Ultracapacitors And their puzzling transition to the heart of energy storage Michael Mayer: mastermind behind ELBC meetings dies
Alpha Beta Cooper: LC Hybrid mentor joins secret society
Mark Stevenson appointed as director of Aqua Metals
Northstar: connectivity as the Bluetooth battery arrives
LTA A ,M C ELB Venture capital investors take Recycling lithium batteries: the 5 1 W: scrutiny of post-lithium world challenges that lie ahead E I EV R E Bringing the industry together NC E FER www.batteriesinternational.com N O LC L $50/e40 FU
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CONTENTS COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS
FROM UNLIKELY COMPETITOR TO COMRADE IN ARMS The extravagant battle between lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries could eventually become old hat. Who needs chemistry at all when electrostatic ultracapacitors can be used instead? Supercaps are emerging as a viable alternative to batteries — but also a collaborative technology.
Energy storage and a plethora of business models
Wilson wins International Lead Award at 15ELBC meetings in recognition of service to the industry • Stevenson appointed director at Aqua Metals
OBITUARY: MICHAEL MAYER
The legendary instigator of the ELBC meetings — and more besides — died this November. A life history and tribute from friends and colleagues
Mayer: master of his fate…
NorthStar unveils Bluetooth remote wireless battery monitoring system
NAATBatt executive director responds to Trump election with equanimity • EU refuses to confirm reprieve for JCI on cartel malpractice to keep used lead prices low •China grants legal status to low-speed lead powered cars • RedT deploys 17 vanadium flow energy storage machines • Southwest Airlines converts baggage tractors to thin plate pure lead batteries • Used lead battery industry is named ‘world’s worst polluter’ in joint environmental report • Aqua Metals stock offering closes well, firm outlines ‘master licensing’ plans • GE, California Edison to install first ever gas and battery storage system • Oxis hits 400Wh/kg energy density milestone for Li-S • Ecoult installs UltraBattery in first European location at Tallaght smart grid test bed in Dublin • Residential storage+solar challenge thrown down by lead carbon firm Axion • UK National Grid names winning suppliers for enhanced frequency response support • Leclanché partners SGEM moves into US energy storage with work for PJM • Convergent project financing with CJF Capital sets milestone in funding storage • Alevo taps C&I market with GridBank system Primus opts for lead batteries for renewables •Aachen researchers investigate five chemistries in M5BAT ESS
Wilson: wins lifetime award for industry services 12
Ten months on from the formation of a Strategic Alliance of lead producers and lead battery associations, the senior executives from each of them describe the progress made so far thanks to this historic partnership and future goals.
ABR’s Rob Steinwurtzel: seeking global approachs
Recyclability of lithium batteries is a pressing issue writes NAATBatt’s Greenberger
DEVELOPMENTS IN LEAD: ARC ACTIVE ArcActive, a New Zealand start-up, has developed a technology that could give lead acid batteries the edge in dynamic charge acceptance.
40 Holy grail of DCA from Arc
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 1
CONTENTS VENTURE CAPITAL
Farewell to lithium as investors look for next iteration of the innovative
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Lithium is such old hat!
• Laser and resistance welding for tab-to-terminal automation • PMESS the shape of ESS to come • Benefits of a hybrid storage system with flywheels
70 76 81
First mover advantage, and the race to deploy 1GW of energy storage
INTERVIEW: INSIDE ABB The joys of welding
Leonardo Botti, head of global marketing, product group solar at ABB, talks about the company’s plans for its residential product line.
15ELBC: THE MEETING OF THE GREAT AND THE GOOD
This year’s ELBC meetings in Valletta, the Maltese capital, proved a blow-out with a strong technical programme, a great destination and a host of networking opportunities.
EVENTS AND EVENTS REVIEW 15ELBC: Still waters ... The last word
A listing of the conferences and meetings that could be important for the industry and reviews.
BATTERY HEROES: NORMAN BAGSHAW
Over half a century ago, Bagshaw contributed a great deal to the development of leadacid battery alloys becoming the world expert on batteries in ships and submarines.
THE LAST WORD
ILA double-dealing continues — surprise rejection of Vancouver for Vienna • Barnes picks Austria as winning capital for next ELBC meetings • Alpha Beta Cooper chosen for mystery society • Birthday surprise it’s as simple as 16ABC • Book review: Lead-Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles
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2 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
EDITORIAL Mike Halls • firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy storage and a plethora of business models Fear and greed. As a trainee financial journalist many years ago, these were vital elements to have at the front of any investment story. Fear, because you wanted the reader to be aware that if they didn’t read your story, there was a good chance that they would miss out on an excellent investment opportunity. And greed? Just think of the money you’ll make from this investment. Why, you’ll be rich! Read on. This may be a sad statement about the nature of humanity — and in another way the nature of huge chunks of financial journalism — but it very much characterizes the mood of the present climate for energy storage projects. There’s more than a whiff of greed in the air. There’s the impression that a desperate race to the finish could just be about to start. In the days of the internet boom, there was much the same halffanatic enthusiasm. Some of it had reason behind it. Early valuations of Google, for example, or Amazon, were extraordinarily high — but now seem ridiculously low. Others, of course, were palpable duds, but who knew it at the time? The talk of that long distant hype has slipped into history. But some of the language of the period — remember the first mover advantage for crossing the chasm? — is still with us. In two of our features this issue we look at what first mover advantage can give. Or not give. In our cover story about ultracapacitors we point out that though supercaps have been around for some time market dominance, in the end, will not come from having been the www.batteriesinternational.com
first into the market but on a host of other factors including such vagaries as government policy, competing technologies and the sometimes whimsical moods of automotive manufacturers.
These are fascinating times in that there is an extraordinary rapidity in the way everything is developing — and there is such a huge diversity of reasons or processes.
But there are other times too. In our profile of AES Energy Storage, we look at that firstmover advantage from a different viewpoint. Part of the cleverness of their two early protagonists John Zahurancik and Chris Shelton was their ability to see a trend in energy storage in 2006 that wasn’t immediately obvious.
In California, for example, the impetus into renewables is now acknowledged as useless without the addition of energy storage. The answer? Create state-wide regulations (with often crazy deadlines) that force energy storage into existence.
While most of the energy storage world was getting excited about electric and hybrid vehicles, and the solar world was about to go ballistic, there were only a few outliers looking at what new batteries — at the ridiculously extravagant size of 1MW and lithium ion and expensive to boot — could ever do for the world in a major way. Part of the confusion over the role of energy storage in a larger universe of how it can be used, has been the multiplicity and diversity of its potential business models. Many of which are not proven but going ahead anyway. And also the rapidity in how business models adapt. PV and residential/commercial/industrial started on the basis of paying for installation through feed-in tariffs. As the price of PV fell and feedin-tariffs started to be cut, people started to look at energy selfsufficiency at lower cost than utility suppliers. At the same time others saw potential profitability through offsetting peak demand charges. And now we’re even looking at residential storage feeding into grid balancing services.
In Germany, another model is at work, with a commitment to abandoning nuclear power by 2022 while at the same time trying to create an energy supply that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It is proving hard to get going without the benefit of government sponsoring it. (And each time the government tries to rein in its spending, the market slumps.) Or look again at Ireland, which has set itself aggressive renewables targets and sees storage as the key to its delivery. So far, an interesting variety of experimental projects but little by way of concrete planning is emerging, Yet further afield, huge projects in India for remote telecoms, in particular, promise great potential to firms seeking to be technology suppliers. But so far in concrete terms, there seems much talk with little action. For those of us in the business of reporting about the industry, these are exciting times indeed. And though AES has shown that it will be a major player in the years ahead, what new businesses will yet emerge? And who will be the new energy storage giants of the future Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 3
Safety Should Never Be An Afterthought All Maccor channels are designed with safety hardware to disconnect the device under test (DUT) in the event of a battery failure. With Maccor there is no need for a redundant safety monitoring system which adds cost to the system and takes up additional lab space. You simply program the safety limits in the test procedure and then if any of these limits or the separate channel safeties are exceeded there is an isolation relay integrated into each channel that opens to place the DUT into a safe open circuit voltage condition. The programmable Maccor safeties are not just limited to current, voltage, power, and temperature but also include user defined mathematical functions. In addition there are watchdog timers integrated into the Maccor systems to place the DUT in a safe open circuit condition in the event of a communication failure (i.e. the control PC locking up). With MacNotify you can configure the system to send an email if a channel is suspended for any reason. You can also program an email to be sent at a specific point in the test procedure.
Coulombic Efficiency Testing Coulombic efficiency measurements are increasingly being used to measure the effects of material changes on battery performance. It is believed that these measurements can indicate changes in performance more quickly as opposed to a complete cycle life test which in many cases is not feasible due to time constraints. Coulombic Efficiency is defined as , where Q is Capacity. The only variables needed to calculate capacity are current and time. The more accurate these measurements are, the more accurate capacity will be and thus the more accurate coulombic efficiency values will be. This also requires accurate control of cell temperature. Maccor offers industry leading measurement and control capability.
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OBITUARY: MICHAEL MAYER, 1934-2016 Michael Mayer spent a lifetime in and around the lead battery business. His belief that the industry should behave as an intelligent, supportive community lives with us today through the legacy of his creation: the European Lead Battery Conference.
ELBC founder and battery industry veteran passes on
“You couldn’t have met a more genuine or amiable person to be with — whether you were talking about science, steam trains, mobility scooters or just life” 6 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
Michael Mayer — known to almost three generations of lead battery veterans — died suddenly in the early morning of Tuesday November 1. He was 82. He had worked for the lead acid battery industry for most of his life spending much of his early career with Johnson Controls working in the US and abroad, and later with the Lead Development Association. Michael is best remembered as the inspiration behind the creation of the European Lead Battery Conference (ELBC) in 1988. What was reckoned as a slightly improbable venture for the Lead Development Association — he joined in 1979 — turned out to become one of the most successful and useful lead battery conferences in the world. Michael was born at Herne Bay in Kent on July 5, 1934, to Stella and Cornelius Mayer. The two were an unusual combination. His mother Stella was a mix of Scottish and English while Cornelius, an American national, had an unusual ancestry, including Japanese and had spent years of his life abroad. They were later blamed as the source of the travel gene in the family! Michael’s childhood was spent between Kent and the north-east US where his father worked for Globe Union (later to become Johnson Controls). He went to school at King’s College Canterbury in the UK and then took a degree in Mathematics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania — a highly unusual step for a young man in the early 1950s. He graduated in 1955 and for a little while afterwards also taught at the college. It was in the US where he developed his lifelong interest in sailing — as an undergraduate he sailed down to Grand Cayman and Jamaica — together with a passion for flying. Al-
OBITUARY: MICHAEL MAYER, 1934-2016
though many in the industry will remember his love of sailing and steam engines, few knew he held a qualified pilot’s licence and for many years was an inveterate flyer. One of his earliest jobs was working at Alcan in Canada. It was there, in Montreal, in 1959 that he met his wife, Cameilia — but always best known as Kim. They were to be together until her death in 2014. “He first attracted her attention by tying a pencil to some string, hovering in front of her desk saying he needed to take it for a walk, and inviting her to join him,” recalls one of his children. They returned to the UK, where he worked for Urwick Orr, a management consultancy firm. They were married shortly afterwards. Children followed promptly. Kirk was born in 1962 and then his daughters, Sian in 1964 and Juno two years after that. The names are unusual as Michael and Kim decided that their children would have four letter names that could not be abbreviated. Their plan was thwarted — as soon as Sian went to school she was called Si. After a short spell in Petersfield, south of London, Michael and Kim settled at Beldam Bridge Lodge in Chobham in the UK county of Surrey. It was a friendly, cosy and welcoming home that remains in the family to this day. “There was always at least
“He was energetic, sociable, charismatic. A family man, a good friend and one who enthused others with his own energy” one dog in the house, and usually a variety of other animals including cats, ponies and horses,” says one of his children. “Throughout it all, the resident dog (or dogs) ruled the house.” Michael was a passionate family man and held an unwavering interest and dedication to everything to do with his children. Later on his love of sailing and his family came together with the ownership of three successive yachts, he named them Kiano 1, 2, 3 — the boat names being a jumble of his children’s names. His children all remember happy summer holidays sailing as often as he and they could. In 1971 Michael helped his father who was the head of Globe Union’s satellite office in the UK — which served the company’s business in Europe. This was a tiny operation by today’s standards but then a reflection of the commercial and professional isolation that characterized the lead acid battery business. Michael had responsibility for battery technology and equipment sales. When Globe Union Overseas was absorbed by Johnson Controls in
1978, he became marketing manager for Europe and Asia. During this time with Globe Union and Johnson he lived in Milwaukee. But it was at Globe Union that Michael also first started to travel extensively in eastern and central Europe. “It was the beginning of his much larger mission — and one that he probably wouldn’t have acknowledged as a mission — to bring the battery community together,” says a friend. The turning point for his professional life — and effectively that of the battery industry he supported — was his decision to return to the UK and take up a full-time job with the Lead Development Association (now renamed as the International Lead Association, ILA). His job was to head up the lead battery side of the association’s initiatives and activities. “He was an ideas man through and through,” says David Wilson, the former head of the ILA. “And some of his ideas proved to be gems. It’s people with ideas that drive things forward. A good example of this was the way he created the ELBC and spent time in ensuring that the subjects that needed
From left: Michael on his fourth birthday: little did he know how a life of disassembling and re-assembling (sometimes) machinery beckoned. Schooldays in Canterbury. Early shot of Michael sailing — his first boat in the UK
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 7
OBITUARY: MICHAEL MAYER, 1934-2016 to be addressed by the industry were on the programme.” One of Michael’s earlier initiatives to publicise the LDA was the creation of a seminar programme identifying key issues that affected the then huge lead battery business that existed in the UK. The history of the ELBC is a curious one. It was as much Michael’s initiative to develop these seminar
programmes and put them on an international stage as realising the potential already being tapped by the Asian Battery Conference which held its first meetings in 1985. It was the right idea at the right time. The late 1980s were difficult ones for the battery industry to feel happy about discussing their proprietary methods.
Michael and Kim, Kirk, Juno and Sian, probably Christmas 1968
Michael on one of the Kianos
“He first attracted Kim’s attention by tying a pencil to some string, hovering in front of her desk saying he needed to take it for a walk, and inviting her to join him” 8 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
Ken Peters, VRLA pioneer and then a senior figure in Chloride, recalls: “until 30 to 40 years ago most lead acid battery makers — and there were many in business around that period — used their own in-house technology for processing procedures. Everything from paste mix, to density to formation conditions, they developed or set their own specifications for components such as alloys, additives or separators. “The result was considerable secrecy about the various technologies. It was all rather silly because there was considerable commonality for the major products, mostly due to the interchange of technicians and engineers between companies, but there were few battery conferences or seminars at that time.” Peters says this is where Michael first made his mark given that, at that time, companies weren’t even keen to let employees attend industry meetings. But the need was there. With Peters’ assistance — and friendship; the dedicated administrative enthusiasm of the LDA’s newly joined Maura McDermott; and Michael the three used to meet up off the motorway at Stratford-upon-Avon. It was half way between Chloride’s headquarters for Peters in Manchester and those of the LDA in Berkeley Square in London. Given the success of the seminars — and the industry need — Michael’s next step was to formulate the idea of a conference that would reach across Europe in a similar fashion. Michael, working with David Rand, a foremost battery electrochemist and eventually to become a lifelong friend, drew up a programme with Peters that looked at the nitty-gritty of what the industry needed. The result was the first ELBC meetings in Paris in 1988. They proved to be an immediate success. “By introducing sessions and debates which dealt specifically with manufacturing aspects of lead acid batteries (such as tools, machinery, equipment and the like) the range of interest was extended beyond those offered by the traditional technical meeting and it satisfied the demand for information in these areas,” said a colleague after the event. Another contemporary said: “Michael deserves all the credit for bringing the whole industry together in ways that had never happened before. His enthusiastic diplomacy won us all over and by the time of the third or
OBITUARY: MICHAEL MAYER, 1934-2016 fourth ELBC the meetings had been set in stone as must-attend events.” At the last ELBC meeting in Malta this September the conference attracted close to 800 delegates and around 100 exhibitors. ELBC was only part of Michael’s remit. While working at the LDA/ILA he played a key role in breaking ground for newcomers to join the international lead community. He travelled extensively. His contribution was particularly noticeable in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of eastern and central Europe. “It started in the 1970s when the Cold War was still raging,” said a colleague. “It was difficult for those on the other side of the Iron Curtain, as it was called at the time, to come across to the West and talk about their business and it was largely credit to Michael that so many of the industry found introductions here. “And of course the ELBC meetings, coming as they did with the opening up of Russia and eastern Europe, had a huge influence in bringing the industry together.” Although Michael tried to retire around his 70th birthday, he remained active until the end in his involvement with ELBC. This year’s meeting in Malta were the first he missed. Michael received the International Lead Association award at the Edinburgh 2014 ELBC meeting for a lifetime’s services to the industry. Speaking to Batteries International that summer, he said: “I’ve been profoundly grateful to this industry for all that it has given me — it’s been more than a way of earning money, it’s been about forging long and deep friendships with people from around the world.” “It’s been also about trying to get the best out of batteries and the best they can do for all of us ... but mostly it’s the friendships.” “Michael got on with everybody,” says David Wilson, “ he was personable and the life and soul of the party. It may sound like hyperbole but he probably knew more people in the lead acid battery business than anybody else in the world.” Michael is also fondly remembered as the co-founder of The Electric Boat Association. A seminar on electric boats that he gave for the LDA in 1981 turned into the association the following year. (For the next seven years the boat association had its headquarters in the LDA offices in central London.) The EBA continues to flourish. Ironi-
cally Michael never owned an electric boat and was passionate about sailing. The fact that he reached the age of 82 is all the more remarkable in that he had two heart attacks with the first almost 30 years ago. And exceptionally so that on each occasion providence seemed to will him to live. The first seizure occurred while cycling from the LDA to Hammersmith. Feeling unwell he had got off his bike and went into a pub to recover. The barman— who had had a heart attack three months previously — recognised what was going on and called an ambulance. The second — perhaps more miraculously — was when he collapsed when driving on London’s M25 ring road to Heathrow Airport with his daughter Juno. He passed out and crashed into the car in front. His good luck? Inside the car were two doctors, one of whom was a cardiac specialist. They attended to him until the ambulance came. Michael, the man, was a complex and highly likeable individual. “He was energetic, sociable, charismatic,” says Laurie Gardiner, chairman of TBS who knew him from the 1980s. “A family man, a good friend and one who enthused others with his own energy.” Similar tributes have come from all over the world. “You couldn’t have met a more genuine or amiable person to be with — whether you were talking about science, steam trains, mobility scooters or just life,” says David Rand, the former head of battery research at CSIRO. Michael the man was also a man of many whims as his threw his energies into a diversity of interests. His three garages, caravan, stable and greenhouse at his home in Chobham were stuffed full of everything from lawn mowers he had planned to fix from steam engines he had been meaning to repair. His family reckoned at one point he had around a dozen mobility scooters in various states of disrepair — or repair if you took Michael’s view on things — around the house and outbuildings that he’d bought for parts or to fix. But he was also good at it. His three children all remember him fixing a snowmobile one winter in Milwaukee. His son’s friends even nick-named him ‘Mad Mike Mayer’ at his willingness to take on any repair task. In his last years and with increasing immobility he spent a great deal of time — like the great Batteryman
“The ELBC meetings, coming as they did with the opening up of Russia and eastern Europe, had a huge influence in bringing the industry together” he was — looking at a multitude of ways that would extend the range of his electric buggie. “His buggies reached as far as Sainsbury’s and back but he wanted to get it as far as Waitrose, which he thought was a far better supermarket,” says one of his daughters. “It’d also put him in reach of a train station and that would fill his head with ideas of escape!” Just weeks before his death Michael, advised by his doctors not to travel, was working on ever-more elaborate plans to see Norway’s fjords that they might approve of. Up to the end travel was for him both an escape and an adventure. Michael Mayer was a one-off. A man of intelligence, ability and charm and also a figure that helped shape communications in the modern battery landscape. He will be sorely missed. n Michael George Graham Mayer July 5, 1934 – November 1, 2016
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 9
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PEOPLE NEWS David Wilson’s lifetime work for the International Lead Association and the industry was recognized at the opening event of the 15ELBC in Malta. Michael Halls reports.
Wilson wins International Lead Award at 15ELBC meetings in recognition of service to the industry The International Lead Award was presented to David Wilson, long-time head of the International Lead Association, on the opening morning of the 15th European Lead Battery Conference on Septermber 14 . It was a highly popular choice — Wilson has been a well known fixture in the lead industry for over a generation. This will be his last conference before his retirement. In his acceptance speech Wilson said: “40 years in the industry may sound a long time, but it hasn’t felt it! I joined LDA (as it was then called) in London in the hot UK summer of 1976 with no particular expectations — and with virtually no knowledge of lead. “I certainly didn’t expect to stay for a working lifetime, but when a job is interesting and enjoyable, and when you make many good friends both in the office and in countries around the world, the years do tend to slip away and before you know it, the time has come to retire.” Wilson, speaking to Batteries International after the event, said that for almost the whole of his career the lead industry had been under threat. “It’s come from a variety of directions but there has always seemed to be something hanging over the business. “When I joined the industry, total lead use amounted to about 3.5 million tonnes a year. There were quite a number of important uses — batteries were of course one, but there were also lead sheaths for power cables, solders for electrical connections and food cans, lead pipes and lead roofing for use in buildings, lead weights, and of course lead additives for gasoline. At the time some 43% of the lead (about 1.5 million tonnes) was used in batteries, and everyone said that the battery market might have another 10 years to run at best — and they had already been saying that for many years before I became involved. “In practice it was most of those other uses that gradually declined,
12 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
David Wilson: Stepping down after 40 years
some because of alternative products becoming available, some because of legislative restrictions, and it is the lead battery that has survived and become more and more important so that in 2015 batteries accounted for almost 90% of lead use — a staggering 10 million tonnes. And still growing! “Yes, there are threats to this market from competing battery chemistries, but I have a feeling — and certainly a hope — that, just like the predictions I heard 40 years ago, the warnings that the end of the lead battery is approaching may well be premature.” Part of Wilson’s achievements over the years has been spent in seemingly endless and complex negotiations over the regulation of lead. “The subject of legislation is one which dominated my work for many years — indeed it continues to be a preoccupation today for the current ILA team. Over the years, a quite disproportionate amount of time has had
to be spent in resisting the attempts by NGOs, governments and intergovernmental organizations which wanted to ban particular uses of lead, or even all uses of lead. It has been quite surprising — and amazingly frustrating — to work over long periods with these bodies and (at least sometimes) arrive at practical solutions to the management of lead products, only to see a near-identical proposal pop up shortly afterwards under the aegis of another similar body! “I have often wondered whether this was in practice a coordinated effort to eliminate lead completely from the range of materials available to industry — but if it was, it has certainly not succeeded as the strength of the battery industry clearly shows. “Moreover, the regulatory challenges are often misguided or come from bodies that don’t understand the industry and our huge contributions — voluntary contributions in many ways, just
PEOPLE NEWS think about the way we’ve been ahead of everyone in tackling subjects like lead levels in blood — to worker safety and the environment. I could accept free and fair competition between other chemistries but the playing field we’re on isn’t fair.” Wilson said that in a sense it was a relief not to be spending additional years on the struggle. “For many people job satisfaction occurs when a goal is achieved but the endless negotiations are wearing as, as soon as one regulatory initiative has been moderated or blocked, another one appears. There’s no clear end to give you the satisfaction of a job accomplished. “I’ve always loved, for example, the closing night of a conference when everything has been done and you can step back and have a momentary break. The task is over.” Delegate reaction to his appointment was enthusiastic — Wilson has been a popular figure in the industry since the early days of the ELBC and many were sad to hear that he was stepping down from the industry. “He’s probably deserved that medal several times over,” one delegate told Batteries International. “With some people their achievements are immediately obvious, but with David it’s been his persistence — I can’t imagine the number of endless meetings he must have attended — and willingness to go the extra mile that has helped the lead industry to thrive through some very difficult times. “He’s going to be solely missed.” Wilson, now 65 says it’s a perfect time to retire. I tried to retire five years ago,” he says. “When I stepped down as head of the ILA. But I was almost immediately needed for other work. But don’t worry I’m not planning a come-back, though of course I don’t expect my lifetime associations with my friends in the industry to cease with my retirement.” Wilson says that over the last couple of years he had gradually been working shorter weeks in anticipation of his departure. And his plans for the future? “Well five years ago I was half serious in cultivating roses but there are still plenty of things to do.” He and his wife Olwen — they met at Nottingham University when he was studying for his doctorate — have just bought a house outside of Guildford and he anticipates the next few months after the conference will be spent in finishing the move.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAVID WILSON’S CAREER LDA became alarmingly dependent on funding by UK lead producers, despite representing the whole European industry in Brussels. Wilson oversaw a change of name to Lead Development Association International — LDAI —and an expansion of membership to include almost all European lead producers. Around this time LDAI, along with the industry’s research body — the International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO), also took on the role of coordinating and representing the global lead industry in dealings with several intergovernmental organizations which were attempting to introduce widespread restrictions on the use of lead. These included the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which was pursuing a “sunset chemicals” programme and thought the world could cope without any lead use, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) (which included the US and Canada despite its name) which wanted to ban certain chemicals including lead, and the United Nations Environment Program, which wanted to phase out all uses of lead, cadmium and mercury. By 2000, the number of initiatives to restrict the use of lead in Europe had become so great and so timeconsuming for the Association, that a solution was needed that would address all the issues simultaneously. As a result it was decided to launch a Voluntary Risk Assessment of Lead, which could stand as a single reference point for all such initiatives. Funded by both producers and users of lead, the Risk Assessment took a number of years to complete but served its purpose well and was a significant factor in reducing the pressures on lead. It also formed the basis for later legal requirements under the EU REACH Directive.
In 2004, the lead industry faced the loss of its research body, ILZRO, due to reorganization of the zinc industry, and LDAI was asked to take over responsibility for management of ILZRO’s lead activities. Wilson thus found himself with two organisations to manage from two offices in two countries, the UK and the USA. ILZRO and its battery organisation, the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, thus came under LDAI’s management. With LDAI’s role and activities becoming increasingly global, and the association coming into closer contact with lead producers in all parts of the world, it seemed appropriate to reflect this in the name, remit and membership of the organisation. In 2008, Wilson oversaw the transition of LDAI into the International Lead Association, with a greatly expanded membership and a new structure for managing its wide range of activities. n 1972 — BSc in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK. n 1975 — PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Nottingham. n 1975-1976 — Spent a year as an editor of the Faraday Transactions of the Royal Society of Chemistry. n August 1976 — joined the Lead Development Association in London to work on technical, analytical and environmental aspects of lead. n 1979-1987 — worked on parallel issues concerning cadmium for the Cadmium Association. n 1987 — appointed Marketing Director of the Lead Development Association. n 1990 — becomes director of the LDA. n 1996 and beyond — During the 1990s the LDA became alarmingly dependent on funding
NOT SO WELL KNOWN… Not so well known — and Wilson is characteristically modest about this — apart from the International Lead Award he has received one other award during his working life with lead. In 2004 when, under the UK Honours system, he was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty the Queen for services to the lead industry.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 13
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Mark Stevenson joins Aqua Metals as recycling start up expands further Mark Stevenson, one of Asia’s best known figures in the lead industry, is to join Aqua Metals, a US recycling startup with a unique process of recovering lead from discarded batteries without the use of smelting. Stevenson joins as an independent non-executive director. His appointment will be formally ratified at the annual shareholders’ meeting of Aqua Metals on December 21. Stevenson has spent nearly 38 years working on mostly the technical side of the lead industry. His appointment is a coup for Aqua Metals given his technical background — he is widely regarded as having an encyclopaedic knowledge of all aspects of secondary lead production — and his extensive contacts built from a lifetime in the industry. “Mark has a wealth of experience in the lead business. Also his knowledge of the Asian and Australasian markets is second to none,” Stephen Clarke, chairman and CEO of Aqua Metals, told Batteries International. “He will be a key figure in developing our product strategy for the region.” Aqua Metals’ business plan is based on two strategies — building and running its own AquaRefineries (where scrap lead batteries are turned into virtually pure lead ingots without smelting) and a licensing and franchise model. The first AquaRefinery at the Tahoe-
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Reno Industrial Center, Nevada formally opened for business at the end of October. Clarke says a second site has been visited with a view to another facility being built shortly. Additional sites have also been identified as potential AquaRefinery locations. “Our immediate goal is to be able to produce 800 tonnes a day of pure lead in North America,” says Clarke. Stevenson said he was excited by his new responsibilities. “This firm is going to revolutionize the secondary lead business and fundamentally change the world of recycling too. I’m pleased to be part of something that is going to change the planet for the better,” he said. Joining Simsmetal in 1980, working at the lead smelting unit and studying
Material Sciences part-time, Stevenson transferred across to Pasminco, which operated zinc and lead mines, refineries and the world’s biggest lead smelter. In 1995 he moved to the head office in Melbourne, where his technical skills were focused on the marketing and technical support of lead products. Stevenson stayed with the Pasminco/ Zinifex/Nyrstar mergers until 2010, when he joined Eco-Bat Technologies as technical manager for the Asia region. Eco-Bat is the largest producer of lead in the world. He left Eco-Bat in April to fulfil a long-held ambition of providing a speciality secondary lead consultancy — he named it Global Lead Technologies — that could provide independent expert advice to the Asian region. Stevenson is particularly well known as the key figure — he is both chairman and prime organizer — of the Asia Battery Conference, which is held every other year across Asia. The meetings are widely regarded as the most important for the lead acid battery industry for the region. Eleven years ago he set up the International Secondary Lead Conference, which has become a key meeting place for the lead recycling industry. Stevenson replaces Stan Kimmel, Aqua Metal’s founding independent board director, who died earlier this year.
NorthStar unveils Bluetooth, remote wireless battery monitoring system NorthStar, the US-Swedish lead-acid battery maker, released on October 25 a remote battery monitoring system called ACE which uses wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The company says the system will, overall, increase the average battery life of its products by 30%. “The ACE system extends battery life because problems can be identified immediately and the installer can tell by looking at, for example their iPad or iPhone, exactly where the battery is,” says CEO Hans Liden. “The Bluetooth connection is totally integrated into the battery so when the installer sets it up, they can choose the setting for the temperature, voltage and so on that’s appropriate for it.” The firm says: “About 15 million to 20 million batteries are bought each year for telecom site backup power. More than half of these are replaced prematurely due to insufficient control throughout the product life cycle. “Batteries are not properly managed and maintained in warehouses, installations are incorrectly performed and in operation the batteries are exposed to suboptimal power system settings, elevated temperatures and theft, resulting in shortened battery life.” It also says that some 75% of early battery failures occur in the charging process — both undercharging and overcharging are damaging — and a prime cause of this is not ensuring that the rectifier settings match those of NorthStar’s battery. This can be spotted immediately via ACE. The Bluetooth connection — which typically has a range of around 10 metres
— is then linked into an internet connection allowing remote monitoring to be conducted anywhere nowadays, know as the Concept of the Internet of Things. The monitoring system, which will first be rolled out for stationary power applications such as telecoms base stations, may eventually be extended for automotive batteries. There would be limited application for individual vehicles but remote monitoring of electric bus or truck fleets would be one potential area of application. In September the firm signed a $500 million deal with Daimler to supply the German company’s Freightliner Cascadia trucks with high-performance pure lead AGM batteries There are other aspects to ACE that offer auxiliary benefits. The first would be quality control of batteries over their entire manufacturing life. “Our ACE system is live from the moment each battery is ‘born’,” says Liden. “So any discrepancies, such as temperature abnormalities or state of charge, can be picked up even before the battery leaves the warehouse.” This also means that when they come to the end of their working life they can be identified in their recycling stream. This is an issue that will be coming to a head given the dangers expected when similarly looking lithium and lead acid batteries are mixed in the recycling process — and with explosive consequences. Frank Fleming, chief technology officer and a co-founder of NorthStar, speaking to Batteries International at the Intelec conference in Austin, Texas
David LeClaire, vice president of sales for the Americas, showing how the connectivity between the batteries and his iPhone works.
