innogy is a pioneer for efficient, climatefriendly and intelligent en-

“Belectric will be working together with Innogy to design, install and operate utility-scale photovoltaic power plants” ergy solutions, we were still lagging behind in the field of utility-scale photovoltaic power plants,” said Innogy CEO Peter Terium. “We’ve now closed this gap and are in an ideal position to successfully implement large-scale photovoltaic projects in Europe and our growth regions. “Also, the combination of expertise in renewable energy and battery storage technology solutions will help us keep our energy system stable, despite the increasing influx of fluctuating renewables.” “Our Energy Buffer Unit is already in use at solar power plants, including the Alt Daber solar power

plant in Germany,” said a Belectric company statement. “There it delivers power flexibly at any time of day to actively stabilize the national power grid.” The company says its EBU can be scaled to almost any required size and has an output of 750kW per 40 minutes for grid stability, peak shaving and ramp rate control. The take-over means that Innogy SE now owns all of Belectric’s PV and battery business, with the brand also becoming Innogy SE’s. Belectric, however, will be renamed and still own its real estate, automotive suppliers and electric mobility capabilities.

Groundbreaking supercap polymers could transform the battery industry Scientists at the UK universities of Bristol and Surrey, working with contact lens maker Augmented Optics, say they have made a breakthrough with new polymers for supercapacitors that “could transform the battery industry”. They say the findings could have an impact on a huge range of applications, from aerospace, consumer electronics and medical equipment to electric vehicles, which could have a driving range similar to petrol-fuelled counterparts with the capability of recharging within a couple of minutes. Ian Hamerton, reader in polymers and composite materials at the University

of Bristol, said production of a prototype was under discussion with third parties and the initial focus was on car batteries. Hamerton said the polymer material had been developed as a result of a project carried out at the University of Surrey, where he formerly worked. “The material platform from which our work began was a number of crosslinked copolymers otherwise best known for their original use as soft contact lenses,” he said. “These systems are based upon a number of hydrophobic monomers including acrylonitrile and methyl methacrylate polymerized with hydrophilic co-monomers

of which hydroxylethyl methacrylate (HEMA) is a typical representative. “The result is a stable, well characterized material that is very resistant to chemical degradation.” Independent testing on at least two dozen devices showed the material was described as being “exceptionally well suited” for use as an electrolyte with more than 100 times greater capacitive effects than that of normal aqueous electrolytes. Unlike most electrically conductive polymers, which are structurally rigid, these new materials take in up to 90% of water and expand to form soft elastic solids that are stable in a range of acidic and alkaline so-

lutions. It means they can be easily cast into films or molded to retain flexibility. Initiated by Donald Highgate, an alumnus from the University of Surrey and a director at Augmented Optics, the research programme was co-led by Hamerton and Brendan Howlin, also at the University of Bristol. Jim Heathcote, chief executive of Augmented Optics, said: “The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very new future. We are seeking commercial partners to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 29


Axion Power announces two new applications for its PbC battery Axion Power, the lead carbon battery firm, has announced the deployment of its batteries in two remote locations in North America in November where low temperatures can play havoc with some battery chemistries. In both cases, power is generated by solar panels and then stored in the batteries for use when the sun goes down. The first application is for tower lighting systems, beacons that must stay lit on top of any structure higher than 200 feet under regulations by the US Federal Aviation Administration. The beacons only require low voltage, but in remote locations utility power is sometimes not available at all, hence the need for an offgrid battery back-up supply. After three months’ testing by Mountain View Solar

in Berkeley Spring, Virginia, Axion’s batteries have been installed on power lines in the region. There is a huge potential for further installations given the number of tall structures. “Many systems currently use lead acid but they are failing because the beacon has to stay on at the expense of the battery,” said Jack Shindle, vice president of engineering at Axion Power. “In the winter the batteries are going to run very low on voltage because of the cold weather and low light.” “Testing included a discharge to levels that would have destroyed normal AGM or GEL batteries,” said mtvSolar solar energy system specialist Cevyn MilesMonaghan. “That said, we feel confident in deploying this technology.” Axion Power claims its batteries have a life of at

least eight years. The second project involves supplying back-up power to a water pumping and filtration system designed by RAR Engineering, which is based in Pennsylvania. The batteries have been deployed at a site in New Castle, where they support a ground water remediation system that pumps contaminated water away from land at a decommissioned gas station. “The ability to operate a cost effective off grid remediation system was the goal of this project. With the help of the professionals at Axion, the system went from a concept to a functioning system within a few months,” said Kyle Griffith, a geologist at RAR Engineering. “Some of these old sites are being shut down under US Environmental Protection

Agency requirements,” said Shindle. “We are proving that the system works at one site with the idea of moving to other sites. “The big take-away that I want people to have about this system is that it can be used in all sorts of applications in a very similar way. It’s an off-grid battery system with a solar panel and charge control that can be used 24 hours a day and overnight, it can be cycled every day and will last for eight to 10 years without deterioration from very low temperatures.” Shindle said the firm would look to the oil and gas industry for future applications for the batteries. Navigant Research, the market analysis firm, predicts that total global revenue from off-grid remote power systems will reach $1.5 billion a year by 2020.

Latest market reports predict expansion in lead battery industry to 2026 Reports ahead of the new 2017 year have predicted a robust Asia Pacific automotive sector will drive demand for lead acid batteries for the next 10 years, with market demand increasing at 4.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2020. In its report Global Lead Acid Battery Market Analysis and Opportunities Assessment, 2014-2020, released mid-November, Future Market Insights says the global lead acid battery market was expected to reach $59 billion by 2020. The research firm had already predicted a twofold increase in demand for AGM and enhanced flooded batteries over the same period. By application, the trans-

port and stationary industrial sectors made up 77.9% of lead acid battery market revenue in 2014, the report said, and while grid storage was one of the smallest segments, that was forecast to grow at a CAGR of 7.3% in the same period. “Adoption of grid storage technology in developing countries such as India and China is expected to fuel the global lead acid battery market,” the report says. “In addition to that, an increase in the demand for electric vehicles is expected to further accelerate the expansion of the lead acid battery market globally.” Separately, in its market research report, Technavio analysts estimated the Asia Pacific region would domi-

30 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

nate the global market for lead acid batteries during the forecast period. China lead acid battery giant Leoch added its weight to these claims, forecasting massive growth in global automotive sales, which it said would rise from 146 million units in 2015 to 407 million units by 2025. The prime driver in the automotive sector will be in stop-start batteries, the battery maker predicts, which will increase in sales from 20.4 million units in 2015 to three times the figure, 61.8 million, by 2025. While transport applications far outstrip others at the moment, the Future Market Insights report says the adoption of grid storage technology in developing

countries like China India is expected to accelerate an already expanding lead battery market globally. The firm did sound a note of caution, however. “The lead acid battery market is going through a period of transition, as demand for advanced lead acid batteries is growing,” it said. “Environmental concerns are one of the biggest reasons why lead acid batteries are being slowly phased out in many industries. Lead and sulfuric acid can pose serious health risks in cases of continued exposure. “Owing to these factors, it is expected that the lead acid battery manufacturers will have to innovate to stay relevant in the near future.”


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AES launches Open Innovation Contest for unmanned inspection approaches AES is launching an Open Innovation Contest in partnership with NineSigma, a company with extensive external resources and connections, to accelerate innovation and improve the safety and increasing availability of power plants through unmanned inspections in locations of extreme heat. Three winners will be recognized and rewarded at AES’ global  Innovation Congress in July 2017,  held at its corporate headquar-

ters in the Washington, DC area. The company is accepting proposals until the end of February. More than 20,000 MW of generation capacity is offline globally at all times due in part to outage-related inspections, reducing the ability of electric grids to absorb variable renewable sources such as wind and solar. “These outages represent $1 billion in lost power capacity, nearly the energy consumption in the state

of Virginia  every year,” says AES. “Electricity generation can require extreme heat conditions. When a system failure occurs that halts electricity generation and we need to inspect and repair equipment, we must wait until temperatures reach a sufficiently low level for someone with personal protective equipment to enter the confined space safely to inspect and repair the equipment. “It not only can be hazardous work, but also in-

creases the time it takes the company to begin generating electricity again.” AES says it is looking for innovative unmanned technologies to conduct inspection work that can resist extreme heat and keep people safe while improving energy availability by getting plants back online more quickly. Responses and potential solutions are being requested from other companies, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs or inventors.

Nidec-ASI joins German utility to install one of world’s largest BESS Italian generating firm Nidec-ASI and German utility STEAG have installed one of the world’s largest battery energy storage systems with a total capacity of 90MW across six different sites in Germany. LG Chem, the Korean electronics giant, supplied the batteries for the BESS, which was installed at three sites in North Rhine Westphalia, in Germany’s northwest, and three in Saarland, in the south. The systems, based on Nidec-ASI’s energy conversion solutions, store power which STEAG then uses to provide auxiliary services to Germany’s power grid. Media reports suggest the project cost around $100 million. Each of the six 15MW systems contains five 3MW units, which include power converters, transformers, the control system and the LG Chem new-generation lithium batteries. Developing energy storage technologies has become a prime focus in Germany as part of its transition away from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Between 2012 and 2015, 26MW in 10 pilot pro-

jects was installed, much of which received funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, according to the organization GTAI – Germany Trade & Invest. This latest STEAG installment increases the country’s grid battery storage capacity by more than three times as part of Germany’s

‘ambitious energy transition project’, says GTAI. “The planned closure of all nuclear power plants in Germany by 2022 poses a significant technological challenge in the transport and storage of electricity from multiple sources,” said Giovanni Barra, CEO of Nidec-ASI. “Nidec-ASI provides the

AES picks Mitsubishi-GS Yuasa and Parker-Hannifin to supply Chile BESS AES Gener and AES Energy Storage chose ParkerHannifin in December to supply advanced battery energy storage systems for their new Cochrane power station in Chile. The battery energy storage system will be supplied by Mitsubishi Corporation with the lithium ion battery module manufactured by GS Yuasa and the lithium ion battery cells by Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Corporation and GS Yuasa. The project is the companies’ third energy storage facility in Northern Chile, integrating 20MW of advanced battery-based

energy storage with a 532MW thermal power plant. The project is owned by AES Gener, the second largest power generator in the country, and Mitsubishi Corporation. “We already have battery energy storage systems in our Angamos and Norgener power plants,” said Felipe Cerón chief executive of AES Gener. “It will be good for the supply of power in the northern grid, and also for the stability of the system.” The Cochrane facility being developed by AES Gener will incorporate AES Energy Storage’s Advanced Reserves

technological innovation of its management system and storage control, which allows the release of electricity to the grid within milliseconds to strengthen its stability, and also offers experience in managing such complex projects.” Nidec-ASI was formerly known as Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali. product including patented controls, a modular system architecture, and operational support. The Grid Services division of Parker-Hannifin will provide power conversion and system-level services. The battery energy storage systems in combination with the energy produced by the Cochrane generating station will provide reliable power in the Northern Grid.  AES Gener and AES Energy Storage have previously developed energy storage projects at the Norgener and Angamos power stations. The first of these, the Los Andes Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), has been delivering grid reliability services since 2009.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 33


Soaring Australian power prices open doors for Redflow Redflow, the Australian zinc-bromine flow battery maker, announced on December 5 it had approved a further seven installers for its ZCell storage system, meaning the company now has installers in every state and territory in Australia. The batteries, which Redflow claims are the smallest flow batteries in the world, appear to be flying out of the factory since they were launched in March. The company announced its first approved installers in September, and already the total has reached 12. “Converting the world energy grid to becoming majority renewablesourced is entirely achievable by using batteries to time-shift electricity,” said CEO and executive chairman Simon Hackett.

“The strong level of engagement from installers reflects that demand from both residential and business consumers. Each of our 12 installers has ordered ZCell batteries from Redflow already, with one order for 48 ZCells, worth about $600,000. Electricity is expensive in Australia. Carbon & Energy Markets, an Australian energy and electronics consultancy, showed that out of 91 countries and regions around the world, including the US, Asia and Europe, only Denmark’s household electricity prices were higher. This July, Energy Consumers Australia, an economics consultancy, said households in New South Wales paid the highest bills

in the world. Hackett says Redflow has approached local and federal governments to highlight the benefits of public support for more widespread storage. “Added to the high cost of electricity in Australia is the fact that a number of states, including New South Wales, are finishing their generous solar feed-in tariffs which have run for the past decade,” said Hackett. “By creating a situation where people with solar panels are receiving less for the energy they feed into the grid than they pay for energy they obtain from the grid, this is encouraging many people in these jurisdictions to consider batteries to store their PV solar energy until they need it – that is, self-

ZincFive eyes global markets with purchase of Ni-Zn battery maker ZincFive, a US-based developer and manufacturer of battery management systems for nickel-zinc batteries, confirmed mid-November that it had bought NiZn battery maker PowerGenix in a move to commercialize the technology and scale up production. Formerly trading as EnSite Power, the company was re-structured two years ago and under the new name ZincFive has bought PowerGenix to work on pushing the commercialization of the technology. “Our primary purpose is to provide high performance solutions to global energy storage markets that desire high-power density, safety, long life and low environmental impact,” CEO and co-founder of ZincFive Tim Hysell told BESB.

“The addition of PowerGenix has expanded our ability to leverage the 62 issued patents around NiZn and incorporate them into a licensing agreement with one of the largest global battery manufacturers in the world. “Now the relationship culminates in a combined company, with the potential to deliver greater value to both customers and shareholders.” Ensite Power developed its UPStealth digital battery management system with NiZn technology that provided UPS to traffic intersections when utility power went down. It is now targeting other markets with its battery technology, including stopstart vehicle applications, for which, the firm says,

34 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

“nickel-zinc is lighter, has a much longer life and delivers greater energy density than traditional lead-acid batteries. “NiZn is more than capable of replacing leadacid in the start-stop application due to the energy density, weight, tolerance to extreme temperatures, safety and performance life. ZincFive is working with multiple OEMs with which we are bound by confidentiality agreements,” said Hysell. “We also see a future in other applications for starter motors, especially those where safety, lighter-weight, increased power density and longer life are valued.” The company also manufactures a high power density battery back-up system for intelligent traffic

consumption. “As well as cost reductions, a strong motivator for people enquiring to buy our batteries is the desire for a reliable back-up power supply. This became a primary motivator for people enquiring a couple of months ago after a major power outage cut off electricity for the entire state of South Australia.” The latest seven installers approved by Redflow in Australia are SSE Systems in the ACT (Canberra area); Riverina Complete Solar in Griffith, NSW; Country Solar NT in the Northern Territory; Apex Communication Technologies and Sustainable Works, both in South Australia; Veida in Victoria; and Green Gateway in Western Australia. systems that is deployed in more than 700 installations across North America, such as traffic lights and light rail crossings. “ZincFive addresses a growing need in the battery market between lead-acid and lithium-ion capabilities,” says Tod Higinbotham, ZincFive’s president. “New applications in our ever-evolving electrified and connected world are requiring much higher powered solutions, with increased cycling, lighter weight and significant safety and environmental improvements. Although it took a while for Edison’s idea to make it, the timing could not be better.” The company claims that NiZn batteries are safe, non-explosive, deliver greater energy density at a lower cost than lithium or lead batteries, have a high charge and discharge capability with no trickle charge and the ability to withstand high temperatures.

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Entek partners Separindo to expand separator capacity in Asia Entek International, battery separator designer and producer, signed an agreement on January 31 with Separindo, the Indonesia-based polyethylene battery separator producer, to make and sell PE separators for flooded lead acid batteries in Asia. “The partnership… provides battery producers in the region with expanded access to quality separator products for batteries in the starting, lighting and ignition, traction and stationary power markets,” Entek said. The company said the decision to partner up was driven by a rapport

between the management and operations teams of both firms, which both aim to expand their presence into Indian, Chinese, Korean and south-east Asian markets. “Separindo has high-quality equipment and the experience to run the complex process to make battery separators. Entek brings its inhouse engineering, fabrication and process team to the partnership,” Entek marketing manager Carri Moffat told BESB. “Together, the Entek-Separindo partnership will have more resources to expand capacity, implement improved production

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practices and serve more customers with a broader portfolio of products. “By partnering with Entek, one of the world’s largest separator manufacturers, Separindo gains access to the economies of scale that Entek, as the larger partner, has. Entek designs and builds the world’s largest, most productive lead acid battery separator lines. Separindo will be a full beneficiary of Entek’s ability to provide the most efficient separator production technology in the world. And Entek benefits from Separindo’s strong base of operations and excellent reputation in Asia.” Entek CEO Larry Keith said: “This agreement fulfills the promise I made at the 2015 Asian Battery Conference that Entek would expand its manufacturing footprint to Asia. Entek’s partnership with Separindo enables us to reach Asian customers with quality products from our product portfolios.” Moffat said the joint venture had already begun to work on capacityenhancing projects, specific timing for which would be announced in the months ahead. In January Daramic, the other major battery separator manufacturer, announced plans to expand its manufacturing operations in India.


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NEWS Massachusetts becomes next US state to set energy storage targets for utilities The US state of Massachusetts intends to set energy storage targets for electrical utilities, a move that could fortify a developing industry that state officials said could store 600MW megawatts of power by 2025. The impetus behind the move follows state government officials in California setting aggressive renewable energy targets mandating certain amounts of storage for each utility. Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources determined it is “prudent for the Commonwealth to set targets for energy storage systems”, according to DOER commissioner Judith Judson in December. An energy diversification law was signed by Charlie Baker, the state governor, in August. This gave the DOER the discretion to determine whether to set costeffective energy storage targets for utilities to be achieved by January 2020. The law required the department to make a determination on targets by year’s end. The DOER is opening a public comment period ending January 27 and the department will need to adopt storage targets by July 1. In September, Baker administration officials said the state planned to fund up to half the cost of roughly 10 to 15 energy storage projects under an $11 million programme aimed at creating 5MW of storage.

Carbon nanotubes create ‘spectacular’ improvement in lead batteries Lithium may lead the field in energy storage at the grid level but the lead battery industry is fighting back with improvements that could challenge the supremacy of lithium by offering similar capabilities but at much lower cost. Scientists at the university of Bar-llan in Israel and the nanotube company OCSiAl have announced “spectacular” results when they added single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) to the electrode pastes of lead-acid batteries. Presenting at the world’s first nanoaugmented materials industry summit that was held in Novosibirsk, Russia, in November, Doron Auerbach, head of the chemistry department at Bar-llan University, said there had also been remarkable results with the addition of SWCNT to the electrodes of advanced lead batteries with gel electrolyte — an improvement he said had been completely unexpected. “It was above all expectations,” said Auerbach. “SWCNT increased the mechanical strength of the

active mass, the integrity of the active mass and the electric conductivity of the active mass. “Even tiny amounts were very effective, which means with mass production the cost will not be a big issue because the amounts required are so tiny.” Auerbach said that with just 0.001% of SWCNT added to the electrode paste of ordinary lead-acid batteries, the cycles of the cells increased by more than 600 and there was a five-fold increase in cycle life. The rate capability increased more than five times with the addition of the nanotubes. With advanced lead batteries it was even more remarkable because the results were unexpected, he said. “In advanced lead acid batteries the electrolyte is now a gel, and we didn’t expect there to be much of a difference because the batteries are better, after all,” he said. “But when the cells were polarized, they needed much lower voltage if they

had SWCNT added to the gel. “When we added our magic additive we could see the improvement in advanced lead batteries which was spectacular when compared with blank cells. There was a five-fold gain in cycle number.” The addition of SWCNT also suppressed sulfation, Auerbach said. The nanoaugmented materials summit was organized by OCSiAl, the Luxembourg-based firm that has developed its own brand of nanotubes, Tuball. Tuball consists of more than 75% of single wall carbon nanotubes and is added to a wide range of materials which the firm says include touch screen panels, polymers, structural composites, rubber goods and batteries. OCSiAl co-founder Yuri Koropachinoskiy said: “Commercial production of SWCNT is a fundamental achievement. This is the first material with fundamentally new properties which mankind has learned to produce commercially over the past 50 years.”

AES 50MW facility in Scotland advances One of the world’s largest power storage facilities — a 50MW array in Fife, Scotland to be built and operated by AES — is advancing and a planning application is likely to be submitted to the local council early this year. The proposed battery energy storage array would be housed in an agricultural style building, and would be operational in 2018. The site would collect

surplus electricity from the grid and feed it back into the network at times of high demand. The arrays relieve pressure on generation plants and help ensure a balanced system of electricity generation and supply. AES will deliver the project using Advancion 4, the company’s fourth generation battery-based energy storage platform, which won the Edison Electric Institute’s 2016 International

Edison Award. The company says Advancion 4 will improve existing electric infrastructure and unlock the value of existing clean energy resources. AES’s first, battery-based energy storage facility in the UK was the Kilroot array in Northern Ireland. It provides 10 MW of interconnected energy storage, equivalent to 20 MW of flexible resource for the allisland transmission grid.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 37








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A watershed moment for UltraBattery 2.0 In early February India’s Exide Industries announced an agreement with Ecoult, owned by East Penn, to manufacture UltraBattery for the Asian market. It’s a landmark agreement. Batteries International spoke to John Wood, Ecoult chief executive. will be able to grow their capacity with the market.

