Lithium batteries: soon to be as recyclable as lead? Lead battery industry mourn passing of Detchko Pavlov 'With respect Mr President, it's business as normal'
17ABC: full coverage of the lead event of the year The coming shake-up for the world of UPS
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CONTENTS COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING
Making the economics of lithium battery disposal stack up — sensibly? Recycling lithium ion batteries is still uneconomical — for most of the time the cost of recycling is far greater than the value of the metals retrieved. Moreover dumping of the batteries is unviable. An economical way forward may yet be possible — but may take years to happen. Getting the bigger cost picture 60 A recent study by the US’ Electric Power and Research Institute has analyzed the variety of costs for the entire recycling process.
The wild new frontiers of energy storage
BCI appoints Lisa Dry in first steps of North American communications campaign • Change afoot as Redflow restructures management and moves production to Thailand • New senior appointments for Eos Energy Storage • Energy storage firm Tesvolt hires Porsche’s Victor Schäfer • Giess wins International Lead Award at 17ABC in Kuala Lumpur • Industry veteran David Boden to be remembered with cocktails at BCI 2018 • Oliver takes over at JCI, Molinaroli leaves early • Skeleton appoints Liedtke as SVP business development • Remy Battery hires market veteran Mike Olson
Lisa Dry: BCI communications campaign roars into action 8
Detchko Pavlov, scholar, academician and probably the greatest expert on the lead battery that has yet lived, died on August 25.
Alevo files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy New findings on lead particles mean lower absorption rates Doe Run announces plans to expand lead mining development • Antistratification technology for flooded batteries goes on sale Monbat buys Italian recycler amid confidence in lead battery industry US lead battery usage in ESS falls, but upturn possible • Aquion Energy returns to business, announces new mystery owner • Aurelius wins grant to commercialize clean lead battery recycling • Investment firm KPS buys C&D Technologies • Consortium receives government backing to build first Australian lithium-ion manufacturing facility • TerraE Holding announces plans for Germany’s third Li-ion gigafactory • Major fundraising round starts for Sweden’s 32GWh factory • Materials demand to outstrip supply by 2020 • Innovate UK awards £1.5m for first of its kind liquid air energy storage • EDF and Stornetic begin testing flywheels for grid • Mining firm explores ways to produce battery-ready cobalt • Real-world tests begin to explore VRFB for grid modernization • Lead-acid key element in India’s power network transformation
Pavlov: 1930-2017, much admired, much treasured
Analysis: too many gigafactories spoil the industry 47
Gigafactories and the first-mover advantage
US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE “With respect Mr President — it’s going to be business as normal for the rest of us”
64 ‘Excuse me Mr President’ — what direction for US renewables? 64
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 1
CONTENTS CONFERENCE IN PRINT
• How supercaps can effortlessly extend starter and battery life • Continuous mixing process for producing electrode slurries for lithium-ion batteries • How to charge lithium-ion batteries with a parasitic load UPS: lithium, cybersecurity 88
FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: SCHMID GROUP
Squaring up to the lithium challenge
The world of uninterruptible power supplies is changing
BACK TO BASICS
Battery verification: testing is the key to firming industry gains ILA: putting plans into action95
VIEW FROM THE ILA
Shaping a new landscape for the lead battery industry
• 17ABC — arguably the best so far • ISLC enters second decade as forum for secondary lead
EVENTS 17ABC: simply impressive97
Our comprehensive listing of conferences and exhibitions worldwide
Jürgen Garche, chasing the electrochemical dream
THE LAST WORD
Last Word: flying to the stars123
Blood, blood, glorious blood • Photoshop has a lot to answer for • Don’t look a gift horse too closely … • Sorfin, steps and a fallen humanity • Manners maketh man • BCI and the brightest stars in the lead firmament • A little something for the plane sir?
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Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 3
EDITORIAL Mike Halls • email@example.com
The wild new frontiers of energy storage 50:50 hindsight. Yes, it’s always perfect. So, if you were to ask the market opinion of Alevo in 2014, the general thinking — based on an ignorant press that mistook huge investments in new technology for a measure of success — Alevo was the Next Big Thing in energy storage. Alevo went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the middle of August. Those of us in the know had expected it earlier, actually a lot earlier, following a long list of projects that had been pulled or delayed. Although Elon Musk at Tesla had grabbed the better headlines, Alevo was always the next one to watch. In a world of start-up announcements — remember the headlines as Tesla publicly tickled the media in a debate over where it would locate its gigafactory while it was already clearing its chosen site? — publicity is king. Alevo didn’t do so badly either. In late 2014 the company announced it planned to spend $1 billion in converting an enormous former tobacco factory in North Carolina into a shiny, sparkly, brand new lithium battery manufacturing plant. Using the momentum that created, it announced a busy workplan of projects, proposed job creation in the thousands and further details of how its proprietary inorganic electrolyte was going to change the fortunes of lithium iron phosphate batteries forever. An uncritical press took statements by Alevo (and for that matter Tesla) mostly at face value.
to electric vehicles — with the Netherlands announcing its intention to scrap the sales of new gas driven vehicles by 2025 — we are entering a new world of energy storage, with ramifications that extend across the planet. But it’d be unfair to call it a brave new world as this is terra incognita — an unknown and uncharted land. And at the moment all we’re seeing is the posturing of largely ignorant or badly briefed politicians. There is an absurd logic to them similar to the great land grabs of the 1880s in the US or a decade later the gold rushes in the Yukon. Perhaps the history of the Yukon gold rush could be instructive — some 35,000 people arrived in Dawson City, Canada, centre of prospecting, in 1898. Of these roughly half devoted themselves to prospecting. Of the 20,000 that went prospecting, apparently only 4,000 found gold. But it was less than 400 that became rich in any way that we’d understand it. Comparisons with the dive into all-things-lithium and Yukon may seem far-fetched. At first, anyway. But it’s less than a decade since we saw firms such as A123 walk away with almost half a billion dollars in the mad dash by investors into a get-rich scheme to tap an energy storage world that refused to come together. And we don’t have to go that far back in time to see the best laid investor plans go awry.
But the fact is the whole energy storage industry is still — effectively for many parts of it at any rate — still in the wild west. A frontier territory that is still waiting to be explored. Huge land grabs to be made. Fortunes to be won and lost in a new and developing technology.
The Samsung battery recall of its phones this year appears to have cost $4 billion. Sony laptop fires, Dreamliners, exploding cars in thunderstorms all come to mind in various ways. (And, as we aim for a greener more recyclable economy, can lithium batteries be disposed of satisfactorily? Or in an economically useful way?)
Or that’s what many think. Whether this is still the case is arguable.
And even the great players of the internet and computer revolution have had their fingers burnt.