— where the batteries were first displayed — said there were industry-wide implications following the introduction of ACE. “Battery theft at remote and unmanned installations in both the developed and developing world is an increasing problem,” Fleming says. “At one level identification of when batteries are stolen and where they might reappear in recycling has security implications that ACE can help. But there is a growing tendency for remote base stations — aware that their batteries might be stolen well before the end of their useful life to use cheaper, lower quality batteries from, say China or India. Or even worse move to lithium batteries which have no recycling value. “Either way they damage the business of quality lead acid battery manufacturing.” Liden says the cost of ACE — it has been under
development for two years and will come on to the market in the first quarter of 2017 — would be less than a traditional monitoring system. “At the same time it is without the limitations of traditional systems, such as remote monitoring and upgrading difficulties, little or no interaction with power systems and little or no ability to support batteries during operation. “We have worked closely with some of the larger OEMs and they are very excited about the products — it’s not been a hard sell,” he says. “People can see the extra value this will give them.” Liden did not wish to identify the OEMs. NorthStar specializes in producing thin plate pure lead batteries. These have a better life and performance than traditional batteries. The firm was formed in 2000.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 17
NAATBatt executive director responds to Trump election with equanimity Shock waves throughout the environment industries over Donald Trump’s election win to become US president have been met with a calm and positive response by NAATBatt’s executive director Jim Greenberger. Bloomberg called the election “a bad day for clean energy investors”, while Rhone Resch, former CEO of the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association, was quoted as calling it “a disaster” and the shares of renewable energy companies around the world slumped in the immediate aftermath. Trump has pledged to ramp up production of oil, coal and natural gas, claiming climate change was a “Chinese hoax”, and to repeal Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. In response, Jim Greenberger said it was still too early to discern what the energy policy of the Trump administration would be, with Trump “notoriously unpredictable”. “There are reasons to believe that it might not be dramatically bad,” he said.
Greenberger cited the Federal Purchase Incentive, a $7,500 tax credit for each new plug-in electric vehicle. “However, the credit phases out by its own terms once a manufacturer reaches 200,000 in unit sales,” he said.
“There are reasons to believe that it might not be dramatically bad” – Jim Greenberger “As of September 2016, 105,076 Chevy Volts, 98,829 Nissan Leafs and 84,017 Tesla Model S’s had been sold. It is quite possible that by the time the new Congress gets around to revising the tax code, the tax credit for qualified plug-in electric vehicles will have already phased out for many manufacturers.” Greenberger said fears Trump would repeal CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations, enacted to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks, “may already be too hard baked into the
planning of major automotive OEMs and into the minds of consumers to make their repeal an easy task”. “The majority of the American public believes that climate change is a concern and that greater fuel economy in automobiles is an effective way to address it,” he said. “It is difficult to see president Trump making an unpopular fight against vehicle fuel economy a priority in his administration any time soon.” Many programmes supporting the electrification of vehicles have been funded by the Department of Energy, and although Greenberger conceded these would likely be at risk, he said they had only been temporary measures to support fledgling battery and energy storage technology, and if the support disappeared, “we will just have to stand it up a little faster. Given the enormous progress the industry has made over the last decade with the support of DOE programs, we may just be able to do that.” The Associated Press sounded alarm bells over
two possible appointments that Trump could make in his administration — oil billionaire Harold Hamm and Kevin Cramer, an early Trump supporter from the major oil drilling state North Dakota. However, Greenberger says there are others in the running, such as James Woolsey, an advocate of vehicle electrification who believes in diversifying fuel supplies. Kevin Cramer, Greenberger says, is rumoured to be on the short list for the position as secretary of energy, and is actually in favour of a carbon tax to finance research and development into energy technology. “We intend to fight like mad, both in the courts and in the streets, to resist any rollbacks by the Trump administration,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the environmental organization Sierra Club. “But it is also too early for vehicle electrification advocates to retreat into wholesale doom and gloom,” said Greenberger. “As the old Chinese curse goes, may you live in interesting times.”
EU refuses to confirm reprieve for JCI on cartel malpractice to keep used lead prices low Despite a Bloomberg report that batteries giant Johnson Controls will avoid having to pay a potentially massive fine by the EU for scheming with other parties to keep used lead prices low, the European Commission refused to make any comment or update when Batteries and Energy Storage Bulletin contacted its office on Monday. A report by Bloomberg and echoed almost verbatim by other media last week quoted “three people familiar with the case”
as saying that because JCI had “owned up to scheming with smaller rivals to slash the price of lead obtained from scrap dealers”, it would not be fined a potential 10% of its global turnover, the amount the EU is entitled to levy for such infringements. In fact there has been no official statement from the EU since June 2015, when it cited five unnamed companies as “having participated in a purchasing cartel for scrap lead-acid batter-
18 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
ies, in breach of EU antitrust rules”. Ecobat Technologies, Recylex and Campine have all admitted playing roles in the cartel, with Ecobat reportedly setting aside up to $21 million to pay any fine. The Bloomberg report claims they are expected to be fined in the coming weeks. The EC raised concerns that between 2009 the cartel of lead recycling companies collaborated in fixing purchase prices for scrap
batteries in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands so they could lower prices paid to scrap dealers and in this way maintain higher profit margins. “Since such behaviour would likely reduce the value of used batteries sold for scrap, this could ultimately be to the detriment of sellers… and violate EU rules that prohibit anticompetitive business practices such as collusion on prices and market sharing,” the EC said.
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China grants legal status to low-speed lead powered cars China introduced regulations in October to the low-speed vehicle market in what could be a huge boost to the lead battery industry, with demand potentially growing from 23,000 units in 2009 to two million by 2020, according to the China Low-Speed Electric Vehicle Industry Report. Low-speed electric vehicles are defined as having a top speed of less than 100 kilometres an hour (62mph), and are popular predominantly in the Chinese countryside, selling in numbers far surpassing those of standard electric vehicles made by the likes of BYD and Tesla. The report said it had “taken less than 10 years for the LSEV industry to grow from an infant to a behemoth”. Because they have not been regulated they have become a danger to road safety and the environment, according to a Ministry of Industry and information
Technology statement on October 16. “Low-speed electric vehicles meet some specific travel needs; however, their production is unauthorized, poor quality, mostly unlicensed and its disordered development will pose serious challenges to road traffic safety,” it said. Any manufacturers not meeting the new rules will be shut down, said the statement. In Shandong Province alone, more than 330,000 low-speed EVs were sold in the first eight months of 2016, the ministry said. The statement also says that the extensive use of lead-acid batteries is an environmental pollution risk, but with the new regulations these will have to be inspected and monitored, said Dai Guiping, director of R&D with Chaowei Power Holdings, a major lead-acid battery producer in China. “Yes, the Chinese government is supporting
the development of lowspeed lead-powered threewheeled or four-wheeled EVs,” said Dai. “Especially in Shandong Province, there is a huge market for this kind of EV in the countryside. Also, lead battery technology is improving. Lead is in a position where it shares 65% of the battery market of the whole world.” “The move will force existing electric vehicle makers to speed up product development and compete for consumers,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association. “It is great news for low-speed electric car makers as they can finally make cars legally.” Lead battery recycler Aqua Metals CEO Stephen Clarke said it was encouraging for the lead battery industry.
“China is beginning to refocus on low cost lead powered electric vehicles as their primary way of electrifying the morning community and the evening community, so the mass transportation of people into and out of work and school is the major transport challenge of the modern world,” he said in a conference on November 7. “China looks to be swinging back towards lead as a potential energy storage choice for that market which is pretty encouraging.” One lead battery industry insider that BESB spoke to disagreed, saying the new regulations might result in a ‘blip’ in increased demand for lead batteries, but that long term, the Chinese government’s focus was on lithium-ion battery technology.
The report said it had “taken less than 10 years for the LSEV industry to grow from an infant to a behemoth”
RedT deploys 17 vanadium flow energy storage machines RedT Energy, the UKbased 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
20 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
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 off-grid or weakgrid 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 backup, 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 subSaharan Africa.
Aqua Metals stock offering closes well, Bühler bead mill solutions for firm outlines ‘master licensing’ plans LIB precursors and active materials
Aqua Metals, the US electro- ture, enhance processes to shipping licensed AquaRefin- developed a master licence processing. chemical lead recycler, an- improve operating margins, ing equipment during 2017. approach and we are really nounced on November 21 regulatory activities, work- He said he wanted to make working hard with China as Your Bühler process are: general that it beneﬁts had sold of2.3 million ing technology capital and other sure “we’d learnt everything an example, right now with – Efﬁcient size reduction, stabilization and shares of its common stock corporate purposes.” we can and not fall in to the parties who could be credat was the nano for homogenization $10 a share.This at scale Chief executive Stephen trap of having our licensees ible partners in China and – Slurries with high solid content and low a discount — as is common- Clarke said in November: beyond beta testers. We’re would manage a master liviscosity at the same time place in such offerings — to “We are generating strong not a software company, we cence and manage the sub-li– Effective grinding with 10 –15% less energy consumption the– Beneﬁcial Nasdaq effects quotedonprice, interest in licensing the third are an equipment company censing and all of the actions downstream processing $11.37 on the day of the No- parties. It’s been our stated and we live or breathe on the that go around that. vember 15 announcement goal that we would expand reliability of the equipment In terms of its operational that the stock would be sold. this business through a fully services that we provide. schedule Clarke also said: Separately, the firm re- serviced licence business “We’ve developed a master “we are behind where we cently revealed that it was model in which we will profranchisee model. And what thought we would be in TM Cenomic full-volume and MicroMediaTM high performance bead mills. Bühler continuing to look at a li- vide equipment to third par- we want to do is complete terms of commissioning”, offers decades of experience in the wet grinding and dispersing technology. censing model to expand its ties. We will maintain it and about nine months of op- with one single six electroThe reliable, scalable and proven equipment is suitable for the preparation of operations and was evaluat- provide spare parts and con- eration and trade before we lyzer model installed so far LIB active and separator materials. Our know-how and skills include: ing sites for its second and tinued maintenance to third start delivering modules to and another five commis– Selection of appropriate Bühler grinding equipment third plants and transition- parties on a licensing basis. third parties, but that doesn’t sioned, but there had already – Process parameter optimization ing into a licensing model in “We have now tested feed mean that we’re going to been a 50% increase in ca– Choice of appropriate small molecule surface modifier 2017. stocks from third parties, wait for nine months before pacity in the Tahoe Reno The money raised from already successfully taking we actually establish any li- plant in Nevada. Bühler AG, Grinding & Dispersion, CH-9240 Uzwil, T +41 71 955 34 91, F +41 71 955 31 49, the offering will be used to in firstname.lastname@example.org, feed stocks from third censing relationships.” Clarke estimated that inwww.buhlergroup.com/cenomic, www.buhlergroup.com/micromedia “accelerate its AquaRefining parties that have expressed Clarke said: “We’ve been vestors would be receiving product development and an interest in licensing on looking at how we manage an internal rate of return of licensing efforts for inclusive equipment Innovations a better world. and we’ve made very large regions like China, around 30% for each 60 of pre-sales and post-sales lead from them.” India and potentially the for- tons per day that was prosupport staff and infrastrucHe said he expected to start mer Soviet Union. And we’ve cessed.
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Southwest Airlines converts baggage tractors to thin plate pure lead batteries Southwest Airlines has started converting its 1,000-strong fleet of diesel baggage tractors and belt loaders to thin plate pure lead batteries from NexSys, a subsidiary of US battery firm EnerSys, in a move that has already seen other airlines express interest in doing the same. Steve Spaar, marketing director, Americas, at EnerSys said dieselpowered vehicles and those with flooded lead-acid batteries had been converted to the firm’s TPPL AGM batteries. After an 18-month trial beginning at airports at Phoenix, Dallas and Los Angeles in 2014, the batteries were cleared and conversion of the entire fleet of more than 1,000 vehicles at various airports has begun. “We are in the process of converting 60 diesel bag tractors at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and have installed NexSys batteries at Chicago Midway, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco and several other airports,”
“The TPPL technology at the heart of these batteries is helping us facilitate our move away from diesel power, and we expect that it will help us save money in the process.” said Larry Laney, Southwest Airlines director of maintenance. “The TPPL technology at the heart of these batteries is helping us facilitate our move away from diesel power, and we expect that it will help us save money in the process.” “Tne NexSys TPPL life cycle is comparable to flooded lead acid battery life cycles,” said Spaar. “The NexSys battery can be charged at rates from 0.2C6 up to 0.7C6. The energy density of these
batteries is higher in TPPL than flooded lead acid, so for a comparable flooded lead acid capacity, a TPPL battery will be lighter.” As well as the weight disadvantage with flooded lead acid batteries, Southwest also encountered drawbacks with the requirement to regularly water them, something which if not carried out with precision will ultimately reduce performance and cycle life. Although citing propriety reasons for not naming any
other airlines, Spaar confirmed there had been interest. “These batteries are suitable for any traction application where flooded lead acid or VRLA Gel or AGM batteries are being used now,” said Spaar. “Because of their higher energy density, fast charging capability and the elimination of topping up, they are popular in floor cleaning machines, burden carriers, AGV/AGC and Class III vehicles.”
Used lead battery industry is named ‘world’s worst polluter’ in joint environmental report Environmental organizations Green Cross Switzerland and Pure Earth identified the used lead-acid battery industry as the most polluting industry in the world in their joint report released on October 26. In the The World’s Worst Pollution Problems 2016: The Toxics Beneath Our Feet, the two organizations identified the ULAB industry as being responsible for almost five million ‘Disability-Adjusted Life Years’ (DALYs). A DALY is public health jargon for the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.
The report claims the 10 most polluting industries in the world are responsible for 17 million DALYs. Lead smelting is number three in the report’s list, with up to 2.5 million DALYs identified. The second most polluting industry was mining and ore processing, with up to 2.6 million. The International Lead Association responded with a statement claiming the recycling rates of lead batteries had been a success story in recent years, with 99% of ULABs in Europe and North America now col-
22 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
lected and recycled. However, the problems lay in the lack of regulations and expertise in emerging economies, where “informal recycling of lead batteries by cottage industries is acknowledged as a major problem that results in significant environmental pollution”. “The ILA has for many years run an improvement programme on risk management and responsible care for the recycling industry in Africa, South-East Asia and South America, often in partnership with Pure Earth, national gov-
ernments and non-governmental organizations such as the Basel Secretariat and the United Nations Environment Programme with very positive results for local communities,” said a spokesman for the ILA. “Through ILA the lead recycling industry in the developed world takes its role as a promoter of responsible care very seriously and will continue to work with others bodies, such as Pure Earth, to try to ensure that the great success stories of closed-loop recycling of lead batteries is replicated in other regions.”
Oxis hits 400Wh/kg energy density milestone for Li-S Lithium-sulfur battery developer Oxis said in October that it had successfully tested its development cell technology to 400Wh/kg of energy density. The UK firm said it had been reached after increasing gravimetric energy density by creating new Li-S formulations including battery materials such as conductive carbon materials, polymer binders and electrolyte additives. David Ainsworth, chief technical officer at Oxis, told Batteries International, “400Wh/kg is significant — the best lithium batteries around at the moment are around 250Wh per kilo. This is a milestone that we have reached in the past couple of months. “The next stage is trying
to scale up that technology so we can produce tens of hundreds of cell units and work on other aspects, such as cycle life.” Although Oxis’ batteries don’t have a cycle life suitable for the heavier durations required of electric vehicles — though cells are being deployed for testing in vehicle demonstrations — Ainsworth said that by comparison, a Nissan Leaf battery would contain around 140 Wh/kg and a Tesla around the 200 mark. In theory a Li-S battery could potentially offer two to three times the driving range. Oxis says it is targeting high-technology areas such as aerospace applications and satellites, which have
David Ainsworth, chief technical officer at Oxis
a strong requirement for high energy density and do not need a large number of cycles. “There’s bags of potential for this technology and although it might be a few years before it’s in the mainstream, before it’s in an electric vehicle like the Leaf, it will certainly grow in high technology, the un-
manned aerial vehicles, the very high-value applications,” said Ainsworth. The firm says that cost comparisons can only give a picture of what may eventually be the pricing, given that the firm is a start-up. “That said, if we were to make 10 million cell units, which is a typical lithiumion production run, Li-S would be incredibly cheap. The cost of sulfur, for instance, is negligible — a few dollars per kilo — unlike the NMC cathodes and so on that are being used in lithium-ion.” Lithium sulfur technology had been around since the late 1960s, but there had been “a lot of technological challenges in trying to get the technology to market”, including improving cycle life and increasing the capacity in the cathodes, two areas Oxis scientists are focusing on.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 23
GE, California Edison to install first ever gas and battery storage system The world’s largest gas and battery hybrid grid storage system will be installed by the end of the year, utility Southern California Edison announced in mid-October. SCE said the 10MW lithium-ion battery system, from General Electric spinoff firm Current, will merge with an existing but upgraded GE LM6000 gas turbine. “Operating the batteries and turbines together will allow the turbine to remain in standby mode without using fuel and enable immediate response to changing energy dispatch needs,” said Paul Griffo, an SCE official. “By eliminating the need to constantly run the turbines at minimum loads to maintain spinning reserve, the two projects will save fuel and reduce mainte-
Solar on the climb in India India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced at the end of October there has been more solar PV installed this financial year than wind. Indian has more than 28 GW of wind capacity installed, having embraced this form of renewable energy with more initial gusto than solar PV. However, as solar’s costs have tumbled and the Modi government has made proactive steps to increase its capacity, that gap has slowly begun to close. As of September 30 the cumulative solar capacity in India stood at 8,513 MW, and for the FY so far (which began on April 1), some 1.8 GW of new solar PV capacity has been installed.
nance costs.” The installation is in response to the Aliso Canyon incident. This happened in October last year when a gas leak was discovered by Southern California Gas Company inside the underground storage facility in the Santa Susana Mountains near Porter Ranch in Los Angeles. This was the second-largest gas storage facility of its kind in the US. The leak was not declared under control until February 2016, by which time the California Public Utilities Commission estimated 97,100 tonnes of methane had been released into the atmosphere.
The storage facility was shut down by the end of March, and the well remains sealed. In June, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered SCE to undertake an “expedited procurement” of large-scale, gridconnected energy storage to cope with expected outages with the loss of power reserves following the closure of Aliso Canyon. “It is the sort of innovation that we need to modernize the grid,” said Griffo. “Particularly given our increased reliance on renewable resources that have intermittent operation, energy storage integrated with peaker
operations is going to be critical to reliably managing the grid at a cost that’s affordable to customers.” SCE is planning similar gas turbine upgrades and a similar battery storage project elsewhere. GE’s power services and Current businesses developed the hybrid through a partnership with Wellhead Power Solutions. Eric Gebhardt, chief platforms and operations officer for Current, said the project was brought to fruition in a very short time frame. “Now we can bring this same technology to other GE gas turbine customers around the world,” he said.
Redflow wins orders for residential and business flow batteries Australian flow battery designer Redflow on October 4 announced orders worth US$600,000 for its ZCell batteries from installation partner Standard Solar, which said half of those 48 systems had been sold to a range of business and residential customers including one government agency and an educational institution. One customer is planning a fully off-grid solution that requires multiple ZCells, the company told Batteries International. In September, Redflow announced it had approved its first installers, which include Geographe Electrical Communications, Off-Grid Energy Australia, SolarQuip, Suntrix, the Solar Depot and WES Group, as well as Standard Solar. “Without going into who ordered what, we have received orders from several of these installers and we expect more because of the high level of interest they’ve received since their Redflow relationship was
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announced,” a Redflow spokesperson told Batteries International. Redflow says its zincbromide batteries are the world’s smallest flow batteries, making them suitable for all sizes of applications. “The batteries tolerate temperatures up to 50°C, and unlike lithium-based batteries, are not at risk of thermal runaway because the zinc-bromide electrolyte is fire-retardant,” says the firm. “The batteries can charge and discharge 100% of their energy capacity each day without causing any of the damage that would be sustained with traditional battery chemistries.” The batteries are backed with a 10-year warranty. The ZCell flow batteries were launched in March, when new CEO and executive chairman Simon Hackett welcomed Tesla’s entry to the energy market, saying it made the industry ‘sexy’. “I believe that, in future years, 2016 will be seen as
the year that the renewableenergy storage sector hit its inflection point,” said Hackett. “Converting the world energy grid to becoming majority renewable-sourced is now entirely achievable by using batteries to timeshift electricity.” Despite the abundance of solar energy available in Australia electricity costs are high, and in a report by Australia’s state-backed Climate Council, the country is predicted to become one of the world’s largest markets for energy storage. In a survey by Morgan Stanley, half of households asked were interested in battery-backed solar systems, creating a potential market value of $24 billion. “Redflow already has its commercial batteries installed in South Africa, New Zealand, Asia, North and Central America and Europe, so interest is clearly present in both the developed and the developing world,” said the spokesperson.
Ecoult installs UltraBattery in first European location at Tallaght smart grid test bed in Dublin East Penn’s Australian subsidiary Ecoult has installed its lead-acid hybrid UltraBattery in Dublin, Ireland, which makes it the first European installation. The UltraFlex battery, a lead-acid battery with an added layer of carbon, was developed by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which owned Ecoult until it was bought by the US manufacturing giant East Penn in May 2010. South Dublin County Council and the Irish Micro Electricity Generation Association (MEGA) chose the Ecoult UltraBattery for its Tallaght smart grid test bed in what could be just one of 30 nationwide installations. Chief engineer and director of MEGA Dudley Stewart said the testing was at level
one, with a further two levels to go, but signs were positive. “Ecoult’s battery is very interesting, there’s a good chance of it being the right solution for grid stability because it can really take a hammering and still provide grid response,” he said. “It’s not a traditional leadacid battery because of the layer of carbon, which allows the battery to discharge as quickly as an ultracapacitor without doing it any harm, and it can do it for many, many more cycles. “It was already tested in Kilkenny under very severe conditions and it was successful.” Stewart said cloud intermittency was one of the biggest problems for solar energy in Ireland’s renewable energy industry, and the ultimate aim was to provide
high frequency response. “This is just a 300 kilowatt-hour system, but we are still in the first stage and there is another 2MW system being built for the next stage,” he said. “Our first job is to stabilize the grid. Then we provide the smart meters, the equipment, all with high intelligence. Then we aim for a smart demand response. You don’t know where the demand is going to come from, and we are aiming for a smart, visible demand response, with all communities equipped with reserves and frequency response.” “The UltraBattery is a hybrid technology,” said Ecoult chief executive John Wood. “It contains both battery chemistry and ultracapacitor technology built into each cell. This Australian invention has the safety, sustain-
ability and dependability of lead-acid, and has been shown to outperform other battery chemistries in similar applications.” German renewable systems and power converter manufacturer Freqcon has supplied the converter technology in the project. Freqcon chief executive Norbert Hennchen said: “The market for grid-tied energy storage systems is growing, and fast frequency response is a valuable system service to the grid. We are excited to partner Ecoult and deploy the first unit in Europe.“ Last year, Hydro Tasmania in Australia integrated an Ecoult UltraBattery system, capable of 3MW of power and 1.6Mwh of capacity, into the local network. It was the largest battery in Australia.
Residential storage+solar challenge thrown down by lead carbon firm Axion Lead carbon battery manufacturer Axion Power announced the release in September of its first residential energy storage system for the public using solar energy stored with the firm’s newest generation of PbC batteries. This is the first challenge by a lead battery firm to enter the the residential solar + storage market so far dominated by lithium ion products. Earlier this year the Pennsylvania, US-based firm released a DIY Solar Light Kit that has a DC powered system, whereas the new one can be coupled with the AC grid. “The residential battery
system is ideal for homes in areas where net metering of solar is no longer an option, like Hawaii,” said Doug Speece, a marketing official at Axion. “The solar array and the battery become the primary energy source, and the grid is used as back-up. The system is attractive to homeowners who are at risk of frequent power outages, providing a place to store excess energy produced in the middle of the day, and shift it to later in the evening.” Although Axion has engineered the PbC battery using existing VRLA battery technology, the company says the activated carbon electrode offers distinct ad-
vantages over conventional lead-acid batteries: a high charge acceptance, for instance; long cycle life in deep discharge and partial state-of-charge cycling; superior lifetime energy work throughput; and minimal maintenance in high voltage string applications. The PbC batteries are ~30% lighter than leadacid batteries of equal size because the lead negatives are replaced with lightweight carbon electrodes. They are also nearly 100% recyclable. The base 15 PbC battery cabinet provides 7kWh (20hour rate) of usable energy storage and can be customized for larger sizes. It costs
$7,995. “I am excited about the future of the lead acid battery industry,” said CEO Richard Bogan. “PbC battery technology does not directly compete with current lead acid battery applications, but it does provide the industry with new applications and market opportunities that traditional lead acid batteries cannot serve. “We are evaluating opportunities domestically and abroad. Most recently, Axion has reported on discussions to take its PbC technology to China and also testing that is now under way in Belgium for automotive applications.”
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 25
UK National Grid names winning suppliers for enhanced frequency response support For the record, seven battery firms won UK National Grid contracts on August 26 to provide 200MW subsecond enhanced frequency response support to the grid. It is the first time that batteries will be used for grid-scale energy storage in the UK. The bid winners have all signed four-year contracts, which will begin on or before March 1, 2018. Lead-acid battery manufacturer Belectric, which confirmed on September 1 that it was being bought by German utility RWE, said it had won its 10MW bid with a lithium-ion version of its Energy Buffer Unit, which is also produced with lead-acid batteries. The National Grid invited tenders on April 15 and by the closing date of July 15 had whittled 37 bids down to just eight, with one of the
winners, energy investor Low Carbon, being handed a total of 50MW in two contracts, one in Kent, one in Cumbria. The six other providers, RES, Eon UK, EDF Energy Renewables, Element Power and Vattenfall, will all supply lithium-ion technology. Cordi O’Hara, the director of UK System Operator at the National Grid, said: “We are constantly looking to the future to understand how we can make the most of the energy available to us. “This project is at the very core of our power responsive work, to balance the grid by the most efficient means possible, saving money and energy. “These awards show that we can work with industry to bring forward new technology and I believe storage
has much to contribute to the flexible energy system of tomorrow. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the industry.” Adam Sims, senior account manager at the National Grid, said the beauty of batteries lay in their flexibility. “You can use them for congestion management, frequency response, all sorts of things,” he said. “Costs are going down and we think it’s going to be a major penetration into storage in the UK. “We have looked at other countries and how they use them, and Germany is the biggest player. But the model they look for is very short term, far smaller scale. We have a different approach. “We want to give people certainty over a longer period of time to drive costs down. It will be a four-year
investment time for the right balance.” “The requirement for EFR is driven by the change in generation mix from thermal plant to renewable plant,” said Gilly West, an official, at the UK National Grid, who said the new systems would need to transform existing EFR provision times from more than ten seconds to less than one. “The different technical characteristics result in the system frequency becoming less stable, with smaller imbalances in supply and demand creating larger fluctuations than previously experienced. “With fast acting battery technologies becoming financially viable, EFR is an economic solution to this issue that also creates a route to market for a new class of technology.”
Leclanché partners SGEM moves into US energy storage with work for PJM For the record, Leclanché was selected by Swiss Green Electricity Management Group in August as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor and battery energy storage system supplier for the Marengo Energy Storage Plant in the PJM Market for the north-east of the US. This preferred partnership agreement with SGEM for investment into utility-scale energy storage projects begins with the Marengo project. Leclanché revealed news of the partnership in October. The Marengo 20 MW/10 MWh grid-scale energy storage project is among the largest, fully commercial battery storage projects in North America. The Chica-
go-area project is being developed for PJM Interconnection, the regional market transmission operator. It was developed by GlidePath Power, which recently sold three similar projects in the US. The Marengo Energy Storage Plant will be interconnected to the local Commonwealth Edison Company electric grid and will provide real-time frequency regulation service to PJM. The storage facility will respond almost instantly to the continually changing needs of the grid, providing real-time frequency regulation and allowing PJM to deliver higher quality reliable electrical service at a lower cost to its end-users in 13 states and the District
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of Columbia. “The increasing share of renewable energy in the electricity mix poses substantial challenges to grid stability. As a direct result, demand for frequency regulation is growing considerably,” says Leclanché. “The smart deployment of battery energy storage systems (BESS) is the lowest-cost solution to support grid operators in their efforts to reduce and defer their investments into transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades.” SGEM provides equity capital, leads project finance and supervises the construction and operation of energy storage infrastructure assets to deliver returns to its investors.
The group invests in energy storage projects on a build-own-operate project finance model. Thanks to its partnership with Leclanché, SGEM enjoys the right of first offer for all qualified projects of the company which represent more than 85 MWh for 2017. “The formation of SGEM and its acquisition of projects sends a strong signal that international investors are recognizing the tremendous potential of this exciting new infrastructure asset class,” says Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché. “The pipeline of similar projects will continue to generate a high-growth demand in North America. This leads the way to additional future projects.”
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Convergent project financing with CJF Capital sets milestone in funding storage Convergent Energy and Power announced at the end of October the successful project financing of a portfolio of energy storage projects in Ontario, Canada, with SUSI Energy Storage Fund I and the facility lead, CJF Capital. The projects were awarded as part of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) solicitation to demonstrate energy storage’s potential in the power grid. Convergent’s financed project portfolio includes a 5MW flywheel and a 7MW lithium-ion battery,
both under contract with the IESO to provide fastresponse grid support services for frequency regulation and voltage support. “This transaction demonstrates significant milestones for the broader industry,” says Convergent. “The facility reflects a non-recourse, third-party project financing structure for energy storage assets in a sector dominated by onbalance-sheet financing. In addition, the financing structure incorporates construction financing elements to bridge a short
Alevo taps C&I market with GridBank system US energy storage firm Alevo launched a 50KWh/100KW battery energy storage system in October, designed for commercial and industrial customers. The standalone system is for behind-the-meter applications, though front-of-meter installations are also possible. The system uses the same non-flammable inorganic electrolyte as Alevo’s GridBank storage system being commercialized in utilityscale applications in America. “In places like New York City, where permitting codes don’t allow lithium ion batteries due to safety concerns, we have launched this system, so customers can install in close proximity to buildings. We’ve developed the GB50 in response to requests from the C&I market,” says Jeff Gates, vice president of Alevo’s operations. One of Alevo’s initial projects is for seven schools in a Californian city. One GB50 will be installed in each of the schools. The schools have solar PV in-
stalled and the system will be able to increase self-consumption and also operate in islanding mode, in case of an outage. Each unit can be aggregated to provide grid services. Alevo is targeting partnerships with solar PV installers and developers, with solar leasing programmes that would be interested in leasing energy storage as well as selling systems outright to C&I energy customers.
development period before commercial operations. “The transaction also represents the entry of CJF Capital into the energy storage and renewable energy sector, as well as an expansion of SUSI Partners’ geographic scope into North America and energy storage. Apricum — the Cleantech Advisory —
introduced SUSI Partners to the transaction.” Craig Farr, the founder of CJF Capital, said: “I am very excited to introduce a unique capital solution to the energy storage space. Providing flexible capital in the sector will be a key building block to accelerating the use of energy storage.”
Primus opts for lead batteries for renewables Primus Wind Power has chosen Trojan’s OverDrive AGM 31T deep-cycle batteries for its line of AIR wind and hybrid wind/solar turbine equipment used in remote regions as back-up power for wind and solar turbines that power oil and gas wells, according to an early October announcement. The decision, say commentators, is a vindication of the persistent interest in parts of the renewable industry in lead batteries because of their ability to withstand harsh temperature ranges and price advantage. Primus Wind Power, based in Colorado, makes a variety of wind turbines
that can be combined with solar systems. “The oil and gas sector has a focus on system up-time and downtime and costs associated are unacceptable and can be very expensive,” a Primus spokesperson told Batteries International. “Hybrid systems are what the oil and gas industry is moving towards for SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and off-grid power supplies.” “Trojan was our first choice as the battery backup power source in Primus AIR wind turbines for our customers in the oil and gas industry,” said Ken Kotalik, director of global sales and operations at Primus Wind Power.