“A key capability of UltraBattery is its ability to operate in partial state of charge with very limited rates of sulfation. Operation in partial state of charge also has a number of advantages in reducing secondary degradation factors which are typically accelerated with higher temperature.” John, what sort of production capacity are we looking at? Production of UltraBattery entails a very high overlap of process with manufacture of standard lead acid batteries with some additional processes. As such the good news is that production capacity can be scaled very quickly. East Penn Manufacturing will be transferring know-how around the manufacturing process and collaborating with Exide Industries to get initial production capability established and then Exide Industries

What are the technical differences between this UltraBattery and the original one? Since the earliest UltraBattery devices were implemented we have enhanced the capabilities of the product both in terms of lifetime throughput and power handling capabilities. Our newest formats also utilize the active material more effectively, supporting effective power and energy density when running higher rate applications. For example our first generation UltraBattery devices were used for continuous variability management at around 0.8C1 against the PJM regulation services signal, whereas our latest version is used at up to 1.4C1. As well as the battery technology a lot of work has been done by Ecoult around the monitoring, management and control framework to support UltraBattery. This work makes the product easily adaptable to use for the provision of grid ancillary services, micro grid applications, renewable integration, and applications that reduce diesel emissions by increasing efficiency of use. A key capability of UltraBattery is its ability to operate in partial state of charge with very limited rates of sulfation. Operation in partial state of charge also has a number of advantages in reducing secondary degradation factors which are typically accelerated with higher temperature. Most recently we have been enhancing the capability for UltraBattery to operate partial state of charge in higher ambient temperature conditions. Lead acid technology generally has an advantage over many alternative

technologies in its ability to handle temperature variation and variations in power requests readily with the only effect being marginal change in the rate of background degradation. Operating in partial state of charge, UltraBattery takes this to the next level. How easy will it be to integrate it into the Exide Industries production lines — will part of the lines have to be changed, or the whole line overhauled? The primary change entails the addition of equipment for the new processes connected with the UltraBattery technology. The rest of the production can be done utilizing existing production lines. When is production going to start? It is everyone’s intention to get going quickly but it will take a number of months to transfer the capability into the Exide Industries factory. In the intervening period we will be implementing a limited number of sites using UltraBattery, produced by East Penn Manufacturing, to build the level of UltraBattery solution and system experience at Exide Industries and its subsidiary Chloride Power Systems and Solutions Limited. Where is the greatest demand in India, and wider, Asia? UltraBattery contributes most readily wherever there is a need to support variability in power needs matching supply to utilization. In particular, in India and Asia this is needed in systems which utilize diesel generation with or without integration of renewable energy generation and where there are unreliable grid services. Applications such as local power, microgrid, power for remote cell towers and ancillary services. Geographically the demand is widespread.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 39


Too easy to point a finger at Exide

The huge task of cleaning up lead polluted soil around Exide’s smelting plant in Vernon begins this year. Although it’s clear that responsibility for some of the problem lies at Exide’s door — which the firm acknowledges — whether it is wholly to blame is unclear. A clean-up the scale of which has never been seen before in California will start this summer in and around Exide Technologies’ lead battery recycling plant at Vernon, near Los Angeles. It will be overseen by the Department of Toxic Substances Control — DTSC

40 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

— which finalized its Closure Plan for the site itself in December. Although the plant has been closed since 2014, actual clean-up work will not begin until there is public approval of an environmental impact report and clean-up plan that will be

produced after months of sampling properties and testing soils in a 1.7mile radius of the plant. Under the Workforce for Environmental Restoration in Communities Program, 40% of the workforce has had to include local residents, who


In November 2015, California state governor Jerry Brown appealed to lawmakers to make $177 million available for testing and cleaningup costs, and in April 2016 the money was approved.

have been trained by the DTSC and paid by contractors to carry out soil sampling and assessments around the 10,000 or so homes around the plant which could be affected after decades of emissions, first from Gould, Incorporated, which opened the facility in 1981, and then by Exide Technologies, which bought it in 2000. But assignment of responsibility for the levels of lead that may be found in the larger locality around the Exide plant could prove to be a troublesome process. “Southern California has always had a lot more concentration of autos on the road — and until 1976, gas had lead in it,” says Battery Council International deputy chief executive Mark Thorsby. As the population of California increased from 20 million to 30 million between 1970 and 1992, the number of registered vehicles doubled alongside. Although the Air Resources Board, under the Californian Environmental Protection Agency, limited the amount of lead in gasoline in 1976, it was not completely eliminated from gasoline until 1992, when there were already 23 million registered vehicles on the roads in California.

“There are also a lot of private runways in California, and general aviation; other industries too, producing lead,” says Thorsby. “So there was lead in the air, and it sunk to the ground. It drops into the soil and it doesn’t go away.” In total California has 145 airports, 27 of them commercial and a cluster of them around Los Angeles, according to the Airport Authority. Standard high octane for aviation piston engines is Avgas 100, which has a high lead content, and even ‘low-lead’ Avgas 100LL contains up to 0.56g/litre of lead. The Federal Aviation Administration claims that most Avgas now on the US market is low lead, and it has been working for years to find an alternative fuel; but in the decades up to Exide’s closure up until today, California’s planes have been — quite literally — dropping lead from the sky. In a statement to Batteries International, Exide says that factors such as house paint could also have contributed to lead levels. “An analysis of blood lead testing released by the California Department of Public Health in April 2016 demonstrated that the age of housing plays a significant, if not the predominant, role in the levels of lead found in blood because older houses often have lead hazards from paint; and that when the advanced age of the homes surrounding the facility was taken into account, the effect of distance from the Exide facility diminished substantially,” the statement says. “At Exide it was a combination of these and other environmental factors — legacy issues — because at the time, the levels of lead emitted were permissible,” says Thorsby. “But now, the question is how we are going to pay for it. We are working with California State regulators to work out how the new $1 battery tax is going to go where it’s directed — the fee put on the batteries should only be put on the batteries that are going to be sold in California, and this isn’t always easy to work out as the batteries are often sold to an intermediary. “It’s working out the mechanics of

“We are utilizing all of the resources at our disposal to ensure we protect the most sensitive populations impacted by the presence of lead in the soil from the Exide operations.” Barbara Lee, DTSC

it by April, which is when it should go in force. But we will work it out, and from this we will make $180 million, and this will be enough.” The battery tax went in force under the terms of the California Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act (AB 2153) on January 1, with the collection of fees to begin in April. The new law also requires consumers to pay a deposit on new lead batteries that will be refundable if they turn in the old battery for recycling. In November 2015, California state governor Jerry Brown appealed to lawmakers to make $177 million available for testing and cleaning-up costs, and in April 2016 the money was approved. Exide has agreed to pay $38 million as a contribution to the works, with another $11 million in a closure bond and $8.25 million in an escrow account.

“A bit of common sense please — we have around 3,000 deaths a year on our state’s roads. It isn’t the lead in the atmosphere that kills them but the cars we drive — which contain the lead.” Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 41


1981: Prince Charles and Diana wed

2009: Barak Obama inaugurated

December 1981

August 2006

June 2012

California’s Department of Health Services issues an “interim status document” for the lead recycling plant at 2700 S Indiana Avenue, Vernon, California, on December 18, 1981. Gould National Battery — better known as GNB — owned it at the time.

The DTSC fines Exide $39,000 for failing to minimize the possibility of hazardous emissions.

Exide pays $119,000 to settle seven air quality violations.

1999 Officials with the Department of Toxic Substances Control find high levels of lead in the sediment at the bottom of a storm water retention pond and the plant operators are ordered to clean it up.

October 2000 GNB is bought by Exide Technologies, which also takes on the plant at Vernon.

January 2003 In an early sign of what is to come, the Department of Toxic Substances Control — DTSC — fines Exide $40,000 for the improper storage of lead acid batteries.

March 2004 The South Coast Air Quality Management District fines Exide $3,000 for air quality violations.

June 2006 The DTSC circulates a draft hazardous waste facility permit for the Exide plant. This was the closest it came to having a permit in place.

2006: Twitter launched

42 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

April 2013

May 2009

Exide is temporarily closed for the first time after DTSC chief Debbie Raphael finds it “an imminent and substantial danger to the public health and the environment”.

Exide pays another $7,500 to settle an air quality violation.

June 2013

February 2008 Exide pays the AQMD $5,000 to settle an air quality violation.

July 2009 Exide pays $150,999 to the AQMD to settle 14 air quality violations. It is also required to pay $250,000 as part payment for an air regulators’ inspection and enforcement costs.

August 2010 The DTSC fines Exide $100,000 for violations.

November 2010 The South Coast Air Quality Management District adopts a rule which sets more stringent emission standards for Exide and another lead battery recycling company, Quemetco, which is based less than 20 miles away from Exide.

July 2011 Exide admits that it has exceeded the lead concentrations imposed the previous November but complies with the law by the beginning of 2012.

Exide files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which means it will avoid having to pay debt interest and other payments.

July 2013 The law steps in, and judge Luis Lavin issues an order against the DTSC to prevent the regulatory body closing Exide down.

September 2013 Exide is told it must monitor lead emissions on a daily basis after too much lead is found in the air.

October 2013 SCAQMD lawyers appeal to the district to shut Exide down for failing to control emissions.

January 2014 Exide cuts back its production as the SCAQMD further lowers allowable limits for emissions and accuses Exide of committing multiple air pollution violations.

2012: London hosts the Olympics


2014: Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappears

2016: UK votes to leave the EU

March 2014

April 2015

August 2016

Exide agrees to shutter the plant and pay $50 million to clean it and the surrounding neighbourhoods. “The reign of toxic lead ends today,” said acting US attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “After more than nine decades of ongoing lead contamination, neighbourhoods can now start to breathe easier.” Robert Caruso, Exide president and CEO, is quoted as saying he recognizes the impact that closing the facility will have on the 130 employees and their families, and “on behalf of the company, I thank them”.

Exide emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as restructuring plan comes into effect

Thirty-one students graduate in Los Angeles after being trained by the DTSC to sample, assess and clean up contaminated areas. The programme comes under the $177 million plan announced by governor Brown.

April 2014 More than 120 workers are laid off temporarily from the Vernon plant.

May 2014 The Environmental Protection Agency weighs in, telling Exide it has violated federal law. State regulators order a clean-up.

February 2015 Exide describes the work it is doing to clean up the site with a potential re-opening.

March 2015 Senate president pro tem Kevin de León urges the DTSC to permanently close the facility, and after a deal with the US attorney which means Exide will not face criminal liability, Exide agrees to do so.

2015: Terrorist attacks in Paris

August 2015 The DTSC finds $7 million to begin the clean-up work but the regulator is criticized for the slow pace of the work.

November 2015 The testing area around the Vernon plant is expanded and up to 10,000 homes in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Maywood and Commerce are now thought to have been contaminated. State governor Jerry Brown asks lawmakers to make $177 million available for testing and cleaning up contaminated communities around the plant. Testing and cleaning is slated to be carried out by the end of June 2017.

April 2016 Legislators approve the $177 million for cleaning up. There is anger at the meeting, in which Exide is accused by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of “poisoning families in my backyard for so many generations”.

September 2016 Californians are told that a $1 battery tax will also help to pay for the massive clean-up. The tax will rise to $2 after five years, and will become payable next April. Battery Council International executive vicepresident Mark Thorsby tells Batteries International that the $180 million that is expected to be raised by the tax will be enough to cover the clean-up costs.

December 2016 The DTSC releases a closure plan which describes how the units at the plant will be decontaminated and removed, and confirms it is out in the field sampling properties while developing a draft clean-up plan for off-site contamination, which will need approval before it can commence.

Sources: Department of Toxic Substances Control, Los Angeles Times, Southern California Public Radio, The Sacramento Bee. Battery Council International

2017: Donald Trump takes office

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 43

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THE EXIDE CLEAN-UP Standard high octane for aviation piston engines is Avgas 100, which has a high lead content, and even ‘low-lead’ Avgas 100LL contains up to 0.56g/litre of lead. California has 145 airports, 27 of them commercial and a cluster of them around Los Angeles. With regard to the Exide plant itself, the DTSC released a final closure plan on December 8, and Exide submitted its implementation plan for closure the following January. The DTSC identified three “Priority Categories” for lead clean-up: Priority 1, yards with soil containing more than 1,000 parts per million; Priority 2, above 400 parts per million; and Priority 3, those with more than 80 parts per million. Fifteen samples are taken from each property, and the whole testing process takes around three hours for each. “They take the auger and go down three inches and pull out some soil and then they start to test it with a moisture meter, to take a moisture content,” says county environmental health manager Charlene Contreras. “If it’s too wet the X-Ray fluorescence analyser gun can’t read it, so they’ll have to cook it to dry it out first. These analysers are handheld devices that analyse the contents of a sample in the field within seconds without having to take the sample back to the laboratory.” However despite the assurances and promises made by the DTSC, pressure groups such as the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice say the work is far too slow, with the residential clean-up not even due to begin until this summer. “Our community leaders have been involved in this fight since we were speculating the extent of contamination from Exide, to the point where many of them have now found that they are Priority 1 or Priority 2 properties — levels of lead in soil that classifies their property as toxic waste or near toxic waste — mostly families with children and

RAMIFICATIONS FROM VERNON The Vernon incident is certain to have implications for other smelters carrying out similar work, although regionally Exide was one of just two west of the Rocky Mountains. The other battery recycler, Quemetco, is based at the City of Industry, just 20 miles away from Exide, and is under investigation. In July 2016 the battery recycling facility was ordered by the DTSC to correct violations to do with its failure to have a functioning leak-detection system and also failure to maintain its containment building, which holds hazardous lead waste. “We expect Quemetco to quickly fix these serious violations, and we will continue to monitor its operation closely,” said DTSC enforcement division chief Keith Kihara at the time. “Quemetco is the number one emitter of lead in the south coast [of LA], responsible for 74% of total lead compounds released into our air and water in 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency,” says Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez, coordinator of the Los Angeles and Sacramento-based Clean Air Coalition. “It also generates, treats, and disposes of hazardous waste. But only limited tests for the presence of toxins like lead and arsenic in neighbouring communities have been done — over 20 years ago — without any subsequent clean up.” Criticisms of Quemetco such as

this are over done, however — what is important is not the percentage of lead compounds released by the smelter but the amounts of lead that are present in the environment. “The real issue here is the media tendency,” says one otherwise neutral commentator, “to demonize lead to the point of idiocy. Talk of a zero tolerance approach to lead ignores the fact that we have strict EPA standards in place. And a bit of common sense please — we have around 3,000 deaths a year on our state’s roads. It isn’t the lead in the atmosphere that kills but the cars we drive — which contain lead.” A report due in December to publish soil test results around the plant was delayed because of off-site sampling taking longer than anticipated due to “trouble getting the required access agreements from commercial property owners within the quarter-mile sampling area”, says Sandy Nax, a spokesman for the DTSC. But the DTSC also says there were significant differences between Quemetco and Exide. “For example, Quemetco received a permit in 2005 and the company has a renewal application that is under review,” says Nax. “The plant is also newer – built in the late 1950s versus 1922, and Quemetco invested $20 million in 2008 in a state-of-the-art emission-control device that Exide did not have.”

In 2008 Quemetco invested in a Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (the WESP) at a cost of $25 million to dramatically reduce emissions.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 45

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THE EXIDE CLEAN-UP infants in the household,” says Mark Lopez, the director of the pressure group. On January 12, the DTSC issued guidelines for “expedited actions”, to include clean-ups, around properties that have been shown to have even higher levels of lead around them. “We are utilizing all of the resources at our disposal to ensure that we are able to take action to protect the most sensitive populations impacted by the presence of lead in the soil from the Exide operations,” says DTSC director Barbara Lee. “These actions will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be based on properties with high levels of lead in the soil and the greatest exposures to sensitive populations.” To determine which properties qualify, the DTSC will look at those with results showing lead above 1,000 parts per million. The DTSC says it will act to ensure timely and appropriate actions are taken to prevent exposures to young children and pregnant women from high levels of lead-impacted soils largely at or near the surface: “It will also consider expedited actions at properties where a resident has a blood lead level at or above five micrograms per decilitre, which is the level used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify children with elevated blood-lead levels.” Children living closer to the plant have certainly been tested to show they have higher levels of lead in their blood, according to testing overseen by the DTSC. The Exide clean-up is progressing fast and furious on multiple fronts,” DTSC spokesman Sandy Nax told Batteries International. “The on-site plant itself has been closed since 2014 and our closure plan basically describes how the hazardous waste units at Exide will be decontaminated and removed in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment. The plan incorporates many recommendations submitted by community members during the public engagement process.” Under the plan, five feet of soil beneath interim status units (tanks, containers, storage areas and so on) will be removed. Hazardous material and waste will be taken to landfill sites or disposed of. All former units will be cleaned and removed, and while the processes take place, Exide will continue to operate its air pollution

48 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

The DTSC identified three “Priority Categories” for lead clean-up: Priority 1, yards with soil containing more than 1,000 parts per million; Priority 2, above 400 parts per million; and Priority 3, those with more than 80 parts per million. control equipment to minimise any impact from the work being carried out. Once they are empty, the buildings containing former IS units will be decontaminated with a high-efficiency particulate air vacuum and pressure washing machines. Concrete floors and walls will be removed and certain buildings gutted and deconstructed

down to five feet below ground level, depending on sample results. Metal debris will be sampled and tested to make sure it is safe. All water – storm water and waste water – will be collected and treated on the site. The Closure Plan is expected to take up to five years to complete. And in the meantime, the testing continues.


Exide Technologies is committed to continuing to fulfil our obligations to the Vernon community. Our number one priority, and a key component of our Company’s values, is to protect the health, safety and well-being of our employees and the people in the communities where we operate and live. Specific to Vernon, we are continuing to work with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the State of California, including paying for the Vernon Facility closure as well as conducting blood testing in the area. We have funded the remediation of more than 180 homes closest to the Facility and outside the potential impact area detailed in the only scientific study published to date, which Exide provided DTSC in 2015. On December 8, 2016, the DTSC issued the Final Closure Plan for the facility in Vernon. Exide is proceeding with the Vernon facility closure activities, having prepared and submitted to the DTSC for approval on January 9, 2017, an Implementation Plan that is protective of public health and the environment.

Exide has agreed to post financial assurance of more than $38 million over time for this work, and has posted an $11 million closure bond and paid $8.25 million into an escrow account for this purpose. We will continue to fund separate closure and corrective action trusts while implementing the government-approved Closure Plan in compliance with applicable law and Closure Plan requirements. Exide also continues to work with local regulators concerning potential lead in soil in residential and industrial areas surrounding the formerly-operating Facility. To date, the Company has paid $9 million into a separate escrow account which was used to pay for analysis and remediation of potential off-site residential lead impacts being implemented under DTSC oversight. In compliance with our contractual obligations to the DTSC, we also recently submitted a proposal with recommendations to address soil and groundwater at the Vernon facility and hired a local project manager to oversee all Closure and Corrective Action-related activities.

NEWS FOCUS In Europe, energy utilities are developing new business services for their large commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, centring on saving energy costs through efficiency, adaptive consumption and provision of grid services.

Centrica’s big UK battery paves way for storage-based services This December, Centrica announced it had been picked to build a 49MW battery storage plant to provide reserves in the UK’s Capacity Market, to ensure there is enough electricity to meet demand during peak periods. The energy storage system can also be used to provide frequency response services into the transmission system operator (TSO), the National Grid’s grid ancillary services market, since it is capable of responding to grid signals in under a second. The battery array is to be built, starting in 2017, on what was originally the site of a coal-fired power station, in Cumbria in the north of England. Later a gas power station was built on the same site, which was mothballed in 2012 and demolished in 2015. The battery will be able to access the local electricity distribution network from the old power station site.

New challenges for utilities

“As long as the end customer’s energy needs are being addressed, that the system is ring-fenced to provide demand charge reduction, they don’t want to be managing all of this. They just want it to happen.” — Jayesh Goyal, Younicos

Decarbonizing the production of electricity brings a set of new challenges for grid operators, such as TSOs and for utilities traditionally involved in power generation. As more variable renewables are added — which tend not to generate electricity at times of highest demand — and traditional power plants are retired, the electricity system’s ability to keep the grid frequency at a stable level is diminishing, risking outages and blackouts. Coal, gas and other fossil fuel plants generate electricity by using steam to run turbines. Lots of big turbines, turning, endow the system with enough inertia to withstand imbalances in grid frequency caused by the mismatches in supply and demand. But energy storage systems can also respond fast enough, under

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 49

NEWS FOCUS a second, to inject and absorb power to balance the grid. A separate but related issue created by retiring megawatts of traditional power generation capacity and increasing intermittent renewables is that during times of peak demand, such as a particularly cold winter, there are risks of not having enough capacity to supply the highest peak in demand. In the UK Capacity Market, flexible fast response units are able to ramp up to provide the power needed to meet demand. Though the majority of capacity awarded under the latest Capacity Market auction that took place in December is for gas, battery storage and capacity provided through demand response services was also rewarded with plenty of contracts.

“As well as being built to provide grid support, the battery plant will show C&I electricity customers what is possible in terms of the technology.” “As well as being built to provide grid support, the battery plant will show C&I electricity customers what is possible in terms of the technology,” says Emily Highmore-Talbot, speaking on behalf of Centrica. “A smart battery built on a large energy consumer’s premises cannot only enable them to save on their energy costs, by using electricity stored in the battery at times of peak demand, but can also allow them to share in some revenues from providing grid services.” Energy storage technology, controlled by algorithm-driven software,

and demand response — again an advanced software-driven application — enables organizations with big electricity needs to become participants in a wholesale energy market that is more reliant on grid services to keep the entire electricity system in balance. Utilities are the new middle men. They provide services that allow their C&I energy customers to measure and monitor consumption, adjust consumption patterns, for payment, and install on-site energy storage for saving on energy costs and tapping into revenues. Like other European utilities divesting their traditional power generation portfolios, while acquiring or taking states in software start-ups, Centrica has been shopping around. The company’s acquisitions include Panoramic Power, a wireless sensor technology provider, which provides consumption data from individual devices up to site level. “It can track, in real-time, what loads the customer is using, and this can show them how they can make savings by changing their usage patterns,” says Highmore-Talbot. “As more technology becomes available we can offer different levels of services for our various customers. Some might want more control and to be more active in this participation while others expect it to happen without being aware that it is going on,” she says.