With countries across the world pledging a shift away from the internal combustion engine
The recent demise of Aquion Energy and its sodium salt battery cost high-profile investors such as Bill
4 • Energy Storage Journal • Autumn 2017
EDITORIAL Mike Halls • firstname.lastname@example.org Gates and some very savvy venture capital investors around $190 million earlier this year. We know of others on the horizon. One question that needs to be posed is the simple one. What if the thinking behind these future Eldorados is inherently flawed? Perhaps one of the more interesting recent papers in the Journal of Power Sources — “A techno-economic analysis and optimization of Li-ion batteries for lightduty passenger vehicle electrification” — says quite simply that the price falls anticipated in mass production of lithium batteries have a limit. The report says: “We find that economies of scale in battery manufacturing are reached quickly at a production volume of ~200-300 MWh annually. Increased volume does little to reduce unit costs, except potentially indirectly through factors such as experience, learning, and innovation.” It’s not rocket science to think this but any future golden dawn for the lithium versus lead argument has to be quantified, which this does, on issues such as cost and performance. In the past we’ve been light-hearted about the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge — phrases like “encouraging the green to go mainstream” are a little too emblematic for our taste — but it is a monster contest fought every two years by electric vehicles in the Australian outback. The challenge is to travel some 3,000 kilometres from Darwin in the north of the country to Adelaide in the south with the only motive power coming from solar panels and the batteries that also charge up the cars. In the first race in 1987 times were very different. In those days even heavy lead acid batteries were a contender. But this year as a Dutch team won for the seventh time, one industry veteran said as an aside — “the cars may be getting better but I don’t think we’ve seen a substantial improvement in www.energystoragejournal.com
lithium batteries over the past five years.” And let’s forget any idea of lithium or lead or any energy storage chemistry for that matter saving the planet from that pesky carbon dioxide or those nasty nitrous oxides. This is all part of the saloongossip of the wild west. As you read this, over 1,600 coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries. The new plants will expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43% — and almost half will be built by Chinese firms! Petrol/diesel consumption will continue unchecked at over 90 million barrels a day as the developing world gets to drive for the first time. And, as per the nail in the coffin for this muddleheadedness, we still haven’t calculated the entire cradle-to-grave cost of lithium as a battery chemistry of choice! We need to explore the wildness of this new frontier rather than listen to sound bites or heed the press. To misquote an eminent US politician. The reality is this. The future ahead of us is not just a known unknown. Rather it’s a unknown unknown. And we — foolishly — seem to have a market expectation that billions of dollars thrown into gigafactories around the world will come up with a known, known. Clever old us! Energy Storage Journal • Autumn 2017 • 5
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BCI appoints Lisa Dry in first steps of North American communications campaign
Battery Council International announced on September 20 it had appointed Lisa Dry as its director of strategic communications, marking the active start of its communications campaign the Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative. Previously Dry was senior director of product communications for the American Chemistry Council. Here, she provided strategic communications guidance and was the media spokesperson for the Chemical Product and Technology Division, which
included more than 70 different product and technology groups involved in the business of chemistry. She also spent two years as the principal of Dry Strategies, where she delivered strategic planning, editorial services, media training and issue management services to a variety of biotechnology clients. Dry will work with an advisory group consisting of BCI members East Penn Manufacturing, EnerSys, Exide Technologies, Gopher Resource, Johnson Controls, RSR Corporation, Tech Metals, The Doe Run Company and the ILA’s Andy Bush. “We are in the early days of the project, having spent several months doing foundational work to better understand the political and media landscape that affects the lead battery industry,” said Dry. “We have identified four ‘pillars’, or key attributes, of lead batteries that we
will build the program around: lead batteries are sustainable, essential, innovative and safe. “I think there’s a surprising amount of innovation in the industry that has gone unnoticed. The need to shine a spotlight on innovation in the lead battery industry was a key driver in the formation of this program. Lead batteries have been a reliable and safe energy storage solution for decades, but because they are tried and true, people are often surprised to learn of the substantial amount if innovation in the industry. We want to make sure that our audience of influencers, that includes lawmakers and regulators, is aware of this fact that that lead batteries are a bridge to our renewable energy future, including wind and solar. The move by the BCI is part of a two-pronged campaign by BCI working with the International Lead Association. The ILA is close
Manifesto for change “Over my career I’ve been fortunate to work in both trade associations and large corporations where I developed communications programs to advocate for new technologies, or familiar technologies that were not well understood. “Whether the subject matter was chemicals or genetically modified organisms, these products often generated emotional responses and were of interest to lawmakers and regulators at the state, federal and sometimes local level. “I will use that experience to work with the industry to educate regulators and policymakers
8 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
of the dynamic benefits and sustainability of lead batteries that make them a smart choice for solving our country’s energy storage needs. “Our research shows that these influencers are often unaware of the critical applications where lead batteries are used, despite their essential nature to our everyday life. “To help them make informed decisions as they discuss the future of lead batteries, we must communicate to them the essentiality of lead batteries and their unique role in our country’s energy landscape today and in the future. “Although we won’t be
launching a campaign directed towards the general public we will, however, be tackling misinformed articles that appear in the mainstream media “As an industry, we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation to form a bridge to tomorrow’s energy storage challenges, and do so in a clean and sustainable way. We’re excited to see ever-growing innovative applications including hybrid electric vehicles, the electric power grid and renewable energy storage programs. These new uses will provide solutions for next-generation transport and energy needs.
to finalizing a similar appointment and, according to ILA managing director Andy Bush, hopes to launch its own initiative in Europe early in the new year. “The aim of the ALBCI is a move to target decision makers and those that influence them across government and industry,” said Mark Thorsby, head of BCI. “The initiative seeks to raise awareness of the importance of lead batteries, as well as inform and educate stakeholders on the need for continued investment in sustainable battery technologies.” “Some NGOs [non-governmental organizations] have an enormous sway of influence and we intend to be able to show them the true facts about our industry. We’re looking to communicate this to regulatory, judicial and environmental groups. This will happen in various ways but we’ll certainly be giving briefings to specialist media outlets such as Politico, which are hugely influential in informing US Congress opinion.” “We want to ensure that regulators and policymakers who make decisions about the future of the industry make informed decisions,” said Dry. “We want to communicate to them the very essential nature of lead batteries to our everyday life, this the name of our website, Essential Energy Everyday (www.essentialenergyeveryday.com). The site was launched earlier this year and the second phase incorporating additional content, including video and industry reports, will soon be available. Essential Energy Everyday also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter to deliver geotargeted messages to specific audiences.
Change afoot as Redflow restructures management and moves production to Thailand A series of high-level managerial changes were made at Australian flow battery maker Redflow on September 27 in a bid to grow the company’s sales of its zincbromine technology and oversee the transfer of its manufacturing base from Mexico to Thailand. The company’s former chief operating officer, Richard Aird, becomes the CEO with a mandate to accelerate the company’s new strategic direction, announced in May, which included moving battery production and targeting new market applications. Aird has been with the company since 2009.
The move comes just 12 months after Redflow’s largest shareholder, Simon Hackett, was named CEO. Hackett will continue as a non-executive director with oversight for technologyrelated matters. This includes external communications, public advocacy and guiding its continuing technical development and direction. Hackett will be replaced as the company’s independent non-executive chairman by Brett Johnson. Hackett, a well-known Australian technology entrepreneur, said: “My goal is to ensure that as we scale up production, our partners
through Redflow’s partner Vertiv (formerly Emerson Network Power), a Redflow system integrator that has previously deployed ZBM2 batteries for telco-related energy storage systems in New Zealand and Australia. The company’s energy storage system has been deployed in South African business Bosco Printed Circuits, which installed 14 ZBM2s to keep its production line running through power cuts. In August, Redflow confirmed it had established a company in Thailand to manage the production of its flow batteries in southeast Asia. The move is being made to bring manufacturing closer to the company’s more lucrative markets in Australia, Oceania and southern Africa, and to reduce production costs.
find it easy to integrate Redflow batteries into energy storage systems.” In the past year, Redflow has refocused on the leadacid replacement market in the telecommunications, commercial, industrial and off-grid residential sectors. This month Redflow secured a $600,000 order for its ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries from Auckland-based Hitech Solutions. Hitech is set to use the ZBM2 batteries to build advanced hybrid energy storage systems that will deliver power to multiple remote sites in a Pacific Island nation. Hitech placed the order
New senior appointments for Eos Energy Storage Grid-scale storage firm Eos Energy Storage announced four senior management appointments from the storage, battery and semiconductor industry on September 5 as the US-based company aims to expand production and global deployment of its zinc-hybrid cathode systems. The New Jersey company announced David Henry will be its new chief financial officer; Richard Hanna becomes vice president for manufacturing; Daniel Friberg a director of system engineering & integration; and Keith Powers is named director of field operations. The company says it is looking to boost deployment of its Znyth technologybased Aurora DC utilityscale battery system, which uses a titanium current collector, aqueous electrolyte, and propriety electrolyte additives. Henry was previously executive vice president, CFO and treasurer of American Superconductor Corporation.