NEC in ‘plug-and-play’ pilot for SCE NEC Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, announced in November it is supplying Southern California Edison (SCE) with its first grid energy storage pilot system under a preapproved energy storage procurement program initially conceived of and announced by SCE last year. The NEC ES GSS grid
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storage product line is the first in the “plug-andplay” procurement strategy being employed by SCE to demonstrate the ability of energy storage to support the distribution grid. Energy storage with a variety of features and configurations can now be ordered by SCE on demand and installed almost anywhere to support SCE pilot program activities.
The first turn-key GSS energy storage solution delivered under this program will include 3.4MWh of containerized lithium ion batteries, a 3MW power conversion system, and NEC ES’s proprietary AEROS controls software suite. NEC ES will also provide service and maintenance packages to SCE for this storage installation.
Aachen researchers investigate five chemistries in M5BAT ESS Scientists at the RWTH University of Aachen in Germany in September announced they were testing a large-scale M5BAT battery storage system using five different chemistries — four lithium ion variants and one lead acid. The aim is to test the usage possibilities of a combination of technologies in the grid and on the market. With €6.7 million ($7.6 million) from the Energy
Duke’s Walz becomes RES Solar’s chief executive For the record, US solar power company REC Solar appointed Matt Walz as chief executive officer on August 24. He was previously a vice president of commercial solar at Duke Energy Renewables. Duke Energy Corporation, the largest and arguably one of the most innovative US utilities, bought a majority interest in REC Solar in February 2015. It formed Duke Energy Renewables to manage the acquisition. Walz previously managed Duke Energy Renewables’ commitment, made at the time of the aquisition, to invest up to $225 million in commercial solar projects developed by REC Solar and supported by longterm power purchase agreements. Walz was also a board member of REC Solar. Walz, who joined Duke Energy Corporation in June 2004 as a senior financial analyst, has steadily worked his way up the firm.
Storage Funding Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the project was directed by Dirk Uwe Sauer at the Institute of Power Generation and Storage Systems. It went into operation next to a transformer and the university’s research centres. Exide Technologies provided the lead acid strings. Rainer Bußar, director of Industrial Batteries/R&D Europe at Exide Technologies, said: “In stationary applications, where size and weight matter less than they do in mobile applications, lead batteries represent an interesting technological alternative to finite lithium resources. Two of the five M5BAT lead battery strings will undergo direct technology comparison field tests.” Project director Dirk Uwe Sauer said: “From day one,
we have intensely and individually monitored more than 25,000 battery cells in six strings of different lithium-ion battery technologies and four strings of different lead batteries. “This’ll allow us to gather valuable information on aging, reliability and service life. We also want to use intelligent battery management to show how overall operations can be optimized with a hybrid system using different technologies.” The automated operations will be monitored and operated with a remote control system from power generator Uniper SE, an offshoot from Germany utility Eon which is already using the system for energy trading. Uniper chief operating officer Eckhardt Rümmler said: “M5BAT will allow us to test the possibility of using
a combination of different battery technologies in a real network and on the market. “This storage system is incorporated into Uniper’s trading business, and will soon deliver important findings regarding the development of business models based on decentralized storage systems. Energy storage systems are important if energy transformation is to be a success. They contribute greater flexibility and stability to energy systems. They are thus essential for a lowcarbon energy supply based on renewable energies.” Rik W De Doncker, director of the Sustainable Energy Cluster at RWTH Aachen University, said: “Now that operation has started, we expect interesting new findings regarding the economic and technical characteristics of battery storage systems..”
Sunrun and LG Chem partner for US residential energy storage tie-up Sunrun Inc and South Korea’s LG Chem announced in October a partnership to launch LG Chem’s energy storage technology in the US residential solar market. Sunrun will use LG Chem’s lithium ion RESU
batteries in its Brightbox solar-plus-storage systems. Sunrun BrightBox combines solar generation with energy storage giving consumers new ways to manage their energy. In Hawaii, Sunrun BrightBox allows
consumers to self-supply their own energy completely. Sunrun BrightBox will allow consumers with timeof-use tariffs to time shift when they use solar energy to minimize paying peak rate energy prices.
Younicos and Panasonic North America join forces on solar-storage project German energy storage integrator Younicos is working with Xcel Energy and Panasonic Corporation North America to develop a 1MW/2MWh system at Panasonic’s Denver operations site. The project deploys Younicos’ plug-and-play Y.Cube storage system. The solarintegrated energy storage system will be built at Peña Station NEXT, a transit in-
frastructure development in Denver, Colorado. The location also includes the operations hub for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company and Panasonic CityNOW. Four Y.Cube modules will be installed at Panasonic’s facility. The battery plant will be connected to the Xcel Energy power grid to provide frequency regulation, solar grid integration through
ramp control, grid peak shaving, passive energy arbitrage, and backup power. Younicos’ software controls will enable the battery to perform the multiple applications, so that maximum benefits and revenue streams can be extracted from the system, which also includes Xcel Energy’s 1.6MW solar PV system sited on a parking structure nearby, and 259kW of rooftop PV.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 29
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LEAD BATTERIES: THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE Ten months on from the formation of a Strategic Alliance of lead producers and lead battery associations, the senior executives from each of them describe the progress made so far thanks to this historic partnership and future goals.
In unity is strength Aristotle had it right. The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. And that’s been the thinking of a hugely important initiative for the trade bodies that look after the lead battery world. The battery associations of Europe (EUROBAT) and North America (BCI), the global trade association for the lead industry (ILA) and the US association for lead recyclers (ABR) have agreed to coordinate activities, goals and share resources. Although their mandate to represent the interest of their members continue, this ambition has taken the form of a Strategic Alliance, which means regular communications and an aligning of business plans in certain areas while sharing ideas and resources. The formation of the alliance was driven by fundamental changes in the market place for lead and lead-acid battery products. Its ambition is to advance the cause of lead batteries in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive marketplace. From the start, the body said it hasdthree objectives: to ensure lead batteries are regarded as the future product of choice; that the benefits of leadbased products and in particular lead batteries are recognized more widely outside the industry; and that regulation on lead batteries takes full account of their highly sustainable properties. Six months in things seem to be progressing more than just nicely. Though these are early days for the alliance, the first signs are promising and the lead and lead-acid battery industries will ultimately reap rich rewards on the back of the formation, according to Andy Bush, managing director of ILA, representing the producers of about three million tonnes of lead annually. While the four founding bodies have worked together informally for many years on specific issues, Bush says that, six months in, the broader, formal relationship is working well. They have much more interaction now at all levels, from their chief executives down.
“That alone is great progress for the industry,” Bush says. Alfons Westgeest, executive director of EUROBAT, adds that he feels the initiative has started well. “Since its launch, we feel the Alliance has proceeded very quickly and made good progress. It is very important to the global lead battery industry from a market perspective and a regulatory perspective,” he says. Rob Steinwurtzel, leader of BakerHostetler’s national environmental team, is also the general counsel for the US association for lead recyclers. Its members are mainly smelters in Canada, the US and Mexico which are also often manufacturers as well. Steinwurtzel is also positive about the initiative so far. The lead industry is a small one in terms of the companies operating in the space and many find themselves members of more than one trade association. Yet historically, there has been little co-ordination with trade associations working on similar issues in different geographical locations without working together or comparing and sharing materials.
Alliance. He is also delighted with progress so far but wary of being drawn on specific goals at this stage. He compares trying to discuss any end point or long term goals for the Alliance as being like taking a picture during a long journey. “Where you are going is pretty fluid and although there may be aspirations of a certain destination, the specifics are just not there,” he says. The concept of international cooperation between associations has been around for a long time but the global nature of the industry has quickened in recent years as more companies have invested in physical operations in new
Logical progression “Yet we have limited resources and overlapping memberships. This alliance makes complete sense on that basis and should encourage us all to make the best use of our resources and focus on our priorities,” says Steinwurtzel. While there was always communication between the associations, there was no structure to it. “This seemed a logical next step for the industry,” he says. “It is natural for us to organize ourselves in a manner that allows us to divide up resources, partner on common issues and support each other where needed. “There will be long-term goals we pursue collectively now with our combined resources and we can agree on uniform positions meaning that at least none of us will be blindsided.” Mark Thorsby, chief executive of the BCI, is one of the key architects of the
“They say that if China sneezes America catches a cold because things are much more interconnected now. There could be a testimony in a Californian court in the morning and a write up of its implications in Brussels the next day.— Mark Thorsby, BCI Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 31
LEAD BATTERIES: THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
“There is also the clear sense that we have an over-arching strategy now that encompasses the objectives of all associations” — Andy Bush, ILA markets such as China. “As the industry has become more interconnected and global the need for better collaboration has intensified,” Thorsby says. “The speed of communication has also changed the landscape. “Nowadays they say that if China sneezes America catches a cold because things are much more interconnected now. There could be a testimony in a Californian court in the morning and a write up of its implications in Brussels the next day. The speed of communication more than anything makes such a partnership inevitable.” Thorsby says things developed into something more tangible around three years ago when he and Bush from the ILA were working on strategic plans at the same time and Bush shared his work with him. “It was unbelievable. It was almost identical to what I had been working on. One of us suggested effectively agreeing on one strategic plan for both associations and then we thought why not involve EUROBAT and the ABR as well. It would mean the four most prominent industry associations singing from the same hymn sheet and we thought that would be very powerful.”
It’s good to share One thing all the members agree on is that it offers them the ability to share resources and expertise. Bush says the alliance is working on a number of spe-
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cific initiatives that it will later reveal to the industry, at this stage the collaboration is more about sharing resources and working together more efficiently. “There is also the clear sense that we have an overarching strategy now that encompasses the objectives of all associations,” Bush says. In terms of resources, ILA has appointed, Cris Williams, a senior health scientist whose remit is to provide expertise on lead toxicology and risk assessment. Williams will be based in ILA’s offices in Durham, North Carolina. He previously worked for the consulting firm Ramboll Environ and has more than 21 years of experience in applied toxicology, quantitative risk assessment and public health. While Williams is fully funded by ILA, he will provide expertise and scientific credibility to all the bodies involved in the collaboration. “He offers us a much-needed expertise on health issues. That remains a major challenge for the industry and there is a need for our own expert in the area. It is a gap we felt it was important to fill. “He’ll be available to help any of the lead or lead battery bodies worldwide —some of our other partners in the collaboration were involved in the recruitment process. His knowledge and experience will allow us to engage with regulators and government in a more robust way when it comes to health risks. Thorsby also extols the virtues of the idea of sharing everything from research to specific expertise. Different associations have skills and resources in different areas. This means that a different body might take the lead on projects depending on the type and nature of that project. “We are not all things to all people,” he says. “For example, ILA has several talented people on staff whose expertise is in healthcare and science. If the BCI needs expertise in this field we do not need to go out and hire someone — we can go to the ILA. Likewise, we have some talented people on the communications side.” Thorsby says the idea of the Alliance has been well received by the industry. “Candidly the main response was: ‘it’s about time’. This should almost be standard operating procedure; we should always be in collaboration. “We have a story to tell and we have not always done a good job of telling it. But this has given us a renewed com-
mitment to being bold and bullish when talking about our industry.” Perhaps critically, the desire to work together is being driven from the top, Bush says. He says the heads of the four associations arrange a call every other week, during which they review the major activities underway and ensure each body is clear of its role in moving things forward. That call also offers a chance to discuss the best way of resourcing certain projects and identifying the most suitable expertise in each instance. The interaction goes further than this sometimes. Bush says ILA welcomes the heads of the other associations into its board meetings, allowing more high level discussion on a range of issues. Although the venture was formally launched at the start of the year — and initial talks started to become more tangible during the ABC conference in Bangkok last September — the first litmus test of public sentiment towards the idea came at the BCI annual conference this May. All four associations were in attendance and held a meeting at the event. Bush says the overall feedback at BCI was positive. “People liked the idea of the collaboration but also wanted to see action from the industry,” he says. “Our interests are intrinsically aligned so working together is obvious — and so are the benefits. “It was clear this was something the industry wanted to see happen. But the point also came through that many believe this should extend beyond Europe and North America. There are many trade associations in other countries with interests in lead and lead batteries, so we’ll aim long term to get more partners involved in this globally.”
Communications first While reluctant to be too specific on many things — some rightly and perhaps some wrongly — one of its previously announced initiatives is a communications campaign that will focus on North America. This is initially designed to better inform people and companies of the benefits of lead-acid batteries, emphasizing some of the industry’s real benefits such as its very high recycling rates. Bush says that having four bodies backing and offering input into such a campaign makes it much more effective and carries much more weight. “In the past such an initiative would
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LEAD BATTERIES: THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
“This is a global business and we know that other regions globally watch closely what happens in Europe — and that makes our work even more important” — Alfons Westgeest
Preventing lithium-ion batteries ending up in the lead-acid recycling chain — with potentially fatal results was not a US or North American problem. — Rob Steinwurtzel, ABR 34 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
have been driven forward by just one body, this will be a collaboration between all of us now and it will be more effective for that,” he says. “Things may take longer to set up initially given the extra input and coordination required when working across four associations, but the real point is that the industry will ultimately achieve its goals much quicker in the end. Steinwurtzel also praises the broader communications campaign in North America that is designed to educate key decision makers and regulators to better inform them of the benefits of lead, especially its high recycle rates. Thorsby says a lot of good innovation in the industry has largely been ignored and not well communicated. Part of the North American communications campaign will highlight this — itself a great example of what the Alliance can achieve when working together. The communications campaign will reach out to key players in the US battery space and is designed to dispel myths around lead batteries and highlight innovation in the sector, “The idea is to tell the many positive stories this industry has,” Thorsby says. “We’ve completed a lot of the survey work and research which demonstrates that there is a relatively small group of people who influence policy affecting batteries. But we know that the Alliance means we can be a lot more assertive and confident in our approach to this.” As well as the North America communications awareness campaign, some of the key priorities for this year are the launch of the new Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium research program under the reorganized ILA structure. This has a focus on fundamental research — securing a further exemption for lead batteries from the ban on lead in vehicles under the EU End of Life Vehicle Directive and addressing the threats to lead batteries under the REACH authorization process. Rob Steinwurtzel, leader of Baker Hostetler’s national environmental team, highlights another topic important to his members and on the agenda of the alliance. Steinwurtzel gives the colour coding of different battery chemistries, mainly to prevent lithium-ion batteries ending up in the lead-acid recycling chain — with potentially fatal and explosive results — as an example of how the industry can potentially achieve more much faster by working together.
He says the ABR started to move on this issue many years ago but: “We quickly recognized that this was not a US or North American problem. By working with the ILA, for example, it gives it a much larger scope and represents a perfect example of how an issue benefits from this broader approach.” The recycling goal is an important one for the Alliance — in addition to colour coded labels, it is also looking at other technical means by which the batteries could be separated at recycling faculties.
Regulatory challenges While all members of the Alliance are cagey about specific projects and targets the members have set — though this secrecy and caution does appear at odds in terms of transparency to the needs of its members — Steinwurtzel says there are around 15 projects in the pipeline. Another one he will discuss, is a coordinated response and communications effort in response to moves by the State of California to review and potentially tighten health and safety standards in the workplace including redefining acceptable levels of lead in the blood and air exposure levels to lead. “There is a proposal out there and while that is specific to California at the moment, it could pave the way for other states and even the federal government to follow suit. We are now coordinating a response and sharing communications with state regulators. “Naturally, our voice counts for more if there are four associations instead of one.” In relation to proposals such as this, Thorsby says the Alliance can make a legitimate case on such matters because the industry has so often taken matters into its own hands on such issues. Three years ago, EUROBAT, BCI and the ILA agreed to target lowering blood levels in workers in the lead industry from the current regulated level of 40µg/dL to a voluntary standard of 30 µg/dL by 2016. “That would mean levels would come down , which would be quite something, and well below government recommended levels. We still have some work to do but that is the sort of achievement that is possible if we work collaboratively,” he says. But such challenges are not limited to North America. Westgeest at EUROBAT says: “Given the regulatory con-
LEAD BATTERIES: THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE text in Europe, the work of EUROBAT is very important and we are happy to take leadership on any European issues but we’re also aware that our work has wider implications and applications beyond Europe that our partners will find useful. “The main objective is to establish a secure and sustainable market for leadacid batteries and that means negotiating multiple regulatory and legislative challenges. For many issues, Europe is at the forefront of these changes. This is a global business and we know that other regions globally watch closely what happens in Europe — and that makes our work even more important.
Going global One of the other long term aims of the members seems is also to spread the word further afield, potentially by adding new members. Steinwurtzel believes that the Alliance’s long term aim should be to grow further and involve more trade associations from elsewhere in the world. The ABR, he says, has restricted its geographic remit and will enjoy the benefits of a more global reach. “Many of our issues are global and our expertise can be applied globally,” he says. “A few years ago CEC prepared a paper that set out the best management guidance practices for smelters covering a range of health and safety issues. “The ABR and BCI worked with CEC in the development of the guidelines including arranging for visits by the CEC to representative smelters in Mexico, Canada and the US. The guidance was issued for North American smelters but would have been relevant anywhere in the world. This partnership may allow us to better share information such as that.” Thorsby agrees that more members would make the Alliance even more powerful. He sees the Alliance as having three main objectives: to ensure lead batteries remain the product of choice in a world where there is often misinformation about the chemistry; to consistently tell the many positive aspects of the lead battery story and highlight innovation and new technology being developed; and to help create a regulatory environment that allows members to operate economically and produce a reliable product that meets the energy needs of the world.
Battery Council International is a not-for-profit trade association formed to promote the interests of the international battery industry. BCI has more than 200 member companies worldwide engaged in every facet of the industry: lead battery manufacturers and recyclers, marketers and retailers, suppliers of raw materials and equipment, and expert consultants. As the industry’s principle association, BCI’s member services have a global impact. BCI brings together the leading lead battery manufacturers in North America and other major players from around the world. Externally, BCI provides information and resources on the industry to various outside organizations and researchers. BCI establishes technical standards for battery manufacturing and actively promotes workable environmental, health and safety standards for the industry as a whole. BCI actively promotes the recycling of lead batteries.
THE ASSOCIATION OF BATTERY RECYCLERS
The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) represents companies that recycle spent lead batteries in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. We turn spent batteries into lead metal, plastic and sodium sulfate which are used to manufacture new lead batteries and other lead products. Its members recycle over 150 million spent batteries annually. In North America, 99% of all lead batteries are recycled. This represents the highest recycle rate of any consumer product.
EUROBAT is the association for the European manufacturers of automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries. EUROBAT has 53 members from across the continent comprising more than 90% of the automotive and industrial battery industry in Europe. The members and staff work with all stakeholders, such as battery users, governmental organisations and media, to develop new battery solutions in areas of hybrid and electro-mobility as well as grid flexibility and renewable energy storage.
The International Lead Association is a focused organization dedicated to serving lead producers and other companies that have a direct interest in lead and its use. With resources located in London, England and North Carolina and Washington in the US it provides a mix of technical, scientific and communications support from staff and specialist consultants including chemists, electrochemists, toxicologists and environmental specialists. The ILA’s roots stem from the Lead Development Association, which was founded in 1946 primarily to support market development. Today its role is much broader and focused on all aspects of the industry’s safe production, use and recycling of lead.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 35
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OPINION The issue of recycling lithium ion and nickel metal batteries has been neglected too long, says NAATBatt International’s Jim Greenberger.
The case for recycling high voltage advanced batteries The recycling of high voltage advanced batteries used in automotive, industrial and stationary energy storage (ESS) applications has long been a regular topic of conversation in the battery industry. The topic is a challenging one because, unlike recycling lead-acid batteries, which produces a waste stream of valuable and resalable lead, recycling advanced batteries based on lithium-ion, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and nickel zinc chemistries is generally a cost-negative proposition. SAE International has a standing subcommittee on battery recycling, which been studying and making recommendations about advanced automotive battery recycling for several years. EPRI will shortly release a study about decommissioning ESS systems that include high voltage advanced batteries. But except for those studies and a $9.5 million ARRA grant from the DOE to Toxco back in 2009, little has happened in North America to promote the systematic recycling of high voltage advanced batteries. There are three reasons for the lack of progress on advanced battery recycling.
First, and perhaps most obviously, is because the use of high voltage advanced batteries in vehicle, industrial and ESS applications is a relatively new phenomenon. Few such batteries have yet reached their end-of-life stage where safe disposition must be considered. But this is about to change.
A recent report published by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) estimates that nearly 276,000 advanced automotive batteries reached their end-of-life stage in North America in 2015. Most of those were NiMH batteries. Over the next 15 years, CEC expects almost 1.5 million advanced automotive traction batteries to reach their end-of-life, of which about half will be lithium-ion batteries.
And this is just the beginning. The markets for high voltage advanced batteries in automotive, industrial and ESS applications are growing explosively. Navigant Consulting predicts that the market for new lithium-ion batteries alone during the 2015-2024 period will exceed $221 billion. Eventually all these batteries will reach their endof-life and need to be disposed of in some way. The second reason for so little action on the advanced battery recycling front is because recycling advocates have largely failed to address a fundamental question: Is there a need to recycle advanced batteries at all? Recycling is not a given. There are plenty of hazardous substances and systems used in automobiles (for example, airbags) and in electricity grid
The prospect of a fully or partially charged high voltage battery laying in a salvage yard or landfill is a public safety hazard of a completely different magnitude than that of any other expired automotive or grid infrastructure system.
NAATBATT RECYCLING WORKSHOP • NOVEMBER 30, 2016 THE MICHIGAN UNION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN The volume of high voltage lithiumion and other advanced batteries deployed in automotive, industrial and stationary energy applications is growing exponentially. Navigant expects the market for lithium-ion batteries alone during 2015-2024 to exceed $221 billion. The question of what is going to happen to this vast, new volume of advanced batteries at the end of their useful lives is of growing concern to industry, to regulators and to the general public. NAATBatt International held a workshop on November 30 at the University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor to explore the future of high voltage advanced battery recycling. The workshop examined the economics of recycling today and the technologies that might change those economics in the future. Regulatory regimes in the European
Union and China, which already require the recycling of advanced batteries, were examined and discussed. The workshop discussed the threshold question of whether there is any special need to require the recycling of high voltage advanced batteries in North America, and, if so, what can be learned from other countries and from other industries about how to structure an efficient and effective recycling regime. Workshop faculty included leading experts in advanced battery recycling from around the world.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 37
OPINION infrastructure for which no dedicated recycling programme exists. Moreover, one of the principal benefits that most advanced batteries enjoy over traditional lead acid batteries is that they do not contain significant amounts of hazardous chemicals or metals that require special handling. It is reasonable to ask whether there is something so unique about high voltage advanced batteries that requires a special recycling mandate. If there is a case to be made for a special regulation requiring the recycling of advanced battery recycling, that case will center on three arguments. The first has to do with the issue of stranded energy. The prospect of a fully or partially charged high voltage battery laying in a salvage yard or landfill is a public safety hazard of a completely different magnitude than that of any other expired automotive or grid infrastructure system. If high voltage advanced batteries containing an electric charge are mishandled, people will die. And potentially quite a few of them. According to one NAATBatt board member, there have been 128 reported accidents (ie, fires and explosions) to date at lead acid recycling facilities caused by the intentional or unintentional mixing of lithium-ion and other advanced batteries into lead acid battery waste streams. These accidents have severely damaged equipment and pose a serious danger to human life and safety. Further compounding this problem is the rising use of mixed chemistry battery systems, which combine batteries and energy storage devices (such as supercapacitors) of different types and recycling requirements in the same system. Phil Gorney, vehicle safety research engineer at the US Department of Transportation and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has been ringing alarm bells about this for the past year. A mandatory recycling regime would minimize the chance of public exposure to charged high voltage batteries and reduce an obvious public safety hazard. The second argument centers on ensuring the long term supply and price stability of energy materials, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. The price of lithium carbonate has famously tripled over the last year, an increase widely attributed to growing demand for battery-grade lithium. Last January, China published a Policy on Recycling and Utilization Tech-
38 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
Over the next 15 years, CEC expects almost 1.5 million advanced automotive traction batteries to reach their end-of-life, of which about half will be lithium-ion batteries. nologies for Electric Vehicle Batteries (2015 Edition), which seems aimed at protecting the access of Chinese battery manufacturers to a long term supply of energy materials by using recycling as a source of alternate supply. China, is actively implementing a lithium-ion recycling policy. The China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) estimates that there will be 120,000 to 170,000 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste generated in China per year by 2020. One NAATBatt member, that manufactures lithium-ion battery cells in China, reports that it already obtains a portion of its lithium carbonate supply from recycled materials.
Instability in the availability or price of energy materials is a strategic risk as it would undermine the long-term economics of vehicle electrification, energy storage and, ultimately, integrating variable renewable energy on to the grid. The US Department of Commerce is actively studying the strategic implications of advanced battery recycling. The third argument for advanced battery recycling turns on a life-cycle analysis of advanced batteries and their impact on carbon emissions. If one of the principal goals of vehicle electrification and renewable energy integration on the grid is the reduction of greenhouse gases, the energy inputs and carbon emissions from mining and refining energy materials must be considered. Recycling advanced batteries can considerably alter the relative environmental “cost” of advanced battery technology compared to hydrocarbon technology (which cannot be recycled). An environmental analysis of advanced battery life-cycle is discussed in Linda Gaines’ 2012 article “To Recycle, or Not to Recycle, That is the Question: Insights from Life-Cycle Analysis.” Finally, a major, unspoken reason for the lack of much progress on advanced battery recycling is the uncertainty about who would have to pay for it. Vehicle OEMs, advanced battery
manufacturers, and ESS developers are rightfully concerned that imposing additional cost in the form of a recycling fee on high voltage advanced batteries would unduly burden the price-sensitive emerging markets for advanced battery applications, such as electrified vehicles and ESS. But if the value of advanced battery technology is its ability to address the larger social issues of greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum dependence, the cost of recycling those batteries so that they can perform their larger social function should be socialized in the same way that we have socialized a portion of the costs of renewable energy generation and electric vehicles themselves. This issue must be addressed in the design of any new mandatory recycling regime. NAATBatt will seek to play a leading role in convening industry to discuss the recycling problem and in helping it create and administer a responsible but cost-effective solution to the advanced battery recycling problem.
Jim Greenberger has served as executive director of NAATBatt International since co-founding the organization in 2008. He was previously a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Reed Smith, where his practice concentrated in commercial finance, venture capital and cleantech. His blog can be found at www.naatbatt.org/blog/
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DYNAMIC CHARGE ACCEPTANCE With some tipping micro-hybrid vehicles to surge in growth in the coming years, the type of battery underpinning the technology may well come down to dynamic charge acceptance. ArcActive, a New Zealand start-up, has developed a technology that could give lead acid batteries the edge.
Solving the DCA dilemma ArcActive, a New Zealand start-up, has developed a technology with the potential to dramatically improve the dynamic charge acceptance (DCA) of lead acid batteries. If this is a breakthrough — and some are already saying that it is — this has the potential to revolutionize the role of lead batteries within the grid and equally the fuel efficiencies of vehicles, especially micro-hybrid vehicles (MHV), and give the business case of lead acid batteries to corner this market a boost in the process. ArcActive is awaiting the results of independent trials into the effectiveness of its technology by motor manufacturers. If these results match the findings of ArcActive’s own in-house trials, the company’s technology could quickly find demand in a global market place. Stuart McKenzie, the company’s chief executive, says that the company’s own results suggest that the company’s technology can double the DCA of a battery and maintain its DCA at a consistent level long-term (80A or more) — in contrast to even state-of-the-art lead acid batteries, in which the DCA drops sharply after between 30 and 60 days. On the basis that the stable level of DCA performance for state-of-the-art lead acid batteries is at around 30% to 50% of what car makers ideally want to maximize the fuel saving potential of micro- and mild-hybrid vehicles, McKenzie claims the potential of this technology is huge. It would also represent a considerable boost to lead acid batteries more generally, particularly in grid applications. “We are awaiting validation of our own results but the data we have had back so far looks pretty good,” McKenzie says. “It might be another six months before all the trials are concluded but we are optimistic. “The fact is that lithium batteries are also improving in this regard and lead acid’s biggest challenge is its
40 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
Chief technological officer John Abrahamson (left) and CEO and MD Stuart McKenzie
DCA. If that were improved I estimate lead acid would secure 80% of this market.” While it may seem strange to apply cutting-edge nanotechnology to one of the longest living industrial products — the lead acid battery — what is required from the battery has changed drastically in recent years. Until recently, the role of the battery was simply to crank the engine (a discharge process). However, now the fuel saving capability of a vehicle is dependent on the charge capability of a battery over very short periods (five to 10 seconds) — something lead acid batteries have never excelled at — a race is now on to develop a suitable battery, or combination of batteries, to meet all of the requirements for use in hybrid vehicles. As ever the solution seems to be all about carbon on the anode. The solution ArcActive has developed a way of improving the DCA of a lead acid battery using a novel carbon fibre-based negative electrode using its proprietary material,
AACarbon. The firm’s claim is that this technology overcomes traditional LAB charging limitations and delivers superior DCA and charging lifetime without adding significant cost. The scale of the challenge this could overcome is made plain when the ability of a typical battery to recover kinetic energy — energy released when a car is braking — is considered. While cars may be able to generate currents of 80 to 120 amps for the five to 10 seconds of a typical braking event, a state-of-the-art lead acid battery is only able to store a maximum current of around 30-40 amps. So better DCA allows more energy to be recovered and stored, allowing the battery to support electrical loads for longer periods of “no-alternator” operation. This, in turn, means less fuel is used. Fuel savings are also secured because the stop-start function in many cars can also be better utilized if the battery is able to store more current in the first place. Typical stop-start technology becomes disabled if the
DYNAMIC CHARGE ACCEPTANCE battery’s state of charge becomes too low until the battery recharges, also reducing the fuel saving possibilities. Thus the better the car battery’s DCA, the greater the number of stopstart events, and the greater the fuel saving. Typical lead acid batteries start with a relatively high DCA but this degrades rapidly with use and within a few months it reaches a stable level. This stable level of performance is at around 30% to 50% of what car makers ideally want to maximize the fuel saving potential of micro- and mildhybrid vehicles, McKenzie claims. ArcActive’s technology achieves this improved DCA by using a carbon fibre fabric as the structural and electrical framework for the electrode’s active material. This allows ArcActive’s electrodes to contain a much higher carbon content, but the electrochemically active, permanently electrically connected carbon fibre dramatically constrains sulfation and allows for the regeneration of the fine lead and lead sulfate structures with use. To further improve the functionality of the carbon used, ArcActive also treats it by heating it to very high temperatures before use — a process that improves the functionality of the material. The lowest useful treatment for “carbonization” is typically at 1,200°C and “graphitization” is typically performed at 2,500°C. ArcActive treats carbon material at around 3,500°C — any hotter and the carbon would be vaporized. The company, which was formed in 2007, has further developed an invention originally by John Abrahamson, an associate professor, which revolved around a continuous process for Arctreating carbon fibre. Abrahamson was the first person to find and characterize carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the 1970s and in 2000, he decided to develop a production process to manufacture high-quality, low-cost CNTs via a continuous arc process. The AACarbon product was developed from that. While it has many potential applications, since 2008 ArcActive has focused on developing an improved micro-hybrid vehicle (MHV) battery as its primary commercial product.
lab-scale, single cell electrodes to fullscale automotive batteries. The next step for the company will be securing corroboration and validation of its in-house test results from motor manufacturers around the world. If these stack up, its CEO says the company will then explore options for the best way of manufacturing the batteries — be this via a single partner globally, regional partners or making the product itself. The strategic direction it takes will also inform what funding the company will need to achieve commercialization. McKenzie, who previously spent 10 years as a partner of two venture capital companies and is also an Innovation Board member of the NZ Ministry of Science and Innovation, says he is confident of the support of its existing shareholders but the company may require additional investors, depending on its future business model. “In reality, every start-up in the world needs investors and until the profits start to come in, we are no different,” he says. “But we have a group of shareholders who really believe in what we are doing and strong interest from battery companies, dependent on how the testing is going. We never take anything for granted but there is a lot of interest. “Once the motor companies have completed their testing, which will be in four to six months, we will look at the business model and what partnerships we can form. I guess we will be forming partnerships with battery companies in the next year or two.” He says that the manufacturing process does present challenges because the material used is not standard. The company has spent a lot of time developing a manufacturing process that should be cost efficient enough to allow it to potentially produce millions
of units per day: if that is not a possibility, true commercialization will be impossible. “Our first plan was to partner with a manufacturing company at an earlier stage but we are quite unique and we ended up exploring that path — of how to best make these in large numbers — ourselves. That has been a challenge — we have been working on this for five years now and it has been a big part of what we have been doing. “But we are now in the design and implementation phase of the first commercial version — we are pretty close to an end point now of getting the battery made on a standard production line and made and tested as normal. We will then take the concept and see if it works.” The product has the potential to change the dynamic of the motor battery market, McKenzie says, swinging the balance in favour of lead acid batteries being used in more new models and away from lithium ion. He says that Ford addressed the challenge of DCA at the recent ELBC meetings in Malta, specifically noting that the problem needed to be addressed by the industry. McKenzie suggests that if the DCA is improved in the way he believes possible, lead acid batteries could secure an 80% market share — much higher than current forecasts. “So this is a pivotal moment for the industry to address this issue,” he says. He notes that other companies have previously explored ways of improving the DCA of batteries but with limited success. The problem is there are so many other things a product has to deliver to make it compatible with vehicles, including developing a high DCA, meeting all other standard tests, the cost being on a par with a traditional “starter” battery, manufacturing at scale (able to make tens of “Lug” (CF Fabric-to-metal connection) Arc Treated CF Fabric (3500˚C for 3s) Leady Oxide Paste (Not Shown)
The next step
The company has been funded so far by a small number of private investors and the New Zealand government. Since its launch, ArcActive has developed its core technology from
ArcActive Auto Scale “Grid”
ArcActive Electrode: A carbon Fibre-based “Grid”
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 41
DYNAMIC CHARGE ACCEPTANCE
millions of batteries per year), using a known and well understood chemistry and fitting a standard battery size. “While car makers want batteries with much better DCA, they cannot accept any compromise on the achievement of the traditional battery tests. This provides a very real challenge for developing new battery technologies as some of the best ways to improve DCA can often lead to serious problems in other performance areas,” he says. “Right now, there is nothing similar to what we are doing, which can also use a relatively standard manufacturing process.”