UK and Germany

From cost saving to revenue generation: Younicos is providing Centrica with its 49MW battery energy storage system.

Utilities are the new middle men. They provide services that allow their C&I energy customers to measure and monitor consumption, adjust consumption patterns, for payment, and install onsite energy storage for saving on energy costs and tapping into revenues. 50 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

One of Centrica’s rivals, Eon, is also selling energy storage-enabled services and expects to announce projects with C&I customers in 2017, pinpointing the UK and Germany as first-mover markets in Europe. Younicos is the energy storage company providing Centrica with its 49MW battery energy storage system. The Berlin-headquartered company recently announced its first C&I customer in Denver, Colorado in the US. But it is in Europe where C&I activity seems to be picking up for the company. Younicos expects to close a further two deals in the first quarter of 2017. Jayesh Goyal, the company’s chief commercial officer, says: “Customers come to us with pretty standard use

NEWS FOCUS cases, such as high demand charges, so they see energy storage as a way to avoid those by doing some peak shaving and some load shifting. But then we tell them about grid services and the back-up potential of the system and the conversation becomes one not just of cost saving, but of revenue generation. “Both the transactions we’ll be announcing in early 2017, in Europe, will be more than just a peak shaving application.” Many energy storage systems and products available on the market have the capability of doing a variety of different things, often simultaneously. “What’s interesting is when you have a big energy customer with several sites and you install storage in these different locations,” says Goyal. “By aggregating them together you then have a substantial amount of capacity to play into grid services markets. The energy utilities, such as EDF, Centrica, Eon and are the aggregators, but it’s about identifying the end customer. These could be hospitals or logistics businesses, for example.

“As long as the end customer’s energy needs are being addressed, that the system is ring-fenced to provide demand charge reduction, they don’t want to be managing all of this. They just want it to happen” “As long as the end customer’s energy needs are being addressed, that the system is ring-fenced to provide demand charge reduction, they don’t want to be managing all of this. They just want it to happen,” he says. Younicos’ software also optimizes how the batteries are used to preserve their longevity and keep operational costs lower. “We also have a remote operations centre so we can see how the battery is working and we can advise the asset’s owner on how it should be aggregated,” says Goyal. He too sees Germany and the UK driving the C&I market in Europe, initially at least. The two projects

will be for system sizes of between 500kWh and 3MWh. Younicos is aiming to serve the larger projects in the C&I energy storage market, though with its technology it can also go down to sizes in the 20kWh range. The UK has emerged as one of the biggest markets for energy storage in Europe. But with regulations still evolving, it is no good relying on one or two use cases for energy storage systems, because if the regulations or markets change this could impact returns. “We encourage clients to look at multiple cases, so they are not putting all their eggs into one basket,” says Goyal.

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THE US PRESIDENT AND ENERGY POLICY The election of Donald Trump as US president could have a profound effect on the energy storage industry. While his pro-business stance could benefit the whole supply chain — from OEMs up to automotive makers — he could also roll back green energy initiatives and cut funding critical to developing the battery chemistries of the future.

First indications of new US admin battery policy emerge Along with every other industry in the US at the moment, the energy storage and batteries industries have spent the past couple of months trying to get a sense of the implications for their sector after Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. A picture is starting to emerge which has more or less co-incided with his sometimes confusing campaign rhetoric. He intends to revitalize the use of fossil fuels such as coal. Natural gas and nuclear also appear likely to win under Trump. The likelihood, however, is that he will reduce incentives moving the economy to renewable forms of energy — though the impact of that will only be slight near term. Possible beneficiaries of his “America First” plans — particularly in ensuring that the US automotive industry stays north of the border — could be positive for US lead battery firms, but that depends on what levels of protectionism might be created over the import of batteries. It also depends on the more complicated picture of how responsive US car makers will be to threats from government. In early January it seemed that taxation threats from the then president elect on Ford had caused it to cancel plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and created 700 jobs in Mexico. This picture looked substantially different in mid-February. Mark Thorsby, executive vice president, Battery Council International, says that too much speculation may be premature. “I don’t think that just weeks in office can give any of us much insight,” he says. “Instead, it is just igniting speculation. I don’t think

52 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017






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THE US PRESIDENT AND ENERGY POLICY a lot is going to happen for the next six months in the energy sector. “We will see some loosening of the restrictions that have been placed on some energy forms. I do not believe energy storage will be affected by Trump. I think it will be the consumer that will impact energy storage in the future, not government.” Yet prematurely or not, investors and analysts alike are looking to second guess what Trump’s government might mean for energy storage. Tim Grejtak, energy storage research associate at Lux Research, says he has concerns for the way in which the Trump administration could impact initiatives designed to move the US economy towards greener forms of energy.

Early days

Yet he also points out that the federal government has limited power over many aspects of such policy with individual states driving forward many initiatives. “It is early days to be looking at this but people are trying to work out his impact,” Grejtak says. “There is a great deal of momentum behind the deployment of energy storage in some industries such as grid storage. “But if you look at the stationary side, a lot of those are being driven at a state and regional level, meaning most of those initiatives are immune to whatever is going on at a federal level. If you look at California or New York, they have their own mandates and incentives in place at a regional level to address regional problems. Nothing happening at a federal level is going to change that quickly.” When it comes to electric and stopstart vehicles, while there are some federal incentives in place, such as vehicle tax credits for electric vehicles that could be reversed, the momentum is again too great to be significantly altered by government policy quickly. “There is too much momentum that has been built up by companies such as Tesla for that to be reversed easily,” says Grejtak. “The tax credits for electric vehicles, for example, only cover the first 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles and Elon Musk has said he is aiming for 500,000. “Consumer choice will be very influential on the momentum on such matters. And as for consumer electronics — the train has left the station on those. Nothing will impact the consumption of tablets and laptops now.” Geoffrey May, principal of FOCUS

“I don’t believe energy storage will be affected by Trump. I think it will be the consumer that will impact energy storage in the future, not government.” Consulting, agrees. He too notes that while Trump’s administration has the potential to roll back some green policies, nothing will be likely to happen quickly and his impact will be limited. “I imagine a move to the right will push green policies back but there is a lot of regulation in place and it will take time to change things. And some initiatives, for example, in California, are state based not federal,” he says. Neil Hawkes, principal consultant, Cru Group, attempts to analyse the impact Trump’s presidency could have on the wider economy and the impact it could have on batteries and energy storage. He says it is too early to make much out of the “huge flurry of proclamations” Trump has made and translate these into hard action/ realities that could be a concern for lead-acid batteries. But there are elements of his wider economic strategy that are clearer. “He is pro-business, which includes of course lead-acid battery making, yet there are some conflicting influences that might play out in the months and

years of his presidency,” Hawkes says. “The first point to make is that Trump’s infrastructure spending plans will have no impact on automotive lead-acid batteries though maybe boosting industrial motive (fork lifts) lead-acid batteries as higher industrial activity includes greater material handling (fork lifts) needs.”

The stop-start factor

“Consumer sentiment to continue buying big ticket items like cars remains reasonably upbeat, though the trend in US vehicle sales last year was one of a slowing growth trend,” says Hawkes. “Lead consumption in making more VRLA AGM batteries for stop-start vehicles is already in motion and will continue to grow, though further moves down the vehicle electrification path may well slow to a crawl under Trump, particularly if it dares to threaten American auto jobs in any way!”  Hawkes also says a slowdown in momentum towards greener forms of energy could benefit the lead acid bat-


The US Senate confirmed midFebruary that Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general, was to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump proposed his selection in December. Pruitt’s appointment was a controversial one and concerned

environmental campaigners because, in his former role, he sued the Environmental Protection Agency on a number of occasions, often siding with oil and gas companies. Once Pruitt has taken up this new position, policy changes may follow driven by the Trump administration aimed at loosening regulations on energy production and rolling back the Clean Power Plan, which president Obama’s administration introduced in 2015 to help reduce carbon emissions. Any relaxation of environmental rules could benefit some sectors of the industry such as lead smelting plants. However, a shift back to a reliance on fossil fuels could stymie the emerging green energy sector, which has become a growing user of energy storage to harness and store wind or solar power.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 55


A new vision: “The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans … for many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry… From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land… From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

tery industry. “My gut feeling is that less rapid moves towards greener energy is probably net positive for lead-acid batteries as in most of the greener energy storage areas other battery chemistries (not just lithium ion) are serious competitors,” Hawkes says. “In other words, the status quo — greater majority of vehicles built are internal combustion engine, more with stop-start function, lead-acid batteries still king in motive fork lifts and standby UPS and telecoms applications — is a good thing for lead demand prospects in the US.” Farid Ahmed, principal analyst covering the lead markets, Wood Mackenzie, says: “It’s still way too early to tell but there are plenty of reasons to think it will both help and hinder the battery industry. “Positives include: more automotive production creating battery demand; more industrial batteries for standby and motive power. “Negatives include reduced devel-

opment of renewables means less ESS opportunity; potential economic downturn reducing automotive and industrial demand across the board. But it’s very much up in the air, swings and roundabouts. Too early to call,” he says. Beyond the high-level speculation, however, there are also some specific concerns that some experts have, especially around some of the funding, ultimately provided by the federal government that is used to develop new forms of energy storage and new battery chemistries.


Grejtak at Lux says some are very concerned by the appointment of Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and Trump’s nominee as energy secretary, who has said in the past — while running for president in 2011 — that he would like to abolish the Department of Energy. More recently, during his Senate confirmation hearing, he did something of a U-turn and said he regretted having said that.

If you look at the stationary side, a lot of those are being driven at a state and regional level, meaning most of those initiatives are immune to whatever is going on at a federal level. If you look at California or New York, they have their own mandates and incentives in place at a regional level to address regional problems. 56 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

As well as his portfolio including the oversight and management of the nation’s nuclear weapons, Perry will also be responsible for 17 national scientific laboratories and thousands of research scientists across the country. Grejtak says that these laboratories have been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in battery chemistry and research. “At Lux we try to keep tabs on where the next generation of batteries and energy storage might come from and innovation has always been very strong in the national labs in the US,” Grejtak says. “There is a worry that the Department of Energy, while unrealistic to consider it being closed, could come under the microscope for budget cuts. “There is always going to be a question of where cutbacks might come when you have a new government with different priorities as they look to reduce budgets and look to focus money elsewhere in government. “But it is those labs that could produce the next generation of chemistries. The battery commonly used in laptops now was first invented by a team in one of these national labs. Reducing funding at some of these key places could impact the industry, not in the short term, but in the very long term and we may simply never know what might have been.” Grejtak says Lux is particularly interested in the potential of some of the

THE US PRESIDENT AND ENERGY POLICY “There is a worry that the Department of Energy, while unrealistic to consider it being closed, could come under the microscope for budget cuts. Reducing funding at some of these key places could impact the industry, not in the short term but in the very long term, and we may simply never know what might have been.” work being done around solid state chemistries where they replace the potentially flammable  liquid  electrolyte with an ultrathin aluminium oxide, which makes them safer, run for longer while using less materials. Some exciting work is also being done around the use of lithium sulfur, which he foresees as having potential in specific areas of energy storage. But as with so many issues when it comes to predicting Trump, uncertainty and his tendency for knee-jerk reactions on twitter is clearly a big factor. One big beneficiary of federal funds, for example, University of California Berkeley, discovered this the hard way in February. Protests against a planned speech by alt-right figure and Breitbart news editor Milo Yiannopoulos — a big Trump supporter — turned nasty when some 1,500 protestors smashed windows and started fires on campus. Elon Musk has already faced criticism sitting on Trump’s economic advisory council but argues that it is better to be on the inside guiding things than on the outside.


But what should have been a local issue dealt with by the university suddenly became bigger when the presi-

Some are concerned by the appointment of Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and Trump’s nominee, as energy secretary, who has said in the past that he would like to abolish the Department of Energy. He has since retracted that wish.

58 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

dent waded in on Twitter to suggest he would suspend federal funds to the university if it did not allow such speeches to take place. “If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practises violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump tweeted. Grejtak says such an incident sums up just how difficult it is to predict what impact Trump will have. “Berkeley has many good scientists and suddenly that funding is coming under threat directly from the president because of an incident like this,” he says. “Trump is a loose cannon and it just shows how uncertain almost everything is right now. My concern is that the next generation of battery technology could be at risk.” However, such uncertainty would exist with any incoming new president who will have their own priorities, ideas and agendas. Obama was a keen backer of projects that moved the economy towards greener sources of energy, for instance. But Grejtak says that it is less about the politics at the moment than the people filling senior roles and trying to predict whether their past words will become actions in the present. “You have Parry who previously wanted to abolish the Department of Energy and Trump being a loose cannon on twitter. Unsurprisingly, that translates into a lot of uncertainty for the energy storage industry. “But the flip of that is that the federal government is only so influential. There is enough going on at the state and regional levels to keep the momentum going on many projects and Elon Musk is not going to stop work any time soon. My main concern is around the administration’s take on science and how that translates into national policy and funding.” Musk, incidentally, sits on Trump’s economic advisory council. He has already faced criticism for that but argues that it is better to be on the inside guiding things than on the outside. It will be interesting to see if that lasts. Travis Kalanick, the chief executive of Uber, quit the role in February.



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60 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017


When thinking the unthinkable becomes the commonplace


he next few years are going to be critical for the way energy storage and the battery markets are going to develop. The automotive sector is braced for change as new regulations on emissions come into effect promoting a new generation of start-stop and start-stop-coast vehicles requiring ever more sophisticated batteries. Energy storage for stationary, industrial needs and latterly grid-scale applications, are sectors about to undergo change as a host of new business cases emerges around the world as renewables become integrated with storage. The specialists, interviewed by Batteries International and its sister publication Energy Storage Journal, in the world of batteries and lead have deeply mixed views on how they see the industry evolving in the next couple of years. For some it’s a simple argument that lithium is set to oust lead as the principal medium for storage both at a battery level and grid level. Some of the views expressed are extreme. The lithium side of the fence can point to the fact that it is now 90% of all large scale energy storage

system projects today while others are predicting a huge fight-back from the new generation of advanced lead batteries emerging. Farid Ahmed, principal analyst covering the lead markets, Wood Mackenzie, one of two specialists in the price of lead as a commodity to offer his views, believes the lead-acid battery sector can anticipate exciting times ahead characterized by market growth and innovation. Ahmed is highly optimistic about the industry’s potential — he says more so than he has been for decades — and predicts “tremendous developments coming through” in a number of key areas including in longer cycle life, increased energy density, better charge acceptable, bipolar batteries and manufacturing quality. But if there is a unifying theme it’s that of innovation. Dawn Heng, marketing director, Daramic, also forecasts a period of intense innovation and change for the industry. He predicts the lead-acid battery industry will undergo an innovation revolution in the next five to 10 years with new emerging applications and technical breakthroughs dominating the headlines. Daramic, she says, hopes to be at the cutting edge of this.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 61


Primary lead path to be ‘erratic’

Neil Hawkes Principal consultant, Cru Group


he broad global outlook for LABs (that dominate lead demand) is reasonably positive in 2017-2018, not just in the US, but also by no further slowdown in Chinese growth and signs of a pick up there. “I think the key driver of lead prices will be what happens to primary lead supplies.

Secondary/recycled lead of course accounts for the lion’s share of lead supply, but there is little doubt that scrap flows will continue to grow roughly in line with lead demand growth rates and that, with recycling rates staying high and no smelter capacity constraints, secondary lead production will continue to grow. However, the path ahead for primary lead supplies will be more erratic, given that lead concentrate produced at mines is typically alongside zinc (and silver). Tighter mine supply will now play a key role in limiting the response of primary smelters, moving the refined lead market into deeper deficit this year. Though at some point, previous mine cuts will be reversed in response to the tightening concentrate and metal picture, both in lead and mining bedfellow zinc. Assuming the global lead market is moving into deficit, the ability of existing stocks built up in previous years of surplus will become a crucial element in determining the degree of tightening availability to be felt over the next two years. The downside lead price threat of metal oversupply and a further slowdown in Chinese growth are fading fast, though a stronger US

“The pendulum of investor sentiment towards metals in general seems to have swung to a more positive tone, with lead values already benefitting from the renaissance in their interest” — Neil Hawkes, Cru Group dollar could continue to limit the upside for a while yet. The pendulum of investor sentiment towards metals in general seems to have swung to a more positive tone, with lead values already benefitting from the renaissance in their interest. The only question now is how high lead prices can go, as more favourable lead-specific and broader metal drivers come together? The bar has already been set by the late November 2016 high of over $2,500/t. Our general CRU view is that the bar will be raised before this year is out.

Lithium ion world faces threats


John Jung President and chief executive officer, Greensmith Energy

62 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

e see a handful of key trends happening in 2017. First, energy storage will go from pockets of use to more widespread growth globally. Long ago, analyst firm IHS made a bold prediction that energy storage would hit 6GW of newly installed capacity in 2017. Let’s be extremely cautious here and say we wind up with 4GW instead. That would still represent year-overyear growth of more than 200%, compared with the projected market size this year. Storage is also addressing an increasing variety of use cases. This year will be another banner year for energy storage. Overall the cost of energy storage will continue to fall, putting more return on investment-positive applications in play.

To retain market share lithium ion will have to continue driving down prices, because flywheels and other technologies will remain strong challengers in the coming year — John Jung, Greensmith At this moment, too, it’s a lithium ion world. Lithium ion batteries are heading toward 90% market share on the strength of cost and performance advantages in many cases, including long-duration storage. To retain market share lithium ion will have to

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COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 continue driving down prices, because flywheels and other technologies will remain strong challengers in the coming year. Software to control and optimize the performance of energy storage becomes more important while safety remains a challenge. One of the big stories of 2016 has been price reductions for batteries, particularly lithium ion ones. As the market matures and developers see performance results from control software and integration of systems that run multiple applications, attention will shift to storage system integration and design. A battery does what it’s told to do. Software is the brains of the energy storage system. Finally, energy storage deployments will become increasingly commercial and resemble renewable power purchase agreement-type structures and longer term reliability requirements. The US Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database shows almost 700 electro-chemical systems that are currently operational, plus 193 thermal storage systems and 50 electro-mechanical systems. Investors have ample data to evaluate technologies at pilot scale. In 2017, we’ll see project development move toward multi-year deployment of bankable, commercial storage systems.

Attention will shift to storage system integration and design. A battery does what it’s told to do. Software is the brains of the energy storage system – John Jung, president and chief executive officer, Greensmith Energy

64 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

Prices driven yet lower

Jim Hughes Chairman of the board, Eos Energy Storage


here are the two key trends about energy storage going into 2017. First, the cost curve is moving down faster than anticipated, and the rest of the energy industry is trying to keep up. When I joined First Solar in 2012, conversations were taking place about achieving $200/kWh in a seven-year timeframe. Less than five years later we already have batteries that have reached that point, with widespread speculation of costs falling even further. Second, most people continue to associate energy storage solely with renewable energy, whereas this com-

ing year will show us storage applications are rapidly becoming economic across the entire grid. Storage-plus-renewables will remain important, but those outside the storage industry will start to see more of the benefits of shaving peak, reducing demand charges, leveraging under-utilized grid assets and deploying storage on a commercial and industrial scale. Let’s dive deeper into the market and technological state-of-play. Storage looks and feels like solar circa 2011-2012 in that no one is quite sure just how quickly the cost curve is moving. There’s going to be downward pressure from Asian competitors, but all manufacturers can learn from the Chinese model of adding scale quickly while reducing risk through highly variable costs. Storage solutions requiring highly customized, capital-intensive manufacturing facilities will struggle to compete with those employing simpler, more dynamic manufacturing processes that have fewer fixed costs. Creating something with insides that are entirely custom-built can strand significant investment if a solution isn’t finding much traction in the marketplace. For the next few years, I expect a significant portion of the action for battery technology to take place in the three to eight hour capacity range, with four to six hours being the top of the curve for manufacturers. We’ll see the market for shorter durations facing competition from non-battery technologies.

Storage looks and feels like solar circa 2011-2012 in that no one is quite sure just how quickly the cost curve is moving — Jim Hughes, Eos

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New business models on maturing technology Worth noting is the potential for VPPs in the UK market. Though the interest in 2016 focused on the National Grid’s enhanced frequency response market, the truly interesting potential for energy storage lies in VPP models, underpinned by significant energy trading operations that the UK is home to. — Anil Srivastava, Leclanché

Anil Srivastava Chief executive officer, Leclanché


n 2017 the electricity market will continue to transition towards an increasingly decentralized electrical grid that makes use of distributed energy resources. This tendency also applies to transport which is progressively undergoing electrification. The increasing share of renewables in the energy mix, regulatory evolution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a redefining of the role of utilities and their business models, plus the shift to smart, clouded, decentralized energy markets, are the key trends underpinning the shift away from the traditional centralized power generation. Adoption of battery energy storage systems (BESS) at all levels has proven that the technology is mature. In North America, the largest market for energy storage, by deployment and in terms of procurement, demand is partly driven by power-intensive applications, such as provision of frequency regulation. We expect 500MW of annual procurement, based partly on projects awarded in 2016, but

66 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

actual construction taking place this year. However, energy-intensive applications will also gain more traction from now on. Potentially significant is the demand for microgrids, especially for US and Caribbean island territories, based on solar, storage, diesel and sometimes wind power generation, which can save on operational costs for island utilities by displacing diesel, relegating this form of power generation to back-up power. Similar to what happened during the birth of distributed solar, new business models are being driven by the emergence of predictable revenue flows for energy storage project asset owners. Evolving business models call for utilities to become more agile and not only address electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, but also focus more on grid services and develop customer-friendly solutions. For the most part, utilities around the world ignored the rapid growth of residential PV in its early years. The result was a robust market with several leading providers able to challenge incumbent utilities on their home turf.