Hanna, the former executive director of battery operations for Apple, said: “The Znyth battery is completely different from the lithium batteries I’m used to. “There are no clean rooms required and no complex deposition processes; we can manufacture these batteries in a machine shop-like environment and are now working to increase volume, yield,
and throughput through automation while expanding localized production lines in target international markets.” Friberg, who has overseen the deployment of more than 200MW of ESS at ABB and Parker-Hannifin, will oversee engineering of the Eos Aurora DC battery and battery management system, and will support third party
integration and AC system design. Powers will be responsible for project management from installation onwards. In the past 19 years he has managed the construction of more than 1.5GW of utilityscale renewable energy systems, most recently at Iberdrola Renewables and its successor company Avangrid Renewables.
Energy storage firm Tesvolt hires Porsche’s Victor Schäfer Victor Schäfer, energy storage expert and former electric mobility developer at Porsche, was named vice president of research and development of the German battery storage manufacturer Tesvolt on September 26. Schäfer started in the newly created position on October 1 with the goal of optimizing and applying the quality assurance processes in the develop-
ment of new products at the Lutherstadt Wittenberg-based company that uses prismatic nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide cells from Samsung SDI. Schäfer worked on energy management for lithium-ion technology and spent five years in the development of electric mobility and improving the quality of the company in the electrical and electronics sector.
Victor Schäfer: Named as vice president of research and development Tesvolt
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 9
David Boden, 1935-2017 Industry veteran David Boden to be remembered with cocktails at BCI 2018 Lead battery veterans and experts paid tribute at the ABC in Kuala Lumpur to David Boden, the well known and much respected industry consultant who passed away on September 15 after a short illness. He was 82. His wife Pattie told Batteries International that a special cocktail party will be hosted by family and industry friends to remember David at the BCI 2018 convention in Tucson, Arizona, next May. Boden was closely involved with many leading battery firms, such as Exide, Emerson, C&D Power Systems and Douglas Battery, and also consulted for Hammond and the ALABC. In a recent project (pictured) he was involved in a fundamental science project working with Crown Battery to examine positive plate samples at various states of charge After obtaining a degree at Salford University in England, Boden took his PhD in physical chemistry at the Polytechnic University of New York. He was later to chair BCI committees and sub-committees on various battery technologies, and spent 25 years advising companies on their product strategies. He also wrote more than 40 scientific papers and presentations for technical meetings. Hal Hawk, owner of Crown Battery and a former BCI head, said: From our many years of association, David was a gentleman in every sense of the word, mild mannered and extremely knowledgeable — he left the battery industry better off than when he entered it. He will be sorely missed.” His wife Pattie said: “David’s industry connections were his best friends and he truly enjoyed every minute of his 55+ years in the battery world. When I owned my advertising agency, his connections became some of my clients, and also grew to be long-time friends. “We both especially enjoyed attending the BCI, IBMA, EUROBAT and we had some great adventures around the world.”
10 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
The recent ALABC, Crown Battery team: Ian Steele, Steele Consulting, consultant to the contract; David Boden, All Points Consulting, project coordinator; Michael Fraley, technical director of Crown and project supervisor; Samira Farahani, Crown Battery: Boris Monahov, ALABC program manager; Matt Govinsky, Crown Battery; Jayme Navarrete, Crown, project manager
He enjoyed gardening, fly fishing and supporting Liverpool Football Club, Pattie said. Maureen Murphy, senior research chemist at Hammond said David was a dear friend of hers. “From his work with ALABC to recently working closer with him at Hammond Group, I loved his dedication and the precision with which he worked,” she said. “He was a wealth of knowledge that will not easily be replaced. We also shared the love of gardening, and often traded vegetable growing secrets. I already miss him both personally and professionally.” Eric Holtan, president, strategy and global accounts at Hammond, worked with David for almost 26 years. “We traversed the globe, going to conferences and working with customers,” he said. We had so many interesting times over those years and going to all those places — he was a great mentor and will be greatly missed.” Tom Wojcinski is a chemist in research and development who
worked with Boden at Hammond, Inc. “I feel very privileged to have known and worked closely with David for several years,” he said. “As a young graduate of chemistry and knowing little of batteries he was an inspirational figure who guided and tutored me in my early years at Hammond. I soon came to realize the amount of esteem that Dr Boden’s contributions to the industry held with our customers and the respect he was afforded by them with good reason. “There was no better figure for this young battery chemist to look up to than David, intelligent, diligent, confident, and also approachable and always thinking of those learning from him. I owe him much and am ever grateful for the knowledge he shared with me.” Pattie also said that anyone wanting to make a donation in David’s memory could send them to the Hospice of the Piedmont in Charlottesville, Virginia, or the Caring for Creatures Pet Sanctuary in Palmyra, Virginia.
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Giess wins International Lead Award at 17ABC in Kuala Lumpur Prominent, well-respected electrochemist Herbert Giess won the International Lead Award 2017 at a special ceremony at the opening morning of 17ABC in Kuala Lumpur on September 20, for his contributions to the lead industry throughout his 30-year career. It was a popular choice, and accepting the award, Giess said he was deeply honored and thanked the people who had helped him on his way … Gaston Planté, Camille Alphonse Faure, Alessandro Volta and then some of the brilliant people he had worked with over the years: Kathryn Bullock, Jean Burbank, John Devitt, and David Rand — who gave the introductory speech — among many others. Geisse was born in April 1945 in a small village called Jenesien in the German-speaking Südtirol, which is in fact part of Italy. He was the eldest of 10 children, having nine sisters younger than him. His father was an engineer from Genoa, and his grandfather hailed from Vienna — strangely a peripatetic family that was to characterize his own work life and that of his son Alexandre who lives in California. Giess showed an early interest in chemistry and as a young teenager could be found happily manufacturing toxic gases such as chlorine, before bubbling it through bromine salts to create bromine as well. “My first job and taste for electrochemistry came with the European Atomic Energy Commission — better known as Euratom — in Ispra by Lake Maggiore in the north of Italy, and later I was transferred to Petten in the Netherlands,” he says. “It was there that I was involved in determining ion diffusion coefficients of lead, cadmium thallium, and zinc in molten alkali nitrates, acetates and thiocyanates with oscillographic polarography, using a dropping mercury electrode and the Randles-Sevcik equation.” But at the age of 24 Giess was beginning to look for pastures new, and on the day of the Apollo moon landing — way back on July 21, 1969 — he could be found watching live television until the early hours before being interviewed for a position in the re-
12 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Herbert Giess with Mark Stevenson (left) and Andy Bush (right)
search group at the Battelle Memorial Institute Research Center in Geneva, Switzerland. He got the job and with it, his life changed forever. Within days of starting work he met Marie-Héléne, the French secretary for the research group. Some 48 years later, the couple are still together. It was around this time that he discovered the second love of his life. “After a project for forming insulating passivation layers on copper in liquid hydrogen fluoride I finally found my true love, the lead-acid battery,” he tells Battery Street Journal. “I didn’t realize it immediately, but the lead-acid battery world was in for some exciting times. Delco-Remy, a division of General Motors USA, introduced in 1971 the first maintenancefree SLI battery, the Delco-Freedom Battery made with expanded metal lead-calcium grids. It was a gamechanging moment for the industry.” Because the other lead-acid battery firms were trying to compete with Delco and produce equivalent battery types, the absence of antimony in the positive grid alloy created massive amounts of early capacity failures. A solution was needed, and urgently. “As Battelle Geneva was a contract research organization, we offered our research services and gathered, in a multi-year collaborative research project, 12 lead-acid battery manufacturers from Europe, Japan and the US to carry out a fundamental research study,” he recalls. “The title of the programme was the Shedding and Ag-