Spying the pot of gold
Because of these stringent criteria, the two most likely products to compete for the MHV market are the lead acid or advanced lead acid battery or the small lithium ion (3Ah) battery. But while the lithium ion battery has a much better DCA performance, he sees this as an unlikely solution for the mass market due to its high cost and poor low temperature performance. MHVs require “high power” batteries which are much more expensive than the “high energy” batteries used in electric vehicles, which have
42 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
“Once the motor companies have completed their testing, which will be in four to six months, we will look at the business model and what partnerships we can form – Stuart McKenzie, chief executive, ArcActive seen a dramatic fall in prices recently. Furthermore, Li-ion batteries cannot start the engine at low temperatures — a fundamental requirement of any starter battery. “It is likely that the most relevant solution for the mass market will be the one that achieves heightened DCA (80A or more) at the lowest cost. With dual battery solutions, there is an immediate cost and weight penalty. It is clear therefore that a single lead acid battery will make an ideal MHV battery, if the DCA can be improved,” he says. While a number of alternative energy storage technologies have good DCA performance, the disadvantage of most is their relatively high on-
cost. ArcActive’s electrode has been designed to be a direct substitute for existing negative electrodes in flooded lead acid batteries. “As flooded lead acid batteries are the lowest cost form of starter battery, even with the modest additional cost contributed by the AACarbon electrode, the resultant battery will still be a fundamentally low-cost product,” he says. “We expect that batteries using ArcActive’s electrodes will be no more expensive than the AGM batteries that are the current stop-start battery of choice.” While the AACarbon product has many potential uses, the company has focused on the automotive market — and MHVs specifically — because of the size of the opportunity and also the momentum that has been building in that sector towards cutting CO2 emissions, reducing fuel consumption and generally making vehicles more environmentally friendly. To a certain extent, the opportunity is therefore driven by changing regulatory approaches and environments. On this basis, he sees the greatest opportunity at present being in Europe, where standards and targets are tougher than anywhere else in the world. But he also notes an increasing harmonization between global regulatory regimes with China and the US also moving to start to align with European standards. “Hybridization of cars is a common approach that all large car makers globally are pursuing in order to meet the tough new CO2 emission standards,” he says. But the real question is that as fuel savings increase with higher levels of hybridization, and so does the cost of the vehicles, which types of vehicles will become the mass market during the next few decades?” He believes micro- and mild-hybrid cars will be the mass market cars of the future. These vehicles require new battery technologies to meet the stringent emissions limits being imposed on automakers but says that many projections suggest they could become a significant new battery market in the coming decades. Pike Research has forecast there will be 41 million new stop-start cars per year by 2020 and the battery market will be worth $8.9 billion; McKinsey suggests the market will be worth $12 billion a year by 2020; and Johnson Controls suggested in 201l that there will be 100 million stop-start batteries per year by 2020 including both new cars and the aftermarket.
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COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS The battle between lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries could eventually become old hat. Who needs chemistry at all when electrostatic ultracapacitors can be used instead?
Ultracapacitors and their transition to the heart of
Over the past 10 years, however, the costs have come down steadily while the benefits have increased.
44 â€˘ Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2016
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS Wyn Jenkins reports on the re-emergence of ultracapacitors as a viable alternative to batteries.
puzzling energy storage
“By the mid-2020s we are looking at a multibillion dollar market for supercapacitors and hybrid energy storage.”
As the battle between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries so often grabs the headlines (and the attention and money of investors), supercapacitors, sometimes called ultracapacitors in some areas of the world, may often seem like the forgotten technology of the energy storage sector — once written off as being too costly for the benefits they offer. Over the past 10 years, however, the costs have come down steadily while the benefits have increased. In terms of power and number of cycles, this technology beats lithiumion and most forms of lead-acid battery hands down, and on this basis the technology has been steadily gaining traction in certain sectors including automotive and rail, while opening new possibilities in emerging sectors such as grid energy storage. Yet the sector and its main players remain fragile in comparison to the more mainstream battery chemistries — a fact starkly highlighted by the most recent report on the sector and its conclusions on its potential future size. Supercapacitor Technologies and Markets 2016-2026, a report by IDTechEx, the market research firm, provides a 10-year forecast for supercapacitors in the context of the complex dynamics of the emergence of energy storage as a key enabling technology in the 21st century and the deep structural changes of the energy sector. The report is bullish on the potential of this technology. Report author Franco Gonzalez says that it will supplement and, in some cases, replace the role of incumbent energy storage technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, addressing the “weakest points of battery technologies such as low power, limited number of cycles and low performance at low temperatures”. The report also says that with steady progress, supercapacitors are gaining traction in mainstream application markets such as the automotive and rail sectors and opening new possibilities in emerging sectors such as grid energy storage. “Energy systems at all levels are increasingly becoming systems of variable power demand. This is true at all levels, from consumer electronic sto electricity grids. Indeed, new electronic devices, from smart phones to sensors, have variable power demands because they have increasingly different functions with different power requirements,” the report says.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 45
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS
“Essentially, what has happened is there has been a push to “buy red” — or have Chinese companies buy Chinese-made products. There has been significant investment in Chinese ultracapacitor manufacturers to bring them up to speed and try to shut out the US-based companies. The volume is still there for the market, but who is supplying those products is shifting.” “Consumers are begging for a fast charging solution for their electronic devices. As electricity grids integrate more intermittent renewable energy sources the need for high power energy storage becomes more evident,” says Gonzalez. “The supercapacitor industry is carving its place in the future of energy systems. Manufacturers based in the US, Asia and recently Europe are set to address market needs in the automotive sector, aerospace, public transport and rail and the future smart grids and many more.” The authors estimate that the highpower energy storage market could grow to $2 billion a year by 2026
— up from about $240 million now. Supercapacitors could capture about $800 million to $1 billion of that potential market opportunity. But these figures are notable because they are significantly lower than the forecast offered by the same research company three years ago, which suggested that supercapacitors and their derivatives would capture a market worth $8.3 billion annually by 2025.
The problem with China
The change, which illustrates the fragility of this market, has come about because of changes in regulation by the Chinese government. This has completely changed the landscape for
supercapacitors in that country, historically one of the biggest users of the technology. The Chinese government did this by removing the subsidies available in the country for hybrid electric vehicles (buses), most of which used supercapacitors. China buys more than 80% of the world’s buses and the report reflects this market dynamic. On a related note, this move also hurt manufacturers including Maxwell Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of supercapacitors. Back in 2013, the company, which is listed on the Nasdaq, was forced to restate its results for the fiscal years 2011, 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013 after it discovered errors in the way revenues had been recognised. While not directly correlated, some commentators at the time blamed the uncertainty around Chinese subsidies policy for the problem. “Maxwell was growing quickly but one of its biggest customers was China, which turned out to be a poisoned chalice,” says Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx Research. “There have been some tremendous twists and turns in this market in recent years which does make it hard to forecast.” Though Maxwell’s revenues stemming from ultra-capacitors overall have increased in the last three years, its revenues generated from China dropped for the third year in a row in 2016 — and, in its 2015 annual report, it warned of further uncertainty ahead. “The hybrid transit vehicle market for ultracapacitors in China, a region which has historically represented a significant portion of our sales, has recently become more competitive with respect to pricing which has caused us to lower our prices to remain competitive. In addition, the recent increase in the number of competitors in the hybrid transit vehicle market in China may drive down our market share,” the company said in its 2015 results. “For 2016, we may see variability in revenue as a result of uncertainty regarding how the new China government subsidy will impact our sales into the hybrid transit vehicle market.”
The China government shifted its subsidy coverage from hybrid bus to pure electric and that temporarily slowed growth in this sector, but the Chinese government appears to be moving towards effectively reversing its decision. It has now proposed legislation that would restore subsidies on HEVs, which could well lead to HEV buses in China adopting supercapacitors again. www.batteriesinternational.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 47
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS FROM EXPLANATIONS TO APPLICATIONS …
Supercaps are in a category of their own when it comes to energy storage. Whereas secondary batteries store energy by using a chemical reaction triggered via every charge and discharge, a capacitor consists of two metal plates separated by an insulating component made of plastic, ceramic, or even air. During charging, electrons accumulate on one conductor and depart from the other, allowing a negative charge to build on one side and a positive charge on the other. The positive and negative charges are drawn to each other, creating an electric field. Discharging occurs when the electrons are allowed to flow from one side to the other. Because no chemical reactions are involved — they are, in fact, electrostatic — they can charge and discharge much faster than batteries and with less wear and tear because there is no chemical reaction taking place. This also means they cannot be overcharged, can be charged and discharged
48 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
very quickly, endure many cycles and are very safe. But while capacitors are interesting for energy storage, ultracapacitors are a whole different ball game. An ultracapacitor is a capacitor that contains many thousand times the capacity of a conventional capacitor because it relies on an Electrochemical Double Layer (EDL) that is hundreds of times thinner than the thinnest insulating dielectric between the electrodes of a conventional capacitor. The technology underpinning them has evolved greatly over the past two decades and continues to do so. At various stages, they have been made with fibreglass infused with carbon and an electrode coated with aluminium foil. The metal plates are generally coated with an activated carbon material and immersed in an electrolyte consisting of positive and negative ions equal in number. Ultracapacitors generally work in an identical way to capacitors but because the surface of each carbon
electrode essentially involves two layers of charge coating that form on both porous carbon electrodes, offering a greater area, ultracapacitors can offer up to 1,000 times more capacitance. Unlike traditional capacitors, ultracapacitors can be discharged slowly, say in an LED light, or it can discharge quickly, a thousand amps. They are also very temperature tolerant, losing little energy compared with many batteries. This gives them a special role: “Batteries rely on chemical reactions that make them respond slowly at low temperatures or not at all. Therefore in many cases batteries will not satisfy fully the power requirements of all these applications in future energy systems. If they do they will do it by oversizing their capacity at an extra cost and/or exposing batteries to high power demands which will eventually reduce their lifetime,” says IdTechEx. “It is for all these reasons that a new market for high power energy storage is opening. It is in this sector where supercapacitors have a key role.” The main downside of ultracapacitors has traditionally been their cost per unit of energy stored. But their price has plummeted in recent years, making them an ever-more affordable option for certain energy storage solutions. Maxwell Technologies, founded in 1965, had spent almost three decades working on and developing its capacitors. Prices were initially very high but Maxwell has progressively developed new, less costly materials, improving manufacturing methods while also tweaking the cell’s basic architecture. The changes the company has made have reduced the ultracapacitors price dramatically — by as much as 90% in some cases — while also improving their performance, helping the technology increasingly gain traction. Maxwell says its primary focus now for ultracapacitors is for energy storage devices that are
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS
characterized by high power density, long operational life, the ability to charge and discharge very rapidly, and reliable performance at extreme temperatures. Yet despite their many advantages over batteries including their ability to accept and render a sudden surge of energy, when it comes to energy storage many forms of batteries still win hands down. This means that rather than competing with batteries, they are increasingly being used to complement them. Combining
the power of the ultracapacitor with the storage capacity of the battery offers an entirely new and impressive animal — that would extend the life of the battery, reduce maintenance, and size — while also increasing the available energy via its ability to produce peak power on demand. In an electric car, for example, an ultracapacitor could provide the power needed for acceleration, while the battery pack could ensure range, and recharge the ultracapacitor between surges.
Many now agree that the challenge for design engineers lies in understanding the technology’s characteristics and finding new ways to build them into an integrated system that manages energy storage and power delivery as two complementary requirements, recognizing the subtle yet critical difference between power and energy. When appropriately applied, ultracapacitors represent an outstanding design option for advanced power systems.
PROS AND CONS Technical advantages
• Cell voltage determined by the circuit application, not limited by the cell chemistry.
Applications requiring a short duration power boost. Low power
• Very high cell voltages possible (but there is a trade-off with capacity) • High power available. • High power density. • Simple charging methods. No special charging or voltage detection circuits required. • Very fast charge and discharge. Can be charged and discharged in seconds. Much faster than batteries. • No chemical actions. • Cannot be overcharged. • Long cycle life of more than 500,000 cycles at 100% DOD. • Long calendar life 10 to 20 years. • Low impedance. Technical shortcomings • Linear discharge voltage characteristic prevents use of all the available energy in some applications. • Power only available for a very short duration. • Low capacity. • Low energy density. (6Wh/Kg) • Cell balancing required for series chains. • High self discharge rate. Much higher than batteries.
• Capacitors are extensively used as power back-up for memory functions in a wide range of consumer products such as mobile phones, laptops and radio tuners. • Used in pulsed applications to share the load and for providing peak power assistance to reduce the duty cycle on the battery to prolong battery life in products or devices using mechanical actuators such as digital cameras. • Also used for energy storage for solar panels and motor starters. High power • Supercapacitors unsuitable as primary power source for EV and HEV applications, however their advantages make them ideal for temporary energy storage for capturing and storing the energy from regenerative braking and for providing a booster charge in response to sudden power demands. • Since the capacitor is normally connected in parallel with the battery in these applications, it can only be charged up to the battery upper voltage level and it can only be discharged down to
the battery lower discharge level, leaving considerable unusable charge in the capacitor, thus limiting its effective or useful energy storage capacity. • Using supercapacitors in EVs and HEVs to facilitate regenerative braking can add 15% to 25% to the range of the vehicle. • At the same time, supercapacitors can provide an effective short duration peak power boost allowing the prime battery to be downsized. • While supercapacitors can be used to provide the increased range and short term power, it is at the cost of considerable added weight and bulk of the system, and this should be weighed against the advantages of using higher capacity batteries. • Supercapacitors are also used to provide fast acting short term power back-up for UPS applications. By combining a capacitor with a battery-based uninterruptible power supply system, the life of the batteries can be extended. The batteries provide power only during the longer interruptions, reducing the peak loads on the battery and permitting the use of smaller batteries. With thanks to Barrie Lawson, Electropaedia, www.mpoweruk. com
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 49
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COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS Harrop says the Chinese made the change in subsidies for two reasons. One was simply that, driven by concerns over growing pollution in the country, it redefined what constituted green technologies and effectively excluded anything that did not plug in. “It was just a decision made by a civil servant that crippled a whole market,” he says. Second, China has a policy of preferring to make its own technology where possible. Harrop suggests there may also be a desire to effectively slow the development of this market down until domestic Chinese companies are able to compete to supply supercapacitors. However, two years on, in yet another twist that has emerged since the latest IDTechEx findings were published, the Chinese government appears to be moving towards effectively reversing its decision. It has now proposed legislation that would restore subsidies on HEVs, which could well lead to HEV buses in China adopting supercapacitors again. Harrop says that if this regulation were to come into force, it would lead his company to update its forecasts for the whole market. But it may not mean a return to the sort of growth the likes of Maxwell was once enjoying because in the two years since the first legislation, Chinese domestic companies have been dramatically improving their product. Moreover, it is likely that Chinese companies would be encouraged to buy from them. A Maxwell spokesperson told Batteries International: “The China government has shifted its subsidy coverage from hybrid buses to pure electric transportation and that has temporarily slowed our growth in this sector. The Chinese government has also initiated a localization policy requiring manufacturing to be in China. We are currently working on opportunities to respond to this requirement as well.”
Seeking the golden prize
Not all ultracapacitor companies seem bothered by what is going on in China, however. Chad Hall, the co-founder of supercap firm Ioxus, which has enjoyed healthy growth in recent years, says his business has been almost unaffected by events in the country — but he acknowledges it has had a wider impact on the market. “Luckily, we have not been very reliant on the Chinese market for our business. As a market, however, it has
FOLLOW THE MONEY
With the potential for greater collaboration a reality and on the back of significant technical improvements, investors are increasingly taking an interest in the potential opportunities in this technology. Chad Hall, co-founder of Ioxus, says many investors believe in the ultracap “wholeheartedly” and are eager for the right solution and market to open. “Strategic partnerships lead the investment path, I believe, because the large strategic players are starting to see the use of ultracaps in their products and see their potential. Every technology goes through a curve, and we are finally at the adoption rate portion of the curve for ultracaps,” he says. Taavi Madiberk, chief executive of Skeleton Technologies, agrees that investors are taking an increasing interest in this space but he is keen to distinguish between the entire supercapacitor market and Skeleton Technologies. “Our products represent a paradigm shift in supercapacitor performance, which is crucial
for exponential market growth. Skeleton sees strong investor interest from the financial community, but lately even more from strategic investors, who understand the long-term value of supercapacitors,” he says. Priya Bendale, director of advanced engineering at Maxwell Technologies, has a different take on things as the company is more interested in partnerships than investors. “Maxwell’s commitment to educating our customers on our technology has resulted in a steady growth of our customer base. Our innovative technology portfolio has resulted in industry partnerships where we leverage our core technology to develop solutions for the next generation hybrid capacitors and battery designs,” she says. “Maxwell continues to innovate in the area of energy storage and systems designs. We recently announced our new hybrid capacitor and will continue to leverage our technology across other energy storage chemistries.”
Every technology goes through a curve, and we are finally at the adoption rate portion of the curve for ultracaps Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 51
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS
“Strategic partnerships lead the investment path, because the large strategic players are starting to see the use of ultracaps in their products and see their potential. Every technology goes through a curve, and we are finally at the adoption rate portion of the curve for ultracaps” — Chad Hall, Ioxus
affected some of the biggest players significantly,” Hall says. “Essentially, what has happened, is there has been a push to “buy red” — or have Chinese companies buy Chinese-made products. “There has been significant investment in Chinese ultracapacitor manufacturers, to bring them up to speed and try to shut out the US-based companies. The volume is still there for the market, but who is supplying those products is shifting.” In some ways, however, Chinese regulation and the influence of those on the market is a distraction from the breakthroughs that ultracapacitor makers have achieved in recent years. A number of companies have made strides forward in the technology they offer — each keen to showcase the work they have done. Priya Bendale, director of advanced engineering at Maxwell Technologies, says that in the last three years Maxwell has introduced new, higher voltage ultra-capacitor technology including 2.85V/3400F cell and 3V/3000F cells. “And we continue to drive innovative product development to maintain and grow our global leadership position,” says Bendale. Bendale says Maxwell’s products are gaining traction in automotive, wind
In August 2006, the first ultracapacitor electric bus route started its commercialized operation in Shanghai. With a maximum speed of 52km/hr, its charging time was between 30 seconds and three minutes. The key data was that its average energy consumption was 1kWh — a third of the cost of fuel powered buses. Its average energy recuperation rate was 20%. 52 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
pitch systems, transportation (bus and rail) and new grid programmes. “The new designs have higher capacitance and operating voltage driving to higher energy density, which results in cost-optimized systems solutions for the pertinent application,” she says. Hall at Ioxus sees it as significant that in the past four years, a number of companies have launched higher voltage products reaching 2.85V and 3.0V, up from 2.7V previously. This equates to approximately 20% higher energy (E=1/2CV2). As well as higher voltage, higher temperature ranges are now also available. While power has remained steady, temperature ranges have widened to -40°C to +85°C. His own firm has come out with a 85°C rated product — and other firms have done similar — increasing the location possibilities for the usage. Longer life, lower ESR and even more players releasing lithium-ion capacitors where energy stored is two to three times over traditional ultracapacitors, while retaining very high cycle life and good ESR are just some of the breakthroughs the market has seen in recent years, he says. Hall says modules have also become IP-67 rated for outdoor applications, and Ioxus has introduced an X-Series module, which he says allows for “right-sizing” of the modules for an off-the-shelf design, fitting into standard industry racks for large systems. “These types of modules dramatically reduce the design time required to select an appropriate module, as well as how to use and package them,” he says. Taavi Madiberk, the chief executive of Skeleton Technologies, which was formed in 2009 and now has a manufacturing capacity of 500,000 large format supercapacitors per year, echoes Hall in terms of the progress this technology has made in recent years. He says the power and energy performance of his company’s supercapacitors have improved significantly, specifically, in Skeleton’s case, due to the competitive advantage its patented curved graphene offers. He says Skeleton has increased power density to 60kW/kg-10 kW/kg compared with the 15 kW/kg-20kW/ kg that he claims its closest competitors can offer. “Furthermore, Skeleton Technologies has raised the bar on energy density to 13-14 Wh/l, compared to almost two times lower energy densities witnessed four years ago,” he says.
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COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS From a performance perspective, this is particularly useful for frequency regulation in the grid. “By having four times higher power density than the competition, Skeleton has managed to lower the amount of supercapacitors required for a 2.5MW application by half,” he says. “Only 1260 large-format SkelCap cells are required compared to over 2500 from the closest competitors. This leads to better usability and lowered costs.” Higher power density also brings, he says, higher efficiency and fewer issues with thermal management. “One of the issues hindering the market growth for hybrid electric buses has been the overheating of supercapacitor cells. Skeleton’s SkelCap cells generate less heat and can be reliably used in southern Asia, north Africa and other regions with a hot climate,” he says.
New players, a growing pie
Hall says more companies have entered the space in recent years, increasing the competition. Research by IDTechEx also shows that all types of companies are trying to become players in the supercapacitor industry, from large corporations to medium size companies to start-ups. The chart divides companies by rev-
enue size with start-ups to the right and large corporations to the left. The chart also indicates the level of commercialization of the supercapacitor products of these companies. The horizontal axis shows the level of commercialization from R&D (lower part) to advanced level of commercialization (upper part). Companies such as Yuanasko, for example, which has developed its own brand of ultracapacitors, is small in comparison to many rivals. It was only formed in 2010 in London and conducts its research and development work in Kiev. Solvay Research & Innovation is a much bigger player involved in many aspects of energy storage, but it is developing its own ultracapacitor. While the biggest players still dominate, the gap in size is closing quickly but the competition is heating up. “Big players have entered the game, and have put serious money into their product lines, creating products at lower costs to try to win the golden prize, which is automotive,” Hall says. Transportation has seen the largest increase in usage for ultracapacitors in the past four years with hundreds of thousands of hybrid buses on the road using this technology. The main reason for this is that it represents a lower cost alternative to
lithium products, with real achievable returns on investments, dramatic increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in emissions, says Hall. He claims there are also four million hybrid vehicles on the road using ultracapacitors as energy storage versus one million hybrids on the road using batteries as energy storage. “Those four million passenger cars have not had a single reported incident of failure in the field,” he points out. “Ultracapacitors remain the safest, easiest, longest life energy storage products to use.” Perhaps he would say that. But even his detractors say there is a growing role for supercaps in this sector. Hall estimates that the stop/start sector is going to grow to 80% of the ICE based automotives by 2020. This equates to approximately 100m vehicles off the production floor per year with start/stop. This also informs his target markets. “The biggest growth is automotive. Currently, our markets are trucks, trains, buses, industrial, and grid applications. We expect to move into the automotive passenger car market in the future,” he says. Hall says that micro-grid applications are picking up steam as well, with ultracapacitors “playing an integral role for short time hold-ups and power assistance, reducing the
Various players in the supply of supercapacitors — ranked alphabetically — are: • Armor • CAP • CRRC • Elbit Systems • Hutchinson • Ioxus • JSR • LS Mitron • Maxwell Technologies • Mondragon • NessCap • Nippon Chemi-Con • Panasonic • Samxon • Skeleton Technologies • Solvay • Supreme Power Solutions • TPR • Vina Technology Company • Yunasko
54 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS
“We recently announced our new hybrid capacitor and will continue to leverage our technology across other energy storage chemistries” — Priya Bendale, Maxwell need for power batteries and allowing energy-based batteries to perform extremely well”. In the energy storage sector, Hall estimates that the TAM — the total available market — is approximately $1 billion. This leaves a SAM — serviceable area market — of approximately $650m. “As automotive electrifies, grids become more flexible,
Maxwell’s product is slowly but surely gaining traction in this market segment and our product is now integrated in over two million cars in Europe and US models,” she says.
A bigger pond and industrial moves to more efficient demands, this TAM for ultracaps grows to $14 billion by 2020, with an estimated SAM of $5 billion to $6 billion,” he says. Bendale offers slightly different but equally optimistic estimates. “Based on recent reports, the 12V start-stop automotive segment is expected to be around 96.3 million cars by 2024.
Madiberk at Skeleton says that while the highest predictions suggest that by the mid-2020s the supercapacitor market will grow to $8 billion, this remains a niche market from a global perspective in comparison with the battery market, which already in 2005 stood at $60 billion. Yet he believes energy storage will play a key role in the growth, specifically with a combination of batteries and supercapacitors as the most eco-
Supercapacitor parameters by manufacturers Manufacturer Series name Capacitance Cell voltage (V) range (F) APowerCap APowerCap 4…550 2.7
Volumetric Gravimetric specific energy specific energy (Wh/dm3) (Wh/kg) –
Modules up to 20 V
Ultracapacitor 0.1…1.0 3.6
Modules up to 62 V
Modules up to 64 V
Supercapacitor 0.3800 2.3/2.7 ≤8.6 ≤6.6 –
Modules up to 130 V
Modules up to 130 V
Modules up to 160 V
2 cells in series
EDLC 3…50 2.7 Pseudocapacitor 50…300 2.3
≤7.1 ≤4.5 Modules up to 125 V ≤12.9 ≤8.7
Modules up to 15 V
Samwha Green-Cap® ESD-SCAP 3…7500
2.5/2.7 ≤7.6 ≤7.0 -
Modules up to 350 V
PAS Capacitor LIC Capacitor
1.0…500 2.3/3.0 ≤8.7
Modules up to 8.4 V
Modules up to 28 V
Modules up to 48 V
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 55
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COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS nomical solution for grid energy storage. “Grid power requirements are almost always dynamic, which means both high power and high energy components are needed,” he says. “We also see major utilities coming to the realization that energy storage is not a one-size-fits-all market for frequency, voltage support, peak shaving and load shifting. Already today, hybrid systems are the most economical solution for a number of grid applications. “Skeleton plans to power that segment growth by moving into full hybrid energy storage systems. By the mid-2020s we are looking at a multibillion market for supercapacitors and hybrid energy storage.” Some industrial applications, such as automated guided vehicles and cranes, are also moving toward ultracapacitors for their energy storage solutions, allowing them to run all year round with no stops or maintenance needs. “Some of these applications are achieving four million cycles on the energy storage solution,” Hall says. Madiberk agrees that transportation applications have seen significant growth in recent years, especially hybrid electric buses, locomotives and hybrid trucks. An important milestone for this market sector was reached by the development of the first OEMs with Mazda, PSA Group and GM all implementing supercapacitors for KERS (Kinetic Energy Recuperation System), start-stop and voltage stabilization applications. “Considering the long development cycles in the automotive industry this has created a strong platform for further growth,” Hall says. Some HEV cars have looked to adopt supercapacitors instead of lithium-ion batteries as has now been demonstrated feasible by Toyota and the University of California, Davis. Some commentators have argued that the adoption of supercapacitors by some big car brands in conventional and hybrid vehicles will force other manufacturers to adopt a more optimal, supercapacitor-centric approach to design, improving both reliability and performance. Many car manufacturers are assessing supercapacitors for their next hybrids, following the practice of Chinese bus manufacturers, MAN buses in Germany, the Toyota Formula One racer, the Yaris concept car and other hybrid electric vehicles in adopting supercapacitors in place of lithium ion batteries.
Energy density vs. power density for energy storage products
How higher temperature decreases lifetime in ultracapacitors
Madiberk admits that in some ways start-stop is the early bird of automotive applications for supercapacitors. But he notes that customer feedback shows that in the coming years he anticipates a roll-out of more KERS solutions similar to Mazda’s i-ELOOP and voltage stabilization systems similar to GM’s solution. “In addition, active suspension and e-turbocharger applications will go into volume. From a wider perspective, supercapacitors will be a key enabling technology in 48V automotive systems, which is an automotive megatrend,” he says. He says Skeleton Technologies has also taken the lead in developing new markets by commercializing the first commercial supercapacitor-based KERS for trucking fleets. Heavy transportation has been and
will be a huge growth market for energy saving solutions. “Trucks, locomotives, ships and cranes all burn huge amounts of fuel, and even small savings prove significant in the long run,” Madiberk says. “For example, our KERS solution for trucks can offer up to 25% decrease in fuel consumption and carbon emissions, which translates into huge savings for the heavy transportation industry.” And industrial grids are another market with a huge potential for growth. “Renewable energy production requires grid stabilization to protect the grid and energy storage to fully utilize the captured energy. Supercapacitor solutions can be used for frequency response, and to eliminate power quality problems such as voltage sags and swells, voltage flicker and power interruptions,” he says.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 57
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS “Today, supercapacitors’ cost is often seen as too high because they are compared to batteries on a cost/Wh basis. But when you look at cost/kw basis, supercapacitors are in order of magnitude cheaper than batteries” — Taavi Madiberk, Skeleton Technologies
BUMPS IN THE ROAD
It has not all been smooth sailing for ultracapacitor technology, however, and still is not. Apart from the issues on the China market, Taavi Madiberk, the chief executive of Skeleton Technologies, says that another major roadblock for supercapacitor market growth in general has been a lack of system engineering capability. “Even today, there is a gap between the supercapacitor manufacturers and the end customer. This is mainly due to two factors: supercapacitors are still a niche market, and the knowhow regarding supercapacitor applications is not widespread in the engineering community,” he says. Skeleton has attempted to bridge that gap by offering full energy storage solutions for grid
58 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
applications with the SkelRack product family, and KERS solutions for hybrid trucks and port cranes. “With these solutions we are reaching previously inaccessible markets, and at the same time lowering the risk and nonrecurring engineering costs for the customer,” he says. “At the end of the day, all supercapacitors are used on the module level, which means the sophistication in terms of diagnostics and software has been a key issue for development. Skeleton’s new module family enables the use of CAN-BUS, Ethernet and other communication protocols across the product family.” Madiberk wants to differentiate Skeleton Technologies from the entire supercapacitor market
and what it offers. “Our products represent a paradigm shift in supercapacitor performance, which is crucial for exponential market growth. Skeleton sees strong investor interest from the financial community, but lately even more from strategic investors, who understand the long-term value of supercapacitors,” he says. He also believes the KERS module has great potential for the whole transportation industry offering 25% savings for the average truck, “which translates to thousands of euros saved per truck yearly, not to mention the positive environmental impact. “We have calculated that if each truck manufactured for the European market would be equipped with our KERS, over five billion litres of fuel would be saved yearly. Globally the number is tenfold. “For port cranes, the savings would be even more significant. There are currently about 25,000 rubber-tired gantry cranes in operation globally. The LiftBoost system powered by Skeleton’s supercapacitor modules can be fitted to any RTG crane with a diesel or AC electric drive system with no modifications needed, and it works at 95% efficiency from -40°C to 65 °C. “By using the crane’s braking energy, we can save an average of 42% of the energy used. In addition, supercapacitors have extremely long lifetimes, which means that our KERS solutions will outlive any truck or crane they are installed on.”