New business models are being driven by the emergence of predictable revenue flows for energy storage project asset owners. — Anil Srivastava, Leclanché

This, in turn, has resulted in unstable distribution networks where PV penetration has reached high enough levels to cause voltage issues. In an effort to not repeat past mistakes, many utilities are embracing the rise of BESS technology, a trend that will continue in 2017. They see the prospect for innovative technologies, like residential storage, to provide direct value while limiting the opportunity for third parties to get between them and their customers. ESS-enabled virtual power plants (VPPs) will continue to make headway and will emerge as a key business model for distributed energy storage, spanning commercial, industrial, and residential segments. Worth noting is the potential for VPPs in the UK market. Though the interest in 2016 focused on the National Grid’s enhanced frequency response market, the truly interesting potential for energy storage lies in VPP models, underpinned by significant energy trading operations that the UK is home to. Sophisticated intelligent energy storage systems married to aggregation platforms, mean power can be bought, some of it traded in the open market and some of it also stored, and sold to large power users under corporate power purchase agreements. To enable this, we envisage smart deployment of modular ESS systems in ‘clustered clouds’ architecture, designed and engineered to deliver blended energy and power, encompassing stationary and mobile systems.


Upward price pressure for near term perspective “We can expect upwards price pressure throughout 2017 and into the early part of next year until the winter demand peak has passed. We anticipate the LME lead price will reach well over $2500/t before settling back a bit in early 2018 – but not by much” — Farid Ahmed, Wood Mackenzie

Farid Ahmed Principal analyst covering the lead markets, Wood Mackenzie


hilst we’re not going to make a price prediction over this period, I will give you our view on price trends and the reasons for them. Currently we are seeing the developing situation of a supply shortage in primary lead, essentially due to past underdevelopment of lead/zine mine supply. Low prices for lead – and particularly zinc – in recent years has not encouraged the development of new mines and has even led to some capacity being mothballed until sustained better prices appear.  This loss of output has been compounded by a number of large mines closing in the last couple of years, plus environmental clampdowns throughout the Chinese lead industry significantly reducing mine production. Despite around half of all refined lead production coming from secondary output – essentially recycled batteries – this sector has a limited ability to make up for the primary shortfall as it is dependent on the availability of feed.  The need for more refined lead doesn’t make your car battery fail any quicker, and so

does little to increase the flow of much-needed scrap to smelters. There is increasing recognition of the coming squeeze and a growing sense of urgency to secure supply. The prices charged by smelters to treat material from miners has plummeted in their desperation to acquire tonnage, and it doesn’t take a genius to realise that a deficit in lead raw materials is going to create tightness in refined lead supply.  This has already increased sensitivity in the markets with the London Metal Exchange (LME) lead price up 17% over the last three months. The worst of the deficit has yet to come as we await higher prices to encourage increased mine output.  So, we can expect upwards price pressure throughout 2017 and into the early part of next year until the winter demand peak has passed.  We anticipate the LME lead price will reach well over $2500/t before settling back a bit in early 2018 – but not by much.  Sustained high prices will be with us for a little while yet. There are many reasons now to be optimistic about lead-acid batteries than possibly for decades. There are tremendous developments coming through in longer cycle life, increased energy density, better charge acceptable, bipolar batteries and manufacturing quality.  Lead manufacturing is also showing continuous improvement with new systems to reduce emissions and increase efficiencies, both in traditional smelting and refining plus also some radical roomtemperature processes. Future governmental policies will pull the lead battery industry in two opposing directions. Firstly, there will be the ever-increasing demands from

stricter legislation and regulation, focused on environmental performance and energy efficiency. Then there will be the drive to expand power generation from renewable sources, particularly from solar and wind power. This will create a huge demand for effective energy storage systems offering low cost of ownership across its entire life cycle together with maximum end-of-life recyclability. Lead batteries score very well on these criteria but will need to fight for their market share of this enormous future potential. The battle here will be with lithium-ion technology with rich rewards at stake, but it will be a question of how much share each battery technology gains, rather than a binary ‘either/or’ choice between them. Thus, industrial batteries offer huge potential for increased battery usage, but the main driver for future lead battery demand will remain the burgeoning automotive demand in Asia – for which lead remains the only real choice.

The worst of the deficit has yet to come as we await higher prices to encourage increased mine output. So, we can expect upwards price pressure throughout 2017 and into the early part of next year until the winter demand peak has passed. Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 67


ALABC advancing lead battery research ALABC has ambitious and achievable aims for the future

Alistair Davidson ILA products and sustainability director


he next couple of years look set to be exciting ones for ALABC as its new three-year programme gets under way. Plans include new research — some of which will be breaking fresh ground in areas never studied before, and a comprehensive campaign aimed at communicating the current technical benefits of advanced lead batteries, directed both at the automotive industry and end users in the energy storage sector. The new programme has had a very successful sign up, with over 70 members across the globe, with a particularly strong representation in China. “We’re planning to be able to make a real difference in the way that lead batteries are viewed and used, both today and in the future,” says ILA’s Alistair Davidson. “And we expect both the technical programme and communications campaign that we’re putting in place this year to bear fruit by 2020.” There are two streams to the ALABC activity.

70 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

The first is a return to fundamental research to extend the capabilities of lead batteries. “One of the main focuses of the automotive driven R&D is to improve the performance of lead batteries at partial state of charge (improved dynamic charge acceptance) while reducing gassing and water loss,” he says. “However, we are equally focussed on conducting R&D aimed at improving lead battery performance for industrial/energy storage applications. The goal of this work is to improve both lifetime and deep cycle life of lead batteries for these applications.” Lead batteries are still the battery of choice for car manufacturers, but improved DCA is vitally important for start-stop driving and the next advance in driving, which is likely to be start-stop-coasting, which will put even more pressure on charging and discharging the battery. Startstop-coasting stops the engine when the vehicle is in motion, whenever the vehicle can maintain its speed simply by rolling — for instance on a gentle incline — thus reducing fuel use. “In terms of where we’ll be in 2020, we expect lead batteries to continue to maintain their dominance in the automotive market,” Davidson says. “But the ALABC battery initiatives — particularly as we move lead to a more prominent place in utilities and energy storage — will result in an increased market share in these emerging markets.” The second stream to the ALABC work is a technical communication campaign directed at car manufacturers, and end users and system specifiers in the energy storage sector. Davidson is surprised how little some players in the energy storage market are aware

of the benefits of lead batteries, in terms of performance, cost and recycling. A key part of this programme will involve compiling the technical benefits of lead batteries in energy storage applications, and ensuring that these messages are conveyed to end users and system designers. Davidson points to new projects such as the EcoVillage Micro Grid, being developed by the University of Missouri, using solar panels with battery energy storage. This has eschewed lithium as the standard for larger scale storage, the project considers lead to be cost effective solution, while providing excellent performance and complete end of life recycling. At present the US Department of Energy reckons that 90% of all energy storage projects that are being pioneered use lithium. Davidson expects ALABC to become involved in projects in a range of energy storage applications, in North America, Europe and Asia. However, these will be different to past ALABC demonstration programmes, in that while ALABC will work in collaboration with partners, it will not provide funding for such projects. This programme will also involve closer collaboration of ALABC with car manufacturers. Linked to this, Davidson sees opportunities for lead batteries as many in the automotive sector move to a new 48V standard. “A number of OEMs are seriously considering lead batteries for 48V applications, but have asked for further data under real world driving conditions,” he says. The new data being collected will be presented at the next Adavanced Automotive Battery Conference, in San Francisco, in June.

“In terms of where we’ll be in 2020, we expect lead batteries to continue to maintain their dominance in the automotive market” — Alistair Davidson, ILA products and sustainability director


Lead to be the product of choice The International Lead Association continues to push its joint strategic association plans as well as the R&D and communication work of its ALABC wing.

Andy Bush ILA managing director


ne thing is certain the future of the lead industry is inextricably linked to that of the lead battery. Meanwhile changing customer demands, increasing regulatory pressure and aggressive competition are potential game changers for the lead and lead battery industry.  All these demand a rapid, clear and co-ordinated response, which is why in 2015 ILA developed its strategy setting out the lead industry’s response to meet these challenges. It also streamlined ILA’s structure to improve its effectiveness — bringing together the activities of five organizations with interests in lead and lead batteries under the one ILA umbrella — including the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC).  ILA then went on to forge a Strategic Alliance with three other associations: EUROBAT, Battery Council International and the US Association of Battery Recyclers.  This involved a ground-breaking joint commitment to work together under one common strategy with the specific objective

of ensuring lead batteries remain the product of choice in automotive and industrial battery markets. Supporting improvements in technical performance of lead batteries so that they remain competitive in changing markets, against the principle threat from lithium batteries, is a key part of this work and last year an ambitious new ALABC three-year research programme was launched, supported by more than 70 companies worldwide. Better recognition of the benefits of lead batteries is also crucial to the continued acceptance of our technology — both among policymakers and customers. This approach is especially needed in new and emerging markets such as renewable energy storage which offer huge potential, but appear to demonstrate a dearth of technical knowledge on lead batteries. We are therefore building the case for lead batteries and delivering it through targeted communications to policymakers, legislators and the market. But reputational risk remains a major challenge.  Lead battery recycling rates are the

envy of every other technology, yet sadly we must also recognise that responsible recycling is lacking in some regions of the world. Hence ILA’s support for proactive initiatives aimed at improving the management of lead throughout the lead battery value chain.  In addition to all this, we and our Lead Battery Alliance partners are continuing, and indeed enhancing, our defence against disproportionate legislation which threatens the enforced substitution of lead batteries for technologies we believe to be less sustainable. This is the work we launched in 2016 and we will be discussing these themes and the way forward at the ILA International Lead Conference, in Berlin, this summer (June 28-30).  As for the future, well the opportunities for lead batteries are considerable, but to capitalise on them whilst at the same time addressing the twin threats of market and regulatory driven substitution will require even closer collaboration throughout the battery life cycle, and a broadening of the collaboration beyond North America and Europe.

“We are therefore building the case for lead batteries and delivering it through targeted communications to policymakers, legislators and the market”— Andy Bush, ILA

This is the work we launched in 2016 and we will be discussing these themes and the way forward at the ILA International Lead Conference, in Berlin, this summer (June 28-30)

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 71


Bitrode: project opportunities await Vehicle electrification looks set to continue in two directions — for high mileage pure EVs and low voltage microhybrids — Craig Brunk, marketing director, Bitrode

Craig Brunk Marketing director, Bitrode


ver the past six months, Bitrode Corporation has received significant interest in new areas in the energy storage market; both in the geographical and product markets. India re-established their monetary system in November 2016 and al-

though the manufacturing sector was affected for a short period of time, it appears that the effect of the Indian government’s action has produced strong growth in it’s manufacturing sector. India on the whole is seeing strong growth and their battery manufacturers are working now to expand their factories which leads to increased growth in battery formation and test equipment. Bitrode has received over 50 project opportunities in the past six months for automotive SLA batteries as well as for batteries for automotive startstop usage in India. In the overall global automotive market, OEMs and major Tier 1 man-

ufacturers appear to be dividing their developments for vehicle electrification two ways; high mileage full electric vehicles and low voltage microhybrid vehicles. Bitrode has built two high power pack testers greater than 600kW for an upstart company focused on full electric family usage vehicles. We receive inquiries two or three times per month about the availability of testers capable of over 800kW for full EVs. In the US, we are seeing significant interest and growth in the area of off-road vehicle electrification. Hydraulic systems in farming equipment and construction equipment are being evaluated for replacement by highly efficient electric motors. The battery packs for this equipment require sophisticated testers generating and dissipating 850kW of energy. Marine applications and light rail applications are also seeing growth of battery packs with capabilities greater than 1200 volts. In April, Bitrode is participating in a Low Voltage Vehicle Electrification Summit focused on the defining the actions for integrating 48 volt electrical systems into vehicle architecture. Mild hybrids can achieve 70% of the benefits of full hybrids at 30% of the cost. Battery manufacturers are already working on their part of this evolution and Bitrode is working alongside them to supply their testing needs.

DSR technology to the fore


Marc Borrett Chief executive officer, Reactive Technologies

74 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

hree things will continue to help push the transition to smarter, cleaner grids, where flexible resources such as energy storage and demand side response (DSR) technology has an increasingly important role to play as more renewables are added. First there will be continued policy, pricing and technological instability in markets and grids. Looking back at 2016, it was a year marked by a number of green energy wins, including the ratification of the Paris Agreement. But, there were also some low carbon energy setbacks, namely governmental uncertainty resulting in energy policy instability and decreased, more cautious investment in renewable projects and energy technologies. This instability looks to continue in

2017, with austerity measures still being implemented across Europe. In the UK the lack of certainty concerning the timeline and terms of the Brexit decision, does not help instil investor confidence. In the US the president has made it clear he is not a supporter of renewables and he has the support of a Republican Senate. Second, there will be an increased rate of change, technological uptake, for grids. The challenges facing transmission system operators globally will continue to exacerbate, with increasing frequency variation caused by drops in rotating mass generation and an unprecedented uptake in intermittent energy sources. Third, there will be greater adoption of DSR among commercial and industrial energy (C&I) customers. .


Energy storage to unlock European opportunities The EC’s package for a legislative framework of energy storage proposes the much needed definition of energy storage — Alfons Westgeest, EUROBAT cent analysis by Citigroup and Navigant forecasts an astonishing growth of battery sales in the coming years.

Alfons Westgeest Executive director, EUROBAT


atteries are rapidly becoming an important solution for grid services, energy storage and integration of renewables. Installed battery energy storage is going up worldwide. Re-

In 2017 the industry will see more advanced battery storage products. At such an early stage of the market basic user incentives make sense. Germany, for example, is developing as an important market for households systems, thanks to an incentive programme by the government. The European Commission’s package for a legislative framework of energy storage proposes the much needed definition of energy storage, removal of double grid fees and creation of a market for balancing services that will

allow access for small players as well as independent energy aggregators. Europe must unlock that market because other regions, like the US, are deploying battery solutions in significant amounts. In turn it will create opportunities for European cell manufacturing and research and development. Taking full advantage of the energy and transport revolutions will add value and jobs. All battery technologies — lead, lithium, sodium, nickel — offer excellent services for various segments of the energy market. We advocate letting the market choose the most efficient solution on a case-by-case basis.

Daramic: innovation the key innovations across the energy storage categories.

Dawn Heng Marketing director, Daramic


aramic is the world largest PE separator manufacturer in lead-acid battery industry and our sister companies, are the world’s largest li-ion battery separator makers. This positions us to provide full solutions for automotive battery applications from basic SLI to start-stop to hybrid and electric vehicles and also allows us to track the

We do see the trend of lead-acid battery industry is undergoing an innovation revolution in the next five to10 years that was not seen decades ago. New emerging applications and technical requests eg start-stop/enhanced flooded battery (EFB), partial state of charge, higher power output are driving the industry from a stagnant development to a pioneering innovation To lead on this innovation, Daramic has invested significantly in last two years with the support of our new holding company, Asahi Kasei, a $18 billion company and a specialist in chemicals. With new tools and methods such as computer modeling

we have a chance to deliver the solutions to really lead the improvement in the lead-acid batteries. One good example of this is a set of new products and test method we developed, which have applied for this year’s BCI Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award. Using advanced computational fluid dynamics, Daramic has developed a set of new solutions including Daramic EFS and Daramic RipTide to significantly enhance start-stop battery performance under partial state of charge. Furthermore, Daramic is also working with battery partners to develop new test method and equipment with leveraging vehicle movement to best simulate the working conditions of those batteries in vehicle.

“Using advanced computational fluid dynamics, Daramic has developed a set of new solutions including Daramic EFS and Daramic RipTide to significantly enhance start-stop battery performance under partial state of charge” — Dawn Heng, Daramic Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 75


Drive to solar, storage unstoppable

Ken Munson President and chief executive officer, Sunverge


expect storage to continue its upward growth trend in 2017, with three significant factors at work. The first is basic economics. The penetration of solar generation will continue to grow, at both the distributed energy resource (DER) and utility levels. A survey from the Pew Research Center shows overwhelming support for solar power overall in the US, with 40% of homeowners considering rooftop installations (to save money and protect the environment).

Adding storage to DER solar immediately increases the system’s return on investment, shortening the payback period. The increase in electric vehicle sales will contribute, driving down the cost of batteries (through volume and innovation) while driving up demand for storage to make recharging more efficient; Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that 35% of all new vehicles sold worldwide in 2040 will be electric. Demand for storage will also be driven by continuing changes in net energy metering tariffs, along with the addition of demand charges by many utilities and, eventually, time of use rates. There are 13 US states considering new distributed generation rate designs, including time of use and demand charges, while in Australia eliminating the feed-in tariff has been forecast to lead to 50% penetration of storage with rooftop solar — and there are already 1.6 million rooftop solar installations in the country. This will create increased demand, not simply for behind-the-meter storage, but for that storage to be ever-more intelligent, with predictive analytics that enable DER owners to automatically get the greatest possible benefit from their system — and to help utilities manage the complexities of putting so much local generation

More policy makers around the world are recognizing the value of widespread local solar and storage and strongly encouraging its deployment — Ken Munson, Sunverge on to already taxed grids. Finally, more policy makers around the world are recognizing the value of widespread local solar and storage and strongly encouraging its deployment — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in particular are world leaders, along with the US. Even though it appears likely the Trump administration won’t have as strong a pro-renewables energy policy as there has been under Obama, there remain strong pro-renewables policies in forward-looking states and their governors in California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Mexico, Washington and Hawaii. These are bellwether states when it comes to energy policy in the US, so the outlook remains positive and strong.

Consolidation of lead battery trends

Principal of FOCUS Consulting

The use of special carbons to improve performance in high-rate partial stateof-charge operation is important and continues to be an active topic for research. This is also being applied for industrial batteries, especially for use with renewables in utility and smaller scale energy storage applications, to good effect. New developments for lead-acid batteries include a resurgence of interest in bipolar constructions. A number of development stage companies have

he coming year will see consolidation rather than radical shifts in battery technology unless something unexpected comes out of the blue. For lead-acid batteries stop and start has become mainstream for automotive batteries with some users favouring a VRLA AGM offer and others an enhanced flooded battery.

“The needs of the automotive industry to reduce emissions will continue the trend towards further hybridization with dual battery 12 V/48 V systems being evaluated. Lead batteries can offer a solution in this area but it will inevitably be in competition with Liion batteries.” — Geoffrey May, FOCUS Consulting

Geoffrey May


76 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

bipolar designs that offer higher energy and power density than conventional lead-acid batteries and if they can be produced in quantity and economically, will offer another solution for a variety of applications. Developments in negative electrode structures beyond carbon additives, in particular the replacement of lead grids with carbon fibres and felts and the use of composite electrodes with an enhanced supercapacitor function, have the potential to substantially

Managing power deMands is our specialty. We’re well aware that today’s automobiles are hungry for power. That’s why we focus on delivering ultracapacitor cell technology that is compact, power-dense, and able to meet the needs of your automobile’s high-power applications. The future is in action today — 1.7 million cars on the road rely on Maxwell’s ultracapacitors for start-stop. Our high-purity activated carbon and patented dry manufacturing process are central to the design of our cells, which can work alone or alongside the vehicle’s batteries. Energy storage for automotive architectures is changing. Focus on giving your customers the ultimate driving experience. Leave high power demands in our hands.

COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 improve performance in automotive micro-hybrid applications. The needs of the automotive industry to reduce emissions will continue the trend towards further hybridization with dual battery 12 V/48 V systems being evaluated. Lead batteries can offer a solution in this area but it will inevitably be in competition with Li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries will also evolve with developments in cathode and anode chemistries. For consumer batteries, increases in energy density are required as larger and more powerful devices become prevalent. The cost requirements for electric vehicle and utility energy storage batteries are driving costs down as volumes increase. The Panasonic/Tesla gigafactory will attract a lot of interest and set a benchmark for the future. It will also be interesting to observe the trends between very large numbers of single cells and higher capacity cells in this sector. Safety continues to be a theme with Li-ion batteries and although the number of incidents relative to the numbers of cells produced is small, battery fires such as the well publicized Dreamliner and Samsung Galaxy incidents, attract a lot of attention. There is research going on for improved safety with new materials and some of this may be applied in the future. Recycling is an area of concern for Li-ion batteries. At present postconsumer cells containing cobalt have some value although there is a net disposal cost but as lower cost cathode materials become more generally used, there is a disposal cost that needs to be factored in to the initial cost. For the future Li-air and Li-sulfur are interesting. The difficulties of making Li-air into a practical battery are considerable and it will be many years if at all before this becomes a practical system. Li-S, is, however, making progress and is one to watch.

The global ‘Internet of Energy’

Ryan Wartena President, co-founder, Geli


even years of operating Geli as an energy automation and services layer for the energy storage ecosystem makes me feel we are a barometer for our emerging industry as it rocks and rolls, and the music is definitely getting louder and better.