ing of the PbO2 Electrode. “It was the ALABC before its time. Leading this program, we were able to show and document the importance of tin in preventing the passivation of the positive lead alloy grid after a deep discharge. Tin was more effective than our old friend antimony.” Since then the presence of at least 0.2% tin in the lead alloy for positive grids has become the rule. And on to success was built more success. “Next to solving the ohmic passivation issue, we also tackled the so-called antimony-free effect at the heart of many early battery failures,” he says. “This company-confidential research led us, with many other supporting experiments, to pinpoint the exact site of the nasty sudden battery failure which was located in the interface between the grid and the active mass. “Not only were we able to identify the site and mode of failure, but we could also yield recommendations for production process changes processes (curing). “We identified three modes of negative impact of the absence of antimony on the behaviour of the positive PbO2 electrode and coined already in 1977 the terms Sb-1, Sb-2 and Sb-3 effects so to describe the failures in performance. “These investigations were again picked up anew in the ALABC consortium about 15 years later and the terms ‘premature capacity loss PCL 1 and PCL 2’ were coined.” His research work had brought him in contact with Gould, Inc. — then one of the most exciting battery firms in the US — which later became GNB and later still, Exide Technologies. He was offered a position to join the corporate R&D lab of Gould, Inc. in Rolling Meadows, outside Chicago, in 1978. He moved out to live there that year, taking with him his young son, Alexandre. Here he was to investigate a wide variety of promising battery chemistries such as Ni-Zn, Li-S and Zn-Br. “However I stayed true to my first love, the lead-acid battery, and maybe my German accent and the release of the movie Das Boot helping,
PEOPLE NEWS I was soon carrying out research for advanced lead-acid batteries for US Navy submarines,” he says. “As a highlight of this activity, my team was able to develop a highly corrosion-resistant, titanium wirereinforced large-size positive grid for 5000Ah capacity cells destined for back-up power in nuclear submarines. “The idea of reinforcing the grid with bare high-purity titanium wires came when, after months of frustrating efforts to incorporate bundles of alumina fibres as reinforcement, and looking out of the lab window to a nearby construction site, it dawned on me that steel-reinforced concrete structures would be a good example for a strong grid. “We were also very lucky that titanium is perfectly passivated at the potentials of the positive electrode and thus doesn’t corrode when exposed directly to the acid. We needed less than 10% in volume of titanium in the volume of the lead-tin alloy grid to resist creep, corrosion-induced grid growth, as also the forces expected from an enemy depth charge. “All the current flowed along the lead volume of the grid and the titanium wire structure acted only as structural reinforcement. This avoided the ohmic resistance issues plaguing designs when a 100% titanium structure was used as active mass support.” The Gould Submarine Battery Plant in Kankakee in Illinois could thus build a full-sized battery with this technique, and installed it much later in the US Navy Seawolf SSN-21 attack submarine. But Europe beckoned again and after almost five years in the US, Giess joined Accumulatorenfabrik Oerlikon, one of the oldest lead-acid battery manufacturers in the world, and moved to Zürich. “I think my promise to Caspar Weinberger, then the US Secretary of Defense, not to sell my secrets to the Swiss navy, or to join its submarine fleet underneath Lake Zurich, satisfied the US secret service that I was safe to leave,” says Giess. Accu Oerlikon was known for many things, but one of the most famous was the Oerlikon Battery, with a gelled electrolyte, that had been developed in the 1930s. The gelling was done with a slurry of asbestos fibres and a sodium silicate solution. This prevented acid spillage when the battery glass jars broke, and the solid gel also averted short circuits between the hanging, separator-less bat-
tery plates. Even a reduced frequency of water additions was claimed as an additional benefit, or a Sonnenschein Dryfit, before its age. With the replacement of glass jars in the 1930s the stronger casing caused the gel to go out of fashion. “Because I had witnessed in Rolling Meadows the birth of the Absolyte VRLA/AGM cells, as head of R&D, I convinced Accu Oerlikon management that another momentous change in lead-acid battery design was in the making with the advent of the Gould/ GNB Absolyte and the Chloride Powersafe VRLA/AGM stationary batteries,” he says. “We then brought on to the market the successful Compact-Power VRLA AGM range, going from 12V-26Ah monoblocs all the way to 2V-3000Ah single cells. The ride was not always smooth and we were, as early adopters of this technology, plagued by the VRLA/AGM characteristic negative terminal leakage and strap corrosion. “But with tenacity and the Swiss drive for perfection and attention to detail we solved all the issues and were able to make the Rolex of the VRLA/AGM batteries.” The next task for Giess was to get the VRLA/AGM hardware into multiple applications, from 48V radio base stations to 480V 2MW data centre back-ups and 1500V UPS systems in chip plants in Taiwan. He also tried to keep his actual and future customers abreast with critical technical details of the battery and its operation. For this he delivered a series of international presentations on such diverse topics as: Thernal Behaviour of VRLA/AGM Cells and Monoblocs; Abusive Discharges to zero Volt of VRLA/AGM Monoblocs in 24V Strings; Investigation of Thermal Phenomena in VRLA/AGM Stationary Lead-acid Batteries with a Thermal Video Imaging System; Operation of VRLA Lead-acid Batteries in Parallel Strings of Dissimilar Capacity; Very Rapid Recharging of Large VRLA Cells; Operation of VRLA Monoblocs with an on/off Float Charge Regime; The Performance of VRLA Cells and Monoblocs under Arctic Conditions; Real-time VRLA Life Test or how Small Differences can have Big Effects; Ground Short Phenomena in VRLA Batteries, and so on. Around this time he also became involved in IEC lead-acid battery standardization work, first as a Swiss expert, then as working group leader,
then finally as chairman of IEC TC21 Secondary Cells and Batteries. The recent standard IEC 60896-21 and –22 for stationary VRLA cells and monoblocs and IEC 61427-2 for batteries for renewable, grid-connected energy storage were written and published under his guidance. In 1995 he was put in charge of transferring, in a licensing deal, a full set of manufacturing know-how to a battery manufacturing firm in Zhejiang Province, China. The technical excellence of the VRLA/AGM cells and monoblocs had in the meantime spread to China, and after many technical, organizational and cultural challenges he says: “They were able to confirm Deng Xiao Ping’s declaration, ‘to get rich is glorious’ and ‘I don’t care what colour the cat is as long as it catches mice’, and we cloned our Swiss battery design. I am proud that our design and methods are still in use.” This venture led to another China job, when Accu Oerlikon set up a production line near Hangzhou, the famous Lin’an of Marco Polo. “Having studied close to Marco Polo’s hometown of Venice in Italy I now had the privilege to become a teacher myself in one of Marco Polo’s wonders-of-the-world towns. My private interest in Chinese imperial history and antiquities helped me to win the confidence of my partners there.” The last chapter of Giess’s career began in 2006, when he left Accu Oerlikon to became an independent consultant. “Over the recent decade I’ve had the privilege to assist several companies in solving battery production and battery operating issues and found it challenging to delve deep into the ‘black magic’ of lead-acid battery science and technology to find a solution.” Herbert Giess’s latest challenge has been to guide an R&D team at Narada Power Source Co in China to build and qualify the best VRLA/AGM battery for renewable energy storage. Looking back on almost half a century working in lead and batteries, he says he is still constantly surprised by the fact that the lessons of the past are so easily forgotten. “I’m often being approached to solve a problem of something that we’d looked at — and solved — many years ago. “I fear for our industry that a generation of experts is going to the grave with their knowledge and expertise with them.”