COVER STORY: ULTRACAPACITORS Grid applications have also been a growth market, Madiberk says, arguing that windmill pitch control was the first killer application for supercapacitors, which “from an economic and reliability perspective supercapacitors have become a mainstay of the industry. “During the past couple of years supercapacitors have successfully made the leap to the utility side as standalone frequency regulation and voltage support for manufacturing plants and critical infrastructure. We have also seen the first supercapacitor-battery hybrid systems successfully deployed.”
Amid this challenge is also the question of whether ultracapacitors can actively compete with batteries for market share in some sectors, or whether there will be a coming together of the two technologies and hybrids emerging capturing the benefits of each. Hall at Ioxus believes ultracapacitors in general are not poised to take market share from batteries in most applications. Most applications of ultracapacitors in automotive rely on a hybridization of the energy storage system. “High energy batteries with high power ultracapacitors provide the most effective, efficient, capable, and lowest cost of ownership,” he says. “There are some applications, such
as wind pitch control and automated guided vehicles, where ultracapacitors are displacing batteries because of maintenance and recharge issues. However, that is not the norm and the relationship of ultracapacitors and batteries should be seen as symbiotic rather than competitive.” IDTechEx Research also says that batteries and supercapacitors combined offer the best solution for many energy systems from the automotive sector to grid energy storage, allowing batteries to perform better but also to extend their lifetime while reducing both their capex (capital expenditure) and opex (operating expenditure). Bendale from Maxwell agrees that the two technologies are more likely to complement each other than compete. “Ultracapacitors are a high power device designed to fulfill the peak power load demands of the application. Batteries and ultracapacitors each play a specific role in the energy storage landscape,” she says. “Maxwell ultracapacitors are typically used alone or in conjunction with batteries to meet the energy/ power demands of the platform. A hybrid energy storage can be optimized to balance energy (battery) and power (ultracapacitor) to provide a cost effective systems solution. It will be a case of collaboration with battery companies,” she says. Madiberk also believes that superca-
pacitors and batteries are not competing technologies. “The battery market growth fuels supercapacitor market growth as well, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As supercapacitor technology improves, we’ll see some overlap and supercapacitors taking market share from LTO and other high power type chemistries,” he says. He believes collaboration will increasingly take place but also that it will take three to five years for battery companies to understand that the one-size-fits-all approach is simply too expensive from a capex point of view, but also total cost of ownership perspective. “We see collaboration with battery companies, especially the ones that are trying to move higher up the value chain, as a way for the energy storage industry to move forward,” he says. Hall also reckons that a large battery company that finally sees supercapacitors as being on their side will benefit greatly by creating the final product that OEMs need. “Today, supercapacitors’ cost is often seen as too high because they are compared to batteries on a cost/Wh basis. But when you look at cost/kw basis, supercapacitors are in order of magnitude cheaper than batteries. A battery company could work with an ultracap company to create the best product to fit in a single package, and open the market up,” Hall says.
Grid energy storage will play a key role in the growing use of supercapacitors, specifically with a combination of batteries and supercaps as the most economical solution
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 59
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VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTORS A mixture of wariness and familiarity has caught up with lithium ion, once the darling of the venture capital community. Now VCs are seeking newer, more attractive chemistries with scalability while also increasingly complementing bigger corporates that are often investing as part of a strategic long-term plan. Wyn Jenkins reports.
Farewell to lithium as investors look for next iteration of the innovative
The world’s need for energy storage solutions has prompted rapid innovation in batteries and other forms of energy storage in recent years. It’s a perfect target for investors, so venture capital and private equity firms continue to make a variety of ploys to reap the possible benefits —
read profits. Historically, wooed by the massive market opportunity in certain sectors — especially automotive — investors piled into some sectors with lithium ion chemistries and, to a much lesser extent, advanced lead acid batteries. But a long courtship with lithium
ion has failed to result in anything resembling a fairy-tale ending for a number of investors who have got burned in recent years. On the back of this, their heads are only now being turned by younger, more attractive chemistries, innovators in materials or companies
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 61
VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTORS
“We probably see three or four business plans per month and invest in just 1% of those. The management team is naturally critical but in the battery or storage space we also need to understand exactly what makes a technology different and what the potential growth is.” at the ‘doing end’ of installing energy storage solutions. It is worth recapping briefly on some of the ventures that went wrong. In 2012, for example, UK battery company Atraverda, which makes ceramic bipolar batteries, shut production and called in the administrators. Formed in 1991, the company had previously secured two rounds of venture capital funding raising some £20 million (some $40 million in 1991 prices). Atraverda may for a while act as a timely reminder of the dangers the battery industry can hold for venture capital funds. The company had a unique and innovative technology that had the potential to revolutionize certain parts of the battery world. But investors had been awaiting tangible results since at least 1997
when Atraverda raised some £12 million — the rest had been waiting much longer. That is simply too long for most venture capital investors to wait. Most like to work to a window of three to five years before exiting and, ideally, turning a handsome profit. Unfortunately for energy storage pioneers this is more than likely to be a misfit between maturing a science from the laboratory to the production line — normally reckoned as easily taking up to a decade to happen.
The stuff of nightmares
Yet another horror story that some more pushy VC executives no doubt tell their children before they go to sleep is the unsettling tale of A123, a designer, developer, manufacturer and seller of rechargeable lithium ion
“The window for investing in lithium ion as a chemistry is over. There are some companies offering solutions that help leverage and add value to that chemistry but in terms of backing a chemistry in itself other alternative solutions or companies in the materials space look more attractive now.” 62 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
batteries and energy storage systems. In some ways, the story also probably sums up the sense of optimism around the potential of some battery technology, especially anything lithium ion based, back in 2007 and 2008 when just about every VC fund seemed to have an investment in a battery company of some description. A123 initially completed several rounds of funding with a number of VCs including North Bridge Venture Partners when on a wave of hype it raised $378 million from an initial public offering in 2009. This was on top of $249 million it also received in the form of a grant from the US Department of Energy. For a long time, A123 represented the benchmark by which all venture capital investors measured what was possible from the battery industry. Its apparent success and listing on the stock market made them believe other companies could achieve the same feat. A listing represented a clear exit strategy, while the government’s commitment to the sector through the provision of hefty grants provided reassurance that lithium ion technology really could be the answer. Yet despite all its potential and all the funds it secured, A123 never made a profit. The company started to flounder in the second half of 2012 (at which point North Bridge sold its shares) before being forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2012 after missing a $2.7 million interest payment. Its non-government business assets were eventually acquired by Wanxiang America Corporation and its government-related assets to Navitas Systems.
A different landscape
Fast forward to 2016 and the picture is a very different one. Chris Robinson, a research associate in the Energy Storage team at Lux Research, says the landscape has changed a lot since those days — and in the past three years in particular. There is now less interest from strictly venture capital firms in the space and more deals being done by larger firms either with their own VC arms or via project finance or simply as a straight business relationship/ partnership where future profits and revenues are used to help a business partner. “Investors have defiantly moved on from lithium ion now,” Robinson
VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTORS “I continue to see parallels between the battery field today and the automotive industry from 100 years ago. There are lots of players, large and small, and lots of differing technologies fighting for market dominance” — Norman Vickers, former VC fund director
says. “They saw people get burned. When you look at what happened with A123, investors lost a lot of money.” And where deals are taking place, the market has moved away from what are now regarded as innovative versions of the incumbent chemistries of lead acid or the wave of promising lithium ion start-ups and more towards some of the more esoteric emerging chemistries which have been able to find a niche and also solid growth in a very specific market. “The problem is that in the automotive space in particular, that market is now maturing and there is less opportunity for new companies to grab serious market share and become larger players,” Robinson says. “There are opportunities in the materials space, where innovation is occurring, and the stationary market is a bit different. But things have certainly changed.” Robinson says that flow batteries, sodium sulfur and zinc-based chemistries are receiving a lot more attention now, partly because of some of the unique characteristics they offer including a longer duration of storage. When it comes to companies at the ‘doing’ end of energy storage, much more common than venture
capital investments are project finance initiatives, the type of deals that helped grow the solar industry rapidly. A good example of this has been Stem, a provider of commercial energy storage systems, which recently secured $100 million in new financing from energy infrastructure investor Starwood Energy Group. Stem’s project financing resources now top $350 million. This is the sort of deal which, in that sector, can help move the energy storage market in a meaningful way. The company says it has now surpassed 75 megawatt-hours of systems operating at more than 450 facilities. Its customers include Wells Fargo, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Reliance Steel. It also complemented previous rounds of more traditional funding. Earlier this year, it announced a $15 million investment from Mithril Capital Management, bringing its Series C total to $68 million and its total venture funding to more than $110 million since it was founded as Powergetics in 2010. Other investors in the firm include Angeleno Group, Iberdrola, GE Ventures, Constellation New Energy, Total Energy Ventures, Mitsui & Co, and RWE Supply & Trading.
Horses for courses
Meanwhile, where equity investments take place in companies developing specific chemistries, it is not always the classic venture capital funds making those investments. Sion Power Corporation, for example, a company developing
And where deals are taking place, the market has moved away from what are now regarded as innovative versions of the incumbent chemistries of lead acid or the wave of promising lithium ion start-ups and towards some of the more esoteric emerging chemistries able to find a niche and also solid growth in a very specific market. 64 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
lithium-sulfur batteries, secured a $50 million equity investment from BASF, one of the world’s biggest chemical companies, in 2012. The investment, which builds on a long standing collaboration between the companies, is intended to accelerate the commercialization of Sion’s proprietary Li-S battery technology for electric and plug-in electric vehicles and other high-energy applications over the next decade. Robinson at Lux Research says such partnerships, where the investor has the knowledge and expertise to add to the development of new products, have become more common in recent years, with venture capital firms backing away slightly from the space. “A lot more corporates are looking to add value in this way,” he says. “Some have dedicated VC arms and will make equity investments, others approach it in different ways. But it is a different dynamic from when we see a lot of dedicated VCs seeking opportunities in this market.” That doesn’t mean pure-play VCs are not still involved in this space. Norman Vickers, formerly the entrepreneur in residence at Infield Capital, a VC fund based in Boulder, Colorado, which focuses on clean technologies for the transport industry, says that he still sees the energy storage industry as attractive to investors. “This field continues to be a crowded and exciting space. I continue to see parallels between the battery field today and the automotive industry from 100 years ago. There are lots of players, large and small, and lots of differing technologies fighting for market dominance. I also see a general lack of knowledge among the general populace,” he says. That said, Vickers has moved on from his VC days. He now sits on the board of a Silicon Carbide company working on high power conversion technologies and works for Fujitsu as a global delivery director. Andrew Haughian, partner at Pangaea Ventures, a venture capital
VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTORS
CASE STUDY, AQUA METALS AND THE THINKING BEHIND INVESTING Investors in Aqua Metals were faced with a dilemma when considering whether to take a stake in the startup. The firm, which recycles lead through an electrochemical process — which it has not disclosed publicly — rather than a smelting method, had a story that seemed too good to be true. Rob Romero, the founder of investment firm Connective Capital described his visit to the San Francisco firm, saying he was sceptical of breakthrough new processing technologies, “especially when it comes to a chemical process that is over 100 years old”. He later related: “So I hired the best independent electrochemical expert I could find: Ralph Brodd, who has served in technical committees for the Department of Energy, NASA and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and is past president of the Electrochemical Society. Needless to say, he was sceptical too, having seen lots of inventions come and go, trying to purify lead without smelting. “To allow us to see the commercialscale production pod, the company required both of us to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA), so I’m limited on what I can say. We went to Oakland, and got a demonstration of the commercial-size pod operating at full tilt. “We were surprised,” says Romero. “One look at Ralph told me what we needed to know. We were not only impressed by the ease by which the machine pulled out highly purified lead from the aqueous solution, also how knowledgeable and forthright the CEO Steve Clarke was with us in explaining details about their process.” Romero said that typically he looked at three criteria when assessing new technology start-ups as potential investments. “The first,” he told Batteries International, “is the simple one of looking at the technology — does it work and can that be demonstrated as such? Then of course is it scalable? Technology that works in the lab or in a batch process doesn’t necessarily translate into something that will work on the production line. So you look at the product engineering. As part of this you look
Open house as Aqua Metals displays its first AquaRefinery facility in US state of Nevada this August
at the financial side of things — what are the gross margins on the technology, for example? “Second, you look at the business model. What are the market opportunities out there? Where will the supply channels come from and where will the products be sold — and how. “Last is the more intangible; what’s the market sentiment for the product? Even if it works in terms of the technology and business model, if it doesn’t fit the mood of investors it may well not fly. And sometimes, of course, even when the technology and the business model aren’t up to scratch investors will nevertheless support them.” As part of this due diligence, other factors were taken into account by investors. “We’ve seen the technology in action, have validated it with industry experts and believe that it is immediately scalable,” said Michael Cahill, founder of investment firm Crispin Capital Management, which has taken a long position in Aqua Metals. “The ability to build an Aqua Metals modular facility next to a battery collection centre — removing the need for moving spent batteries to distant, expensive smelting centres — is a compelling business case that could witness mass adoption worldwide.”
Coming at the firm from another perspective as an investor was the US Department of Agriculture — one of the guarantors of a project loan from Green Bank to build the first commercial plant. For verification of the firm’s technological validity the department hired Maggie Teliska, head of independent testing firm RyanTel, to conduct a review. “Initially I was not just sceptical but deeply sceptical about this,” she told Batteries International. “But as I conducted the technical feasibility study and saw the hydrometallurgical process in action, I saw that this was not just viable but real and even had a genius quality to it.” Teliska, whose doctorate in physical chemistry is particularly relevant, has signed a non-disclosure document barring her from revealing the details. That said, she told the magazine that she had gone through the paperwork to validate areas such as the finances and the business and distribution model. “I can vouch that the costs, sales and revenue projections add up,” she said. Perhaps most importantly she validated the fact that the refining process was scalable. On the basis of her recommendations, the USDA Rural Development Agency is guaranteeing 90% of a $10 million commercial loan from Green Bank.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 65
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“For traditional VCs, there is an element of fatigue in this space. There have been some high profile failures. Some companies are shy at the moment and we have seen more deals done on the basis of strategic alliances by companies with interest in the value chain.”— Andrew Haughian, Pangaea Ventures are available, potentially limiting the sake of electric vehicles for the foreseeable future,” he said. “In fact, our announcement demonstrates that major improvements are already on the horizon.”
Strategic but different fund that invests in early stage cleantech companies with worldclass advanced materials innovation, remains very active in this space. In some ways, this fund’s investments in the space match the changing pattern described. “For traditional VCs, there is an element of fatigue in this space. There have been some high-profile failures,” Haughian says. “Some companies are shy at the moment and we have seen more deals done on the basis of strategic alliances by companies with interest in the value chain. Some companies have their own VC arms for this purpose and we have complemented the likes of GM in this way.” One of Pangaea’s investments, for example, was in Envia Systems, a company that has developed advanced lithium ion cathode technology and which secured $17 million from investors including Pangaea and General Motors Ventures, the investment arm of General Motors, in 2011. That investment was made on the basis of the belief that lithium ion technology will eventually unlock the potential for electric vehicles as Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures, stated at the time of the deal. “Sceptics have suggested it would probably be many years before lithium ion batteries with significantly lower cost and higher capability
This deal also illustrated how some firms are seeking strategic investors that are not strictly VCs and which have the capability to think long term. Pangaea also participated in a $15 million Series C funding in 2015 in Cnano Technology, a company in China that manufactures multiwall carbon nanotubes products for the energy storage, structural and electronics industries. The lead investor on the deal was GRC SinoGreen Fund, a Chinese VC fund. Cnano Technology’s carbon nanotubes product is tipped to penetrate the rapidly growing lithium ion battery market. The funds will be used to scale up its manufacturing capabilities, allowing it to sell products into the worldwide market. Finally, and very much in line with the idea that VCs are moving towards new chemistries and battery designs, in October this year Pangaea led a $3.2 million investment in Energy Storage System (ESS), a company founded in 2011 that has developed an All-Iron Redox Flow Battery, which it is selling as a solution for commercial and utility-scale long duration energy storage where more than four hours of energy capacity and high numbers of cycles are expected. The financing will enable the company to make investments in tooling that will position ESS for volume production of its low cost
“Lithium is now well along the curve so anything new has to either fit into that existing dynamic or be capable of being scaled up very quickly and very efficiently to get to a cost that can beat lithium ion with minimal capital outlay.” 66 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
battery components and to support its market development activities. Haughian at Pangaea Ventures says the time to invest in lithium ion is now over — its investment in Envia Systems was made at the right time, he believes, and he admits there may be an exit strategy on the horizon. “The window for investing in lithium ion as a chemistry is over,” he says. “There are some companies offering solutions that help leverage and add value to that chemistry but in terms of backing a chemistry in itself, other alternative solutions or companies in the materials space look more attractive now.” ESS is a perfect example of this. Haughian says this company has a bright future as a grid storage solution thanks to its long cycle life and cost of storage — it is also a very sustainable chemistry with very few health and safety or environment issues or concerns. The raw materials it uses are also far more plentiful than lithium ion. Haughian says he believes sodiumion and lithium-sulfur chemistries could gain traction in certain sectors because of some of the unique characteristics of each, but he also admits that everything from the technology to the market opportunity to the people have to be right for VCs to commit to investing. “We probably see three or four business plans per month and invest in just 1% of those,” he says. “The management team is naturally critical but in the battery or storage space we also need to understand exactly what makes a technology different and what the potential growth is. “Lithium is now well along the curve so anything new has to either fit into that existing dynamic or be capable of being scaled up very quickly and very efficiently to get to a cost that can beat lithium ion with minimal capital outlay.” He adds that some chemistries also have complexities and risk around the manufacturing process — something flow batteries do not have.
VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTORS
SEEKING A DIFFERENTIATOR Interest in investing in the energy sector has been picking up in recent quarters. According to Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, VC funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) for Smart Grid companies increased slightly to $425 million in 57 deals in 2015, compared to $384 million in 74 deals in 2014. Within these figures, battery/ storage companies brought in $397 million in 37 deals in 2015 compared to $431 million in 34 deals in 2014. Flow battery companies received the most funding with $120 million followed by energy storage system companies with $96 million. The top VC funded companies in 2015 included VionX Energy, which raised $58.1 million, Younicos, with $50 million, Stem, which brought in $33 million, and Primus Power and UniEnergy Technologies, each raising $25 million. Looking at activity in 2016, the figures also seem healthy. Smart grid, battery storage and efficiency companies combined raised $102 million in venture capital funding in Q3 2016 though funding for battery storage companies specifically declined sharply with $30 million in nine deals compared to $125 million in 10 deals in Q2 2016. YoY funding in Q3 2016 was lower than Q3 2015, which had $96 million in nine deals. In Q2 2016, 20 investors participated in battery and storage funding compared with eight in Q1 2016. Lithium ion battery companies raised the most funding with $51.3 million in three deals. The stats show that flow batteries have been of particular interest to investors. ViZn Energy Systems, a provider of zinc and iron chemistrybased flow battery energy storage systems for utilities and microgrids, and also the largest producer of flow batteries in the world, is a good example. It raised another $10 million in April 2016, bringing ViZn’s total funding in this round to $16.8 million. ViZn Energy CEO Ron Van Dell says the funds are being used to scale up its level of deployments. He says that flow battery technology is attractive to investors, and
stands out from other technologies, because of its consistent performance long term. “If you look at it from a battery technology standpoint — do you have a system that downgrades with use or not?” Van Dell asks. “Most of the systems have a steady decline in their performance, in particular lithium ion. “We have a battery that has a consistent performance over time regardless of how you use it. “From a user standpoint, users are conflicted right now with what to do when presented with a battery warranty that starts out looking good and then largely falls off over time. To highlight this differentiating factor, ViZn now offers a performance guarantee on its products — a 95% power guarantee on its large-scale flow batterybacked energy storage systems for up to 20 years. “There are so many technological statements and claims out there, we put our paperwork where our mouth is. It’s better than talk,” he says. “Lithium ion battery life and its limited warranties have been a limiting factor for the widespread adoption of energy storage. “Our flow batteries have been thoroughly evaluated by Black and Veatch for longevity and
performance over a long system life. The system’s long term warranty and ability to deliver 95 per cent of the rated power for 20 years will give utilities, developers and banks confidence that their energy storage is engineered to last as long as the infrastructure or generation system it is typically coupled with.” This is a strong example of a differentiating technology being attractive to investors. Another is Zap&Go, a UK company that has developed an ultra-fast supercapacitor it claims is capable of charging a mobile device in just five minutes. The company recently raised $7.6m (£6.25m) of capital from private investors in the US and is in the process of building its first production facility in a new 15,000 square foot building. High volumes of production are planned for 2018. The company claims its technology will deliver a revolutionary improvement in battery life for a range of customers, in rechargeable devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers, cordless power tools, robot cleaners and electric vehicles. While the investment picture may have changed in recent years, the money is still available for companies able to set themselves apart and show a scalable business plan.
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 67
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CONFERENCE IN PRINT Making the best tab-to-terminal connections in battery pack manufacturing is important, writes Geoff Shannon at Amada Miyachi America, as the right welding system will help you achieve and maintain production throughput and yield targets.
Laser and resistance welding for tab-to-terminal automation Battery packs have become an integral part of everyday life, powering a growing range of portable electronic devices, cordless power tools, energy storage and hybrid and electric vehicles. Tab-to-terminal connection welding is one of the key battery pack manufacturing applications. Manufacturers need equipment, systems, and auto-
mated lines that meet quality and production requirements for these products. Both resistance and laser products are well suited to integration into production lines that may be either standalone or automated operation. To maintain the required throughput that offers high quality and yields, us-
ers must have a clear understanding of which process is best for the particular battery pack size, tab and terminal material, type, and thickness. In addition, the selected process and integration solution should include process monitoring, process data management, and weld quality assessment.
Battery pack basics
Today’s battery packs come in a variety of configurations, as shown in Figure 1. Battery packs use several different battery types, including cylindrical, prismatic, ultra-capacitor, and pouch. Materials joining requirements vary depending on the battery’s specific type, size and capacity. Tab-to-terminal connections, internal terminal connections, tab welding, seam welding, fill port welding, short circuit protection, laser marking, and external electrical connections are a few key examples. Figure 2 shows the typical joining requirements for the different battery types. This paper focuses primarily on welding tabs to terminals.
Manufacturing systems for welding Figure 1: Typical battery pack configurations.
Figure 2: Battery types. 70 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
In most cases, pack manufacturers receive individual batteries from vendors, so the critical process step for pack manufacturing is joining the individual batteries together using a collector plate, which consists of tabs for the individual cells to be welded to both the positive and negative terminals.
Along with considerations of materials, joint geometry, weld access, cycle time and budget, the welding technology selected will also be affected by the manufacturing flow and production www.batteriesinternational.com
CONFERENCE IN PRINT In addition, many packs will need a smaller number of collector plate-tobusbar connections. Along with considerations of materials, joint geometry, weld access, cycle time and budget, the welding technology selected will also be affected by the manufacturing flow and production. Reviewing all these factors will usually point in the direction of the joining technology most suitable for the application: laser or resistance welding.
Fibre laser welding
The laser welding process is non-contact, has no consumables, and offers instantaneous welding once the laser is positioned at the weld point location. The weld size and location on the part can be closely controlled and optimized to each application for strength and conductivity. There are a number of motion options that can be tailored to each manufacturing environment. For tab-to-terminal welds, fibre lasers can be used for prismatic, cylindrical and pouch battery types, as well as ultra-capacitors. The tab thickness can vary from 0.006-0.08-inch for both aluminum and copper tab material, depending on the size of the battery. The fibre laser is able to weld many material combinations including aluminium to aluminium, aluminium to steel, copper to steel, and copper to aluminium. Whatever the material combination and part thickness, the laser must not penetrate the can or overheat the battery. Suitable selection of the fibre laser, spot size, weld parameters selection and controlling the weld path enables fine control of both penetration and heat into the part. Figure 3 shows some examples of common dissimilar materials combinations for tab-to-terminal welding. For a lap weld the tab thickness should be ideally 50% thicker than the can thickness. This provides a large processing window and high production yields. The fibre laser source can be sized and matched with the appropriate motion platform according to cycle time and production throughput. For high volume systems, the welding time can run at <100 milliseconds (ms) per weld, while low volume production systems run at about one to two seconds per weld.
Resistance welding has been used in the battery industry for 40 years. A steady stream of advances in resistance welding systems has given users signifiwww.batteriesinternational.com
Figure 3: Weld cross section of tab-to-terminal combinations
Resistance welding has been used in the battery industry for 40 years. A steady stream of advances in resistance welding systems has given users significantly improved capabilities to control various aspects of the process. cantly improved capabilities to control various aspects of the process. For example, the introduction of DC inverter power supplies with basic closed-loop electrical modes provides the ability to accommodate changes in the secondary circuit (the electrical loop from cable connection on the negative side of the power supply or transformer, through the weld head and the parts returning to the positive side) to specifically address part resistance. Also, polarity switching for capacitance discharge supplies to enable balancing of the weld nuggets, and more recently, the addition of displacement and electrode force measurement, provide manufacturers with more tools to ensure weld quality. Resistance welding is the most costeffective method for joining tabs on a wide range of battery types and sizes, using both DC inverter closed loop and capacitor discharge power supplies. With fast rise times, closed loop feedback control, polarity switching, and options for displacement and force sensing, the process can be finely tuned and monitored to ensure both high quality and yield. For nickel tab thicknesses up to 0.0070 of an inch (0.1778mm), the tab can be welded without modification. Beyond this thickness, and to prevent electrical shunting and excessive electrode wear, a slot and projections are placed in the tab as part of the stamp-
ing process. The projections act not only as energy concentrators for the weld, but also greatly increase electrode lifetimes. The important aspects of tab welding for battery packs are the thickness and material of both the tab and the terminal. Resistance welding is extremely well suited to welding nickel tab material up to 0.015 inch (0.381mm) thickness, and nickel or steel clad copper tab material to around 0.012 inch (0.3048mm) thickness to a wide variety of terminal materials. Welding tabs or terminal connections to busbars generally does not require as much penetration of heat input control as the tab-to-terminal welds. The materials, material thickness and combination of materials determine the best welding technique.
Which technology to select
Battery pack production volumes are driven by the demands of consumer electronics and electric vehicles. Likewise, the manufacturing and joining needs are determined by the pack size, type and thickness of the busbar, and tab and terminal materials. Laser and resistance technologies each have specific features that align well to these joining needs. A clear understanding of the technologies and application is needed to implement an efficient and reliable production battery pack welding system.
Resistance welding is the most cost-effective method for joining tabs on a wide range of battery types and sizes, using both DC inverter closed loop and capacitor discharge power supplies. Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2016 â€˘ 71
CONFERENCE IN PRINT The ease of tooling a material is directly related to the tab or busbar thickness and subsequent stiffness. Thick material with high stiffness does not deflect under clamping pressure, so it maintains contact with fairly simple tooling. Table 1 offers some guidelines on the available methods and a few parameters, including suitability for a variety of battery pack applications. Table 2 provides an overview of battery pack joining applications and key components of joining solutions required.
enclosure doors for part load and unload in addition to access panels for setup and maintenance. For a resistance welding system, although there may not be any panels, light curtains are used to protect the keep out zones. If loading into the enclosure is automated, a conveyer is commonly used.
A complete production solution for battery pack manufacturing needs to deliver and support the required product flow. The system must take into consideration how the pack is loaded and unloaded, how the un-welded parts are held before and during welding, and whether and to what level the system reports data and information to the supervisory control software.
The enclosure requirements for laser and resistance welding are quite different; the key difference is the need for lasers to be housed in a class 1 lighttight enclosure according to ANSI 136.1. This requires the complete system to be enclosed, and adds the need for
To support inline production that uses conveyers, and to minimize the system’s physical footprint, resistance weld heads or laser focus heads should be moved, while the pack remains stationary. For resistance welding systems, a defining factor in determining whether the weld head or pack moves is the length of weld cables needed. Increasing the length of the weld cable requires additional voltage from the power supply to push the current through. This tends to limit cable length to between three and eight feet (0.9m-2.4m), depending on the application and power supply. Scan heads are being used for more and more laser welding motion solutions. For low volume applications, scan heads offer cost effective solu-
Table 1 Technology
Battery Pack Applications
Non-contact High speed welding Tailored weld patterns Weld any joint geometry Weld dissimilar metals
Cylindrical, prismatic, pouch, ultra-capacitor
Resistance welding Closed loop feedback welding Cost effective Self-tooling
Cylindrical, small prismatic
Welds per second
< 0.015” thick nickel/steel straps < 0.007” thick copper straps
Up to 1*
Up to 0.04”+ thick tab material
Up to 20*
Tooling (for laser welding only)
The ease of tooling a material is directly related to the tab or busbar thickness and subsequent stiffness. Thick material with high stiffness does not deflect under clamping pressure, so it maintains contact with fairly simple tooling. However, as the tab thickness for many battery packs is less than 0.015 inches, this means the tab stiffness is not sufficient for simply clamping. Instead, it requires a well-designed tool to apply a localized clamp force that ensures intimate contact, but does not damage the parts. With decreasing tab thickness, tooling is even more critical. Welding a tab thickness of 0.005 inches (0.125mm) or less is not recommended. Another critical factor for laser welding tooling and part positioning is ensuring the part’s weld surface, typically in the z or vertical plane, is maintained to the laser’s focal position. This sometimes requires the use of height sensors or vision systems. Shown in Figure 4 is an example of a laser welding focus head with integrated tooling.
*Material and material thickness dependent
tions. For high volumes, scan heads offer a very high speed motion that can be utilized to minimize weld times and point-to-point positioning times. Scan heads can also provide a large weld area, with certain configurations providing up to and greater than a 10x10 inch (250x250mm) weld area. For large pack sizes this minimizes the number of steps needed to weld the entire pack, which can significantly reduce cycle time. For example, the point-to-point positioning of the scan heads for a one-inch (25mm) travel distance can be completed in 10 to 20 milliseconds.
The protocol and control of data to and from a system depends upon the level of automation and the manufacturing environment. Therefore, options and a flexible platform for communication control software and data management are needed to ensure scalable functionality and performance in diverse applications. For example, Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 industry initiatives demand data transmission speed, networking, storage capacity, and processing power that are far greater than traditional use cases for such methods as Statistical Process Control and machine monitoring. Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 73
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Typically, monitoring techniques capture certain wavelengths of light from the weld area that correspond to ultraviolet from the welding plume and keyhole, infrared from thermal heating of the part, and the back reflection of the laser light itself.
Figure 4: Laser welding focus head with integrated tooling.
To meet these needs, modern battery assembly systems are equipped with protocols such as EthernetIP, PROFINET, and Modbus TCP/IP. These Ethernet-based protocols offer ready-made solutions for network configurability, ease of integration, unparalleled data transmission speed and security, and the ubiquitous availability of network hardware and software.