Financiers are backing commercial systems, utilities and networks are deploying energy storage systems to optimize grid, solar-plusstorage and microgrids are proving technically and financially viable. I’m looking forward to 2017, we are in the initial phase of the ‘big

build’ of the global Internet of Energy. In 2017 we’re going to see more instances of the industry integrating internet and network methods and business models applied to energy operations across all grid levels. This includes the major use of computational analysis and financial modelling of system configurations for accuracy and volume processing; there’s lots of buildings out there! Successful trials of peer-to-peer transactions and automated market exchanges will show the capability of every device to become an asset and resource. We see everything as a potential distributed energy resource. In 2017 solar-plus-storage financing will hit its stride and will become a more standardized offering and consideration. Energy storage systems will continue to strongly refine in integration and delivery; solid state batteries will surface and begin scaling. In 2017 electric vehicles will take a step towards becoming a dynamic interconnection for vehicle to grid platforms and there will be lots more EVs at home and work, and that means more solar-plusstorage at both places. Communities will set 100% renewable plans financed through real estate-like energy asset trusts, and Internet of Energy business models will bloom as the grid edge unfolds.

In 2017 solar-plus-storage financing will hit its stride and will become a more standardized offering and consideration. Energy storage systems will continue to strongly refine in integration and delivery — Ryan Wartena, Geli

A survey from the Pew Research Center shows overwhelming support for solar power overall in the US, with 40% of homeowners considering rooftop installations (to save money and protect the environment — Ken Munson, Sunverge

78 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017


2016 trends reinforced in year ahead

Michiel van Schalkwijk Group director international sales, Solarwatt


here have been two key drivers for the residential energy storage market in Europe and these will continue in 2017. The first is incentives. Germany, which has had an incentive in place to encourage self-consumption among homes with solar-plus-storage, will continue to remain a key market. But others, including Italy and Sweden, are also introducing their own

incentives and tax breaks to facilitate adoption of solar-plus-storage. From 2017 we can expect these markets to grow and attract energy storage providers. Secondly, wherever the combination of solar-plus-storage means self-consumption of solar PV-generated electricity competes with retail electricity prices, these markets should also see more growth. These markets tend to be below the Alps. For example Spain has made it uneconomical to export PV electricity to the grid so storing electricity in batteries for own use is cheaper. We, and our competitors, have a job to do of educating consumers to help them to understand the benefits. It took a while for consumers to appreciate the benefits of solar, but with good incentives, many adopted solar when they could see the positive return on investments that was possible. Installing solar and storage can help people save on their energy costs, use more clean energy and give them more energy independence. In a few countries, including the UK and the Netherlands, we see opportunities for solar-plus-storage adoption among housing associations, which are under pressure to alleviate fuel poverty among their tenants. In these types of projects solar PV rooftop installations can be sizeable, 5-8kWp in

Industry to look for longer duration storage


attery prices have continued to drop, interest in electricity storage has gone up, but we have not reached the limit of

either. If 2016 was the year of short duration applications for storage: frequency response and the like has been the area of great interest, the pendulum will start to swing, and we will see much more interest, and many more

Anthony Price Director, Electricity Storage Network (ESN)

We see opportunities for solar-plus-storage adoption among housing associations, which are under pressure to alleviate fuel poverty among their tenants — Michiel van Schalkwijk, Solarwatt size. In the Netherlands, the burden is on the owner of the PV system to pay for any grid reinforcements that might entail. Installing storage PV can ensure that less PV electricity is being exported to the grid. To unlock solar-plus-storage demand among different residential segments, including social housing, energy storage systems need to be smaller to start with, but designed so that they can be easily extendable, to meet changing self-consumption and energy requirements in future. This is different from how the market started in Germany, which has typically seen large homes, requiring larger storage systems. But this is all part of the market’s evolution, the ability to identify different types of end-users and deliver a product that caters to their different needs. projects using long duration electricity storage by the end of 2017 and into 2018. Developers and users will appreciate the value of extra energy storage capacity, at only a small marginal cost, so that storage will be able to take its rightful place in the capacity market, be used to overcome constraints on the network, particularly when integrating renewable generation, and distribution companies will want to use storage as part of an integrated toolkit to reduce the system operating cost. In the UK, the government will finally resolve the status of storage, and decide whether it is generation or it is

If 2016 was the year of short duration applications for storage, the pendulum will start to swing, and we will see much more interest, and many more projects using long duration electricity storage by the end of 2017 and into 2018 — Anthony Price, ESN Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 79

COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 not. There will be tears and disagreements about this, as there will be losers as well as winners. Distributed network operators will be under pressure as they seek to make their networks smart.    The smart grid is widely seen as part of the solution to the energy trilemma, delivering lower cost energy, reliably, economically and sustainably.  It brings together the different parts of the energy system; the end users of power, supply companies, network companies and the generation companies. Now, equipment manufacturers are also part of the action, and their sphere of influence is broadening as we include an internet of things — domestic appliances, lighting, electric vehicles to name but a few.  But, of course, there is a link between our energy that comes from electrical sources, and the energy from gas and liquid fuels. So the smart networks do need to cross over into the gas industry, and the liquid fuel industry.  Water is fundamental to our lives — a supply of clean water and the removal of waste water is vital to health, but the water industry is a major user of power, so integrating water into the smart network is also important.  This all needs to communicate with each other, so we need to link this sector in as well.  So I’d predict that the present regulatory regime in the UK of Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom will need to be reviewed substantially during 2017 to make sure that they are fit to deliver the smart infrastructure that we need.

The need for big data management

Ronnie Belmans Executive director, Global Smart Grid Federation


he worldwide transition to a future with a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy supply is happening right now. More and more renewable energy sources, such as solar PV and wind power, are being integrated in our existing grids.

Whereas in mature and western economies, energy demand is decreasing, the need for electricity is growing due to the increasing penetration of electric vehicles and heat pumps. By now we know that a layer of ‘smartness’ has to be added to our networks to keep them in balance. Different solutions are out there. Flexibility will be harvested not only at the generation side, as it used to be, but also via demand side participation. This requires proper communi-

cation between existing and new stakeholders and urges the need for big data management. Of the utmost importance is the active involvement of the end user who has actually become a prosumer owning valuable assets. In 2017 energy storage will continue to gain market share as a flexibility source. Given the fact that prices are going down fast, battery technology is popping up at different locations, at residential level but also at utility-scale. Apart from applications such as self-consumption and local peak shaving, those stationary units will be assessed for ancillary grid services such as voltage and frequency control. From their side, transmission and distribution grid operators are working on active network management tools which might need a revision of their role in the complete energy system. All this will not happen overnight, but you cannot underestimate the growing number of industrial sites operated in a microgrid configuration and where different energy vectors are intelligently coupled in an energy management system. Whenever regulation creates an open and level playing field in which positive business cases can be created, there is nothing stopping technology.

You cannot underestimate the growing number of industrial sites operated in a microgrid configuration and where different energy vectors are intelligently coupled in an energy management system — Ronnie Belmans, Global Smart Grid Federation

Water is fundamental to our lives — a supply of clean water and the removal of waste water is vital to health, but the water industry is a major user of power, so integrating water into the smart network is also important. – Anthony Price, director, Electricity Storage Network (ESN)

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 81

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Californian C&I to forge ahead

Boris von Bormann Chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas


017 will be a significant year for energy storage, as the market continues to develop rapidly and more players are getting involved in this increasingly competitive space. The commercial and industrial (C&I) market continues to be an area of notable growth in the US, especially in California where expensive demand charges on various tariff rates

makes the economics of energy storage attractive. Regulations continue to evolve in the New England market, which is also likely to see a marked increase in the volume of storage projects. We expect the residential market to ramp up in a few key areas in 2017 and to further expand in 2018, driven by changing rate tariffs. Storage for grid services will continue to see substantial growth, not just in front of the meter but also behind the meter as utilities are putting more focus on using behind the meter assets for grid stabilization. As the automotive industry invests more in e-mobility, from the graduation to all-electric vehicles and related e-mobility products and services, solar-plus-storage fits perfectly into this ecosystem, as it enables electric vehicle owners to power their cars using clean energy generated at home. Even if incentives cannot be a longterm solution, they are of course an important driver of market activity. In the last state legislative session, California successfully passed a number of bills that promote energy storage. In particular, AB 1637 doubles the budget for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). With increased funding and improvements to the programme’s rules, SGIP in 2017 will continue to grow

Storage to open up the lower cost of solar


hough 2016 was a year of significant geopolitical change, which will inevitably shape future energy policies, the energy storage market continued to mature and develop unabated. In 2017, I expect to see our industry further advance with a whole host of new opportunities, applications and markets opening for industrial-scale energy storage systems and products. The financial case for solar power

Scott McGregor Chief executive officer, REDT Energy

The C&I market continues to be an area of notable growth in the US, especially in California where expensive demand charges on various tariff rates makes the economics of energy storage attractive — Boris von Bormann, chief executive, Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas the energy storage market in California. Residential storage systems will benefit from the programme’s new residential-specific funding carve-out. The revised programme will ensure more equitable distribution of incentives and allow more participants to benefit. At the federal level, the bi-partisan energy storage tax credit bill introduced to Congress in 2016 faces an uncertain future. Energy storage technologies could potentially benefit from an infrastructure investment bill should energy infrastructure be included. looks set to become even stronger for 2017 as the cost of energy generation continues its downward trend towards a levelised 5.9p/kWh. Compare this to the levelised cost of gas (CCGT) generation at around 6.5p/kWh and it becomes clear how important low-cost solar generation is going to become. At this price, solar is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation, and this represents a game changing opportunity for our market to couple with solar to allow it to provide firm, 24 hour power through the day and night. Quite simply, due to grid constraints, the further expansion of cheap gridconnected solar, cannot be unlocked

In the mining sector for example, diesel generation costs are the second largest operational expenditure item for companies with 24 hour off-grid operations. — Scott McGregor, REDT Energy Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 83

COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 without industrial, hard-working energy storage, both in-front and behind the meter. Outside of grid-connected markets, we are now seeing operators waking up to the fact that high running costs, coupled with volatile fuel prices, have made diesel generation an expensive option to rely on. In the mining sector for example, diesel generation costs are the second largest operational expenditure item for companies with 24 hour off-grid operations. This is a key market for energy storage machines and operators can use up to 90% less fuel and save on associated transport, theft and maintenance costs by installing sufficient solar PV assets and five-hour duration energy storage systems. In short, energy storage is now an economic, commercial proposition and the years to come will see its widespread deployment unlock the cheap, reliable, renewable energy generation of the future.

The financial case for solar power looks set to become even stronger for 2017 as the cost of energy generation continues its downward trend towards a levelised 5.9p/kWh — Scott McGregor chief executive officer, REDT Energy

UK poised to lead great energy storage break out

Simon Daniel Chief executive officer, co-founder, Moixa Energy


n 2017 we’re going to see energy storage break out of the confines of prosumer and niche early adopters, with compact products more suitable for mass market. That means any customer or household, across different incomes.

To date the quite limited — 50,000 or thereabouts — European installed base of batteries has focused on large household systems that work against grid interests, instead of systems that are sized and suitable to work with utilities in improving customer offerings through balancing and avoiding peak supply prices. We have focused on mass market systems in the UK with over 650 smart batteries deployed as

part of an aggregation platform — that manages clusters of batteries for utilities or aggregates for wider grid services. In 2017 we will see the start of an inflexion point in volume battery deployment that could see the UK overtake the rest of Europe in volume and towards one million units by early 2020, driven by the regulatory freedom and maturity of grid-services market in the UK and the growing opportunity of batteries to aid peak shaving, avoid rising pricing, and help utilities by enabling them to offer improved tariffs. This will be aided by asset finance interests in energy storage, which previously helped the UK be responsible for the second largest deployment of residential solar — over three quarters of a million homes — due to the improving economics of deploying storage with solar. We aim to unlock this potential demand with an affordable solar + storage system that is really affordable to install. Customers can shorten their return on investment through being part of aggregation platforms designed to pay income back to customers from grid services. This will show how self-consumption of clean energy, using solar-plus-storage, needs to be designed to benefit more than one stakeholder — consumers and utilities and grid operators, for example — in order to gain serious traction in the coming years.

In 2017 we will see the start of an inflexion point in volume battery deployment that could see the UK overtake the rest of Europe in volume and towards one million units by early 2020, driven by the regulatory freedom and maturity of grid-services market in the UK — Simon Daniel, Moixa Energy

84 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

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COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 The coming years will be critical ones for the development of energy storage systems across Europe. Germany, the Energiewende pioneer, continues to push ahead with storage deployments, while new markets from Sweden, to the UK, to Italy, are also forging their own path. Sara Verbruggen reviews the latest developments across the continent.

Europe’s critical juncture

A clear path for the future of renewable energy storage across Europe now looks assured. The route may still be a little sketchy at times but the direction is clear. The reason is simple. The core question — whether mass adoption of renewable energy and storage across Europe will be the future for Europe’s power needs — has been answered. The answer is a resounding yes. And the one country that has done the most in providing that answer — Germany — looks set to lead the way. Thanks to a continuation of the decision by the government, at the start of

2016, to reinstate a subsidy for smallscale behind-the-meter energy storage systems, Germany’s residential solarplus-storage build-out is assured. To date, more than 40,000 systems have been installed, comprising units supported with the incentive paid by the state-controlled KfW bank, as well as systems installed without support. The solar-plus-storage systems installed, which encompass new installations as well as retrofit, exceed more than 200MWh of energy storage capacity on the grid. Germany’s residential solar-plusstorage market is by far the biggest

In Germany where peak demand prices are high for large energy users — companies consuming more than 10GWh in a year — these customers can reduce their grid charges by 80%-90%, by installing a battery. 86 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

in the world and it is likely to stay that way for some time, even as new residential solar-plus-storage markets start to get under way this year in Australia, Italy, Sweden, the UK and some American states, including Hawaii and California. Lithium ion battery technology is the chemistry of choice for most residential energy storage systems in Germany. Key players in the German energy storage market, which were out in force in the ees exhibition halls alongside/co-located with Intersolar Europe 2016 in Munich — and look set to do the same this June — include Sonnen Group. The firm, which has also expanded to the US, Australia and the UK, supplies about a third of domestic demand for residential storage systems. Solarwatt is another notable domestic energy storage player with global ambitions. Both companies have made

w o r ld

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COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 most of their energy storage system sales to date through distribution partnerships with solar distribution and installation businesses. In 2016, Solarwatt signed a deal with German utility Eon, which is distributing Solarwatt’s energy storage system, branded as Aura.

“It is clear that the utilities have to find new business models. This process is still going on. As solar PVplus-storage will be one of the most important components of the future electricity system it is a big opportunity for utilities. Their advantage is their large customer base,” says Jörg Mayer,

It is clear that the utilities have to find new business models. As solar PV-plus-storage will be one of the most important components of the future electricity system, it is a big opportunity for utilities. C&I ENERGY STORAGE POISED FOR TAKE-OFF IN GERMANY, UK Despite current legislative constrictions, which the EU’s Winter Package (see box on next page) will ease, large-scale energy storage deployments, especially among commercial and industrial (C&I) energy consumers in Europe, are expected to rise. In Germany, where peak demand prices are high for large energy users — companies consuming more than 10GWh in a year — these customers can reduce their grid charges by 80%-90% by installing a battery. Berlin-based energy storage software and turnkey systems provider Younicos is working on several projects with C&I customers in Europe and sees Germany and the UK as initially driving C&I demand for energy storage. European utilities Eon and Centrica are also targeting C&I opportunities in Europe. In the UK, where the recent capacity market auctions rewarded several energy storage projects, some of these will be sited at customers’ premises and will provide stacked services to ensure the investments are commercially viable. This will be by providing services that benefit the customer, like peak shaving and back-up, as well as earning revenues from the Capacity Market and, potentially, other grid ancillary services markets. Younicos’ Y-Cube product, developed specifically for C&I applications, can pay for itself in under seven years by a combination of saving the company costs as well as generating revenues. The company can guarantee its

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battery systems for 10 years, which helps assure customers that their investment will pay for itself. As more projects have been developed, installed and operated with success, financiers are getting increasingly comfortable with energy storage technology. “Bankability has improved dramatically, but regulatory uncertainty can still hurt. However, with the market shifting towards C&I applications, bankability is increasingly connected to the customers‘ credit rating, which in the case of German industry tends to be good,” says Philip Hiersemenzel, a spokesman for the company. In Germany, engineering firm AEG Power Solutions is commercializing an innovative hybrid platform that combines electrical energy storage with power-to-heat equipment, reducing the capital expenditure of energy storage. The company is targeting the platform at entities that use thermal processes in their facilities, such as local heat networks in combination with electrical distribution networks, as well as C&I customers with demand for power and processing heat, which could also earn revenues by providing frequency control. By combining energy storage with a power-to-heat system the battery can operate at 100% state-ofcharge, using all available capacity, so the battery capacity can be reduced. Any electricity the system absorbs from the grid goes straight to powering the heating/thermal system.

managing director of BSW Solar. Though Sonnen has focused on a new business model that circumvents utilities by allowing members to trade surplus electricity generated from solar-plus-storage and other smallscale distributed generation systems with others via its online platform Sonnen Community, the company’s OEM partners include rival German utility RWE – lately rebranded to Innogy – which has been white-labelling Sonnen’s battery storage systems and selling them since 2012. In 2016, Germany’s Daimler Group made a concerted move into energy storage announcing a new division, Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage, in June. Target markets include the UK, Netherlands and the US. The battery systems, which use the same technology as the automaker’s electric cars, are compatible with SMA inverters. Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage’s solar partners span large, established German solar businesses, including Krannich and Baywa r.e., as well as Segen, one of the UK’s biggest distributors. Daimler Group has also been working with partners to supply industrial grid-scale projects in Germany, providing services to Germany’s primary power market, when fully connected. By 2018, it is expected that solarplus-storage systems will cross with socket prices for electricity, saving on energy from being able to self-consume as much as 80% solar generated power. This is not due to retail electricity rates in Germany rising, as these should remain steady at around €0.29/ kWh ($0.32/kWh). Self-consumption is becoming more affordable due to the continuing price falls in lithium ion batteries. By 2020 some estimates expect annual demand for home storage systems in Germany to be in the region of 50,000, driven by a growing number of residential electricity customers’ desire to gain more grid independence, which explains the popularity of solar-plus-storage systems even while payback timeframes are at least 10 years, even when subsidized.

Sweden, UK, Italy embrace residential solar-plus-storage

Residential solar-plus-storage has been one of the huge themes of 2016 and should continue to dominate many parts of this year’s ees and Intersolar Europe exhibition area from

COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 By 2020 some estimates expect annual demand for home storage systems in Germany to be in the region of 50,000, driven by a growing number of residential electricity customers’ desire to gain more grid independence. May 31 to June 2 in Munich. Last year, for example, Mercedes-Benz energy had a major booth that promoted the launch of its new home storage system. Tax reductions on solar PV and solar-plus-storage systems over the first

10 years of operation, rising electricity rates and high levels of solar irradiation due to its southern European geography, have made Italy an attractive market for solar-plus-storage. Energy bill savings combined with tax savings suggest on average home

owners can expect payback between six and eight years for a consumer installing a solar-plus-storage system in Italy in 2017. This is one of the reasons why ABB has chosen Italy as the first country in which to launch the company’s lithium ion battery storage system, called React, which is based on inverter technology developed at Power-One, when ABB acquired the company in 2013. Other companies which have also started to roll out home storage products in Italy include Switzerland-headquartered Leclanché. The UK, which after Germany has

WINTER PACKAGE CLARIFIES ROLES FOR DSOS AND ENERGY STORAGE On November 30, 2016, the European Commission published its “Clean Energy For All Europeans” package, widely referred to as the “Winter Package”. The Winter Package consists of lots of legislative proposals, with three main aims of prioritizing energy efficiency, continued renewable energy development, and providing a fair deal for energy consumers. This topic is likely to be a major discussion area for this year’s forums at the ees Europe exhibition and conference in Munich. In the recast of the Electricity Directive, a key element of the Winter Package, the role of distribution

system operators (DSOs) is clarified in the new power market design proposals within the package. The new power market design is expected to facilitate future electricity markets in Europe, where increasing amounts of variable and decentralized energy production will continue to be added, and there will be increased interdependence between individual electricity markets’ systems across borders and growing opportunities for electricity consumers’ participation in the market through demand-side response, distributed generation, smart metering and energy storage. To ensure flexibility in the system,

The Winter Package consists of lots of legislative proposals, with three main aims of prioritizing energy efficiency, continued renewable energy development, and providing a fair deal for energy consumers. This topic is likely to prove to be a major discussion area for the ees/Intersolar forums.

DSOs will be able to procure services from decentralized resources, included distributed generation, demand-side response programmes and energy storage. DSOs will also be assigned a role in the integration of electric transportation in the electricity network, by facilitating the connection of public and private grid-connected recharging points for electric vehicles. Rules on DSOs’ ownership and operation of energy storage plants are also clarified in the Winter Package proposals. These new roles and associated tasks for DSOs will be based on the principle that DSOs are not allowed to develop charging and storage solutions, unless certain conditions are fulfilled. These conditions include the lack of interest by other parties. Where storage is concerned, the use of an energy storage system or facility is limited to securing the efficient, reliable and secure operation of the distribution system. DSO ownership and operation of storage and charging facilities are subject to approval by the national energy regulator and must be in compliance with unbundling provisions in each national market. The potential interest of other market participants is reassessed at intervals. The Winter Package will not take effect before the latter part of this decade but it is crucial for clarifying the position of DSOs in relation to energy storage and electric vehicle recharging infrastructure, which will help to unlock deployment of these technologies within the distribution network.