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 13
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Oliver takes over at JCI, Molinaroli leaves early
George Oliver (above), president and chief operating officer of Johnson Controls, is to take over from Alex Molinaroli, its CEO and chairman, on September 1. The change-over, which had been announced a year ago, takes place six months earlier than planned. Oliver joined Johnson Controls through a reverse merger in September last year with Tyco, a global fire and security producer. Oliver had previously been president and chief operating officer of Tyco. Tyco was bought for $16.5 billion. “Since completing the Tyco merger, we have been executing a robust integra-
tion plan to maximize the skill sets and capabilities of the combined company, develop solutions to better meet our customers’ needs and realize approximately $1 billion of cost savings.,” Jürgen Tinggren, a member of the executive committee, said: “Given the progress made on the merger integration as we approach the one-year anniversary and upcoming start of a new fiscal year, this is an appropriate time to implement this planned leadership succession. “Accelerating the transition provides clarity and continuity as we move into the next phase and continue to deliver the benefits of the transaction and en-
hance long-term shareholder value.” Tinggren has been appointed lead independent director of the Johnson Controls board, effective immediately. Oliver has a substantial track record and was a major figure in making the merger happen. He was chief executive officer of Tyco and a board director from September 2012. Oliver joined Tyco in July 2006 as president of Tyco Safety Products and assumed additional responsibility as president of Tyco Electrical & Metal Products from 2007 through to 2010. He was appointed president of Tyco Fire Protection in 2011. Before this Oliver had more than 20 years with General Electric, where he worked in operational jobs of increasing responsibility in several divisions. These included working as president and chief executive officer of GE Water and Process Technologies and president and chief executive officer of GE Engine Services.
Molinaroli has spent his working life with Johnson Controls. He joined the firm in 1983 and spent some 20 years in the building efficiency division before being appointed head of the power solutions business (effectively energy storage/ batteries) in 2007. Molinaroli, was particularly influential in focusing Johnson’s battery business on AGM batteries as a replacement to standard lead acid batteries. Although initially sceptical about the uptake of EVs — early in his position as chairman he said he expected a mass market to only start in 2023 — the power solutions business became the first car supplier to begin mass production of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles. It later launched advanced lead-acid ‘startstop’ batteries. Oliver’s last years were tinged on occasion with elements of controversy — an affair with a management consultant and an involvement with a fraudulent Ponzi scheme (where no wrongdoing against Molinaroli was found) — and clouded opinion about him. Separately, Jeffrey Joerres has stepped down from the board of directors at Johnson Controls.
Skeleton appoints Liedtke as SVP business development
Remy Battery hires market veteran Mike Olson
Ultracapacitor maker Skeleton Technologies appointed Michael Liedtke as senior vice president of business development in early August. Liedtke has been involved in developing ultracapacitor technology for more than 12 years with companies such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Between 2006 and 2013 he spearheaded the growth of Maxwell Technologies’ ultracapacitor business during which the firm enjoyed a 50% rise in revenues, a
For the record, battery manufacturer Remy Battery appointed Mike Olson in April to help build sales and brand awareness in the US. With more than 25 years in the battery industry, Olson is returning to his Wisconsin roots to join Remy. “I enjoy the battery business and take a great deal of pride in providing the smartest solutions for my customers,” said Olson. “Today, batteries
spokesperson for Skeleton Technologies said. “He will head up the business development team, supporting the creation of new product lines and the building of strategic alliances and integrated partnerships on an international level,” said the official. “Skeleton Technologies has developed offerings that can make a real commercial difference across sectors such as automotive, heavy transportation, clean energy and grid energy storage,” said Liedtke.
help to power so much of our lives, which makes my job both interesting and a whole lot of fun.” Remy Battery is a familyowned business that began as a battery rebuilder in 1931, at the height of the depression. Founder Michael Zurich reinvested in the company in the early 1940s and the firm began to make its own batteries. Since then it has expanded its portfolio to offer all kinds of battery chemistry.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 17
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DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017
Detchko Pavlov 1930-2017 Detchko Pavlov, scholar, academician and probably the greatest expert on the lead battery that has yet lived, died on the morning of August 25. He was widely respected, widely liked and one of the leading figures in advancing our knowledge — both theoretical and practical — of the electrochemical workings of the battery. 20 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Many senior figures have paid tribute to him as both a man and a scholar. David Prengaman, chairman of RSR told Batteries International: “I have been blessed to have several people over the years aid me in my career and my love affair with lead acid batteries. Detchko Pavlov was one of them. “While I had heard of Pavlov, it was not until the beginnings of ALABC that I met him. He had a way of explaining his theories of active material to me in the simple examples that even a materials person such as I could understand. I remember many discussions with him and my wonder of his understanding of
DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017
Pavlov: above as a very young child and later as a young researcher. Thousands of engineers and researchers were later to benefit from his deep understanding of the electrochemical mechanisms within lead batteries.
“Detchko! He’s forgotten more about lead than I’ve ever known” —John Devitt, father of the VRLA battery the subtle nuances of charge and discharge reactions.” Boris Monahov, program director for the ALABC his former student and eventually a colleague of Pavlov said: “Detchko was a very humble person never taking himself too seriously — he had a brilliant sense of humour and often made jokes at his own expense. “After all these 25 years I spent with him I felt that he was both my teacher and my relative — I spent more time with him than with my parents. I recall with fondness the discussions we had in the lab after work was over or on Saturday when all the administrative and other noises were off.” His intellectual prowess and knowl-
edge of his subject was legendary. “Detchko? He’s forgotten more about lead than I’ve ever known!” says John Devitt, inventor of the VRLA battery and no intellectual slouch himself. “He was an outstanding researcher and scientist with a highly individual approach to the subject of his studies. One of his talents was his patience and ability to move step by step in understanding the mechanisms that underpin how batteries work,” says Monahov. “He was able to explain such mechanisms simply. He liked saying: ‘science is a simple thing but it’s not for simple people’. “He helped 10 of scientists to design their research, prepare their theses and develop their careers. He helped thousands of battery engineers with his books and lectures and helped his colleagues to resist, survive and flourish in a public environment not always generous and friendly to research teams. He was a great man.”
Detchko Pavlov was born on September 9, 1930 in Shipka, a sleepy town in Central Bulgaria nestling in the Balkan Mountains. He and his sister attended the local Saints Cyril and Methodius grammar school in Kazanlak, where their mother taught mathematics and physics and their father taught in the primary school. In 1946, when Detchko was 16, a
young chemistry teacher visited their school. He taught the students how to work out chemical equations and demonstrated various chemical experiments.
For the young Pavlov this was an epiphany, which inspired him to decide to study industrial chemistry. During the next two years, Detchko was its star pupil. For his excellence, he was selected to be the school standard-bearer in his final year. His sister at the time said he was “a serious tidy boy, fond of books and very determined to do well”. His academic career started in 1948 when he obtained a place to read chemical engineering at the State University in Sofia. In 1953, after graduating with a degree in electrochemistry from the Higher Institute of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, he was invited to join the department. It was headed by professor Stefan Hristov, a pioneer in the application of quantum mechanics to electrochemistry. In the same department working alongside him as an assistant professor was a shy pretty girl, Svetla Raitcheva, who had just completed her higher education at the D Mendeleev Chemical Technical Institute in Moscow and already had a reputation for academic brilliance and a fearsome intellect. Their scientific collaboration grew into a friendship and ultimately, mar-
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 21
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DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017 team of some 25 co-workers — the best graduates from the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy and the Faculties of Chemistry and Physics of the Sofia State University — have broken new ground in understanding the processes at work in a battery. In 1961, Pavlov obtained a one year posting at the Institut du Radium, Marie and Pierre Curie Laboratory in Paris, France working for the laboratory director, professor Haisinski who had once worked with Marie Curie. Haisinski directed Pavlov towards research on the chemistry of complex anode processes and in particular moving research into practical applications.