Even after optimizing a process, there are certain production tolerances and setup factors that will cause a weld de-
fect. For laser welding, the key factors are part fit-up and maintaining the focus of the laser at the part weld interface. For resistance welding, electrode wear is the key culprit. There is a comprehensive range of resistance welding process monitoring products that provide information independent of the power supply or weld head regarding variances in the weld electrical properties, force and displacement. For example, one can monitor the weldâ€™s dynamic resistance, voltage or current over the duration of the weld
pulse. In addition, one can measure the rate of the weld collapse as well as the overall weld collapse. All this information can be used for process monitoring. At present, data is collected, a set of waveforms defined, and then limits or an envelope is placed around the waveform. Future technologies will likely offer better tools to define the good weld/bad weld decision, as well as provide predictive analysis. Monitoring laser welding is more challenging, because it is a non-contact process without the benefit of electrodes touching. Typically, monitoring techniques capture certain wavelengths of light from the weld area that correspond to ultraviolet from the welding plume and keyhole, infrared from thermal heating of the part, and the back reflection of the laser light itself. With suitable sensing and analysis, these signals can be utilized as a basis for process monitoring. Figure 5 shows some examples of Amada Miyachi America integrated systems for battery pack manufacturing, including a conveyor-fed automation cell, a laser tab welding system with fire suppression deployment, and a resistance welding system.
Figure 5: Integrated battery pack manufacturing solutions 74 â€˘ Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2016
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Pole-mounted energy storage systems for residential load applications could be the next direction forward for grid balancing say researchers Mohamed Awadallah, Bala Venkatesh, and Hari Subramaniam from Ryerson University in Toronto.
PMESS the shape of ESS to come The world’s first pole-mounted ener- terms of nature, volume, and pattern. coils in chemical, kinetic, electrostatic, gy storage system (PMESS) has been There is a noticeable increasing pace potential, and electromagnetic forms, installed. The system, which is based of replacing automobiles driven via respectively. Some technologies are on prismatic lithium-ion battery mod- internal combustion engines by elec- optimal for long term storage, such as ules, aims at providing peak shaving tric or hybrid-electric vehicles. pumped hydro, whereas other forms and load profile smoothing services The load on the electric grid is ac- of storage are optimal for short term to a pole-top distribution transformer cordingly increasing in value and storage, such as batteries, flywheels, feeding residential loads. changing in nature. supercapacitors, and superconducting An intelligent control algorithm has EV chargers extensively employ coils. been developed by researchers at Ry- power electronic circuitry resulting in However, batteries are suitable for erson University to automate the pro- more waveform distortion. The charg- medium term and, in some applicacess of daily scheduling of the storage ing patterns of EV tend to alter the tions, flywheels as well. Energy storoperation. System operation is based load profile on the network. Bidirec- age elements can primarily bridge the CONFERENCE IN PRINT on optimal utilization of the battery tional chargers also enable two-way gap between generation and demand energy available at the beginning of energy exchange either from grid to at a given time, no matter which one the planned 24-hour period. vehicle (G2V) or from vehicle to grid storage exceeds the other. Pole-mounted energy systems for The PMESS has gone through ex- (V2G). Energy storage can also provide the residential load applications couldwithbe nextanciltensive laboratory tests for proof of The immediate impact of EV charg- network manythe invaluable concept and performance measure- ers is on distribution transformers lary services such as power quality direction forward for grid balancing say researchers ment. Further, the PMESS is installed where charging stations are directly improvement, grid frequency support, on top of a utility pole close to Mohamed a connected. InAwadallah, addition, the typology of voltage sag compensation, system Bala Venkatesh, and and Hari 50 kVA distribution transformer feed- the EVs themselves are a cause for con- stability enhancement, to name a few. Subramaniam from in unit Toronto. ing residential customers. Field testing cern – the industry startedRyerson with 20kWhUniversity The PMESS makes use of the of the PMESS is underway systems which is now approaching smart grid attributes and employs Renewable energy sources, such as 85kWh battery packs in cars. lithium-ion batteries to provide supPMESS of ESS come solar and wind power, are increasingly This is anthe era shape of reformation of toport to a pole-top distribution transpenetrating through power systems at the electric power systems along the former. The primary objective is load both the transmission and distribu- source axis as well as the load axis. curve smoothing combined with peak The firstpower pole-mounted energy storage tion levels. However, apart from genIn suchworld’s a revolutionary mar- shaving of the transformer. eration, renewable energy sources are ket, energy storage becomes a necessiThe heart of the energy storage syssystem ( generally characterized with uncer- ty as it provides flexible control sche- tem is an inverter which sets the opertainty, variability, and non-dispatcha- ma. Effects of the and A ating point of the battery. A control alcommands tointermittence the inverter. conceptual schematic bility as it pertains to the transmission fluctuation of renewables as well as gorithm is responsible for scheduling diagram of the system shown in daily Figure1. and distribution planning and capacload profile alteration due toisEVs can the battery operation 24-hours ity requirements. be mitigated through energy storage. ahead, and for sending corresponding Uncertainty denotes that it is not In general, energy can be stored in timely commands to the inverter. A known for sure whether a particular batteries, flywheels, supercapacitors, conceptual schematic diagram of the source of power will be available at a pumped hydro, and superconducting system is shown in Figure1. given time and location. Meanwhile, variability implies that, even when a certain source is known to be available at some time and location, the value of the accessible power will be most likely changing. Finally, assuming that a specific source is available at a fixed power value, such value will usually mismatch the system needs at the same time; in other words, the available power is non-dispatchable. Another paradigm shift is being forced by the increased adoption of electric vehicles leading to load profile shifts on the distribution feeders in Figure 1: Schematic diagram of the system.
Figure 1: Schematic diagram of the system.
76 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Testing results so far show evident effectiveness in achieving the initial objectives of the unit. The load curve on the secondary of the distribution transformer is smoothed with obvious peak shaving. The adequate functionality of the PMESS requires control software composed of three major modules for communication, load forecasting, and optimization. The software algorithm runs continuously on an industrial computer, which is a component of the PMESS, communicating with other peripheral devices in the system. The communication module of the control software ensures that the computer can obtain information about the load point and battery status, and can send charging or discharging commands to the inverter. Hourly load values are obtained through the smart meters of the load and averaged over six time periods of the day as shown in Figure 2. The load forecasting module uses today’s load variations along with information about the day and season to predict tomorrow’s load over the same time periods. The optimization module takes the forecasted load profile of tomorrow and the present available energy in the battery as inputs. Outputs of the optimization module represent the scheduled battery power during the same time periods for the next 24 hours. It should be highlighted that a flat load profile, Figure 2, is ultimately sought, but it is only attainable if the power and energy capacities of the battery are unlimited. However, with limitations on the power rating and energy capacity, the objective becomes to minimize the error between the actual load profile and the desired flat one. Apparently, an optimization problem is to be solved in order to minimize such an error.
spans of different time periods, as shown in Figure 2, are considered. Therefore, the power rating of either the inverter or battery is calculated to be sufficient to bring the minimum or maximum load values to an assumed average. On the other hand, the energy rating of the battery is estimated based on the power rating and time period durations. The next step is to seek the market-available units which could be used to make up the required ratings. The process led to the selection of three units of a commercial inverter rated at 5.5kW, and three units of lithium-ion battery modules rated at 5.3kW and 5.3kWh each. To match the DC range of the battery pack operation with the input DC voltage of the inverter, the three inverters are connected in parallel as well as the three battery modules. Sizing of cables and circuit breakers on both the AC and DC sides is appropriately designed. Moreover, an
uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is used to feed the industrial computer and all other low-power circuitry to help these devices overcome shorttime power interruptions. Remote connectivity to the industrial computer is established through an internet stick run under a mobile network. Accessing the industrial computer to run or stop the control algorithm, and to monitor system performance, is possible through the remote desktop application working on a Windows operating system. In other words, it is possible to access the industrial computer remotely through another computer connected to the internet. The control algorithm saves a spread-sheet file with the measurements of system performance indices every 24 hours. System monitoring and results acquisition is carried out via remote access of the industrial computer.
The adequate functionality of the PMESS require control software composed of three major modules fo battery as inputs. Outputs of the optimization module represent th scheduled battery power during the same time period design mechanical for the next 24 hours. It System should be—highlighted that The PMESS mechanical design is A MEMA-4 cabinet enclo- but it flat load profile, Figure 2,threefold. is ultimately sought, sure, which accommodates all system components accessories, is to be only attainable if the power andandenergy capacities o designed in terms of the dimensions, and manufacturing process. the battery are unlimited. material, However, with limitations o Particular emphasis was placed on the power rating and energy capacity, the objectiv relevant safety codes and regulations as well as the weight profile for the becomes to minimize the error between the actual loa profile and the desiredand flatreconfigurable one. The PMESS is scalable to meet the technical needs applications problem and load Apparently, anof other optimization is to b types. Increasing the number of inverter units or solved in order to minimize such an error. battery modules will consequently increase the power and/or energy ratings of the system.
System design — electrical
The PMESS is designed to be installed on a utility pole with or within the nearby proximity of a 50kVA poletop distribution transformer whose load curve will be smoothed. The power rating of the inverter, and the power and energy ratings of the battery are to be accordingly selected. The minimum and maximum load values on the transformer are obtained from records, and the time www.batteriesinternational.com
Figure 2: Load profile over six time periods of th Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 77 day. Figure 2: Load profile over six time periods of the day.
CONFERENCE IN PRINT The system, which is based on prismatic lithium-ion battery modules, aims at providing peak shaving and load profile smoothing services to a pole-top distribution transformer feeding residential loads. PMESS and the pole. Further, the bracket attaching the cabinet to the pole and supporting its weight was also designed. Finally, an HVAC unit is required to help maintain the temperature inside the cabinet within permissible working limits accounting for weather extremes in Canada. The major components of the PMESS are three inverters and three lithium-ion battery modules. System accessories include industrial computer, UPS, an internet switch, communication box for the inverters, disconnect switches, and connection cables. The dimensions, weights, and installation requirements of all system components and accessories are known beforehand. Such information is used to design the cabinet, Figure 3. Next, weight and dimensions of the loaded cabinet are input to the process of bracket design. A structural analysis is conducted, accounting for ice load and wind pressure as expected in Toronto, to assure the bracket design is safe. Finally, the inside volume of the cabinet and the temperature extremes in Toronto are considered to design an HVAC unit that maintains the internal temperature between 0°C and 25°C. The inside walls of the cabinet are also thermally insulated.
Components, peripherals, and accessories of the PMESS are assembled for functionality testing in the Schneider Electric Smart Grid Laboratory at Ryerson University. Communication channels are established between the host computer and system components such as the inverters, batteries, and smart meter. Communications are carried out through the Modbus TCP/IP protocol implemented using the MATLAB Instrument Control Toolbox. The three inverters have a common communication box to which the computer communicates. Each battery module has a battery management system which acquires cell voltage and temperature data, and manages cell voltage balancing. A master PLC controller receives battery information from the three BMSs, controls the main contactor of the battery pack, and communicates to the host computer. The next step in system development is to assemble the PMESS unit inside its cabinet and conduct a series of factory acceptance tests including: • Communication tests • Connectivity to industrial computer • Battery cycling • Extreme loading • Scheduled operation • Anti-islanding test.
The PMESS unit is subsequently installed on top of a pole in a distribution network in Toronto. Due to standard requirements of pole installations by the hosting distribution utility, the PMESS is installed on an independent pole close to that of the transformer as shown in Figure 4. The unit is commissioned by a third party commissioner who followed the test protocol recommended by the distribution utility. Field testing of the unit starts after it is successfully commissioned. The control algorithm assures the unit is consistently scheduled for operation 24-hours ahead of time. Performance characteristics of the unit and distribution transformer are continuously measured every hour. Measurements include battery voltage, current and energy; grid voltage and THD; transformer power and power factor; inverter power; and line current THD. Every day at 11pm, the main control task is carried out as follows. The measured load powers of today are averaged over the six time periods and used, along with day and season indicators, as inputs to the load forecasting module. Accordingly, tomorrow’s load power values during the six time periods are predicted. The forecasted powers, as well as the present amount of available battery energy, are input to the battery scheduling module which solves an optimization problem. Therefore, power exchange between the PMESS unit and hosting network during different time periods is optimally determined for the next 24 hours.
Figure 3: PMESS cabinet: (a) Front view, (b) Rear view. 78 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
CONFERENCE IN PRINT
Figure 4: PMESS on the utility pole: (a) During installation, (b) After installation.
In other words, times for battery charging or discharging will be determined as well as the amount of power to draw from or send to the grid, respectively. At designated times, the algorithm sends operation commands to the inverters through the communication box in order to set the operation mode and power of the battery pack. Also, at 11pm every day, a spreadsheet file containing the performance characteristics of the system for today is saved. Data files can be remotely retrieved from the industrial computer at any time. The control process continues following the exact same steps. The whole process can be stopped by ending the execution of the MATLAB script. The site-testing phase for the PMESS unit will continue till the end of December 2016. Testing results so far show evident effectiveness in achieving the initial objectives of the unit. The load curve on the secondary of the distribution transformer is smoothed with obvious peak shaving. For this first prototype unit of the PMESS, a high capital cost is noticed. However, the cost of future copies should reduce for two reasons. First, the increasing adoption of lithium-ion battery technology for utilityscale energy storage applications is anticipated to drive the prices of individual components down. Second, upon the success of this first prototype unit, it is expected that the demand on the technology by power distribution utilities will increase. Accordingly, mass production of the www.batteriesinternational.com
PMESS will start leading to significant reductions in the unit price. The PMESS is scalable and reconfigurable to meet the technical needs of other applications and load types. Increasing the number of inverter units or battery modules will consequently increase the power and/or energy ratings of the system. Therefore, other sizes of residential
load or other load types such as commercial and industrial can be served. In contrast, with minor modifications to the control algorithm, the PMESS can play different roles in distribution systems. Grid frequency support, voltage sag compensation, energy arbitrage, and autonomous micro-grid operation are a few possible applications in which the PMESS can be employed.
The adequate functionality of the PMESS requires control software composed of three major modules for communication, load forecasting, and optimization. RESEARCH AUTHORS Mohamed Awadallah is a research fellow with the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE) at Ryerson University. He works on government and industry-funded research projects related to power distribution systems, with emphasis on renewable energies, energy storage and smart grid. Before joining CUE in July 2013, he was head of the Electrical Power Engineering Department, Yanbu Industrial College, Saudi Arabia. Bala Venkatesh is founding academic director and head of the Ryerson Centre for Urban Energy. He is professor of electrical engineering at Ryerson and has also taught at the University of New Brunswick, Multimedia University (Malaysia), and Anna University (India). Hari Subramaniam is an honorary fellow at the Ryerson Centre for Urban Energy. PMESS was a joint concept, plan and funding initiative between the three parties listed on the paper, arising from a trade mission to Brazil. He is a former CEO of eCamion, an energy storage company, and a former VP at General Electric Canada.
Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2016 â€˘ 79
Quality Solutions Reliable
Engineering 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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CONFERENCE IN PRINT Rainer vor dem Esche and Reddi Tudi from Stornetic discuss the cost advantages that using flywheels can have when integrated into larger scale energy storage systems
Benefits of a hybrid storage system with flywheels Energy storage systems are widely used today to support the implementation of renewables. Battery technologies have become mature, bankable, state of the art technology. Their prices have fallen significantly in the last few years due to overcapacity and improved manufacturing technologies. They have reached a price level where material costs are <50% of the system costs. Li-ion modules are sold today at the edge of, or below sustainable pricing at approximately $300/kWh for larger quantities resulting in storage container costs of around $500/kWh (excluding power conversion costs).These systems are typically designed for: • Shifting energy production to meet demand • Reducing the impact of volatility on grid stability (firming of renewable generation) • Mitigating CO2 release Business cases have been mainly determined by the difference between renewable generation costs and the purchased energy cost at the meter. They are especially attractive when energy costs at the meter are high, such as in islands, countries or states with high grid fees or power taxes. However, many large scale storage projects serving the wholesale energy markets are under threat because market prices are falling and the historical mid-day price peak has been eliminated due to PV generation. Additionally, storage systems have been successfully used to balance grids. Studies have shown that the fast response time of flywheel and battery storage systems compared to conventional generators has a positive influence on grid stability and ancillary service costs whilst also reducing the CO2 pollution. Unfortunately, the market prices
for ancillary services have come under pressure in many markets due to overcapacity in conventional generation as a result of renewable growth. This makes the business case less attractive today for energy storage in the wholesale markets. However, the need for grid stabilization in general is increasing, because: • More and more fossil power plants have been decommissioned due to environmental concerns and compliance. This leads to a lack of system inertia and increases the need for fast dynamic responding energy sources like storage • The volatility of new renewable power generation increases grid instabilities • The increased power flows at the distribution level require additional decentralized voltage stabilization increasing the responsibility of Distribution System Operators (DSO) for grid security and stability.
Rocky Mountain Institute has determined which storage services can be combined into useful business cases from both a commercial and technical perspective. Services like self-consumption or excessive solar storage can be effectively combined with regulation services like frequency regulation, voltage support or UPS. Preferably those applications should be combined which achieve a combined hourly income larger than $30-35/MW(h)/h assuming that the costs of siting, project management and/or financing costs are included. Typically, these projects are closer to the end customer at the meter. The significant spread between energy generation costs and energy purchasing costs are used to deliver additional services such as frequency regulation and voltage control.
In the current market environment different challenges exist for storage project profitability. • Storage projects with income lower than $30/kW(h)/h have to increase the guaranteed operational service life to reduce the technical and operational risks and allow a reasonable return on investment beyond a five to seven-year period. • Projects with combined applica-
As shown by this example, bankable projects require an hourly income ≥ $25/MW(h)/ hr neglecting the additional cost for siting, interconnection and permitting. Significant financial risk exists if the income is ≤ $15/MW(h)/h. A long payback time increases market, as well as, technical risks such as the lifetime of the storage technology. This underlines the need to collect income from various streams to reduce project risks. Multiple services help to: • Increase the number of operating hours and thus the annual income • Increase the hourly income by combining services
Figure 1: Calculation of the impact of hourly income on the simple payback period of a storage investment
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 81
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Grid frequency or voltage changes are a typical indicator for short term generation/consumption changes. The cycles lead to a frequent number of smaller cycles, requiring the storage to switch from charging to discharging and changing the storage energy content (state of charge) of the batteries… tions have a more complex technical design, including control and management systems. They are more challenging and less predictable due to demanding load curves, thus increasing the difficulty to determine conditions for long warranty period. To cover the long term risks, it is important that the storage solution offer a broad application portfolio to the end user, as well as, robustness and longevity. Both features directly increase the salvage value and the capability to deal with market changes. This allows the end customer to be more flexible and have lower asset risks. Both features also raise questions
on the battery technology employed, typically designed today for a service life of around 10 years. This is caused by heat and temperature restrictions and limited load cycle capability for Li-ion technologies. Alternatively, project cost can be reduced by using flow batteries or other lower cost cell chemistries, as long as durability, responsiveness and power costs are reasonable.
Hybrids the high level solution
Hybrid storage systems offer an economic and technical solution for these challenges. Synergies created by the combination of the strength of each technology, can create a system which is more efficient and more robust than a standalone battery solution.
… these cycles stress the battery on top of the larger cycle from renewable firming. Tests at the Transmission System Operator (TSO) grid level in Italy have shown that batteries are aging up to two times faster than expected compared to results from lab test cycles
Figure 2: Power profiles of a grid with Solar- + Wind-Firming and Frequency Regulation and the impact on the energy state of the storage system. Data taken from PNNL, Sandia and PJM Data Center.
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For hybrid systems made with lead or Li-ion batteries in combination with flywheels, flywheels, because of their excellent cycling behaviour, act as a filter to reduce battery cycling and provide enough time for battery cells to cool when switching from charging to discharging, thus extending system lifetime. Additionally, they can provide ultrafast response to load changes in applications that require UPS functionalities. (Flow batteries are typically not as responsive as li-ion batteries. Sometimes they only allow lower c-rates during charging. This disqualifies them for some applications like frequency regulation. However, they have superior properties in long term storage offering better business cases for solar or wind energy shifting. Flywheels can fill the gap making hybrids more competitive, for example in micro grids.) Both cases require different smart system and control designs to provide maximum service at minimum initial investment and operating costs.
Storage demand signals are typically a combination of long and short term signals. Renewable firming or generation leads to relatively long term trends. The best example is PV producing over the day and not producing after sunset. This results in one long daytime period where the storage is filled and then discharged overnight. Storage times from three to six hours are common. Typically, Li-ion or flow batteries are used with flow batteries becoming more popular. Additionally, small generation/consumption deviations lead to short term load changes. Grid frequency or voltage changes are a typical indicator for short term generation/consumption changes. The cycles lead to a frequent number of smaller cycles, requiring the storage to switch from charging to discharging and changing the storage energy content (state of charge) of the batteries. These cycles stress the battery on top of the larger cycle from renewable firming. Tests at the Transmission System Operator (TSO) grid level in Italy have shown that batteries are aging up to two times faster than expected compared to results from lab test cycles. Additionally, they are less predictable over time creating challenges for warranty agreements.
CONFERENCE IN PRINT In a hybrid system consisting of battery and flywheel storage, the micro-cycles are handled by the flywheel system. This can be achieved by having cascaded control loops in the Smart System Controller. The flywheel system acts as a filter and its state of charge is then used to operate the long term storage. Additional control loops can be added to add functionalities and improve system response. The flywheel functioning as a filter allows an energy optimized battery container design. In the case of multiple applications, the SOC corridor which can be effectively used is reduced. Because the system needs to provide power at any time for ancillary services extremely low or high SOC cannot be used, as explained in the diagrams. Because of the cell impedance any current flow in or out of the cell changes the terminal voltage of the cell. If the terminal voltage is lower than 2.5V or higher than 4.2V, the battery management and protection system will disconnect the cell and the battery is not operational anymore. To avoid this, the system needs to be designed taking into account its SOC limits. In the case of flywheel use, these limits can be broadened reducing the investment into the battery container. Additionally, lower cost energy cells could be used, because of the reduced need to have low cell impedance. There have been successful tests in Germany with a Stornetic DuraStor 500 system. The Smart controller is external, operating in a virtual power plant, delivering, for example, secondary frequency control to the German grid. Communication is done via the internet. The system is locally integrated into a production and research facility. The impact on the battery performance is significant. Cycles are reduced and even more important the average cell temperature is reduced as less power flows through the cell, see Figure 4. The cyclic impact on system life is described and field data is available The field experience shows significant deviation from lab testing. Effective cooling of battery cells has a strong impact on their lifetime explaining the variations in results. Typically cell lifetime is reduced by a factor of two to four per 20Â°C per temperature increase.
The comparison of the two power plots in Figure 3 show the significant difference in power flow for a battery doing firming or firming plus frequency regulation. This directly impacts cell temperature which increases based on cell impedance.
Simulation with these results show that micro-cycles impact the system by up to 30% mainly caused by temperature driven aging. The results are strongly dependent on the cooling design and on the resistance of the cell.
Figure 3: Example how a 1 C-Charge request changes the cell voltage and the impact of this on the usable SoC corridor using a 68Ah cell with 0.05ohm impedance.
Figure 4: Impact of cell current and cell temperature on cell lifetime for a renewable firming application including frequency regulation @ 98% yearly operating time (Data sources available.)
Figure 5: Payback and NPV of a 10MW installation for combined services assuming $35/kW/h income @operating costs equal to 7% of Capex. The results show that at almost comparable investment costs and payback times, a hybrid solution can offer a significantly higher Return on Investment while reducing project financing risks.
Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2016 â€˘ 83
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INSIDE AES ENERGY STORAGE John Zahurancik, president of AES Energy Storage, spoke to Sara VerBruggen about the thinking behind the creation of the AES subsidiary and its later development
First mover advantage, and the race to deploy 1GW of energy storage Almost exactly 10 years ago you could have walked into an office in Washington DC and found two men deep in conversation. The first would have been John Zahurancik, now president of AES Energy Storage; the second, Chris Shelton — now vice president and chief technology officer at AES Corporation. The initial topic for their protracted conversations was energy storage as a generality. But as time went by their focus moved to an identification of specifics — where would energy storage be successful? What chemistries would likely lead the way? What form of deployment could be successful? Both men had realised that storage was set some time in the near future to reach a critical moment in its development. But the question, the two asked themselves, was how could this be exploited to best effect? Zahurancik and Shelton were ahead of the curve. A decade later, AES Energy Storage — a subsidiary of independent power producer AES Corporation — has built and connected over 136MW of utility-scale batteries. The company, which has a global pipeline in excess of a gigawatt, is also an energy storage early mover in markets such as India, the Caribbean and the Philippines. Initial projects were built in the US, Chile and Europe. “Chris and myself started looking at energy storage in late 2006,” says Zahurancik. “Advancements in battery technology and power conversion systems were coinciding with regulators and policymakers creating more transparency in ancillary services markets, opening them up to demand response and fast-acting resources like storage.” With this in mind the two decided to be completely open-minded in their
approach. Zahurancik and Shelton reviewed and investigated the suitability of a number of energy storage technologies, including flywheels and different battery chemistries. “For the provision of ancillary services, which need a chemistry able to respond quickly to rapid signals that could provide or absorb power for 10, 15, 20 minutes, the characteristics of lithium ion made it the most suitable,” says Zahurancik. The other side of the development of AES’s energy storage technology includes software controls, which wraps around that battery and power conversion hardware and interfaces with the grid to provide different services. The two wrote up a business plan in 2007 and by early 2008, the first pilot of a grid-scale energy storage system, based on two 1MW batteries, was installed and connected to the grid in Indianapolis.
The pilots came to the attention of transmission system operator PJM Interconnection, which at the time — during the initial pre-Tesla wave of enthusiasm for electric vehicles — wanted to see if it would be possible to aggregate individual electric vehicle batteries as a resource on the grid. When PJM could see AES’ battery working in a pilot of its own, AES asked if it could be put through the same tests that generators are required to do in order to be able to provide frequency regulation. The system became the first battery asset to secure generator status to enable it to provide frequency regulation services. “And the first grid battery in the US to earn a dollar,” says Zahurancik. “Once PJM had this asset to experiment with, they could see how to adapt market rules to take advantage of energy storage — how you adapt signalling, for example, to leverage
Chile is one of AES Energy Storage’s first markets where it has installed its energy storage technology. The company operates two grid-scale storage plants in Chile.
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INSIDE AES ENERGY STORAGE the battery asset more,” Zahurancik says. As a company within a large global power player AES Energy Storage is growing its energy storage pipeline in emerging as well as developed markets, where its parent already has a footprint as well as through its global alliance partners Eaton and Mitsubishi Corporation.
AES Corporation entered the Philippines’ power market in 2008, acquiring the 630MW Masinloc coal-fired thermal power plant in the province of Zambales.
By the end of 2016, a 10MW battery array at the Masinloc site will come online to enhance the reliability of
“When PJM could see AES’ battery working in a pilot of its own, AES requested that it be put through the same tests that generators have to in order to be able to provide frequency regulation.”
Template for the future: AES Netherlands Advancion energy storage array began operating commercially in January 2016, enhancing European grid reliability with fast response ancillary services. The 10MW battery is equivalent to 20MW of flexible resource.
Indianapolis Power & Light, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, officially opened its IPL Advancion facility Generation Station this July. This is the first grid-scale, battery-based energy storage system to make a footprint in the 15 US states that form the Midcontinent Independent System Operation (MISO) region
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the grid serving the Luzon group of islands. It will be the largest battery storage plant in south-east Asia. Zahurancik says: “With the exception of nuclear, we develop and operate generation plants, including thermal generation, hydropower wind and solar, as well as transmission and distribution assets. In setting up AES Energy Storage we had a sense of the problems and issues that grids were beginning to face and how energy storage could address these.” Like other countries in the region the Philippines is industrializing at a rapid pace, which is driving up demand for electricity. The government has a mandate to improve energy security and reduce emissions by developing its own indigenous renewable energy resources. However for island grids, such as those that distribute power in the Philippines, fluctuating sources of energy create havoc. For the Luzon grid AES’ battery can provide balancing services such as frequency regulation, matching supply and demand in an instant. Another battery project is also under way in Kabankalan, in the Visayas group of islands. The battery, which is in the late stages of development, will be installed and operational by the end of 2017. The storage plant will improve the Visayas grid’s ability to incorporate the significant volume of solar photovoltaic power that has started to come on-line in the region in 2016. AES will own the battery, which will be installed at an independent location. In the US and in Europe, AES is developing what will be the largest battery storage projects to date. In Northern Ireland, where the first 10MW phase of a 100MW storage installation has been running since early 2016, AES is waiting for the System Operator for Northern Ireland to implement market rules, designed to facilitate storage and other technologies. The remaining 90MW is expected to come online in 2018. The project has passed several key stages of development including site selection, permitting and grid connection. At the end of 2020 AES will also complete construction of a 100MW battery in California, for customer Southern California Edison. “When I am asked about challenges facing the energy storage industry, I would say that compared with a few years ago, today nothing really is holding energy storage back. The
INSIDE AES ENERGY STORAGE technology is here and available,” says Zahurancik. He points to the ever widening circle of progressive grid system operators and regulators that are changing market rules, as well as the increase in utilities that are investing in energy storage or buying services from it. “All this has put the wind in the sails for the industry,” he says. “That said, we are a relatively young sector, so the areas of focus — and this is no different from other less mature industries where growth margins are high, but costs need to come down — is about improving components. In the case of batteries it’s about increasing density, scaling manufacturing, extending operational lifetimes, all with the view to drive down costs. “We’ve developed our Advancion platform to make it flexible enough to adapt to the changes in the market, ensuring the technology does not become obsolete. “The industry has come a long way — 10 years ago a 1MW battery was big, today a 100MW grid battery is possible. The commercial opportunities are still evolving. It’s not like X, Y or Z are the sole business cases for energy storage. “These are likely to change in future, especially as storage technology advances. A few years ago, lithium ion battery based energy storage was costeffective for applications in the 10 to 20 minute range, then it was an hour, now it’s four hours, which unlocks new demand and markets,” says Zahurancik. Different commercial models will continue to proliferate, so the company is working to ensure that its technology can address these. “Regulatory change lags behind the market. That’s the nature of these things — you have to have a market before you know how to regulate it. In a technology-driven industry like energy storage, progress is happening fast. It has taken the wind and the solar industries about 30 years respectively to go from small scale to mainstream, to reach a tipping point,” he says. With energy storage, progress appears to have happened more quickly, plus the technology is benefitting from the maturity of solar and wind because these technologies on the grid have opened up a need for storage to support the integration of renewables. Zahurancik says: “Who would have predicted three years ago that renewables growth in terms of new capacity
development would outpace investment in traditional power generation assets. Similarly energy storage demand is doubling, enabled by reducing component prices and the industry scaling. “I recently spoke with someone who has been a power industry veteran for a few decades. He readily admitted that when we first started to build batteries back in 2008 and introduce the industry to the technology he thought we were crazy at the time. “Today he says the opposite — energy storage is so obvious a choice for addressing a lot of issues that electricity systems are facing.” Co-locating storage and renewables is one approach to finding new opportunities for the technology. South Korea recently introduced incentives for building energy storage with solar PV plants to help support the distribution of electricity from renewables. “Co-locating is an interesting question. In some markets — like island grids for example — you are seeing a prescriptive approach such as all new renewable capacity must have some storage because it helps to preserve the grid, or where big investments in T&D infrastructure are not feasible.” In some cases energy storage is starting to be co-located with renewable energy, because it makes sense to put storage on an existing connection. Generally renewable energy plants tend not to use all the connection. “It saves on costs and you can also design the system to do some firming or some balancing services. In the US, where there is a tax credit for renewable energy projects and if you build storage with a renewable energy plant it also qualifies, so that can make the business case compelling to co-locate,” Zahurancik says. But the most interesting and the best approach, according to Zahurancik, is finding the most cost-effective way to deploy storage in the system. “That means identifying lots of benefits — different services, or investment savings, for example. Co-locating with wind or solar might only serve that site without benefitting the grid as a whole,” he says. Many of AES Energy Storage’s operational energy storage systems are assets operated by the parent company’s own subsidiaries, a good example of which is the 12MW battery installed at the AES Gener Los Andes substation in Chile. The system, which has been in operation for nearly seven years, provides
“PPAs are how most solar and wind farms are financed, as well as traditional power plants. For utilities to feel comfortable signing PPAs for a battery project of this size they have to have reached a level of comfort and confidence in energy storage” — John Zahurancik contingency services to maintain the stability of the electric grid in northern Chile. According to the grid operator CDEC-SING the asset is one of the best performing reserve units in the region as it is the only one that has responded to restore all generator-assisted faults, to support mining operations in the area. In Northern Ireland, the 10MW battery array, which has been operational since the start of 2016, is on the site of AES’ Kilroot power station.