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COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 one of the highest amounts of installed residential solar PV capacity in Europe, is also pegged for solar-plusstorage growth from 2017 onwards. Many companies, like Sonnen, Solarwatt, Leclanché, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage, Samsung SDI, LG Chem and SMA, plus domestic player Moixa, have started marketing and supplying energy storage products in anticipation of increasing demand. In the UK Moixa has installed more than 650 of its smart batteries, equivalent to 1.3MWh, for storing solar and powering direct current loads, like LED lighting, flat panel televisions, laptops, smart phones and other computing equipment. All are deployed as part of an aggregation virtual power plant (VPP) platform that manages clusters of batteries for utilities or aggregates for wider grid services. The rapid maturing of the grid services market, which supports aggregators and other energy service providers, could see demand for behind-the-meter storage in the UK accelerate in the next few years. Several players are targeting opportunities by partnering with solar installers that work with housing associations. Energy storage systems, coupled with solar PV, or standalone, can help electricity consumers on variable tariffs to reduce their energy bills further by charging up the batteries in times of low demand when socket prices are cheapest, to provide power for households on tight incomes when demand and socket prices are highest. In 2016, Leclanché was selected by UK solar installer North Star Solar to supply its TiBox home energy storage system, which uses lithium titanate cells, one of the highest cycling lithium battery chemistries available. North Star has introduced a financing model which allows its customers to save on electricity costs with repayments coming directly from energy savings, with no upfront payments. Utilities benefit because peak shaving services provided by aggregated batteries help to balance the grid and defer costly investments in upgrading and reinforcing parts of the network. Taking a leaf out of Germany’s book, towards the end of 2016, Sweden announced it was introducing a scheme to subsidize solar-plus-storage purchases by residential energy consumers. Sweden wants to eliminate all fossil fuels used for electricity generation by 2040. The Swedish government hopes that much of the new generation ca-

North Star has introduced a financing model which allows its customers to save on electricity costs with repayments coming directly from energy savings, with no upfront payments. pacity will come from solar PV, which already receives support, and that distributed energy storage systems will enable a smooth integration while enhancing Sweden’s grid resiliency. The new subsidy, which covers up to 60% of the cost to install a system, is scheduled to run until the end of 2019 and could support up to 25MWh of new energy storage capacity.

Grid stabilizing and flexibility

Battery storage systems, from utilityscale installations to customer-sited deployments to VPPs based on multiple distributed generation units, are being rolled out across Germany. These show the technology’s versatility — its use in different configurations, sometimes for multiple use cases — is helping to stabilize Germany’s power grid. Last November one of the world’s largest battery energy storage projects, for providing frequency control was inaugurated. Engineering multinational Nidec ASI supplied power producer Steag with six energy storage systems, installed across several of Steag’s sites,

totalling 90MW of capacity. The systems combine Nidec ASI’s power conversion equipment with LG Chem’s lithium ion batteries. A 15MWh system using around 3000 new electric vehicle battery packs is being built by Daimler with its subsidiary Accumotive, and with a local utility in Herrenhausen, to provide frequency regulation services. In 2016, Daimler also supplied one of the largest energy storage systems to reuse spent electric vehicle batteries in a stationary storage application. The 13MWh facility at a recycling plant in Lünen actually fulfils three use cases: frequency regulation, electric bill management and energy timeshifting. In Bavaria, a project has been running since 2015 to show how aggregated individual energy storage systems coupled to rooftop solar PV systems, operated within a VPP platform, can provide frequency control services as well as enable the systems’ household owners to benefit from high levels of self-consumption, reducing energy bills.

OFF-GRID AND SMART CONCEPT GRIDS Off-grid energy storage opportunities are arising across Europe’s islands. The most advanced of these to date is a renewables-powered microgrid on the island of Graciosa, which is using energy management technology from Younicos, coupled with battery technology from Leclanché, to ensure wind and solar can be used for the majority of Graciosa’s electricity production, relegating fossil fuel generation to a back-up role. Through its extensive overseas territories, largely consisting of islands in various seas, France has pioneered cleaner island grids that deploy energy storage with renewable resources such as solar and wind. Projects include a 4.5MW system on the island of La Reunion. Closer to home, French battery

maker Saft has supplied two 1MWh lithium ion battery storage systems for renewables integration on the island of Corsica. The battery systems are each connected to a 1MW solar plant on the island. On its mainland, France is also piloting energy storage. Saft has supplied battery systems for the Nice Grid project, which is testing a smart grid concept, with utility EDF, where batteries are being used to integrate solar PV from lots of rooftop systems in the region. Recently EDF ordered a flywheel system from German supplier Stornetic for a concept smart grid test facility south of Paris, which has been set up to validate energy storage and other smart grid technologies, reducing their time to market, by seeing how they work in a real world environment.

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COVER STORY: THE ROAD TO 2020 In 2016, Germany’s Daimler Group made a concerted move into energy storage by announcing a new division, Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage, in June at ees Europe in Munich. The energy storage ‘swarm’ pilot consists of 65 individual energy storage units, amounting to 1.3MW of capacity, supplied by German firm Caterva, working with Nuremberg community utility N-ergie. In the UK, the transmission system operator (TSO), the National Grid, is also procuring more grid services using energy storage in response to a loss

of inertia across the system due to the retiring of large thermal power generation units and increasing amounts of variable renewable energy generation. In the summer of 2016, the National Grid announced the successful bids for its first 200MW enhanced frequency response tender. All deploy battery storage. However, more storage opportunities are opening up due

Residential solar-plus-storage has been one of the huge themes of 2016 and should continue to dominate many parts of this year’s ees Europe exhibition area from May 31 to June 2 in Munich, Germany. Last year, for example, Mercedes-Benz energy had a major booth that promoted the launch of its new home storage system.

Lithium ion battery technology is the chemistry of choice for most residential energy storage systems in Germany. Key players in the global energy storage market, such as LG Chem, which was out in force in the ees Europe exhibition co-located with Intersolar 2016 in Munich — look set to do the same this June.

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to the recent results of the TSO’s Capacity Market tender, for reserve capacity in times of peak demand, from 2020/2021. Along with Germany the UK is expected to be one of the hottest markets for energy storage in Europe, for C&I and utility-scale deployments.

Longer duration storage

Grid stabilization applications, which require short duration energy storage, have helped drive demand for utilityscale storage so far in Europe. However, longer duration energy storage applications are expected to become more popular from 2017 onwards, for applications such as renewables firming. In Germany, where older wind farms are starting to emerge from their 20year feed-in tariff contracts, operators are looking at how energy storage can be used to firm output to enable trading it in the power markets. Such applications are expected to become more commercially viable as negative pricing gaps widen. Of course, Italy is one country familiar with deploying energy storage at scale for longer duration applications to reduce curtailment of wind power, where it is mainly generated in the south. But there are not the sufficient transmission lines or other infrastructure in place to get the power to the north of the country, where much of the demand lies. So Italian TSO Terna has turned to energy storage, commissioning several energy storage projects over the past two years, which demonstrate a range of battery technology and storage characteristics, from lithium ion titanate chemistries to flow and sodium nickel chloride batteries. One of the projects commissioned is a 450kW/1.4MWh vanadium redox flow battery supplied by Unienergy Technologies for a Terna substation in Ciminna, on Sicily. The system was installed as part of the first 16MW phase of Terna’s energy storage programme and the TSO is now in the process of commissioning the second phase, which will lead to the installation of an additional 24MW of energy storage, based on the most promising technologies demonstrated in the first phase. Terna is seeking energy storage technologies to help it address a range of use cases and services, including frequency regulation and transmission upgrade deferrals, due to wind, transmission support, voltage support and black start capability.

INDIA Rising energy demand and its ambitious goals for renewable energy deployment have opened up opportunities in India for energy storage for various applications. Sara Verbruggen reports.

Indian firms get ready for storage ‘Aspirational’ is one way to describe India’s renewable energy goals. But ‘tortuous’ often describes some of the twists and turns of putting the process into motion. In January 2010 the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched, which set out a target of 20GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. According to figures from analyst company Bridge, the I n d i a ’s total in-

stalled solar capacity grew by more than 80% in the year ending June 2016 to reach 8.1GW. To continue this build-out, in 2016 the Indian government began to acknowledge the key role that storage has to play to support the integration of so much variable renewable energy capacity into India’s grid system. “The main driver for energy storage in India is the government’s ambition to reach 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100GW of solar and 60GW of wind power,” says Abhinav Chaudhary, a design engineer at India-based firm Oranje Kracht Engineering (OKE). As in other markets that have been integrating increasing amounts of renewables, energy storage can help with many issues facing the grid system in India. Some of the key applications include time shifting of solar and other renewable energy, mitigating intermittency, grid stabilization, ramp rate control for traditional

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INDIA “The cheapest technology is lead acid, which typically lasts less than five years in the Indian climate. Even though lithium ion batteries have longer lifetimes, upwards of 15 years for more advanced chemistries they require more upfront expenditure” — Siddhartha Sengupta, president, engineering at Vikram Solar

power plants like coal and gas. But another important emerging market is rural electrification. More than 60 million households in India have no access to grid electricity, so micro and mini-grids that incorporate solar with batteries, for example, can provide an alternative source of electricity.


In mid-2016 the Indian government announced it was planning to establish a National Storage Mission, which will bring all applications for energy storage systems under one umbrella. This also includes policies for electric vehicles, which are expected to increase in popularity as lithium

ion battery prices continue to reduce. The first few solar storage projects are about to kick off and knowledge gained from these will form the backbone of India’s storage policy in the future. They include tenders for 100MW of solar capacity in Andhra Pradesh, which is at the bidding stage, and 200MW in Karnataka, with each 50MW solar PV project connected to an energy storage plant with a capacity of 5MW/2.5MWh. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which was set up by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), has been the most proactive of government agencies in tendering for storage capacity. The agency is behind the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka solar-plusstorage tenders. The aim is for these projects to act as pilots that position

India as a new market for utility-scale energy storage, to attract global providers such as AES Energy Storage and BYD, whilst also providing developers and EPC firms with experience of installing large-scale lithium ion battery storage systems. SECI has also announced the request for proposals for a hybrid renewables and storage project that will combine 2MW of solar PV, 0.5MW of small wind turbines and 1MWh of energy storage. Projects that combine storage with wind and solar are few and far between, with one recently announced in Australia and others occurring on island grid systems. The wind-solar-storage project will be built in a village called Rangrik in the state of Himachal Pradesh. In a separate initiative US engineering firm General Electric is collaborating with Indian firm IL&FS Energy,

TELECOM TOWERS — A ROUTE INTO ENERGY STORAGE The failure at the end of November for UK-based fuel cell multinational Intelligent Energy to finalize a £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) contract to supply energy for 27,400 telecoms towers has been yet another setback in the development of looking at alternative energy sources for India. According to a KPMG report, approximately 300,000 telecom towers in India (roughly half) face electrical grid outages for more than eight hours a day, leaving nearly half of the country’s 935 million mobile phone users disconnected for extended periods. As a result, telecom network operators have been relying on diesel generators and lead-acid batteries to provide backup power, resulting, so the report claims, in the consumption of more than 1.8 billion litres of diesel fuel annually. India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority now requires the use of renewable energy in place of diesel

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to provide power to its 650,000 telecommunications towers. Allowing solar micro-grids to service these towers looks a promising way to deal with the telecoms outage problem at the same time

as providing the infrastructure for microgrids to thrive — the telecoms towers act as anchor customers for the microgrids which then expand to offer basic electricity services to the neighbouring townships.

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INDIA a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, and one of the country’s largest wind independent power producers, on the feasibility of building wind-solar-storage projects. Sites in Ramagiri in Andhra Pradesh and Nana Layja in Gujarat are being investigated. At sites where wind patterns and solar generation are complementary, co-located wind and solar plants can help smooth out each other’s intermittency as more wind tends to blow at night and in the early hours when solar PV systems are not producing. Integrating energy storage can help firm up the resource further, supporting its integration in the grid. GE’s collaboration came about after IL&FS Energy signed a grant agreement with the US Trade and Development Agency in 2015 to undertake a technoeconomic feasibility study. This was to investigate how it can best integrate wind and solar PV installations with energy storage to create dispatchable, utility-scale renewable energy projects. As part of the study, GE is designing an integrated wind, solar and energy storage plant to estimate its capital and operating costs and develop a business plan that includes the gap funding needed for the project to be commercially developed. Other government agencies and statebacked companies in India’s energy and

other sectors are putting together plans of projects that integrate solar PV with battery energy storage. The Neyveli Lignite Corporation’s 50MW solar initiative that also incorporates an energy storage component, to phase out diesel generation on Andaman, is at the expression of interest stage. Because the storage component of each of SECI’s tendered solar-plusstorage project is so small, the overall cost to build the plant will only be increased slightly. The government will also provide support. The size of the batteries to be built is small compared with other markets that are commercializing energy storage, including Europe, the US, China, even the Philippines and parts of Latin America, and multi-megawatt battery storage projects have been installed or are being commissioned. According to Siddhartha Sengupta, president, engineering, at Kolkataheadquartered Vikram Solar, one of India’s largest domestic solar PV companies, energy storage remains an expensive technology today. “The cheapest technology is lead acid, which typically lasts less than five years in the Indian climate. Even though lithium ion batteries have longer lifetimes, upwards of 15 years for more advanced chemistries they require more upfront expenditure,” Sengupta says.

Rangrik in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, where a wind-solar-storage project is to be built. More than 60 million households in India have no access to grid electricity, so micro and mini-grids that incorporate solar with batteries, for example, can provide an alternative source of electricity.

However, he thinks the trend in falling prices of lithium ion cells, which shows little sign of abating in the next two years at least, which will lead to some manufacturers investing in setting up a domestic lithium battery industry in India. The government has introduced measures to facilitate a domestic solar PV supply chain and India’s lead acid battery industry is also big in global terms. “There are currently no lithium ion cell manufacturers in India. The price decline will hopefully encourage some major manufacturers to set up plants in India and cater to the upcoming storage market. In the meantime battery module assembly with imported cells and locally sourcing some of the balance of system (BOS) components is perhaps the best way to cater to the upcoming boom in battery demand,” Sengupta says.

Commercial & industrial opportunities

In 2016 the Indian subsidiaries of Japanese lithium ion cell producer Panasonic and independent power producer AES announced plans for a 10MW energy storage array at Panasonic’s factory in Jhajjar, in Haryana in the north of India. The joint project is the first largescale battery-based energy storage project in India. In addition to grid stabilizing and renewables integration applications, the installation will demonstrate benefits to commercial and industrial energy customers, by providing daily reliability and backup to the production plant. In India the commercial and industrial market for energy storage could have significant potential for growth. Thanks to the accelerated depreciation, a form of tax break for some renewable energy systems, a business or other large energy consumer can already achieve grid parity by installing rooftop solar PV. However, due to the lack of investment in the distribution network in parts of India, power cuts and outages are common, so storing solar in batteries can be more cost-effective than relying on diesel back up. The importance of energy storage will increase as more and more renewable power plants are connected to the grid. As an integrated solar engineering procurement and construction (EPC) firm as well, Vikram is preparing to add battery storage systems as a part of its EPC offerings and is seeking to participate in the government’s various energy storage initiatives.

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INDIA “Providing electricity to rural households is another area where there is ample scope in India. The government has plans to install 10,000 micro/mini grids with energy storage to help solve this issue,” says Sengupta. In other states that have also been the focus of much of India’s renewables activity, due to government tenders, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Telangana, energy storage will be needed for grid stabilization. OKE is designing and researching and developing a range of lithium ion cell based energy storage products,

including residential energy storage systems for solar self-consumption, large grid-scale storage systems, in the MWh range, for integrating solar and also wind renewable energy generation. The company is also developing battery packs for electric vehicles. “Prototyping and testing is under way with various automotive manufacturers in India and we are looking to launch some of these various products in 2017/early 2018,” says Chaudhary. OKE buys in cells from China to make into battery packs and integrates

them with power control systems. The company is also developing a unique cooling technology that can be used with the electric vehicle battery packs as well as stationary storage systems to keep the cells cool, which helps to enhance their operational lifetime. Projects that OKE is submitting bids for include a 2MWh energy storage system for a 4.5MW solar PV system in Maharashtra. The winning bid will be selected in March 2017. The company is also at the early stages of bidding for off-grid solar and storage projects in Andaman and Nicobar.

At sites where wind patterns and solar generation are complementary, co-located wind and solar plants can help smooth out each other’s intermittency as more wind tends to blow at night and in the early hours when solar PV systems are not producing. INDIA ENERGY STORAGE ALLIANCE: WIND AND SOLAR

The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) was launched in 2012 to assess the market potential of Energy Storage Technologies in India through dialogue among the various stakeholders to make the Indian industry and power sector aware of the need for energy storage in the very near future. IESA speaks of the huge and rising volumes of renewable power being generated. It says the solar market is gaining worldwide attraction due to favourable weather and policy incentives. “India’s theoretical solar power reception capability is about 5000 trillion KWh per year based on the land area and about 300 clear

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sunny days. The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 kWh/m2 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500 to 2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location). At the end of September 2016, India had 8.6GW of cumulative capacity. “As per the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, this capacity is expected to touch 10,000 MW by 2017 and 20,000 MW by 2022. Off-grid solar installed capacity is expected to reach 2000 MW by 2022.” IESA says that although India was a relatively new entrant to the wind power market in the 1990s it is ranked as having the fourth largest

installed wind capacity in the world behind China, US, Germany and ahead of Spain (which it overtook in 2015) and the UK. The capacity has significantly increased in the last few years and at the end of August 2016 the installed capacity of wind power in India was 27,676.55 MW, mainly spread across the South, West and North regions. The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy has also set a target of 15000 MW for capacity addition of grid interactive renewable energy in the 12th five year plan, which is 26% of the total target capacity, making wind the second largest power source over the next five years.


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FLOW BATTERIES: VANADIUM SUPPLY A new vanadium energy storage committee has been set up to address issues such as supply and how costs of the technology can be reduced.

Vanadium industry gathers to focus on storage and shortages The world’s largest battery announced to date — a 200MW/800MWh beast to be installed by 2020 in northern China — is not being made of lithium ion but from industrial sized 20MW/80MWh flow battery systems, developed out of a US-Sino collaboration. Off the back of growing demand for stationary storage all around the world, interest in flow batteries is increasing, especially for applications in remote areas and for enhancing grid stabilization when too much renewable energy starts to affect the smooth running of the electricity grid. To bring together up and downstream supply chain partners and end-users, to share knowledge across R&D, production statistics, market demand as well as best practice in health, safety and environment, global vanadium industry association Vanitec has set up a new committee dedicated to energy storage, which held its inaugural meeting near London’s Heathrow airport in October. Unlike other minerals the vanadium commodities industry is relatively small. For the past 40 years Vanitec has brought together the various players in the vanadium supply chain. Until now the focus has been on steel, which accounts for 92% of vanadium production. A major market for vanadium is for the production of rebar (short for reinforcing) steel, which are the thin bars, or meshes of bars, used to reinforce concrete in construction. The vanadium redox flow battery market size is fractional compared with steel. But with VRFB developers gaining commercial traction in global markets, including Europe, North America, China, Africa and Australia, scaling of the industry demands attention — especially if VRFB is to compete with lithium ion, which is benefitting from cost reductions, due largely to scaling in manufacturing capacity as well as improvements to the chemistry itself. In a VRFB system, electrolytes in different oxidation states make up the positive and the negative halves of a

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cell. The flow of the electrolyte is separated by an ion exchange membrane. A reversible electrochemical reaction simply allows electrical energy to be stored and subsequently returned. The setup of the electrolyte and the membrane stack is comparable to an engine and fuel tanks. The membrane stack — the engine — delivers power rated in kilowatts, whilst the fuel — the vanadium electrolyte — delivers energy rated in kilowatt hours. In steel processing just adding a fractional amount of vanadium, around 0.2%, can increase steel’s strength by 100% and reduce the alloy’s weight by up to 30%. But the slowdown in China, and flat demand in established construction markets such as the US, mean that the rebar steel market is seeing steady if unspectacular growth at an annual rate of about 6%. By comparison, to make the electrolyte solution for a VRFB about 145 grams of vanadium pentoxide per litre

is needed. For a 1.6MWh flow battery that’s equivalent to 15 tonnes.