Pavlov and love of his life, wife Svetla
riage. Svetla went on to earn her PhD in quantum chemistry and became first an associate professor and then a full professor. (She eventually chaired the Department of Physical Chemistry and also became head of the institute.) Svetla was to be the love of his life and he was devastated when she died a few years ago. At the 1960 National Congress of Chemists, Pavlov had reported the results of his research into polarography. Impressed, academician Kaishev, director of the department of electrochemistry at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, invited Pavlov to join the department. It was an auspicious time to spe-
cialize. Bulgaria had begun to concentrate its manufacturing efforts in the production of electric forklift trucks Pavlov was assigned the task of researching into improving lead acid batteries. For the next half a century, working on the fourth floor of Building 10 on the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences campus, Pavlov and his eventual
In 1967, Pavlov and his colleague professor Evgeni Budevski established the Central Laboratory of Electrochemical Power Sources (CLEPS), in which he became the head of the Lead Acid Battery Department (LABD). Following the discovery of rich deposits of lead ores in southern Bulgaria, in the mid-1960s, the country became the major supplier of forklift trucks and batteries to the USSR and other eastern bloc countries. Alongside their scientific research, the LABD scientists actively supported the Bulgarian battery industry with new technologies, transfer of knowledge and genuine theoretical modelling. For example, Pavlov and colleague Vasil Iliev proved that when polymer additives are added to the battery, its power at low temperatures increases. Their scientific contribution paid off. The starter batteries produced in the Bulgarian “Start” factory in Dobritch continued to work well in freezing and sub-zero temperatures. With Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Tyumen unable to provide anything comparable, Bulgarian batteries were bought in large quantities, starting at 300,000 units and rising. In return, Bulgaria received 12,000-15,000 automobiles per year from the Zhiguli-Lada factory in the Soviet city of Toliati. The range of studies conducted by
In 1997 he was elected as academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This is the highest scientific rank in eastern Europe. It is only when one academician dies that a new one can be elected. Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 25
DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017 Pavlov and his team has been extensive. These include: the kinetics of electrochemical processes; electrochemistry of lead electrodes; semiconductor properties and structure of lead oxides, lead sulphate and basic lead sulphates; processes related to the all stages of the technology of battery manufacture including paste mixing, curing, drying, pickling, formation; structures of lead and lead oxide active masses; processes taking place inside the battery during its storage, operation and rest; electrochemistry of antimony and tin electrodes; processes of oxygen evolution and its recombination back to water, thermal phenomena in VRLA batteries and the mechanism of the processes causing thermal run away in VRLA batteries, degradation processes and the ways to suppress or avoid them. Of special note was the way Pavlov and his team investigated the way in which expanders affected the performance of negative lead acid battery plates and how they could be improved. This led to the creation of a new generation of highly efficient organic ligno-sulphonate expanders. The team revealed also the mechanism of the processes taking place in the AGM separator and developed a modified, better AGM with programmable properties. In consequence, Pavlov and his team have been granted 33 patents, in Bulgaria and abroad. He also developed a lecture course “Processes that occur during battery manufacture” and “Essentials of Lead Acid Batteries” which he has presented in numerous countries worldwide.
A second family
And with his researches came international acknowledgement as Pavlov’s team’s work was recognised for its worth. One of the more charming characteristics of Pavlov — who had a reputation for being a modest, kindly but diligent person — was the way that he has never distinguished his work from that of his team. Indeed when his wife was alive the two often referred to the
Yordan Kostadinov, Geno Papazov, Vasil Iliev and Pavlov: a formidable team
Battery heroes all at the first LABAT conference in 1989 — Ernst Voss, Galina Aidman, David Rand, Katherine Bullock and Pavlov
team as their second family. “He was extremely proud of his team at CLEPS and fiercely protective of them as his children as he had none of his own,” says Prengaman. “With the change from Communism, he was forced to get support from outside the state to support his research. Given the opportunity but little in funds, he managed to travel extensively to conferences and battery companies always trying to obtain project funding for his laboratory.” Pavlov was awarded a Doctor of Sci-
Pavlov and his team investigated the way expanders affected the performance of negative lead acid battery plates leading to the creation of a new generation of highly efficient organic ligno-sulphonate expanders. 26 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
ence degree in 1984 — a belated qualification. Fully occupied at CLEPS, he had been unable to find the time to make a conventional approach. So when he submitted his thesis, the Scientific Council of Physical Chemistry — the toughest in Bulgaria — agreed that this was not merely a PhD work, but something much bigger. They awarded him a DSc. From 1988, he was the driving force behind the success of the LABAT series of conferences — he chaired 10 of them — which have since been held every three years. As testimony to their importance, the proceedings of these meetings have been published as special issues of the Journal of Power Sources. He was a member of the editorial boards of five international journals published in Switzerland, India, Rus-
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DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017 sia and Bulgaria. He also influenced the decision of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences to award battery scientists and experts with the Gaston Planté medal for outstanding contributions. Up to now 17 battery veterans from a range of countries have received this award. In the early 1990s with the Republic of Bulgaria undergoing rapid democratic changes — and the economy being hit by rising inflation and falling standards of living — Pavlov realized there was a risk that the department he had been building up for over 25 years could fall apart. He introduced what he called “the American approach to science” — essentially using commercial partners to boost his research efforts. Before long he had persuaded international concerns such as Varta Research in Germany, ALABC in the USA, and Oerlikon in Switzerland to offer his department remunerative several-year contracts to develop production technologies. Pat Moseley, a former manager of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium — and pictured below awarding Pavlov with the ILA’s Lifetime Achievement Award — said:
“Detchko led his strong team in the scientific study of lead-acid batteries without the financial advantages of his contemporaries in other parts of the world. “He was a true gentleman and a dedicated scientist. The work and the spirit of Detchko will stay alive after his unprecedented scientific career through his papers.”
In 1997 he was elected a full member, or academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This is the highest scientific rank in eastern Europe. It is only when one academician dies that a new one can be elected. That year he also became adviser and cooperative member of the ITE Battery Research Institute, Nagoya, Japan. Pavlov and his team — research scientists Geno Papazov, Stefan Ruevski, Temelaki Rogachev, Boris Monahov, Galia Petkova, Mitko Dimitrov, Plamen Nikolov, Maria Matrakova and others has written extensively — more than 200 papers have been published in international scientific journals. To-date, these have been cited more than 2,700 times in scientific literature worldwide. Often just one of these pa-
pers has gone through as many as 16 drafts before he is satisfied. His last work Lead-Acid Batteries, Science and Technology, Second Edition appeared this March. The value of Pavlov’s contribution has been acknowledged through a huge range of awards and honours: 1976, The Cyril and Methodius Medal; 1980, The Award of the Federal Ministry of Australia; 1984, The Research Award of the Electrochemical Society; 1986, The National Dimitrov Award for Science; 1994, The Gaston Planté Medal; 1995, The International Cultural Diploma of Honor; 2006, The Marin Drinov Medal with Ribbon – the highest award of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 2010 he was awarded the ILA Lifetime Award and most recently NAATBatt’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The analytic process
Admirers say the genius of Pavlov has been in the way he can pinpoint where a problem might be occurring in, say, a piece of battery production or use and then strips the processes down to fundamental methods. Once the process has been elaborated he is also famous for the clarity of his writing so that not just academics but any
The value of Pavlov’s contribution has been acknowledged through a series of awards and honours: 1976, The Cyril and Methodius Medal; 1980, The Award of the Federal Ministry of Australia; 1984, The Research Award of the Electrochemical Society; 1986, The National Dimitrov Award for Science; 1994, The Gaston Planté Medal; 1995, The International Cultural Diploma of Honor; 2006, The Marin Drinov Medal with Ribbon – the highest award of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The ILA Lifetime Award in 2010 and most recently NAATBatt’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 29
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DETCHKO PAVLOV – 1930-2017 production engineer can use it to their practical or theoretical ends. But all who knew him had anecdotes to tell about Pavlov the man. “’Detchko’ is the Bulgarian word for ‘kid’,” says Paolina Atanassova, R&D manager at Cabot Corporation. “And he had some of those passions and enthusiasm. “I remember in April 2011 when I arrived at the Institute’s conference room to work through power point presentations, data, results and the like. Detchko smiled and asked if the Wi-Fi TV connection was good — he wanted to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate. He was excited as a kid. ‘Polarization curves can wait,’ he told us. ‘This is a love story and a fairy tale, and once in a lifetime opportunity to see something so beautiful.’” Kevin Desmond, a historian, who wrote a chapter in a recent book on Pavlov recalls: “His passion was to find out as much as he can about the world in which we live. So in his extensive travels, he would always spend extra time sightseeing, taking photographs and getting acquainted with the host country and the people. Another passion, less well known in the conference circuit is his love of classical music and pop music from