New ownership models
AES is also financing and building storage through different business and ownership models. SCE will pay for services from the 100MW asset in
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INSIDE AES ENERGY STORAGE
Shelton: prime mover behind AES Energy Storage
California according to a power purchase agreement that the utility and AES have signed. The battery has a total capacity of 400MWh of energy and will be built south of Los Angeles at the Alamitos Power Center in Long Beach, California. When it is built the plant will provide services that peaking plants traditionally have provided and will help to fill the gap that the retired San Onofre nuclear power station has left. When SCE tendered the project more than 1,800 offers were submitted, including thermal generation, demand response and preferred resources as well as energy storage. Of the gigawatt-plus of energy storage pipeline and the projects under construction some will be operated by AES subsidiaries in various markets while others are for third party customers. “The 100MW project for the customer SCE is significant, because it shows that energy storage is reliable and proven. Power purchase agreements are how most solar and wind farms are financed, as well as traditional power plants. For utilities to feel comfortable signing PPAs for a
battery project of this size they have to have reached a level of comfort and confidence in energy storage,” Zahurancik says. In other cases we are building turnkey installations to sell to a customer, such as the utility that will own it, though AES will be contracted to provide operations and maintenance services. “What we are seeing is a market that is becoming more mature and able to sustain different ownership models. Our customers can take on as much responsibility as they can manage by buying a turnkey system from us, owning, operating and managing it, or have us manage it, or they can procure services from the facility, which we build, own and operate,” he says. To meet demand, AES has a supply chain in place, with key suppliers on the batteries side that include LG Chem as well as several company’s qualified to supply power conversion equipment, including Parker Hannifin. “Like every industry there are going to be ups and downs and that’s no different for ours. The recall by Samsung Electronics for its latest smartphone because of the batteries catching fire will draw attention to lithium ion, but we have to remember that the deployment of this technology for grid-scale batteries is very different, in terms of the battery management systems that monitor cells, the design of packs, the power conversion, right through to the testing and so on. “We are able to point to an installation like the asset at AES Gener Los Andes in northern Chile and highlight its reliability, after six and a half years of operation,” says Zahurancik.
Lithium ion dominance
While there are a number of technologies and chemistries available for grid storage, what Zahurancik observes is deployment of lithium ion in most geographical markets and across most applications. “Back in 2007 we investigated fly-
“The minute you put storage in front of someone — be it at a grid operator, a utility or an industrial entity — with problems that storage can address, it is a light switch moment. They become the evangelist for the technology. But it’s knocking on the door of the next market and starting that education process over again.” 90 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
wheels and other batteries, when we were looking at these fast responsetype of applications initially but we kept coming back to lithium ion.” That said, the company continues to investigate other storage chemistries and technologies, through maintaining relationships with early stage companies. “The technology — the combination not just of chemistry, but power conversion and software — platforms such as Advancion — means that energy storage systems using lithium ion batteries can provide storage in the four hours range, which is required for competing with peaking plants,” says Zahurancik. He points out that even a few years ago that was inconceivable. “There’s no reason why six-hour, eight-hour applications aren’t going to be possible. There will, of course, be niches requiring other storage technologies as the energy storage market continues to evolve but today it is only the lithium ion battery industry that is large enough — it has the scale and the financing behind it — to continue to drive down costs and ensure that energy storage demand can be met,” he says. To be able to reduce the cost of its energy storage further, the company is focused on addressing technological issues. “AES Energy Storage has a dynamic team — it is an exciting field to be working. How do you make the system last longer? Or reduce its footprint? How do you make it more cost-effective through technological enhancements? We have people that can address these issues. “The challenging part is the education,” he says. “The minute you put storage in front of someone — be it a grid operator, a utility or an industrial entity — with problems that storage can address, it’s a lightswitch moment. They become the evangelist for the technology. But it’s knocking on the door of the next market and starting that education process again.” Not content with limiting itself to the power sector, AES Energy Storage is also going after potential commercial and industrial customers of energy storage-based services and is negotiating a deal with one in Chile. “The C&I customer base is going to become key in the future. We are not just a project developer, but a full service solution provider,” says Zahurancik.
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INTERVIEW: ABB’S BOTTI Leonardo Botti, head of global marketing, product group solar at ABB, spoke to Batteries International about the company’s plans for the way that its residential product line can also be fit for the future.
Pushing ahead on the domestic home front
In 2013 when ABB acquired PowerOne, the global number two producer of solar photovoltaic inverters at the time, for $1 billion, the deal marked an important step in the firm’s transformation into a global provider of smart grid products and systems. Inverters are critical components in distributed generation, particularly for rooftop solar PV. One of the product technologies ABB acquired through its takeover of Power-One is a residential energy storage system, an all-in-one product that integrates the battery with the inverter. ABB started rolling out the behind-the-meter energy storage system in Europe in 2016 to meet growing
demand for self-consumption, enabled by PV-plus-storage. ABB’s solar product group encompasses both residential, business-toconsumer (B2C) products, such as string inverters, and larger, utilityscale, business-to-business (B2B) products, such as central inverters and packaged solutions. The product solar group is also responsible for React, ABB’s home energy storage system for integration with residential and small commercial rooftop PV systems. The system uses Panasonic’s lithium ion batteries. (The letters in React stand for Renewable Energy Accumulator and Conversion Technology.)
“On average, payback is possible between six and eight years, for a consumer installing a solar plus storage system in Italy today” – Leonardo Botti 92 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
React, comprising an all-in-one battery, smart inverter and energy management system, originated from the home energy storage product developed by inverter supplier Power-One, which ABB acquired in 2013. The system is designed for new PV and storage installations. For retrofit installations, the existing solar inverter becomes obsolete. The energy storage system can channel electricity generated by the solar PV modules to power loads in the home during the daytime, as well as charge the battery with surplus solar PV electricity, and export any remaining energy to the grid. The React system releases energy to power loads in the house when the panels are not generating electricity and can absorb electricity from the grid to charge the batteries, though this functionality is not being promoted by ABB since grid operators will not allow this function in some markets. React was available in Italy first, this spring. The system is modular and can be expanded up to three times. Italy’s solar PV-storage market is much smaller compared with Germany’s. Compared with about 14,00015,000 systems of small-scale energy storage systems sold in Germany, in Italy the amount is in the several hundreds. “You have to be a pioneer with a new technology. That means being a first mover in markets,” says Botti.
While the availability of energy storage products in Italy is more limited compared with Germany, since the market is more nascent and much smaller, the availability of an all-inone inverter and battery product is a distinct offering compared with the existing installations. Many of these use lead-acid batter-
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INTERVIEW: ABB’S BOTTI “The utilities know there is a change coming in the energy sector, particularly in the retail electricity market, where more consumers will be producing and consuming electricity, where electrification of cars and vehicles is going to occur. These are challenges that also present new opportunities for utilities.” ies and are coupled to the PV system in a more rudimentary way so that the batteries can charge up with solar electricity for use later, but cannot integrate with the grid, which requires smart (bi-directional) inverter technologies. Due to various factors, including a tax reduction on solar PV and solar PV plus storage systems over the first 10 years of the product’s operation, electricity rates and plenty of sunshine hours, plus ongoing reductions in the cost of solar PV and energy storage systems, Italy is seen as an attractive market for solar plus storage because home owners can save money on bills by increasing their self-consumption in addition to tax reductions. “On average, payback is possible between six and eight years, for a consumer installing a solar plus storage system in Italy today,” Botti says. ABB’s market share in Italy is more than 30%, and it is one of the company’s key markets in Europe, so it is intending to leverage its existing market presence in Italy to promote React through its existing solar distribution channels. By December 2016 ABB will start rolling out React Europe-wide, targeting Germany, the UK and the Benelux countries. With cuts to FiT incentives it can make more sense for new PV customers to install an energy storage system along with their rooftop solar system, while some existing PV customers, which have already achieved payback for their PV installations are now looking at installing energy storage so that they can increase their self-consumption. Whether new or retrofit, adding battery storage to PV can save money on bills. Though payback timeframes in the UK are around the ten-year mark, the market is promising, as the UK has a lot of middle and high-income earners that can afford PV and storage systems, without necessarily having to invest in loans. “Because costs
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have come down, you can spend the same on a PV and storage system — a few thousand pounds — than you would on a two-week family holiday abroad,” he says. In the UK, consumers are also generally savvy about gadgets and technology, believes Botti. “The UK will continue to see growth in rooftop residential solar PV but it will be underpinned by energy storage – the selfconsumption market,” he says. Across Europe generally, incentives like the FiT have been reduced or cut, so the incentive to buy a PV system in order to make money by selling electricity to the grid no longer exists. “Self-consumption means less in terms of annual PV sales than European markets have witnessed in previous years but it means much steadier growth and sales – we welcome that.” React has been certified for the UK market and ABB is in the process of qualifying distribution partners.
The React product is helping to grow ABB’s B2C market, although the company is probably best recognized as a global player in the energy sector for its equipment and products. However, within the corporation it does also have B2C channels such as smart plugs for homes and buildings for improving energy efficiency. “Energy storage is a technology that straddles both markets. But the utilityscale application is very different from the residential distributed generation aapplication, hence requiring different technical requirements and different market channels – the utility-scale battery energy storage systems that ABB provides are supplied through the new power grid division,” says Botti. “But in principle it is critical that our residential energy storage system is as relevant to utilities as much as our industrial, multi-megawatt storage systems,” he says. The innovative design of React means that it contains all of the software protocols that are required for
individual systems to be networked and controlled as one virtual power plant platform.
“We are talking to utilities in Europe and the discussions we’ve had are with executives, responsible for innovation, who are reporting directly to the CEO and they are saying that in future centralized energy generation — though it is always going to be required — is no longer going to be sufficient as their only business model. They have to move away from that traditional model and redefine the utility role in terms of electricity trading, as well as centralized generation and distribution. “Utilities know there is a change coming in the energy sector, particularly in the retail electricity market, where more consumers will be producing and consuming electricity, where electrification of cars and vehicles is going to occur. These are challenges that also present new opportunities for utilities. “In terms of React we have a futureproof product platform and when utilities are ready to communicate what they want to control and measure we can enable that,” he says. Despite Germany being the largest but also the most competitive and the most crowded market for energy storage systems, ABB will also be rolling out React there in the coming months. “Germany has been a pioneer in solar PV and it has also pioneered energy storage, so we need to be present there. Also, we believe there is scope for alternative products, especially an all-in-one inverter and battery type of product,” says Botti. In future ABB will also probably extend its smart inverter/energy storage platform with more flexible offerings, such as smart inverters that are configured to work with different batteries in order to have a behind-the-meter energy storage product range that meets various consumers’ requirements. “For now, our React product is a really innovative offering that we are confident will prove popular with installers and consumers as the selfconsumption market emerges across Europe,” Botti says. ABB recently promoted React at the All-Energy tradeshow in Australia. “Definitely Australia is one of the markets outside of Europe that we are looking at with a lot of interest,” he says.
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15 ELBC REVIEW This year’s ELBC meetings in Valletta, the Maltese capital, proved a blow-out with a strong technical programme, a great destination and a host of networking opportunities.
15 ELBC: where lead past, present and future converged Where dreams and reality collide might be called the subtext of this year’s ELBC conference. It was a positive mix. Dreams in that a very clear wish-list emerged from speakers and delegates of what products they felt the industry needed to fend off the growing threat from lithium ion. And reality in what was available, what should be available and what concrete plans were emerging for future business. The keynote address from East Penn’s Bob Flicker kicked off the meetings with a bang. Specifically Flicker, as chief operating officer and executive vice president at East Penn, focused on the product ranges that already existed and their market slots — EFB (enhanced flooded batteries) were a great fit for mild hybrid vehicles as were AGM and Ul-
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traBatteries. Clearly all improvements that the can be made with these products enhances the whole industry’s marketability. Flicker reminded everyone that the coming waves of further compulsory reductions in CO2 emissions from vehicles would offer challenges and that “advanced batteries are critical to HEV market penetration”. “It was just what we needed to hear,” said David Prengaman, former president of RSR. “Bob spelled it out clearly just what could be done to the performance of lead acid batteries if we cared to spend some time and money on getting there. “This isn’t the time to be moaning about unfair rules and regulations — we’ve always had those — but it is about getting on with it.” Others agreed. “What we need is a call to arms. A call to start doing
things rather than just gassing about them. Most of all, a time to be positive about what we can do,” another delegate told Batteries International. “The video at the start [produced by Hammond] introduced this positive message — we need more of this.” And that was exactly what the conference received a little later on when Gordon Beckley, Hammond’s chief technical officer, discussed some of the huge advances made in their paste formulations. Particularly of interest were the possibilities opening up for progress with new lignosulfonate carbon mixes. Hammond’s award-winning product, its K2 range of expanders, also demonstrated that huge improvements in battery performance can be made — and particularly, can be customized. Shinsuke Kobayshi, a researcher for
15 ELBC REVIEW Hitachi Chemical, discussed how a new separator structure and the introduction of lignin in the negative active material was showing a step change in the cycling and performance of standard SLI batteries. His claim will be impressive if it can be shown that its Gen3 battery now has better charge acceptance and life than standard VRLA batteries. Dreams and reality coincided again with details emerging of the ALABC (Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium) 2016-2018 schedule of research from Boris Monahov, the programme manager. Monahov suggested that significant progress would be made. ALABC funding, now an integral part of the International Lead Association rather than a subordinate but separate entity, will now be directed towards R&D only. The previous budget was split between research and demonstration projects showcasing achievements. Flicker’s keynote was preceded by some introductory thoughts by Andy Bush, head of the International Lead Association, who compared the state of siege of the lead battery industry to that of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when the Ottomans tried to storm the island but failed. But the good news behind Bush’s message was that although the barbarians might be at the gate, all market predictions showed that lead battery sales would continue to grow. THE BATTER Y STREET JOU
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Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 99
ACID RECIRCULATION FORMATION
ADVANCED WATER BATH FORMATION
15 ELBC REVIEW
But although the technical content at ELBC meetings remains as high as ever, the conference is best reckoned as the networking meeting of the year. The organizers said that more 800 participants from 52 countries attended and there were over 100 exhibitor stands. “The choice of Valetta was inspired,” one delegate told Batteries International. “It added a holiday mood to the meetings. I especially
enjoyed catching the open-air electric taxis from the hotel to the conference centre. (They were powered by Trojan batteries, by the way.) The sunshine, the old buildings and the early morning light were exceptional. And it was lovely to walk in the evenings down the pedestrian streets of the old town.” The meetings and exhibition were held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, a vast rickety building dating to the 1570s which was a former hos-
pital for the Order of St John. At its peak it could care for 2,500 patients — so enough space to deal with even the rowdiest of battery delegates? As ever, some of the more colourful meetings were associated with the conference. In technical terms the workshop held before ELBC started, proved interesting in that the subject matter was how lead could compete with lithium batteries for large scale electrical storage. The short answer to a much longer discussion was whether in price terms it can compete (though not technically in as full a fashion), but issues such as the 10-year guarantees that energy storage providers are demanding kill lead sales. The ALABC meeting held the day before the conference started proved fruitful. The new 2016-2018 programme consists of four work areas — two on technical research and development, and two on technical communication. The goal of the technical R&D programmes is to ensure that advanced lead batteries in automotive 12V and 48V applications and in industrial and energy storage applications con-
ILA, ECOBAT SPONSORS STUDENTS TO PRESENT IN MALTA Three PhD students from the UK, France and the US have been sponsored by the ILA and EcoBat to attend the latest ELBC conference — held this year in Malta — with all expenses paid. As a bonus — and fillip to their careers — they also got the chance to present their latest research into lead-acid batteries to the delegates. The students, selected out of 19 applications, had their conference fees, accommodation and travel costs all paid for. This will be a fourth similar gesture by the ILA and EcoBat to sponsor students to attend the ELBC, arguably the most important lead annual conference in Europe. The call for sponsorship candidates went out last December for those “engaged in research work related to the development or manufacture of lead-acid batteries and their application”. The ILA said it had been surprised by the number of submitted papers. Matt Smith, who carries out his research in the Electrical Machines and Drives department at the University of Sheffield in the UK,
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spoke about his work with Dynamic Charge Acceptance — easily the hottest subject at the moment — and specifically how it can work with lead-acid and carbon-enhanced lead batteries. “We have worked with the ALBC and ADEPT — the Advanced Diesel Electric Power Train — to look at this, and found that the results differ according to the application, which means that lead-acid isn’t necessarily in competition with other chemistries, it depends on the application,” he says. “Lead is better at 50% state-ofcharge, say, so it’s better in a mild hybrid. Lithium is better at a higher state-of-charge. There’s definitely room for more than one chemistry in the market. “It’s very much a case of having test procedures in place so that you can determine what the performance of your battery is going to be in a given application. So that you can choose the right chemistry for the job.” Smith presented his work on the closing day of the meeting. On the first full day of the conference, Fabien Toquet, a PhD
student at the Claude Bernard University in Lyon presented his work in researching crystallization in lead-acid batteries. His work, carried out with the chemicals and materials firm Solvay, has already been published in the journal Polymer. “The crystallization will have an effect on the separator and what our work does is report to the producer of the battery exactly what this effect is. We presented how the materials inside the product will be affected by the crystallization, and then it is up to the producer to work out if that’s a positive or negative effect,” he says. “As far as I’m aware, ours is the only research into the effects of this type of crystallization on leadacid batteries. The particular aim of my presentation was to get feedback from the participants of the conference.” In California, US, Jared Lodico and his researchers team were contacted by the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, which suggested they apply for a place at Malta. “We’ve been doing dendrite
15 ELBC REVIEW tinue to deliver the required performance at a lower cost than alternative technologies. The ALABC membership discussed quantifiable targets that will be set to ensure future R&D projects deliver on the overall goal of the consortium. The research for the automotive programme will specifically focus on improving DCA (dynamic charge acceptance) and lifetime at a Partial State of Charge (PSoC). Similarly, the technical R&D programme for industrial and energy storage applications will set targets on improving cycle life at PSOC and longer deep cycle life. Away from the technical or organizational there were other interesting meetings on the sidelines. Abertax, which provides accessories to the lead battery business such as valves and BMS, provided two exceptional side-events on its home ground. The firm hails from Valletta. The first held a pre-conference cocktail evening — with a speech given by Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat — at Fort Saint Angelo, a huge bastioned castle at the centre of the Grand Harbour, the ancient port at
research in lead batteries and their formation, which is still a huge problem,” he says. “ALABC came to see us because we were able to image dendrites with an electron microscope for the first time. “We fabricated and built fluid cells ourselves and watched how lead crystals were formed, and we were able to watch the kinetics of the ions move back and forth in the battery, which could pave the way for the community to do much more research in this area.” “Batteries will be around for a very long time. In the next hnndred years there may be no fossil fuels left but batteries do not have an expiration date and people will either find better batteries or they will solve the problems of existing batteries. Larico says: “I was both nervous and excited, I feel honoured that I was able to receive this grant and travel to an exotic place and meet people I would not have the pleasure of meeting otherwise.” Lodico also presented his work to conference delegates.
the centre of Valletta. The spot was spectacular, the trip to the fort a delight, and the presence of Muscat added to the importance of the event. The second was the creation by Abertax of a new award given to a person or organization that had achieved remarkable progress for the health of the lead battery industry. Equally remarkable was the size of the award — a cheque for €20,000. The idea came from Werner Schmidt, the founder of Abertax, who passed away in 2015. This year the award went to Boris Monahov, programme director of the ALABC. The more traditional International Lead Award announced on the first day of the conference — see People section in this magazine for full details — went to David Wilson, a former head of the ILA, for his lifetime’s contribution to the business. “It was a perfect choice,” said one delegate. “He must be one of the most-liked people in the business and he’s spent something like four decades working for us and the fact he’s now retiring makes the timing great.” Apart from the great and the good came a meeting of the esoteric dining club known sometimes as the AlphaBeta Society. When sufficient numbers of this almost 20-strong group of distinguished electrochemists are present, they meet to talk and drink. This year Allan Cooper was the toast of the society as he was formally inducted into the membership. (See Last Word section.) The culmination of the conference was a gala dinner held in the Verdala Palace. The banquet was excellent, the night balmy and the operatic singing at the end had everyone on their feet. “It shows that time works in a geometric march to perfection,” said one battery historian clutching a glass firmly to his chest. “A couple of centuries ago this former hunting lodge was a prison, then it became a silk factory, then it was a minor hospital, then the summer residence of the governors of Malta, and of late the summer residence of the president of Malta. “Now of course it’s reached its zenith as the site of the ELBC gala dinner. There’s nothing left for the place from now on. And it’ll certainly be a hard act for Maura and the ILA to follow next time.” 16 ELBC may prove a challenge for the formidable organizers to keep at the top of their game but the venue — Vienna — should prove a good place to start.
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EVENT REVIEW: THE BATTERY SHOW
The Battery Show • September 13-15 • Novi, Michigan, USA
Battery Show continues to set attendance and exhibitor records This year’s Battery Show proved again that it was still possible to set new records for itself — attendance shot up again by just over a fifth over 2015 — and the exhibition hall was once again sold out. The numbers show that the event has established itself as North America’s top forum for the battery industry. “It’s a great way to explore all the pressing issues of the day,” said Steve Bryan, the organizer of The Battery Show. “We looked at battery growth opportunities, international energy storage markets, product chemistries, new technologies, ESS, safety and testing, intellectual property risks, battery
pack design, and repurposing and recycling were among the many interesting topics given an airing during the three-day event.” The battery show was co-located with Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and Critical Power Expo. “The three events attracted strong approval ratings from buyers, sellers, innovators and conference delegates,” said the organizers. In all, there were 535 exhibitors and more than 3,500 visitors came through the doors on the first day with total footfall of 6,928 over the three days. A representative from BorgWarner summed it up: “The show has been
great. A lot of really good leads and a very, very busy booth. Excellent show.” The enthusiasm with which everyone approached the event was matched by the results. “Once again, The Battery Show has exceeded our expectations. We have actually seen a 10-fold boost in our website sales during the show,” said Jeff Norris, CEO, Paraclete Energy. Venkat Anandan, research scientist at Ford Motor Company, said, “It was excellent! It provided me with an invaluable opportunity to engage — professionals from industry, government and academia, all under one roof.”
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EVENT REVIEW: THE BATTERY SHOW The pace and tone of this year’s conference had been set from the moment the plenary opened with the now familiar Leaders’ Debate. This featured top executives from LG Chem, Google, ARPA-E and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Moderator Jim Greenberger, executive director at NAATBatt International, summed up the importance of this conference, commenting: “The key to ensuring continued success is to encourage collaboration among the many extraordinary people who have been drawn into battery technology by its promise of making the world a better place and who form the backbone of the industry today.” Smarter Shows — the conference organizers that built the annual Battery Show to be one of the largest events of its kind in the US — is preparing to launch a European version of the show from April 4-6 next year. Known only as The Battery Show Europe, the event will be held at the Sindelfingen Conference Centre, about 15 minutes from Stuttgart in central Germany. The choice of venue was an interesting one given the whole of Europe was open to the organizers. “Part of the success of its American counterpart
was that we positioned ourselves near the automotive hub of America where much of the pioneering energy storage work was going on,” says Bryan, who is also organizing this event. “Given the proximity of so many key development centers and production facilities including Daimler, Porsche, Bosch and Audi, we feel we are well positioned to experience significant numbers attending from within a few minutes’ drive of the venue.” The choice of Germany is fortunate given the storage boom that is riding the back of the government’s decision to scrap its nuclear plants in May 2011 with the aim of them all being out of service by 2022 .and embark on using renewables. With the North American event achieving continuous growth since its launch in 2010, expanding the portfolio into Europe — also co-located with Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo — was the next logical step, says Bryan. “We started in 2013 and 2014 mulling the idea about doing the show but the timing never seemed right. But with the two events now established brands, and growing demand from our existing exhibitors to expand into the European market, we are in a
strong position to deliver a successful launch show.” Launching a conference into a market that is already full with such meetings is a difficult one given the competition already in place. “It’s a question of what the exhibition and conference can offer,” says Bryan. “Our approach in the US has always been to position the show as close to the visitor community as possible. We’ve looked at the practical issues of what people want to see and know and that’s what we aim to deliver.” The Smarter Show business model is worth inspection in that it sees its revenue streams coming from its ability to showcase what the industry wants to learn about from its exhibitors — entrance is free to visitors — and only part of the event is charged to those attendees that want to listen to the speakers. The next Battery Show will be held in Novi, Detroit in the US on September 12-14, 2017. The European version of the event will be held in Stuttgart, Germany on April 4-6.
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EVENT REVIEW: ESNA
ESNA • San Diego, California • October 4-6
Rapid growth for Energy Storage North America Energy Storage North America (ESNA), the largest gathering of policy, technology and market leaders in energy storage, concluded its fourth annual event last week in San Diego. Mirroring the growth and maturation of the storage industry at large, ESNA grew in its attendee numbers, expo floor space, and the number of organizations represented at its conference and expo, said the organizers More than 1,900 industry professionals attended ESNA, from over 1,000 different organizations and 25 countries. The nearly 15,000-squarefoot expo floor, the largest ever for Energy Storage North America, provided over 100 exhibitors with an opportunity to showcase the latest software and hardware storage technologies,
systems and services. Senior executives from utilities, grid operators, investors and storage developers took part in panel sessions alongside elected officials and regulators to discuss the changing regulatory landscape, the process of valuing benefits of storage and the latest system deployments and assets, among other trending industry topics. In total, the ESNA conference featured nearly 150 speakers on 21 different panel sessions, six keynote addresses and eight in-depth workshops. “The optimism, excitement and innovation that underscored ESNA’s program, expo and networking events all point to the tremendous growth of energy storage over the past year,” said Janice Lin, chair of Energy Stor-
age North America. “By bringing utilities, policymakers, storage developers and financiers into the same room to break down barriers and share successes, we can leverage the potential of storage even further to modernize and strengthen our electric power system.” Special events at ESNA also highlighted important sectors and stakeholders in energy storage. The annual ESNA Awards Ceremony recognized innovative storage projects in the centralized, distributed and mobility sectors, as well as policy and utility champions who have advanced storage through their work. ESNA hosted its first annual Women in Energy Storage networking event to foster connections among women in the storage industry, and continued its tradition of hosting a utility-only networking reception to encourage dialogue among utility professionals. In 2016, the number of utility employees who attended ESNA doubled compared to 2015, reflecting the increasing utility focus on and investments in energy storage.
ENERGY STORAGE NORTH AMERICA AWARDS The Energy Storage Innovation Awards were presented on the second day of the conference to three energy storage projects that demonstrated excellence and impact in one of three categories: Centralized Storage, Distributed Storage, and Mobility. Winners were recognized for their impact on the energy storage ecosystem, services supplied to customers and the grid, unique technology solutions, financing, or partnerships. ESNA 2016 Innovation Award winners: Centralized Storage: The Village of Minster Energy Storage Project. Runners up were IPL Advancion Energy Storage Array (Indiana): First grid-scale, battery-based energy storage system to operate in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and the MESA 1 Project: Allows Snohomish (Washington) County Public Utility District to increase their use of renewable energy and improve overall reliability while using open, nonproprietary industry standards. Distributed Storage: PowerHouse - 20-home energy storage pilot. Runners up were Stone Edge Farm Microgrid (California): First of its kind to incorporate three modes of operation - on-grid, off-grid, and microgrid with multiple types and brands of batteries and inverters, PV, bulk hydrogen storage, fuel cells and ability to export power. Also a contender was Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center in Colorado: PV plus energy storage system engineered and controlled such that the asset is used to manage the centre’s electric bill Mobility: EVgo & UCSD Second-life Energy Storage + Level 3 EV Charging
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The Champion Awards recognize individuals from the utility and policy sectors who have demonstrated leadership in advancing the role of energy storage to achieve a cleaner, more reliable, and secure electric power grid. ESNA 2016 Champion Award winners: Policy Champion Michael Picker, president, California Public Utilities Commission (pictured) Utility Champions Josh Gerber, manager of advanced technology integration, San Diego Gas & Electric Brad Rockwell, power supply manager, Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative Neetika Sathe, vice president, PowerStream Inc. The individuals and organizations who received this year’s ESNA Awards have each played a key role in advancing energy storage through impactful programs, projects, technologies or policies,” said Janice Lin, Energy Storage North America Conference Chair. “Their work is transforming the energy storage ecosystem by opening up brand new markets and solving real-world problems for customers and the grid. The strength of our nominees was unmatched in 2016, reflecting the continued growth and maturation of our industry.”
FORTHCOMING EVENTS US Energy Storage Summit 2016, San Francisco, USA, December 7-8
ASEAN Solar and Energy Congress & Expo 2016
International EV Batteries 2016
Manila, Philippines December 5-6
London, United Kingdom December 6-7
ASEAN Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2016 is the largest congress focusing on the energy storage market in ASEAN. As one of the emerging markets, the energy storage market in ASEAN, especially Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, has attracted more and more concerns. Participants are governments, utilities, independent energy producers, energy developers, project owners, EPC contractors, energy storage manufacturers, consulting companies, associates as well as other related sectors are invited to together discuss applications, opportunities and challenges for solar and energy storage development in the ASEAN market.
International EV Batteries 2016 will address the critical challenges being faced by electric vehicles at the battery. Attendees will take away the latest innovations and developments from the leading Asian, European and North American OEMs in battery management, modular design, range extension, battery testing and pack integration. This is an unrivalled opportunity to hear the latest technologies and innovations being implemented by the OEMs themselves. Key programme highlights include: • General Motors will discuss the successes of the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s 60KwH battery system and lessons learnt from the Volt and Spark • Understanding the opportunities and challenges that Jaguar Land Rover see for modular battery designs • How Williams Advanced Engineering determine F1 and Formula E battery development and evolution will impact electric vehicles • McLaren Automotive and Univer-
Contact Eddie Lee Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.aseanenergystorage.com Tel: +86 21 3102 1580 www.leaderxtet.com/en/
Asean Solar and Energy Storage Congress and Expo, Manila, Philippines, December 5-6
sity of Oxford deliver the latest on charge and current control, and reductions in weight and size of the Battery Management System (BMS) • Learning how the European Commission are assessing battery testing methods from a policy-making perspective • Mitsubishi, NAATBatt and the University of Warwick WMG bring success stories for bidirectional charging, battery recycling and second-life options Contact Tel: +44 207 973 1251 Email: email@example.com www.events.imeche.org/ ViewEvent?code=CON6437
Saudi Arabian Smart Grid Jeddah, Saudi Arabia December 6-8 The purpose of the Saudi Arabia Smart Grid Conference on Smart Grids and Sustainable Energy (SASG 2016) is to bring together researchers, designers, developers and practitioners interested in the advances and applications in the field of smart grids, green information and communication technologies, sustainability and energy aware systems and technologies. There will be nine conference focus areas: • Smart grids • Renewable energy and grid integrations • Sustainable computing and communications • Smart cities • Automation technologies • Power system planning, operation and maintenance • Regulatory aspects and market operations • Standards for the smart grid • Grid and communications solutions for plug-in electric vehicles Contact www.saudi-sg.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 109
industries such as executives from exhibiting and visiting fi
saving, transmission to distribution technologies. The comprehensive business event is expected to welcome 1,570
exhibitors and 70,000 professional visitors. WORLD SMART ENERGY WEEK
conference sessions, etc.