Shortage worries

Global growth prospects for energy storage could, therefore, open up a significant new source of demand for vanadium and new opportunities for Vanitec’s members, which include vanadium producers and electrolyte suppliers as well as downstream developers of VRFB systems. Developers of energy storage systems based on vanadium redox flow chemistry, such as Austrian company Gildemeister, are already starting to look at locking in prices of vanadium in anticipation of demand growth over the next two years. “There is a shortage risk. We’re already seeing a shortage on the steel side, so if the price, due to steel, goes up it could risk killing off the energy storage market for vanadium,” says Vincent Algar, whose company Aus-

“There is a shortage risk. We’re already seeing a shortage on the steel side, so if the price, due to steel, goes up it could risk killing off the energy storage market for vanadium ” – Vincent Algar — Australian Vanadium

FLOW BATTERIES: VANADIUM SUPPLY tralian Vanadium, which is a Vanitec member, is starting to develop energy storage projects through its subsidiary VSUN. Gildemeister is a distribution partner of VSUN’s in Australia. Scott McGregor, CEO of REDT, a US developer of energy storage systems based on vanadium redox flow chemistry, is not unduly concerned. “There is enough vanadium in the ground to supply terawatts of demand for energy storage,” he says, referring to deposits around the world, including Brazil, Australia and Africa. “But we are locking in prices a little bit, to flatten against any rise,” he says. What makes vanadium flow batteries compelling is their ability to store energy for hours and days if necessary and an operational lifetime that is double that of lithium ion. In September VSUN completed installation of a 100kWh Cellcube, supplied by Gildemeister, at a tree nursery farm in Western Australia. The battery stores solar energy from a 15kW solar PV array on site, so the farm can maximise its use of solar generation. The battery is big enough to store solar energy over several days. VSUN is talking to other farms and also mining operations. And with more projects under its belt over the coming months, the developer will be in position to bid for tenders put out by utilities and distribution network operators in Australia. In the meantime parent company Australian Vanadium is pushing on with plans to become a vertically integrated player in energy storage, with mining at the top of the upstream end and VSUN’s energy storage project development business at the downstream end. “Production of the electrolyte has to be very clean so to reach a high level of purity you need to minimize the process of refinement, because it adds cost,” says Algar. Australian Vanadium is developing a site in Western Australia with the potential to mine the metal. The mine will not begin production until 2019. The Gabanintha project, measuring 91.4 million tonnes at 0.82% vanadium, has the potential to produce highgrade vanadium, which is needed for low cost production. Today Largo Resources, through its Maracás Menchen mine in Brazil, produces the highest grade, lowest cost vanadium, producing a record 800 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide in September 2016, much of its output supplying the steel industry. Even

Scott McGregor: “There is enough vanadium in the ground to supply terawatts of demand for energy storage”

though rebar steel production is seeing little growth, new steel applications continue to drive demand. Australian Vanadium has also acquired a pilot line for making electrolyte from British company C-Tech Innovation. “We aim to be producing commercial quantities of electrolyte by mid-2017, buying in vanadium from third party sources until our own mine comes on-stream,” says Algar.

Controlling costs

By having total control over key stages of the vanadium battery supply chain, Australian Vanadium will be able to reduce the cost of VRFB production. Bringing together the different supply chain partners via the new energy storage committee within Vanitec enables end-users — flow battery makers — to feed back in terms of the performance levels they are seeking from their batteries. Enhancements to vanadium processing across the supply chain, starting with the mineral itself, to electrolyte synthesis, to stack design, will all lead to reductions in production costs. One of the sessions at the first energy storage committee meeting included a panel discussion about the standards and quality of electrolyte. The meeting also included a presentation on research opportunity ideas. Attendees included VRFB develop-

ers, including REDT, Gildemeister and Rongke New Power, mining companies, such as Evraz Stratcor, as well as electrolyte producers, including Chinese firm Dalian Bolong New Materials, which processes electrolyte from vanadium that has been recycled from steel, which is probably the largest source of the mineral today outside of mining it. “There is opportunity for the mining sector to find sites with high purity sources of vanadium because this industry cannot risk any shortage,” says Algar.

Unique characteristics

VRFBs have performance characteristics that are under appreciated in the current energy storage market. Unlike lithium ion, lead acid and other types of batteries, VRFBs can be cycled many thousands of times with little signs of degradation, thus resulting in potentially long operational lifetimes. There have even been discussions within the vanadium storage industry in terms of renting vanadium pentoxide electrolytes, rather than selling them. “Because the electrolyte degrades so little. It is potentially one way of reducing the cost of vanadium redox flow energy storage,” says McGregor. It would also be a first, since no commodity metal or mineral to date has been leased in such a way. The commercial operational lifetime of a VRFB asset is in the region of 20 years, matching that of wind and solar farms. Twenty years is the equivalent of 10,000 cycles, and the point at which minimal degradation starts to occur. “Most big grid-connected batteries are for short-term applications, as opposed to long-term or where the battery is not required to cycle multiple times a day. Utility investors are comfortable investing in assets that can operate for many years. But because energy storage is a new sector it is seen as a more risky technology,” says McGregor.

“Most big grid-connected batteries are for short-term applications, as opposed to long-term or where the battery is not required to cycle multiple times a day. Utility investors are comfortable investing in assets that can operate for many years. But because energy storage is a new sector it is seen as a more risky technology.” – Scott McGregor — REDT Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 101

FLOW BATTERIES: VANADIUM SUPPLY His company recently started shipping VRFB containers to Gigha, a Scottish island with ambitions to become more reliant on renewable power. The alternative would be to install a new transmission cable between Gigha and the mainland. The project has received over $3 million in funding from the UK government toward the demonstration and pre-commercialization of a utility-scale VRFB technology. Should the island’s cable go down, the battery can provide power for at least 16 hours, or double that if it is only discharged at half power. However, the 1.68MWh VRFB sys-

tem will earn money by providing grid support services. The system is configured to remove generation and export constraints from the addition of an extra 330kW community-owned wind turbine on the island. In addition, the machines will also eventually provide voltage and frequency support services as well as back-up for the remote community.

Commercial opportunities

McGregor sees a market emerging in Germany for co-locating VRFB systems with wind farms, to firm up the resource so enhancing the wind farm’s output for trading and enabling the


Issue 8: Spring 2015

Distributed at the world’s largest renewable energy storage conferences and exhibitions

Let cool heads prevail The lead-lithium storage debate stepsPER up aQUARTER notch OVER 70,000 READERS For commercial, marketing and advertising enquiries Jadenew Beevor, manager Next gen integrators The titan advertising of lead The CEO interview • +44and 1243 792467 Coming soon to a Ecoult’s UltraBattery, Anil Srivastava smart grid near you, ready to take lithium Leclanché’s bid for the ideal middle man Reception: +44 (0) 1243 782275 market dominance on, head-to-head Fax +44 1 787 329 730 Hampton Halls Associates Ltd, 10 Temple Bar Business Park, Strettington PO18 0TU, UK • Registered in England 09123491

102 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

This year Gildemeister beat several other companies to win a tender by Italian grid operator Terna, which is piloting a flow battery on the grid operator to provide grid services. Gildemeister has notched up dozens of installations of its Cellcube battery, mainly among commercial and industrial end-users. VRFB is nonflammable, making it safe to install in buildings, or densely populated urban areas, an advantage over lithium ion. VRFB along with lead acid is the only battery chemistry to receive a letter of no objection from the New York Fire Department. The Cellcube technology was chosen for an energy storage pilot by the city’s Mass Transit Authority, announced in 2014, to show how commercial buildings can time-shift energy to save money. This year Gildemeister beat several other companies to win a tender by Italian grid operator Terna, which is piloting a flow battery on the grid. Two of the company’s Cellcubes were recently installed in Codrongianos, on Sardinia, with a total storage capacity of 1.1MWh. The system will be evaluated for its ability to enhance grid stabilization and provide some services. The giant battery that Chinese VRFB company Rongke Power announced it will deploy is the result of collaboration with its US affiliate Uni Energy Technologies to scale up VRFB batteries to reduce costs. The battery arrays approved by the China National Energy Administration will be made up of ten 20MW/80MWh VRFB systems. After full commissioning in 2020, the system will be able to peak-shave 8% of Dalian’s expected load. The battery will also provide black-start capabilities in the event of emergency. With lithium ion batteries in the news again over flammability risks and concerns, the seemingly unstoppable ascent of lithium ion as the mainstream choice for energy storage is under question, with energy storage players reporting renewed interest in safer alternatives. However, the fledgling VRFB industry needs to rally and take full advantage if this promising energy storage technology is to have any real hope of industrializing successfully.

EVENT REVIEW Advanced Automotive Battery Conference Mainz, Germany • January 30 – February 2

AABC advances The Advanced Automotive Battery Conference held in Mainz, Germany came back this year with a bang. The fortunes of the conference have largely mirrored the fortunes of the industry as a whole. In the middle years of the advanced battery boom — a golden time for some when firms such as A123 Systems was valued by stockholders at half a billion dollars — conferences such as AABC were at the cutting edge in the discussions of the new battery technologies being pioneered. Huge numbers gathered at these events. Fortunes of the conference largely followed that of the automotive industry which took time to digest the possibilities of electric vehicles in various forms. The worry for the industry, at least for a while, was that with a nervy post-financial crisis approach to battery investment, and the withdrawal of huge chunks of government money from the sector, that the electric vehicle dream was if not dead, being put on the back burner. Thankfully that’s not happened. And this year’s meetings in Mainz were widely recognised as reflecting an industry that was maturing and — at last — more or less commercially viable. “This year’s AABC perfectly captured the excitement that we’re seeing in the marketplace,” said one exhibitor. “As ever the intellectual content of the presentations was extremely high but the thing that I’ll take away from it all will be the sheer enthusiasm of the people we spoke to. “We’re not in the promised land yet, but it’s clearly in sight.” The transition to commercial viability is an important one. “We’ve gone from a statement of faith in what was then an unproven

technology to something that makes sense,” one delegate told Batteries International. “Yes, the price of lithium batteries is still too high — but look how far battery pack prices have come down — and there are still issues such as driving range and safety that still need to be fully addressed. But we’ve come a long way already with these difficulties. “Indeed the whole range of electric vehicles from pure EVs to mild hybrids and start-stop cars has now gone from an experimental approach from automotive firms in say the middle 2000s to what they hope will be a central product in their future range of cars.” One conference surprise was the announcement by two major battery and electric drive train suppliers that they had introduced 48V systems for their Chinese and European markets. This is something which now looks set to be the start of a new and larger trend with huge implications for battery markets. The conference proper — held on February 1-2 — was preceded by two days of symposia that looked at supercaps and raw materials on the first day and on the second looked at chemistry, engineering and the lead based papers. This year’s meetings proved to be ground-breaking in offering an implicit acknowledgement — for the first time — that lead acid deserves a place at the top table in discussing its role in the new electric vehicle universe. A whole day of symposia focused on their place in the electric vehicle universe. It was well attended and left many enthused about the neglected possibilities that lead batteries offered. “We’ve been waiting for years for

some kind of redress to the idea that the AABC meeting only looks at every chemistry but lead (or just give a token nod to it),” said one delegate. Some of the presentations bordered on the familiar but the selection of speakers — Eckhard Karden, Dirk Uwe Sauer, Juergen Garche, being notables always worth a listen to — was strong. Karden, who has just helped write a book called Lead-Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles, surprised his audience by at one point saying he thought lithium ion was the better technology. One of the most interesting presentations was made by Stewart McKenzie the chief executive of New Zealand’s ArcActive who dealt with dynamic charge acceptance, and his firm’s attempts to introduce a stepchange in performance, with a candid approach to success and failure rare to find nowadays. Part of the renewed vim to the conference comes from its new owners the Cambridge Innovation Institute which organizes events, and provides publishing, and training across the life science and energy industries. Comparitively recently the institute set up a separate division — Cambridge EnerTech — which looks at renewable energy and which in June 2015 acquired AABC’s bi-annual conferences. CET was established by uniting six leading energy conferences — International Battery Seminar & Exhibit, Advanced Automotive Battery Conferences — US & Europe, Lithium Battery Power, Battery Safety and Next Generation Batteries — into a single portfolio. “Our mission is to aid the expansion of the energy storage industry by providing forums for superior educa-

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 103

EVENT REVIEW tional and networking experience,” says Edel O’Regan, a director at the institute. “This mission includes honoring the legacy each of the events have to offer, with a firm commitment to maintain their strong position within the industry.” This is the second year that the institute has run AABC although the content of the sessions and speakers remains with the founder Menahem Anderman. The origin of Anderman’s Advanced Automotive Battery Conferences derive from his work on behalf of the California Air Resource Board (CARB) in 2000. That year he met a variety of auto companies and battery makers to assess the status of batteries for EV applications. When the resulting analysis — eventually published as the 2000 CARB Battery Panel Report won praise, he saw there was a clear need for balanced information. “A year later I decided to follow the same track but this time on my own, collecting detailed information for what would become out our first multi-client report, which happened to focus on the future of HEVs and HEV batteries,” he says. By the time 75 subscriptions had sold over the next 18 months, the re-

port had become the industry’s sleeper hit as the definitive reference book that year. Heartened by that reception, he produced the first of what has since become a series of AABC events in 2001. “That first event took six months to organize from start to finish,” he says, “but it was immensely rewarding to see battery people from 12 international automotive companies gather in one room, and know that most of the 270 attendees had never met their colleagues before that day.” The AABC has since repeated the conference annually and as of 2010

bi-annually — organized once in North America and once in Europe. The next European meeting of AABC will be held once more in Mainz from January 29 to February 1 in 2018. In the US, the AABC meets again this summer in San Francisco between June 19 and 22. EnerTech will also be hosting the 34th Annual International Battery Seminar and Exhibit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida between March 20-23, the 12th Annual Lithium Battery Power conference in Arlington Virginia between October 31 and November 1.

IBRX India 2017 • The Eighth International Battery Expo & Recycling Conference

Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, India • January 9-11

A reflection of Indian and Middle Eastern Interest

The history of IBRX is really a history of Ajoy Raychaudhuri’s struggle to organize an event suited to the Indian battery market. The idea for such a meeting came to Ajoy (as everyone knows him) after attending the 2006 Asia Battery Conference. Initial disparagements over who would attend, where they would attend — at that time there was only one pos-

104 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

sible conference centre in Hyderabad that could accommodate both national and international visitors — and why they should attend were overcome and the first of Ajoy’s conferences was held in 2008. Since then the conferences take place either annually or every other year and most recently they have been held in Goa in what can only be described as a

paradise of a location. In terms of content this year’s event didn’t break new ground — for those attending international conferences almost all of this had been aired in different places before — but it was clearly new and exciting to some of the large number of Indian delegates that attended. A striking proportion of attendees were from the Emirates — Dubai, most notably — reflecting the gradual shift in regional interest in India and the Middle East. One of the strengths of the conference was the exhibition area where a good number of Indian and international names were present. In terms of networking, the location proved interesting and the opening and closing receptions proved to be both fun and useful. The next IBRX seems set to be in 2019 but the location will be changing. Ajoy is promising that it will make Goa look bland by comparison.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Energy Storage 2017 Paris, France February 8-9, 2017

8th Int’l Rechargeable Battery Expo – Battery Japan

ACI’s Energy Storage 2017 conference will bring together key industry stakeholders to address the current challenges of the energy storage market and discuss the latest developments. The two-day event will give insights on business cases, regulatory environment, financial aspects, and technological advancements for the energy storage industry. The Energy Storage 2017 conference will demonstrate successful case studies, and explore the latest R&D projects. Join us in Paris to meet senior representatives from leading companies for excellent networking opportunities. Energy Storage 2017 will be attended by leading power generating companies, TSOs, DNOs, and utilities including: managers and directors of energy storage, power generation, R&D and new technologies, renewable strategy, innovations and strategic project managers, as well as business development executives from technical service providers, consultants, regulators and academia. Contact Samanta Fawcett Tel: + 44 20 3141 0624 Email:

7th Annual Next Generation 2017 Energy Storage

Tokyo, Japan • March 1-3

San Francisco, USA February 14-16, 2017

This is the world’s largest show for rechargeable batteries. Leading international exhibition showcasing various components, materials, devices, finished rechargeable batteries for rechargeable battery R&D and manufacturing.

Breakthroughs in new battery chemistries, novel electrode and electrolyte materials, and system integration for large-scale applications have paved the road toward an emerging stationary market with a seemingly unlimited potential. Will lithium-ion and alternativechemistry batteries deliver on the promise of power, energy, cost and safety? Cambridge EnerTech’s 7th Annual Next-Generation Energy Storage 2017 convenes leading experts in the fields of battery materials, systems design and integration, and manufacturing and commercial applications, along with utility planners, electrical, transmission, distribution, modelling, and protection engineers who address emerging issues driving this pivotal time in the battery industry. Contact Tel: +1 781 972 5400 Email: custserv@knowledgefoundation. com

Contact Tel: +81 3 3349 8519 Email:

Energy storage seminars from Shmuel De-Leon 2017 Schedule


Local Partner

February 22, 23

Greenville, SC, USA


March 30, 31

London, UK


April 19, 20

Wezep, Netherlands

Dr. Ten

April 24, 25

Itzehoe, Germany

Custom Cells

June 7, 8

Le Bourget du Lac, France


June 15, 16

Boston, MA, USA

Fastcap Systems

July 3, 4

Karlstein am Main, Germany


Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 105

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 5th Energy Storage Europe

Argus Metals Week 2017 London, UK March 6-9 Rechargeable batteries continue to dominate and drive the base metals market but there is uncertainty whether ongoing lithium resources can meet rapid growth in demand. Unanswered questions about the future of lithium supply has prompted us to introduce the battery conference to the Argus Metals Week line-up. Highlights of the event include a firsthand case study of the Sonara Lithium Project from Peter Secker, chief executive officer at Bacanora Mineral Contact Email: Tel: +44 20 7780 4341 europe/argus-metals-week

ICLB 2017: 19th International Conference on Lithium Batteries

Düsseldorf, Germany • March 14-16, 2017 Energy Storage Europe is an expo and conference event that takes place in Düsseldorf in March annually. The goal of Messe Düsseldorf, the organizers, is to further develop this young format of energy storage into a worldwide leading platform for the industry. To reach this goal, Messe Düsseldorf does not only invest financial funds but also uses its worldwide distribution network of 134 countries.

Good business is done where top decision makers gather at one place – in Düsseldorf! Be part of it and revolutionize the energy storage industry with us! Contact Caroline Markowski Tel: +49 211 4560 7281 Email:

NAATBatt 2017 Annual Meeting & Conference

Miami, USA March 9-10 The conference aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of lithium batteries. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of lithium batteries. Contact Tel +971 559 099 620 ICLB

Battery Experts Forum

Arizona, USA • March 14-16

Aschaffenburg, Germany March 14-16

The meeting will feature updates on the business and technology of electrochemical energy storage across applications with a view to giving industry thought leaders better insight into general business conditions and prospects. The NAATBatt annual meeting is the most important networking event each year for top executives at companies that manufacture, sell or rely on advanced battery and supercapacitor technology. NAATBatt meetings are designed to help attendees gain new knowl-

The Battery Experts Forum will take place and this event is a must for all those people, who are dedicated to the technologies of batteries. The forum offers participants the rare opportunity, in comparatively short time, to get comprehensive information in direct dialogue with the experts on all major trends and new developments. Contact Tel: +49 6188 99410 0 Email:

106 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

edge and build new relationships that help businesses grow and prosper. The 2017 meeting will be held at the historic Wigwam Resort outside Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting will feature the Advanced Battery Golf & Tennis Tournament, an outstanding Spouses/ Companions Program, the Energy Storage Innovation Summit and the best networking in the industry, among many other features. Contact Tel: +1 312 588 0477 Web:

April 30 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; May 2, 2017 Hyatt Regency Jacksonville, Florida

Register Now at

FORTHCOMING EVENTS The European Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Congress Geneva, Switzerland March 14-16 The European Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Congress strengthens its position as global platform to foster exchange of views between the R&D, the industry, the authorities, the end-users and the NGO’s actors, so to develop synergies in the field of e-mobility. As motivations and constraints are different for each of them, EEVC has the objective to help defining the most promising solutions for market introduction and take-off. This is made taking into account the research and development progresses, as well as the environmental and economic constraints. Feedback from past and current experiences are also discussed and analysed so that best practices and best ways for a daily introduction of e-mobility could be identified. Contact: Email: Tel: +32 477 36 48 16

Scottish Renewables Annual Conference – Scotland’s Energy Evolution


Edinburgh, Scotland March 21-22, 2017

Moscow, Russia March 21-23

The Scottish Renewables Annual Conference will look at the new energy strategy for Scotland, changes in the feed-in tariff and renewable heat incentive and the closure of the renewable obligation, the next allocation round for CfD, an industrial, strategy and the publishing of climate change plans, as well as further clarity on the emerging shape of Britain’s likely exit from the EU — and what all this means for our sector.

The first exhibition has been held in 1992, and after that the exhibition became the annual one and takes place every year in February-March. The total number of exhibitors is more than 60 from 18 countries. The conference has been held in the Exhibition Hall of Moscow Government since 2008 with total exhibition area 1000 sq.m. Seminars, presentations, symposiums will be held daily. At the exhibitions you’ll get the real possibility to establish business contacts, to have commercial discussions and to take part in presentations and seminars.

Contact Lisa Russell Tel: + 44 141 353 4986 Email:

34th International Battery Seminar & Exhibit

—The 26th International Specialized Exhibition, “Independable Power Sources”

Contact Tel: +7 499 248-4653 Email

Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Exhibition Metro Manila, Philippines March 22-24

systems and enabling technologies. As the longest-running annual battery industry event in the world, this meeting has always been the preferred venue to announce significant developments, new products, and showcase the most advanced battery technology.

The three-day exhibition will highlight ways and means to attain alternative energy advancements and productivity. Increase your audience reach as it brings together key players and top practitioners from the industry, while also inviting target visitors and some government authorities for building new profitable partnerships and a lot more proactive business opportunities. It will showcase a wide range of technologies suppliers and equipment from various segments in the industry including: Supported by the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, (PIPPA), this professional trade show is the best platform to build connections and transform it to mutually beneficial relationships. Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) 2017 is just one of the successful energy series spearheaded by UBM, which includes ASEAN Sustainable Energy Week (Thailand), Renewable Energy India, Renewable Energy Myanmar, Renewable Energy Vietnam, Solar Asia and Green Energy Malaysia.