“I will miss him very much ... the battery industry will miss him, his friends throughout the world will miss him, but most of all lead acid batteries will miss him” — David Prengaman the 1960s and 1970s.” David Rand, an industry veteran and former head of the ALABC, says: “I still recall my first meeting with Detchko. It was in 1980 and he was on sabbatical leave at Flinders University in Adelaide. We were attending the EVE-80 Conference and Electric Vehicle Exposition organized by the South Australian Energy Council. “We were in a car park on top of one of the university buildings where a number of EVs were on display. Detchko was invited to drive an Enfield 8000. Without hesitation, he jumped into the car and zig-zagged around the other vehicles in a cavalier, but alarming, display of steering and then hurtled down the ramp to the street, several storeys below. “I believe he was rescued sometime later after the battery had become exhausted! “Many years later on the occasion
of LABAT 1, he picked me up from the airport in Sofia in his Trabant… his style of driving hadn’t changed!” Pavlov died just days before what would have been his 87th birthday. After recovering from a heart operation earlier in the summer, he suddenly contracted a high temperature, the doctors were unable to overcome the fever. “He loved many things in life: his beloved wife, his cottage in the mountains, his colleagues at CLEPS, teaching people how to build better batteries, and lead acid batteries. I will miss him very much,” says Prengaman. “The battery industry will miss him, his friends throughout the world will miss him, but most of all lead acid batteries will miss him.” We will not see the like of him again. Academician Detchko Pavlov. September 9, 1930-August 25, 2017
He never distinguished his work from that of his team. Indeed when his wife was alive the two often referred to the team as their second family.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 31
Alevo files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Energy storage system startup Alevo USA and Alevo Manufacturing cited the challenges of bringing a new product to market and “poor financial wherewithal” on their decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 18. The same firm had talked about making a $1 billion investment into its product’s development — a lithium iron phosphate battery using a proprietary sulfur based inorganic electrolyte — in 2014. However, the Swiss headquartered company owns the two firms, which operated from Charlotte, North Carolina. Alevo completed its first, and only, commercial unit in January, when it deployed a 2MW system in Hagerstown, Maryland for
frequency regulation in the PJM system. The company’s website has been changed to a simple statement that says that, through Bankruptcy Court supervision, Alevo USA and Alevo Manufacturing hope to achieve an orderly liquidation of their assets and maximize value to pay their creditors. Peter Heintzelman, chief financial officer of the Alevo group, said: “The Chapter 11 filings are a very difficult, but necessary decision.” Heintzelman joined the firm in January with a remit to turn the company around. In 2016 the company announced ambitious plans for deployments in Texas and Delaware. Alevo said at the time the Delaware project was “the first in a series of major commercial
deployments the company has scheduled for 2016”. The Lewes project involved the sale of ancillary services into the PJM. Since then, according to local press reports, the firm has been dogged by delays in manufacturing its lithium ion batteries using a sulfurbased inorganic electrolyte that was the basis of its technology. Heintzelman said the decision “was driven by the formidable challenges of bringing a new technology into commercial production and lacking the financial wherewithal to continue on through repeated manufacturing delays”. “It is a very sad day for our dedicated employees and partners, as well as for the promise of Alevo’s technology,” Heintzelman said.
Alevo entered the US with a splash in 2014. Local newspaper reports said it had invested more than $68 million in a 3.5 millionsquare-foot former tobacco factory outside Charlotte. The reports also said the firm would hire up to 2,500 workers over three years, with a potential maximum workforce of 6,000 capable of turning out thousands of megawatts of electricity storage products annually. According to a state filing, the company plans to lay off 290 employees. The statement said despite demonstrating the advantages of its groundbreaking battery technology, Alevo Manufacturing had significant production challenges and thus insufficient revenue to continue operations.
AGM aftermarket falters as start-stop disabled Johnson Controls, the world’s largest start-stop battery manufacturer, told Batteries International on August 10 that ‘parties’ were discussing the complete removal of the option to override the start-stop function in new cars. Another global lead battery manufacturer that asked not to be named also said it “does believe there will eventually be a requirement to remove the choice of using start/ stop in the vehicle given its use is directly tied to CO2 emissions and fuel economy standards”. Although there is no legislation that orders OEMs to remove the override function, some carmakers are already making the option more and more obscure, Christian Riedel, director of communications EMEA for JCI, told Batteries International. “Until today for most of the cars it’s been possible
to switch off the function, which means the battery lasts longer,” said Riedel. “This is nice for the customer, not so for the battery maker. “But there are changes coming. Already it is not so simple to find the switch. There are some vehicles that used to have a simple button to push to switch off the function. Now you have to look through a menu and scroll down before you can find it.” Aftermarket growth in AGM and EFB batteries used in start-stop vehicles has failed to meet predictions because the batteries are being under-used by drivers who choose to switch off the start-stop function in their vehicles, said John Bentley, technical spokesman of Ecobat Technologies (formerly Manbat). “The fundamental issue comes down to the fact that the AGM batter-
32 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
ies developed to cope with the demands of these start stop systems are, in practice, not being used in the way they were designed,” he said. “The AGM battery is a formidable piece of engineering that, unlike a traditional SLI battery, is designed with a high cyclic capacity and the ability to recharge extremely quickly. This is needed because, over their design life, which was projected to be around four years, they are expected to make 350,000 engine starts, compared with the 30,000 expected by an SLI battery in a non start-stop vehicle. “However, because the average driver is uncomfortable with their vehicle doing its own thing and starting and stopping at will, the vehicle manufacturers have incorporated an override button that has allowed them to deactivate the system, which means
the battery is only making the number of starts an SLI battery is designed to make.” In what could be a step towards legislation, Riedel said parties, including customers he did not name and the German automobile association ADAC, were in talks to get the function added to the list of parts that had to be checked in annual road worthiness tests – so when the startfunction was checked, the battery would have to be up to scratch. But although AGM or EFB batteries are more expensive than standard SLI, the cost of having to replace them more often would be balanced by the fuel savings, said Riedel. “These batteries result in an average fuel consumption saving of 5%,” he said. “We have our own internal test vehicles and we achieved numbers that are higher than 5%.”
Lead tops $2,500 a tonne as demand outstrips supply The cost of lead hit a six-year high at the end of September prompting speculation as to whether its price has peaked. Lead analysts at CRU and Wood Mackenzie, however, believe that prices will rise in the medium term. “The lead high is the result of a collision course between lead supply and demand, two years in the making,” Farid Ahmed, principal analyst, lead markets at Wood Mackenzie told Batteries International. “Mine supply has been falling further and further behind refined lead demand since 2015, depleting stocks and increasing desperation among the smelters clamouring for supply. “Treatment charges have plummeted. Spot prices for delivery to China were more than $100 per tonne of lead concentrate last year but
now are approaching zero — such is the anxiety for smelters to fill their production capacity. Meanwhile, demand for lead batteries, mostly for automotive use, has remained robust, especially in China, with record car production figures.” Neil Hawkes, principal consultant at business intelligence company CRU (pictured bottom), said the rise had been too high, too fast. He pointed to a mix of technical trading factors and increased demand as behind the recent surge. “The LME three-month lead price broke through $2,500/t at the end of September and has traded above this level during the first days of October,” he said. “Initially pulled up by the rest of the LME metals group and wider drivers, lead, together with its sister mining
metal zinc, has broken away from the pack, supported by real concerns over availability during the fourth quarter and into 2018. “Nevertheless, CRU believes that the price has now moved by too much, too soon, and expects to see a correction in the short term before lead makes a further push higher later in the quarter. “The European market remains strong and, concerned over supply for next year, some consumers are looking to open negotiations over 2018 contract tonnages ahead of LME week.” Ahmed says that there are further factors at play in the lead supply shortage. “Superimposed on this evolving scenario is the acute situation of a new wave of environment inspections on the industry, leading to many
temporary or permanent mine shutdowns, plus the loss of North Korean lead concentrates since the new UN sanctions. “The result? The collision course reaches impact in China, with stocks of raw materials, both for primary smelters and recyclers (scrap batteries) at critically low levels. “The cupboard is bare as far as the Shanghai Futures Exchange stocks go, with available refined material left in warehouses the equivalent of less than eight hours of lead consumption. “As we move into the cyclic peak demand period of the northern hemisphere winter – ‘battery kill season’ — this squeeze will continue to bolster the price. “With the slow recovery in mined lead supply expected to last until early into the next decade before it reaches normal levels, it could also be predicted that high lead prices will persist for at least the medium term.”