Dates: Mar. 1 (Wed) - 3 (Fri), 2017 • Venue: Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
<Newly Launching: THERMAL POWER EXPO>
A new exhibition for advanced thermal power generation technologies will be added to the show line-up of World
Smart Energy Week 2017, THERMAL POWER EXPO -1st Next-generation Thermal Power Generation Expo. There are
<The Latest 3 reasons behind new launch of THERMAL POWER EXPO. Firstly, there are many requests from visitors of World
Market Trends from World’s Industry Leaders>
Smart Energy Week; for example, “It would help a lot if there were an exhibition that covers not only renewable energies During the
show period, keynote sessions and technical confe
such as solar and wind power but also thermal power generation technologies.” Many more similar requests are coming
Conference Tower of Tokyo Big Sight. Distinguished industry le
to Show Management. Secondly, the thermal power market is rapidly growing in various Asian countries. According to
industry, the latest technologies, market trends, and various strat
Fuji Keizai Research in 2015, Japanese thermal power market scale was 15 trillion JPY in 2013; however, it is expected
Reed will Exhibitions THERMAL that the market be 25 trillionJapan JPY in Ltd. 2020. will Therefore, now isWeek the best2017, time for expanding yourPOWER business in Japan. be holding the thermal Japan’s largest EXPO Thermal Finally, Japan has the latest power generation technologies; thus, -1st JapanNext-generation is going to be an indispensable comprehensive show for smart and renewable energy -World Smart Energy Week 2017 from March 1 - 3, 2017 at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan. The show aims to provide a platform for professionals from across Japan, Asia, and the world to negotiate and network for the future of smart and renewable energy business. Consisting of 9 exhibitions and world-class conference sessions filling up Tokyo Big Sight - the largest exhibition center of the country. The show ranges from power generation, storage, saving, transmission to distribution technologies. The comprehensive business event is expected to welcome 1,570 exhibitors and 70,000 professional visitors.
Newly Launching: THERMAL POWER EXPO A new exhibition for advanced thermal power generation technologies will be added to the show line-up of World Smart Energy
Power Generation Expo. There are 3 reasons behind new launch of THERMAL POWER EXPO. Firstly, there are many requests from visitors of World Smart Energy Week; for example, “It would help a lot if there were an exhibition that covers not only renewable energies such as solar and wind power but also thermal power generation technologies.” Many more similar requests are coming to Show Management. Secondly, the thermal power market is rapidly growing in various Asian countries. According to Fuji Keizai Research in 2015, Japanese thermal power market scale was 15 trillion JPY in 2013; however, it is expected that the market will be 25 trillion JPY in 2020. Therefore, now is the best time for expanding your business in Japan. Finally, Japan has the latest thermal power generation technologies; thus, Japan is going to be an indispensable international hub for the thermal
power generation business. More noteworthy is the fact that one of the major organisations - Thermal and Nuclear Power Engineering Society (TENPES) has been co-organising the show since its inception to give full support for the industry and the show.
Special Events with Renowned Experts The show will commence with a ribbon-cutting ceremony inviting over 50 energy industry leaders from Japan and overseas as dignitaries. For example, Ambassadors from France, UK, and Denmark, major companies in Japan, such as Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., and Panasonic Corp., many others celebrated the opening of World Smart Energy Week 2016. Dignitaries for 2017 opening ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced in next January. Also, Executive Party will be held on the first day to facilitate networking among executives of smart energy industries such as
Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd. will be holding the Japan’s largest comprehensive show for smart and renewable
110 • Batteries International • Winter 2016
energy - World Smart Energy Week 2017 from March 1 - 3, 2017 at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan. The show aims to
irms, organisations, speakers from keynotes and other
international hub for the thermal power generation business.
MoreWEEK noteworthy is the fact that one of the major organisations - Thermal and Nuclear Power Engineering Society WORLD SMART ENERGY (TENPES) has been co-organising the show since its inception to give full support for the industry and the show.
<Special Events with Renowned Experts>
The show will commence with a ribbon-cutting ceremony inviting over 50 energy industry leaders from Japan and
overseas as dignitaries. For example, Ambassadors from France, UK, and Denmark, major companies in Japan, such as
Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., and Panasonic Corp., many others celebrated the opening of World Smart Energy Week 2016. Dignitaries for 2017 opening ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced in next January.
erence will be held in parallel to the exhibitions at the Also,
Executive Party will be held on the first day to facilitate networking among executives of smart energy
industries such as executives from exhibiting and visiting firms, organisations, speakers from keynotes and other
eaders from the 9 energy sectors share the outlook of the
conference sessions, etc.
tegies for business and national/international energy
executives from exhibiting and visiting firms, organisations, speakers from keynotes and other conference sessions, etc.
The Latest Market Trends from World’s Industry Leaders
World Smart Energy Week 2017 Dates: March 1 - 3, 2017 Time: 10:00 – 18:00 (10:00 – 17:00 on March 3, 2017) Venue: Tokyo Big Sight, Japan (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) Organised by: Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd. Website: http://www.wsew.jp/en/ Held insideWorld Smart Energy Week 2017:
During the show period, keynote FC EXPO 2017 - 13th Int’l Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo sessions and technical conference will PV EXPO 2017 - 10th Int’l Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo be held in parallel to the exhibitions PV SYSTEM EXPO 2017 - 8th Int’l Photovoltaic Power Generation System Expo BATTERY JAPAN 2017 - 8th Int’l Rechargeable Battery Expo at the Conference Tower of Tokyo Big 7th INT’L SMART GRID EXPO Sight. Distinguished industry leaders WIND EXPO 2017 – 5th Int’l Wind Energy Expo & Conference from the 9 energy sectors share the 3rd ENERGY MARKET LIBERALISATION EXPO outlook of the industry, the latest 2nd INT’L BIOMASS EXPO technologies, market trends, and THERMAL EXPO – 1st Next-generation Thermal Power Generation Expo <The Latest MarketPOWER Trends from World’s Industry Leaders> various strategies for business and During the show period, keynote sessions and technical conference will be held in parallel to the exhibitions at the Co-organised by: national/international energy Hydrogen Energy Systems Society of Japan (HESS) [FC EXPO] Conference Tower of Tokyo Big Sight. Distinguished industry leaders from the 9 energy sectors share the outlook of the policies. Throughout the show Fuel Cell Development Information Center (FCDIC) [FC EXPO] industry, the latest technologies, market trends, and various strategies for business and national/international energy period, 248 sessions will be held Japan Wind Power Association (JWPA) [WIND EXPO] in 2017. World Smart Energy Thermal and Nuclear Power Engineering Society [THERMAL POWER EXPO] Week Keynote Session led by the Supported by: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL) [THERMAL POWER EXPO] Industry (METI), GE Renewable Nippon Engine Generator Association (NEGA) [THERMAL POWER EXPO] Energy, Siemens AG, and Hitachi Ltd. to discuss “Industry Leaders’ CONTACT INFORMATION Strategies and Prospects for Wind World Smart Energy Week Show Management Reed Exhibitions Japan Ltd. Power Business in Japan.” Many 18F Shinjuku-Nomura Bldg.,1-26-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-0570, Japan TEL : more attracting sessions are coming +81-3-3349-8576 FAX : +81-3-3349-8535 up. Check the details of all sessions Official Show Website: http://www.wsew.jp/en/ which will be announced later in December. Press Inquiries: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The show has been expanding its Lisa UMABAYASHI (Ms.), Yuki OHMICHI (Ms.), Nozomi ESAKI (Ms.) scale and the profile of the show by adding THERMAL POWER EXPO Visiting Inquiries: and attracting increasing attention Email: email@example.com from smart and renewable energy Ayumi SENO (Ms.) related professionals. World Smart Exhibiting Inquiries: Energy Week 2017 is the best place to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org keep up with the changing conditions Yasu MUROTA (Mr.), Mitsuru TAKAZAWA (Mr.), Seungjoon BAEK (Mr.), Chifeng WANG of the industry. www.batteriesinternational.com
Batteries International • Winter 2016 • 111
FORTHCOMING EVENTS International EV Batteries 2016 London, United Kingdom, December 6-7
and exhibitors can take advantage of attending an event that truly covers every aspect of the power generation industry. Over 300 industry experts will present new solutions and innovations for the future in 70+ conference sessions offering full conference attendees a chance to earn 10 PDH credit hours. Contact Tel: +1 888 299-8016 Tel: +1 918 831-9160
Power-Gen International Florida, USA December 13-15
US Energy Storage Summit 2016 San Francisco, USA December 7-8 Now in its second year, the US Energy Storage Summit — organized by the Energy Storage Association — will bring together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive high-level networking. We will kick-off the event with an overview of the current energy storage market on both sides of the meter, examining utility strategies, policies, and market designs. On Day 2, we’ll take a closer look at emerging technologies, business models and financing strategies. Contact Tel: +1 202 293-0537 Email: email@example.com
Africa Energy Forum: Off the Grid Dar es Salaam, Tanzania December 7-9 The Africa Energy Forum: Off the Grid will focus on project opportunities for mini and off grid technology providers working in Africa’s energy space. This year’s Africa Energy Forum, the most established investment-level conference for Africa’s power sector, saw an increased appetite for off grid projects, and this meeting has therefore been developed to address this appetite by bringing together financers, technology providers and regional leaders in a focused discussion forum. The summit will bring together ministries of energy, rural electrification agencies, philanthropic business
112 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
foundations, banks, regulatory bodies, multilateral organizations and off grid businesses to discuss topical issues concerning rolling out off-grid projects across Africa. The Off the Grid Summit will be closed by a ‘Festival of Energy’s which will take place on the afternoon of Friday 9th December. The festival will feature ‘stalls’ showcasing off grid and mini grid technologies and innovations and will also feature local Tanzanian musicians and artists. Contact Veronica Bolton- Smith Tel: +44 207 384 8069 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.energynet.co.uk/event/africa-energyforum-grid-2016#tab-country1
Battery and Fuel Cell Technology Dubai, UAE December 8-9 International Conference on Battery and Fuel Cell Technology, will be organized around the theme “To Share the Latest Leading-Edge Discoveries and Emphasize Current Challenges in Battery and Fuel Cell Technology” Contact Email: email@example.com www.batterytech.conferenceseries.com
Powergeneration Week Orlando, Florida, USA December 11-15 As the world’s largest power generation event, boasting 20,000 attendees and over 1,400 exhibitors from around the world, Power Generation Week is designed to connect key suppliers and service providers with influential decision makers in the domestic and international power sector. Attendees
As the world’s largest power generation event, Power-Gen International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of the trends, technologies, and issues facing the generation sector. More than 1,400 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year to benefit from the exposure to more than 20,000 attendees. Displaying a wide variety of products and services, Power-Gen International represents a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future. As a Power-Gen International full conference attendee you will have access to the conference sessions for not only Power-Gen International, but for Renewable Energy World International, Nuclear Power International and Coal-Gen. You also have an opportunity to upgrade your registration to gain access to GenForum. Contact Tel: +1 918 831 9160 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.power-gen.com/index.html
ENTECH’16/IV. International Energy Technologies Conference Istanbul, Turkey December 15-16 ENTECH’16/IV. International Energy Technologies Conference will be held at Nippon Meeting Halls in Istanbul. The conference is coordinated by DAKAM (Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center) and will be organized by BILSAS (Science, Art, Sport Productions). Since 2013, more than 200 presentations by scholars from different places of the world have been hosted by DAKAM’s ENTECH Conference and three proceedings books have been published. Energy is of vital importance to any society today and the future of energy needs to be sustainable in terms of environment and climate as crucial changes are to inevitably happen. The
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.
gala dinner sponsor
FORTHCOMING EVENTS vides an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of research ideas in an informal environment. To encourage discussion and dissemination of the latest research developments, early-stage work, and possibly controversial results, workshops, the conference will bring together leading researchers, engineers, and scientists in the domain of interest from around the world. ICRET 2017 aims to be the premier and most selective conference devoted to technical innovations in renewable energy technologies.
ENTECH’16/IV. International Energy Technologies Conference Istanbul, Turkey, December 15-16
discussions encompass natural scientific research, engineering and even social sciences, systems solutions and global politics. The future of global energy supply has to be addressed with objectivity and competence. Only an interdisciplinary approach would have the potential to optimize the necessary cooperation and communication in energy research, development and the support for industrial innovation. Contact Tel: +90 212 244 23 03 Email: email@example.com www.dakamconferences.org/entech
Energy Storage, India 2017 Mumbai, India January 11-13, 2017 Deliberations at Energy Storage India 2016 demonstrated a wider consensus that energy storage is the game changing technology that will help India leapfrog its energy infrastructure within the next decade. Leading ESS companies of the world – AES & Panasonic unveiled huge interest in the Indian market with their participation at Energy Storage India
2015. There are exciting times ahead for energy storage in India! The 2016 conference attracted 720 delegates from 16+ countries. 80+ speakers shared their knowledge and views with the participants leaving a prominent image of the show. ESI yet again proved to be the largest and finest gathering ever held in India showcasing the niche topics and discussions. Contact Ms Shradha Malik E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +91 11 4855 0059 Cell: +91-9871192345 www.esiexpo.in www.md-india.com
ICRET 2017 — 3rd International Conference on Renewable Energy Technologies Pathumthani, Thailand January 22-24, 2017 The 3rd International Conference on Renewable Energy Technologies (ICRET 2017) focuses on timely and emerging topics of interest to the renewable energy technologies that pro-
Energy storage seminars from Shmuel De-Leon
Contact Cho Chang Tel: +86 28 8652 8758 Email: email@example.com www.icret.org/index.html
Advanced Automotive Battery Conference — Europe (AABC) Mainz, Germany January 30-February 2, 2017 Make plans to participate in the seventh European AABC event where chief battery technologists from major European automakers will present their development trends and projected battery needs, and their key suppliers will share their latest offerings and roadmaps for the future. In January 2016, 600 delegates from more than 30 countries took part in stimulating discussions on battery chemistry, engineering, and design, as well as high-volume and specialty automotive applications. Attendance increased more than 30% in 2016, and with expanded coverage of raw materials and leadacid as part of the agenda, even greater participation is expected in 2017. Contact Tel: +1 781 972 5400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.advancedautobat.com/europe
Energy Storage 2017 Paris, France February 8-9, 2017
February 22, 23
Greenville, SC, USA
March 30, 31
April 19, 20
April 24, 25
June 7, 8
Le Bourget du Lac, France
June 15, 16
Boston, MA, USA
July 3, 4
Karlstein am Main, Germany
114 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
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 at-
FORTHCOMING EVENTS tended 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.
5th Energy Storage Europe
Contact Samanta Fawcett Tel: + 44 20 3141 0624 Email: email@example.com www.wplgroup.com/aci/event/energystorage-conference
7th Annual Next Generation 2017 Energy Storage San Francisco, USA February 14-16, 2017 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: firstname.lastname@example.org www.knowledgefoundation.com/next-generation-energy-storage
Scottish Renewables Annual Conference – Scotland’s Energy Evolution Edinburgh, Scotland March 21-22, 2017 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. Contact Lisa Russell Tel: + 44 141 353 4986 Email: email@example.com www.scottishrenewables.com
Dusseldorf, 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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org www.energy-storage-online.com
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 www.ukm.my/icfcht2017
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 115
North America’s leading advanced battery exhibition & conference launches in Germany in 2017
4 - 6 April, 2017
Sindelfingen, Stuttgart, Germany
Featured exhibitors include:
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FORTHCOMING EVENTS Energy Storage Association — 27th Annual Conference and Expo
8th Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technology Arlington, USA April 23-26, 2017
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 www.27th-annual-conference.energystorage-events.org
ees Europe — Intersolar Europe
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. 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: email@example.com www.intersolar.de/en/for-visitors.html
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 www.sites.ieee.org/isgt-2017
Battery Council International Convention * Power Mart Jacksonville, Florida, USA April 30- May 2, 2017 Battery Council International’s Convention and Power Mart Expo is North America’s premier lead battery event attracting a huge national and international audience of around 500 delegates and some 50 exhibitors displaying their wares at the Power Mart Expo. Last year’s introduction of the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award proved a huge success as the industry displayed a huge range of new products that have the capability of changing the lead battery business completely. With applications for the 2017 award already being submitted, the next event looks set to become an another showcase of innovation Contact Tel: +1 312 245 1074 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.batterycouncil.org
All Energy May 10-11, 2017 Glasgow, Scotland All-Energy has historically provided the industry suppliers, experts and thoughtleaders 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,
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 117
Join Top Automotive Battery Technologists and Help Deliver on the Promise
“The Advanced Automotive Battery Conference is consistently one of the best, and best-attended, battery-related events.” Ted Miller, Ford
“Best collection of auto battery decision makers in the world.” Jeff Kessen, A123
advanced automotive battery conference 30 January - 2 February 2017 • Congress Centrum Mainz, Germany
30 January - 2 February 2017 • Mainz, Germany
advanced automotive battery conference June 19-22, 2017 • Marriott Marquis, San Francisco, USA
June 19 - 22, 2017 • San Francisco, California
FORTHCOMING EVENTS International Conference on Lead-Acid Batteries — LABAT’2017
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 as well as those involved in energy storage, heat, low carbon transport and sustainable cities solutions. Contact Tel: +44 208 271 2179 Email: email@example.com www.all-energy.co.uk
ESC ’17 — Energy Storage China June 2017, Beijing, China 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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org www.labatscience.com/conference2017/4_1.html
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: email@example.com www.bhoec.com/batterychina
Power and Energy Conference and Exhibition 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: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.escexpo.cn
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 email@example.com http://www.australianenergystorage.com.au
Charlotte, USA June 26-30, 2017 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 co-located 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 co-located events, TurboExpo, the must-attend event for turbo-machinery professionals and ICOPE, the International Conference on Power Engineering (co-sponsored by ASME, JSME, and CSPE). ICOPE is focused on both fundamental and applied topics in power engineering. Contact www.asme.org/events/power-energy/register
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 119
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Contact Karen Hampton: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 7792 852337 120 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
BATTERY HEROES: NORMAN BAGSHAW Over half a century ago, Bagshaw contributed a great deal to the development of lead-acid battery alloys becoming the world expert on batteries in ships and submarines. Kevin Desmond reports.
Making lead acid fit for marine environments Norman Ernest Bagshaw, was born on May 25, 1933 in Kettleshulme, a small village in Cheshire, England. His childhood was not an easy one. His father had been badly injured in the Great War. His work was badly paid. His sister Muriel died of tuberculosis when he was six. But Bagshaw showed early signs of promise. After primary school he won a scholarship to the Kings’ School, Macclesfield — one of the best schools in the north of England. For his exams he decided to concentrate on science as a career — physics and chemistry interested him greatly and he felt he could make a reasonable living with a scientific background. Bagshaw was to become the first scientist in his family as well as the first to go to university (or indeed to stay in education beyond the age of 15). After school, as was the norm in the 1950s, he completed two years of National Service. His ability to learn had been spotted and so he was assigned to Intelligence Corps where he learned Russian. This later became useful when meet-
ing Russian speaking scientists at conferences as he could help them with English language. It was also useful later in translating Russian abstracts and also a Russian book, Protective Coatings on Metals by Grigorii Samsonov. Following National Service he studied the Natural Sciences Tripos at Downing College, Cambridge. He also excelled in sport notably cricket and hockey for his college. After graduation he started work with MEL (Magnesium Elektron Limited) at Clifton Junction, in Manchester, a major magnesium company in the UK. He took part in the development of new cast magnesium alloys, used in the aircraft industry which had the advantage of being lighter than aluminium alloys. During the late 1940s, the company diversified into the production of zirconium and its compounds, and was acquired by the Distillers Company in 1951. Zirconium carbonate production commenced in 1956, to meet a growing demand from the paint, paper and textile industries. In 1957 Bagshaw married Norma
Bradley who at the time was a radiographer. Over the coming years they were to have four children — each graduating and making a career in science. In 1958, he moved to the Chloride Group in Manchester, where he was to spent the next 29 years. Working alongside Montefiore Barak, Bagshaw was head of materials research and also later assistant director of research of the labs. He was also a parttime lecturer in corrosion and surface treatment at Manchester Technical College for nine years. In the early days with Chloride there was a good exchange of views at annual meetings of research personnel from Chloride, ESB (Electric Storage Batteries) in the US and what later became Varta in Germany. For his first five years at Chloride his work included an examination of lead-antimony-arsenic alloys and the grain refining effect of selenium on these alloys and the first use of selenium as a grain refiner. Between 1963 and 1968 Bagshaw investigated the properties of leadcalcium and lead-tin-calcium alloys
“I was never particularly concerned with patents — although I recognised their importance — and left patents to the patent office in Chloride. I don’t even know how many patents have my name on.” www.batteriesinternational.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2016 • 121
BATTERY HEROES: NORMAN BAGSHAW
From left: Detchko Pavlov, John Devitt, Norman Bagshaw and Naoum Yakimov as Devitt and Bagshaw receive the Gaston Planté medal in 1999
and discovered a method of preventing oxidation of calcium from molten lead alloys by the addition of aluminium. He also researched leadbarium and lead-strontium alloys and compared these with the properties of existing lead-calcium alloys, as well as developing lead-antimony-cadmium and lead-antimony-cadmium-silver alloys. In addition to the alloy work, Bagshaw and his team carried out x-ray and microscopic analysis of active materials in battery plates. The structures of lead oxides were clarified by x-ray and neutron diffraction analysis and the ways in which alpha and beta lead dioxide could be formed were elucidated. In 1968, he was awarded the Hoffmann Memorial Prize at the 3rd International Conference on Lead in Italy, for his findings on lead-antimonycadmium alloys, Although he was fast making a name for himself, Bagshaw was largely indifferent to the recognition he was attracting. He later said: “I was never particularly concerned with patents (although I recognised their impor-
In 1958, he moved to the Chloride Group in Manchester, where he was to spent the next 29 years. Working alongside Montefiore Barak, Bagshaw was head of materials research and also later assistant director of research of the labs. tance) and left patents to the patent office in Chloride. I don’t even know how many patents have my name on.” That said many of his patents are fundamental to the present industry. For example, “Battery electrode structure” patent number: 4125690, obtained in 1978, concerns “a battery electrode structure made of a leadcalcium-tin alloy”. He obtained this with John McWhinnie. That same year as he received his first international prize, Bagshaw transferred to Chloride Industrial Batteries Limited, the company manufacturing lead acid batteries for stand-by applications and also for submarines
Standing besides one of the 400 cells needed for a submarine battery, holding his classic text on the subject: Batteries on Ships 122 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
and aircraft. In addition the company made special silver oxide-zinc batteries for torpedoes. Following a reorganization he was made technical director and given the responsibility for all stand-by, submarine, aircraft and torpedo batteries with all the technical managers and also the quality manager reporting to him. A further reorganization allowed him to concentrate on defence and aircraft batteries by giving him overall control — including sales and marketing — of these products. Over these years Bagshaw visited various companies making submarines, torpedoes, aircrafts and tanks as well as various navies including the navies of Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and Egypt. Chloride had always been a supplier of batteries to the British Navy since diesel-electric submarines were first introduced. Bagshaw recalls: “We extended this to include batteries for air-drop torpedoes. “These batteries had magnesium and silver chloride as electrodes and used sea water as the electrolyte. The batteries were prepared with dry plates and when the torpedo was dropped into the sea the electrolyte (sea water) entered the battery. “Thus the weight of the electrolyte did not have to be carried by the aircraft. One of the disadvantages of
BATTERY HEROES: NORMAN BAGSHAW
From left: Wedding day July 6, 1957, attending a formal dinner dance, with grandchildren and celebrating their golden wedding anniversary
the flow-through system is a fall in voltage as the battery discharges. We overcame this by recirculating some of the sea water to increase the temperature and therefore the voltage during discharge. We tested the effectiveness of this innovation in the lab prior to commercialization.” He was happy to share his expertise and in 1982 he wrote the 203-page book Batteries on Ships, a standard text on the subject, which was published in January 1983 and in 1986 in Russian. He also edited a series of books on power sources technology for Research Studies Press. In 1988 Bagshaw, who had left Chloride the previous year to become an independent consultant, was awarded the Frank Booth Medal by the International Power Sources Symposium Committee for contributions to battery research and development. During the next decade and a half, he advised several companies and government departments in various countries throughout the world on many research projects. Notable examples include a mission to Syria on behalf of the United Nations to advise on batteries for photovoltaic systems; his work as a member of an advisory committee to the UK’s defence ministry for battery requirements into the next century; advising on the development of a maintenance free battery
for solar power application for a European Commission project; and providing advice to the UK’s House of Lords on zero emission vehicles. Companies he has advised include Atraverda USA, Magneti Morelli in Italy, several battery companies in South Korea which he has also visited and he has worked closely with HBL (Hyderabad Batteries Limited) in India on some of their new battery projects, becoming a non-executive director of this company for three years. He also performed a critical survey of all the lead-acid work assessed ILZRO (International Lead Zinc Research Organisation). Bagshaw was also used as an expert witness in many battery and patent disputes. In one notable case, his name as expert witness was enough to make the opposing company withdraw. Throughout this period Bagshaw has shared his knowledge by giving various battery tutorials and workshops around the world Like many in the battery business, music has always been an important part of his life — and continues to this day. It’s passion that runs through his whole family — down to his grandchildren. Now approaching his 84th year he divides his time between his home in Cheshire and a chalet in north Wales where he goes on walking holidays.
In addition to the alloy work, Bagshaw and his team carried out x-ray and microscopic analysis of active materials in battery plates. The structures of lead oxides were clarified by x-ray and neutron diffraction analysis and the ways in which alpha and beta lead dioxide could be formed were elucidated. 124 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
NORMAN BAGSHAW Bagshaw was chairman of the British and IEC Standards Committees on Aircraft Batteries over many years; an Industrial Fellow at Nottingham University for six years, and member of the Court and Council of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology for 17 years. He has also been a member of the International Power Sources Symposium Committee, member of the Council of Defence Manufacturers’ Association (DMA), member of the editorial board of Advanced Metals Technology and member of the Industrial Advisory Committee LABAT, Bulgaria. In 1999 the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences awarded him the Gaston Planté medal for fundamental contributions to the development of lead-acid battery technology. In 2003 he received the UMIST medal for sustained and outstanding work for the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Bagshaw has published over 60 scientific papers for professional and technical journals.
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ILA double-dealing continues! Vancouver rejected for 16ELBC at last moment, Vienna chosen Look through the list of where ELBC has been to and you’ll see the conference has crisscrossed Europe more than a dozen times. But the ELBC secretariat is notoriously tight-lipped about announcing where the next conference will be held. Omertà, the Mafia’s code of silence, has nothing on these sturdy souls. “We continue to deny any link between the deaths of four office staff and the leaking of the Berlin venue announcement,” said an ELBC spokesman, who later said she could neither confirm nor deny her name. But ELBC watchers knew that one day the ILA — the conference organizers — would come a cropper.
So with the odds tightening to close to events in Rome and Zurich — well known as Maura’s favourite shopping weekend spots — most of the wild cards had been discarded. That said, the more shameless cynics continued to believe that the ILA’s senior management’s predilection for the cheaper varieties of the sauvignon grape meant Bordeaux was an also-ran. But surprise mounted to panic when David Wilson, long-time veteran of picking ELBC venues, admitted that he had spent time in British Colombia this year. “The letters ‘BC’ of course were the clue to it all,” said one event watcher. “And what better way could the ILA try to pull the wool over our eyes than by electing to put a European battery conference on the other side of the Atlantic? “It makes perfect sense.” Although betting on Vancouver narrowed
from 1000-1 to 5/2 in early September — and Batteries International’s hot tip of Southendon-Sea languished at 500-1 — in the end there was mounting speculation that Italy could be the next point of call. “Andy’s been seen wearing Italian shoes, Alistair’s been saying Ciao on the phone and Maura keeps humming a tune that might be Italian or French in origin (which is almost the same thing),” said an insider. “And there’s now a rumour that Mr Binks wants to be called Stefano. I’m plumping for Rome.” But the last laugh, as ever, went to the ILA. The next ELBC will be held in Vienna. “Vancouver was in the running for a while but we ruled it out in the end,” said David Wilson. “Andy thought Canadian beer too weak and Maura thought a gala dinner with lumberjack dancing would be dull. So apple strudels it is.”
Barnes picks Austria as winning capital for next ELBC meetings
Not everyone was this happy about the choice of location for 16ELBC!
126 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
Malta’s Verdala Palace. 10.30pm. A silence falls over the assembled crowd of battery dignitaries. The 15ELBC Gala dinner is closing and a nervous David Wilson approaches the microphone. “And the next ELBC meeting will be held …” Dramatic pause. “… in Vienna.” An explosion of noise and shouts greets him. A torrent of bread rolls is thrown at David as he runs for cover. The crowd start shouting. “They’ve rigged it again.” “Fixed!” “String ‘im up!” But one figure is beaming. Hammond’s Steve Barnes is standing waving his hands in the air shouting “I won, I won.” In the last-minute book run by Batteries International, various tables were invited to choose cities where they
thought the next ELBC would be held. Our well-travelled Steve knew immediately that Austria was the capital of Vienna — though he did wonder if it might be the other way round — and so took the jackpot home with him. (Less the book runner’s commission). “This’ll keep my bairns in bread and drippin’ for weeks,” he said.
Birthday Surprise — it’s as Simple as 16ABC The organizers of the Asian Battery Conference have told Batteries International that they have settled on dates and venues for the next meetings. “I’m a rising Pisces with an ascendant Gemini on the cusp,” said Mark (the Australian one) and my birthdays always happen during the event. “Last time a meteor
shower over Bangkok — as pictured in our excellent conference newsletter — announced miraculous signs ahead of my 25th birthday. And this year has been the best in all my years as a veteran in the battery business.” The next ABC meetings will be held in Kuala Lumpur between September 8-11.
It’s as simple as ABC — Alpha Beta Cooper The clandestine lead battery club known only for its terrifying initiation rituals met at the ELBC Malta meetings at a hidden location, but close to a bar in the conference hotel for security reasons, to induct its newest member: Alpha Beta Cooper. As solemn rituals were pronounced Allan Cooper — known best for his love of driving Honda cars endlessly round test circuits — was admitted to the Secret Order of the Alpha Beta Society. “It’s a great honour to be admitted to a society founded by the Great Galvani and his Voltanic Twitching Frogs,” said El ‘Mini’ Cooper as he did a couple of bar circuits with pride. “Just another few thousand laps and my LC Hybrid will be broken in.” The anonymous Master Sergeant In Arms — sometimes known as famed electrochemist Pat Moseley — has also stepped down to let in new blood. “I am now only entitled to wear the black hood of my office on feast days,” he sighed. The Alpha-Beta society was formed in the early 1990s when the then prominent electrochemists of their day decided to form a forum to discuss topical issues in an informal and liquid fashion. One prominent member known only through a pseudonym via the uncrackable codename of “D’ And Rave” said that past and present members now had risen to the low 20s and there were few signs of candidates with sufficient ‘Kaliber’ to boost their number. “Où sont les electrochimistes d’antan?” he whispered in Welsh to his beloved companion.
Lead–Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles Edited by Jürgen Garche, Eckhard Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand, Elsevier Academic Press. Target publication date: Early 2017
The four authors of this book are all household names for the lead acid battery community and this book provides a valuable contribution to the way forward for an industry on the brink of change. The role of the lead-acid battery is changing and particularly in the field of transportation; itself undergoing radical changes as new challenges such as continued CO2 emission reductions are demanded, electrification of the car continues apace, and autonomous driving is possibly just around the corner. A new generation of automotive batteries are doing more than just starting the car or 127 • Batteries International • Autumn 2016
keeping the radio playing. These batteries are becoming an integral part of the drivetrain and electrochemical advances are offering even enhanced flooded batteries the ability to provide some of the power and cycleability of their VRLA counterparts. And while these advances are happening, lithium-ion technology is coming to the fore offering the first real challenge to the dominance of the lead-battery since the days of Planté some 150 years ago. So this book Lead–Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles comes at a perfect moment for capturing this critical juncture in its history and suggesting — in both practical and
theoretical terms — the way forward. The editors of the book are all household names to those who work in the battery industry — Jürgen Garche, Eckhard Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand — and they have managed to combine their lifetime’s experience into a collective wisdom that underpins this book. The list of authors, including the editors, is a Who’s Who of some of the leading names in the business — taken at random (apologies to those missed out for reasons of space) from a huge list are Ken Peters, R David Prengaman, Eberhard Meissner, Lan Lam and Jun Furukawa. This is a book worth looking out for... www.batteriesinternational.com
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Published on Dec 6, 2016
Welcome to our latest issue Batteries International! As we creep towards Christmas we’ve got some cracking articles for you! Our cover stor...