Contact Sherry Johnson Email: Tel: +1 781 972 1359

Contact Andrew Lim Tel: +63 852 2827 6211

Fort Lauderdale, USA • March 20-23 Since its debut in 1983, the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit has established itself as the premier event showcasing the state of the art of worldwide energy storage technology developments for consumer, automotive, military, and industrial applications. Key thought leaders will assemble to not only provide broad perspectives, but also informed insights into significant advances in materials, product development, manufacturing, and application for all battery

108 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017








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

110 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

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

4 - 6 April, 2017 Sindelfingen, Germany

North America’s leading advanced battery exhibition & conference launches in Germany in 2017

Register for a free exhibition pass online

Don’t miss The Battery Show Conference Europe, featuring over 70 expert speakers including:

Robert Inderka PhD

Marcus Hafkemeyer

Francisco Carranza

Senior Manager 48V Drive-Systems, Daimler AG

Director, Head of European Automotive Battery Tech Center, LG Chem Europe

Director, Nissan Energy, Renault-Nissan Alliance

Nicolas Schottey

Armin Warm

Albrecht Pfeiffer

Program Director EV Battery & Infrastructure, Renault

Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford

Expert - Electrical Energy Storage Systems, BMW Group

View full agenda online. Passes start from €595

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

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 Contact Tel: +1 312 245 1074 Email:

All Energy May 10-11, 2017 Glasgow, Scotland 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 fast-changing 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 Tel: +44 208 271 2179 Email:

International Stationary Battery Conference (Battcon)

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. • 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 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/

Battery Power 2017 Dallas, USA May 17-18

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-

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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:

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:

Register by March 31 and Save $400!

17th Annual

advanced automotive battery conference June 19-22, 2017 • Marriott Marquis, San Francisco, CA June 19-22, 2017 • Marriott Marquis, San Franciso, CA

Conference Programs R&D SympoSia

ConfeRenCe TRaCkS

June 19-20

June 21-22







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

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 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

May 30-June 2, 2017 Munich, Germany 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:

Since 2012, Energy Storage China has been growing alongside China’s energy storage sector, which has become a prestigious platform for cross-sectoral 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:

Intersolar Europe

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. Contact

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

114 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

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

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:

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 • Winter 2016/2017 • 115

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 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 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 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:

116 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

The Battery Show

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.

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

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

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

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

Kuala Lumpur

Lead & Battery Week Live! Monday 18 – Friday 22 September 2017 Kuala Lumpur International Convention Centre

monday 18 – tuesday 19 September 2017

Tuesday 19 – Friday 22 September 2017

Forum for researchers, technicians, end-users and marketers of whose work involves the many aspects of secondary lead smelting and refining.

Designed for battery industry executives, customers, marketers, academia, researchers, sales teams, reseller networks and suppliers.

Bringing 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.

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.

Discussion of all aspects of plant operations and control, giving anyone interested in secondary smelting a better understanding of the processes involved in the industry.

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.

platinum partners

titanium partner

supporting sponsors

gala dinner sponsor

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

Battery Congress Frankfurt, Germany September 12-13 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 Las Vegas – USA September 12-15 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

118 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

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

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. Contact Email: Tel: +61 3 9870 2611


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Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 119

BATTERY HEROES: MICHEL ARMAND Michel Armand has been at the forefront of many advances in electrochemistry theory and application and made a huge contribution to our understanding of intercalation compounds. Most recently he has been at the cutting edge of LiFePO4 cell optimization.

Opening up the space between worlds Precocious. That’s about the only way to describe the young Michel Armand. Within days — aged just 10 — of exhausting the experiments from a chemistry set Christmas present he was clamouring for more. His parents, both chemistry and physics teachers, sighed and gave him the keys to the school laboratory. An electrochemist had been born. Armand was born on April 29, 1946 in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France. But it was not until he was 20 that Armand’s brilliance was to show. Taking part in a nationwide competitive exam to enter the Ecole Normale Supérieure at Saint-Cloud — one of France’s most respected scientific teaching establishments — he came first. Academically he was on a roll. His MSc in physics and chemistry was followed by a post-masters diploma in inorganic chemistry and electrochemistry. Now aged 24, he began to look for the next step in his education and in 1970 he obtained a Fullbright travel Fellowship to go to Stanford University. It was a crucial moment in setting a direction for his life. He was to spend 18 months there in the Materials Science and Engineering Department headed by Robert Huggins and where Stanley Whittingham, working as a post-doctorate researcher, was already making a name for himself. Armand recalls: “Arriving at Stanford, I was assigned to make tungsten bronzes to measure the conductivity of beta-alumina, a clever way to avoid interfacial polarization. I immediately realized intercalation material could also be used for making batteries.

This work contained the first generalization of Nernst equation in the solid-state, to predict the variation of the voltage with stoichiometry, a model that has remained indisputable. 120 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017


“I also started on my own initiative work on Prussian Blues as cheap, nonstoichiometric iron derivatives. I was quite surprized that neither Bob Huggins nor Stan Whittingham realized immediately the importance of intercalation for battery operation as their use for impedance measurements was a close concept.” On his return to France in early 1972, Armand rekindled his doctoral research on intercalation compounds for solid-state batteries at what is now Laboratoire d’ionique et d’électrochimie du solide, a large laboratory in Grenoble devoted to solidstate electrochemistry. In 1972, he attended the NATO conference on Fast Ion Transport in Solids in Belgirate in northern Italy, where he presented the use of ternary graphite intercalation, a new family of interstitial compounds derived from graphite, as promising candidates for solid-state electrode materials. Armand’s paper and metallurgist professor Brian Steele of Imperial College’s paper, which clearly suggested the use of solid solution electrodes in his own terms such as NaxTiS2, were the starting point of what was to become a booming activity on intercalation chemistry during the 1970s. Whittingham, for example, became involved at Exxon in the programme for making batteries using LixTiS2 as an electrode material. Moreover, the solid-state chemistry community

“I literally took the first flight out to Texas to meet John Goodenough to offer him a collaboration within a Hydro-QuébecUniversity of TexasUniversité de Montréal triangle” had realized the potential of these compounds for electrochemistry. Paul Hagenmuller in Bordeaux and Jean Rouxel in Nantes, who had been investigating non-stoichiometric compounds, saw their work come into the limelight and extended. For the scientific/engineering community, intercalation electrodes came as a possible competitor to batteries using b-alumina (sodium/sulfur), with Wynn Jones and British Rail in the UK. There was also at Argonne National Laboratory a huge programme on Li(Al)/FeS2 batteries using molten LiCl/KCl as electrolyte, but working at 350°C, where the corrosion from the molten salt proved to be a crippling handicap. In 1974 Armand joined the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as a research associate, He became its director of research

in 1989. “The CNRS did not bother me when I did not publish for five years, and let me supervise students before defending my thesis. In retrospect, the results of my PhD should have been submitted to prestigious journals,” he says. “But I was already into the induction period for polymer electrolytes. I benefitted from great tolerance at the beginning of my career and this helped creativity.” The rationale behind polymer electrolytes was that they would be preferable contact-wise to hard ceramic materials or glasses when intercalation compounds were to be used as electrodes, with volume change. Initially the idea seemed bizarre, as polymers are known for their insulating properties while ions were thought to move only in channels or in twodimensional openings with an optimal size, like b-alumina, which polymers do not provide. Armand selected polyethylene oxide after ceramics researcher Peter Wright at the University of Sheffield had shown in 1975 that it is a host for a number of sodium or potassium salts and displayed some conductivity. Here he established the electrical properties of the polymer-salt complexes formed with selected lithium salts, and pointed out that these material, would be useful for batteries. A little earlier in 1978, he obtained his PhD in Physics cum laude.

The rationale behind polymer electrolytes was that they would be preferable contact-wise to hard ceramic materials or glasses, when intercalation compounds were to be used as electrodes with volume change.

Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 121


Armand’s identity card while studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure at SaintCloud

This work contained the first generalization of Nernst equation in the solid-state, to predict the variation of the voltage with stoichiometry, a model that has remained indisputable. Also, a wealth of intercalation compounds, many new, had been screened electrochemically. This work also contained the first mention that intercalation compounds could be used both at the positive and negative electrodes — defining the Li-ion battery principle. Around this time Armand and his collaborators filed a patent through the CNRS which ended up in a long litigation with the US Patent Office, due to an unknown premature disclosure. Nevertheless, it prompted a joint research project between the CNRS, the French oil company Elf-Aquitaine, and Canadian electricity utility Hydro-Québec, aimed at designing ultimately a lithium-polymer battery for electric vehicles.

122 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

Armand was in charge of the scientific orientations, to be materialized with Michel Gauthier, head of the corresponding research group at HydroQuébec. This patent contained the first specific mention of the use of graphite negative electrodes, as polymers do not co-intercalate in graphite like most liquid solvents do. “I later suggested to a PhD student, Rachid Yazami, to include this work in his thesis,” says Armand. “The proof being given by X-rays to the formation of LiC6.” Around this time he met Maryse Cirera, who was working for Motorola in Grenoble. They married and later

a daughter, Caroline, was born. “She is now a perfume specialist, from her childhood passion for fragrances,” he says. “It’s another more pleasant side of chemistry in our family.” In 1982 Armand was invited to be a visiting scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. He would go back regularly two months every summer for the next six years. The company Polyplus was then created in California for batteries using the then novel concept of S—S reversible redox bond cleavage, i.e. a polymerization-depolymerisation of a high polymer (dimercaptothiadazole), predating by 20 years the interest in LiS batteries we see today. Independently, within the CNRS/ Hydro-Québec/Elf collaboration, 30 patents were filed between 1980 and 1986, including the introduction of new families of highly conductive, ultra-low lattice energy salts (perfluoroimides such as [FSO2)2N ] and [CF3SO2)2N], respectively FSI and TFSI) for liquid and polymer electrolytes. Salts of these anions are produced now on a large scale as solutes for liquid and polymer electrolytes, but are also the most used, by far, ingredient of ionic liquids. These new materials draw considerable attention as they have conductivities comparable to that of aqueous solutions, an extremely wide range of temperature (400°C), where they are stable liquids with no vapour pressure (non-flammability). They find use as green solvents in which a wealth of chemical reactions can be accomplished without resorting to volatile organic solvents; as supporting electrolyte for batteries, photo-electrochemical solar cells, light-emitting diodes and antistatics. “But the collaboration between the state agency and industrial companies failed because the CNRS had ceded the property of the patent to Elf-Aquitaine, who offered them to Japan’s Yuasa, in 1986. Hydro-Québec used its pre-emptive rights but was forced into a collaboration with Yuasa. In 1995, Michel Armand moved to the Université de Montréal’s Department of Chemistry to be closer to the development team at Hydro-Québec, and to its manufacturing arm cre-

In recent developments, Armand was involved in the co-discovery of metal fluorosulfates LiFeSO4F as possible improvements over phosphate positive electrodes.

BATTERY HEROES: MICHEL ARMAND ated for this purpose, Argotech. The first electric and hybrid cars powered by an all-solid state polymer battery (LMP — lithium metal polymer) were available for test-drives at the 17th EV International Symposium held in Montréal in 2000. From 2000 to 2004, Armand was appointed director of the new Joint CNRS-Université de Montréal International Laboratory on Electroactive Materials (LIME), which brought together scientists from both sides of the Atlantic to work faster towards the finish line of the LMP project. Earlier on, in Austin Texas, John Goodenough at the University of Texas had proposed a new electrode material, LiFePO4, which did not use rare cobalt, but the reported performances in terms of capacity and power were quite poor. Upon reception of the book of abstracts from the electrochemical society describing this material, Armand, who had been testing LiMnPO4 a few years before, realised the promises of such materials. “I literally took the first flight out to Texas to meet John Goodenough to offer him a collaboration within a Hydro-Québec-University of Texas- Université de Montréal triangle,” says Armand. “Curiously, Goodenough was reluctant as he thought that the very low electronic conductivity of this material would be a crippling handicap, and he had not even bothered to take a patent before the ECS abstract disclosure. “A few months later, I was able to show that superb electrochemical performances could be obtained when a thin (a few nm) layer of carbon was deposited on the surface of LiFePO4, and this carbon could be obtained by simply charring organic materials (including simple sugar) mixed with the LiFePO4 powder.” “However, tensions grew within the LIME Laboratory over the potential monetary value created by the value of LiFePO4@C carbon-coating patent,” says Armand. The company Phostech was created based on this. However, a long period of litigation was to ensue over the exclusivity of the patent due to issues of premature disclosure, and tens of millions of dollars of royalties were lost. The end result was that China has become by far the largest producer of LiFePO4 but without royalties. Armand came back to France and joined Jean-Marie Tarascon’s team in Amiens, where he worked until his of-

124 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

ficial retirement age, in 2011. He had time to make a significant contribution to usher the first electrodes materials from the organic world, in particular the polyquinones (Å electrode) and the conjugated dicarboxylates (y electrode). Research on these materials is now extremely active worldwide, simply considering the non-depletability of carbon-based materials and their easy processing. In recent developments Armand was involved in the co-discovery of metal fluorosulfates LiFeSO4F as possible improvements over phosphate positive electrodes. In terms of salts as solutes for the electrolyte, he introduced a new family of anions based on the 5-membered cycles with a stabilized negative charge according to Hückel’s rule. These very stable salts, developed with Warsaw University of Technology and the chemical company Arkema, are on the brink of being used commercially in batteries. Since retirement as Emeritus in Ami-

ens Armand has joined, part time, the CIC research centre in Vitoria, Spain as senior scientist. He has been visiting scientist at CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia and is a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Physics in Beijing, and at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan. From 2013 to 2014 he was Thinker in Residence at Deakin University, Melbourne and is now Honorary Professor at Deakin. The last word goes to Armand. “The progress made in the last 20 years in terms of new concepts and materials for energy management and storage surpasses that of the last two centuries since Volta’s invention of the pile,” he says. “These promises come at a time when humanity is in an ever-growing need for a sustainable environment. The progressive replacement of rare elements (Ni, Cd, Co) by abundant, innocuous Fe derivatives or organic molecules as electrode materials is a good omen for this technology.”


Michel Armand has written or coauthored 370 publications, including 304 in international journals, books and book chapters; 225 presentations at conferences, of which 185 were invited, 167 patents delivered or pending. He has been PhD advisor for 23 students. He has acted on the editorial board of several journals (SolidState Ionics, Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, Synthetic Metals, J. Power Sources, JNMES) and the conference advisory committees and organizations of 35 international conferences.

Acknowledgements for Armand’s distinctions read like a roll of honour: Bronze then silver medals from CNRS (1978, 1989); Royal Society, Faraday Division, Medal Award (1985); Médaille Blondel, Société des Electriciens et Electroniciens, – Paris (1987). Preis fur Umweltteknologie Saarland Länder (1988); Battery Division Award, The Electrochemical Society USA (1988); Prix Yvan Puech de l’Académie des Sciences (1989); Prix Bardy/Comité des Arts Chimiques, Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale (1989); Pergamon Medal, International Society for Electrochemistry (1995); Volta Award ECS European Section (2000); first recipient; Doctor Honoris Causa from Uppsala University (2006); Galileo Award for polymer electrolytes research (2010); Prix Aymé Poirson de l’Académie des Sciences (2012); Catalan-Sabatier Award from La Real Sociedad Española de Quimica –Madrid (2012); OREBA conference on Olivines for rechargeable batteries in honour of Michel Armand Montréal June 2528, (2014); IBA medal of excellence and Conference in honour of Michel Armand, – Nantes (2016).

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Speak to us! Energy Storage Journal is always eager to hear market comment. So much so, we’ve dedicated two areas of the magazine just for you to tell it as it is.

The first is our section called COMMENT — which rather says it all. Here give us your views about what our industry is doing well (or badly) or just needs to open a discussion, this is where to air your views.

The second is called CONFERENCE IN PRINT. Here we’re looking for scholarly articles looking at the nuts and bolts of what we do. We’re looking for technical papers that can explain advances in chemistry or technology.

Contact: Disclaimer: Our editorial board necessarily vets every article that we print and will impartially approve pieces that it believes will be interesting and supportive of the energy storage industry and related products. Articles submitted should not be marketing pieces.

d r o w t s a l e Th Storm clouds gather over Cowford…. as BCI arrives Spooky little known facts: Jacksonville, Florida home to the next BCI conference in May was not always named after the seventh US president. Rather it was called Cowford because of cattle and river links! Jacksonville was also where The

Creature from the Black Lagoon was filmed. And, it holds the largest kingfish fishing contest every year. “Yes — and the fact that it was the site in 1901 of the south-east US’s largest city fire means that we have all the ingredients to

match BCI’s distinguished delegates’ needs,” says one local. “We’re expecting several hundred good ol’ boys to be out on the golf courses during BCI week too. Mondays and Tuesdays have been booked solid since last year.”

Just kidding … “I’m calling them Pongo, Trixie and Jemima,” our new buddy from Water Gremlins told us pointing to three wild dogs on the beach at Goa. “Boy I wonder what my wife’ll say when I tell her about shipping these guys home to the US.” Our location? The new Batteries International office at the IBRX India conference — aka Marriott poolside — with refreshing cocktails to fight the early morning heat. We choked on our triple-strength Pina Colada pick-me-ups. “You mean you’re taking those strays back to the US? Why?” “Oh our family are great dog lovers — nothing’s too good for our pooches, though I don’t suppose our kids will like having to take rabies shots, those dogs do look like biters.” “How on earth are you going to get them through customs?” we asked. “10 grand will pay my friends,” he replied. Suddenly concerned, he looked at the astonished expression on our faces. “Jeez, you guys are dumb! I’m just fooling around.”

Digatron takes to the high seas Belly dancers, the cream of Russia’s police impersonators, unlimited drinks and canapés, music and a disco. All part of a glorious January afternoon as Digatron hired a river cruiser to entertain customers and sail away from the Goa IBRX conference out into the mysteries of the Arabian Sea. And then a magical moment as the sun sank beneath the horizon … time to cue the music, let the disco begin and Bollywood break out. Thank you Digatron! 126 • Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017

Never satisfied Overheard at Batteries International’s Goa office (Marriott poolside). “You can’t really call this a luxury resort. The palm trees are too high. If they were lower, they’d offer you more shade.”

The world according to Maccor Testing firm Maccor has always had a special part in many people’s affections. The team is fun, they do interesting things at their booths at exhibitions — mini-golf a favourite for one we know — and their latest 360 degree photos, including up and down, from the Mainz show that swivel as you look on line are something else. Shame they don’t work in print, but here is a sampler from talented techno-photographer Mike Sandoval.

Revelations from the hush, hush world of ABC Kuala Lumpur, arguably Asia’s most interesting capital, is poised to host the region’s most prestigious meetings this year — the Asia Battery Conference in September. But the organizers are keeping schtum about it. “We’ve got a host of very special surprises for this year,” says one of the organizers, Mark (the Australian one). “But sorry we can’t breathe a word about the details — the other Mark, that’s the one from Oz, would make my life a misery… “I can’t even tell you that it’s being held at the Kuala Lumpur Conference Center from September 19.” Hardly a notch in the pencil for investigative journalism but a useful scoop for anyone that can’t find their web page.

Something for the bookshelf If we were enthusiastic — and we were — about Isidor Buchmann’s third edition of Batteries in a Portable World, we’re doubly keen on the fourth edition which came out last summer. The sub-heading on the cover says it all … “A Handbook on Rechargeable Batteries for Non-Engineers”. And this fourth issue has been expanded considerably and updated to include some of the latest thinking about lithium battery technology. The charm of this book — which we at Batteries International recommend whole-heartedly — is that it provides a comprehensive overview of the inner workings of a battery and is written in a particularly clear fashion. One of the oddities of the battery industry is the surprising levels of ignorance between competing parts of the industry. Basic terms such as, say COS (cast on strap) are understood by everyone in the lead manufacturing process. But talk of a spinel structure in a lithium battery

will cause huge head scratchings from the same lead expert. This is a book written for the professional needing a basic understanding of how a battery behaves, a student completing an essay and a user wanting to get the most out of a battery. It works for them all.

Something for the bookshelf — part 2 If we’re looking for books to review a good place to continue this would be the latest œuvre from our own batteries historian Kevin Desmond. It’s called Innovators in Battery Technology and profiles the lives and achievements of 95 influential electrochemists. For the last decade Kevin has been writing our battery heroes section — profiles of the great and the good, the dead and the living that have made an impact on the battery world. Kevin, a polymath who’s written over

25 books on every kind of subject, has gathered some of his published magazine articles and then mixed them with his own research. Although this magazine has to declare its involvement in the book — but it isn’t commercial — the editor wrote the foreword, the book has received external strong reviews. “A nice contribution to a global field growing in importance, giving it a highly recommended rating,” wrote Michigan Technological University’s Reynolds. “Academic and specialist libraries with patrons working in this area should seriously consider adding this volume to their collections,” wrote Marc Schumacher for the American Reference Books Annual. Boris Monahov, research head for the ALABC said: “this is well written, useful and fun to read”. Batteries International • Winter 2016/2017 • 127

Meeting Your Challenges Lead in Air Reduction  Improvement  Initiative  Innovation

Pasting ► Dividing ► Flash Drying ► Stacking ► Curing ► C.O.S. ► Assembly

MAC Engineering and Equipment Company, Inc. 2775 Meadowbrook Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 U.S.A. Latin America (Sorfin Yoshimura, Ltd.)

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(Sorfin Yoshimura Tokyo, Ltd.)

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(Sorfin Yoshimura, Ltd.)

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Batteries International, Issue 102. Winter 2016/2017  

Welcome to the latest issue of Batteries International! Our cover story this issue — called The Road to 2020 — interviewed a large spectrum...

Batteries International, Issue 102. Winter 2016/2017  

Welcome to the latest issue of Batteries International! Our cover story this issue — called The Road to 2020 — interviewed a large spectrum...