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New findings on lead particles mean lower absorption rates A study sponsored by Battery Council International has found that the lead particles in the air at leadacid battery manufacturing facilities are larger than has previously been assumed, which means absorption rates in workers could have been dramatically over-estimated, BCI announced on August 28. The study, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, which focuses on workplace conditions and safety, claims to be the first modern study to analyze actual workplace lead-in-air data collected in the United States. “It finds that the lead in air at lead battery manufacturing facilities and secondary smelter facilities has a larger particle size than was previously assumed, which could dramatically reduce the rate at which workers absorb lead into the body,” says the announcement. “The study posits that this means that prior modelling efforts likely over-estimate the rate at which airborne lead would be absorbed by workers’ bodies.” Tests were carried out at nine manufacturing facilities and five secondary smelters across the United States, with average mass median aerodynamic diameters ranging from 21µm to 32µm at the manufacturers, and between 15µm and 25µm at the smelters. The data concluded that the presence of submicron range lead mass measured at these facilities was generally fairly small, having been found at between
Thorsby (left): confirmed BCI position. Weinberg (right): ‘meticulously reviewed’
“The study posits that this means that prior modelling efforts likely over-estimate the rate at which airborne lead would be absorbed by workers’ bodies.” 0.8% and 3.3% at manufacturing facilities and between 0.44% and 6.1% at smelters. Mark Thorsby, executive vice-president of BCI, said the findings confirmed the position that BCI had been taking for years — that it should be the actual blood levels of the workers in the facilities that are taken into account, and not the air lead levels inside these facilities. “As the results of the study affirm Battery Council International’s position, we believe they will advance everyone’s understanding of the science of worker safety,” he told Batteries International. Although Thorsby said it was unlikely that any
changes would be made in legislation immediately following this report, he said he hoped more attention would now be focused on lead in blood, not air. The study, which was commissioned in 2013, has been meticulously peer reviewed, which is why the findings have taken so long to be published, said David Weinberg, who is a legal adviser to BCI. “Once the preliminary results came in, BCI recognized the importance of the data set and brought in independent consultancy Gradient to further analyze the complete data set,” he told Batteries International. “Gradient drafted the manuscript that eventu-
“As the results of the study affirm BCI’s position, we believe they will advance everyone’s understanding of the science of worker safety.” — Mark Thorsby www.batteriesinternational.com
ally became the article published. “Given the groundbreaking nature of the data, Gradient first sought a peer review of the draft manuscript from a leading academic, and then submitted the paper to the wellrespected peer-reviewed journal in which it was published. “The journal also sought a peer review. These reviews just take time.” The timeframe in which the article was published was in line with similarly peer-reviewed articles, Weinberg said. “BCI believed it was important to ensure the published results were ironclad,” he said. “By contrast, the California OEHHA “Leggett Plus” model has never been published in a peer-reviewed journal.” In another positive message to the lead battery industry, The Sustainability Consortium, a US organization that aims to make consumer products more sustainable, named lead batteries as one of the top five sustainable consumer products along with household paper products, leafy vegetables, computers and diapers. In its July report, entitled The Call for Collective Action Across Supply Chains, TSC said that these particular products were the only five products that scored more than 64 (with the top score being 100) in sustainability. The report said: “Lead batteries are critical for many green technologies, such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and to store and optimize renewable energy. They are an essential, innovative and sustainable product that powers and protects our way of life.”
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 35
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Doe Run announces plans to expand lead mining development Doe Run, which mines and produces lead and also recycles lead-acid batteries, announced on August 22 that rising lead prices had prompted a decision to invest further in its lead mining development. “For much of 2016, Doe Run continued to face challenges from depressed lead prices, regulatory capital spending requirements and other regulatory uncertainty,” said president and CEO Jerry Pyatt. “Despite this period of uncertainty, we have continued important process and equipment improvements so that we could be ready to capitalize on a fu-
ture lead price rebound. “Fortunately, lead prices have recently improved, and we are in a position to increase mine development this year to help meet global demand for our lead, copper and zinc concentrates. “Doe Run is increasing its mine development efforts to be more in line with development activity prior to the most recent downturn in lead prices,” said a company statement. “Doe Run had previously constricted mine development in the Viburnum Trend in response to the lower lead prices seen in 2015 and 2016, as well
as in response to other business needs. Many of those needs have been met, enabling the company to adjust its mine development to present economic conditions. As one might expect, it will take some time before our expanded mine development yields increased lead, zinc and copper output.” Under the name Resource Recycling, Doe Run says it processes up to 210,000 tonnes of lead-bearing materials a year, which includes 13.5 million batteries. Among Doe Run’s upgrades are safety measures to reduce workforce expo-
sure rates, a multi-million dollar update to its leadacid battery recycling facility in Missouri, the completion of two new water treatment plants and $71 million on environmental spending in 2016. Doe Run, which is based in St Louis, US, is a private natural resources company and a global provider of lead, copper and zinc concentrates. It operates six mines in southeast Missouri, where lead is mined and milled into lead concentrate. Doe Run estimates that more than 80% of lead consumption is taken up by batteries.
Anti-stratification technology for flooded batteries goes on sale German battery technology company iQ Power Licensing says battery products with its 360° passive mixing technology for flooded batteries went on sale in Europe for the first time in July after being introduced to the US market and some other countries previously. The anti-stratification technology, which has — as well as others — been licensed to Canadian firm Discover Battery, who build the device into their ‘Mixtech’ branded car batteries which are manufactured in South Korea, is a plastic mixing device that combats the problem of acid stratification in batteries that leads to early corrosion and battery performance loss. Using the device more than doubles the life cycle of a flooded battery. The mixing technology is not completely new: other electrolyte mixing systems have been around since
around 2011 but they only partially mix the electrolyte, whereas the patented iQ Power technology performs an entire 360° circulation, says Bernhard Rose, a representative for iQ Power. “This passive working device is very simple, with no moving parts. It just uses the driving dynamics of the vehicle to achieve the mixing results, by using hydrostatic pressure differences from driving movements in the battery chambers,” says Rose. The mixing elements consist of simple polypropylene plastic parts and require no changes to the battery box and chamber design for mounting as the parts are universal and fit into all standard battery containers (DIN, JIS, BCI). The specific shape of the parts utilizes the acceleration forces of the driving dynamics of the automobile (accelerating, braking,
cornering) for its circular mixing function while driving. According to iQ Power Licensing, the system works highly efficiently and requires only one to three hours of normal city or urban driving for a full electrolyte circulation in the cell chambers, thus avoiding stratification and keeping the battery’s electrochemistry optimal. “The functioning principle is that of a hydrostatic pump. The elements form a kind of upside-down Lshape with the thin vertical section adjacent to the battery casing wall. While the vertical section forms a thin tubular flat channel in the width of the battery cell, the upper horizontal part forms a small container capable of taking a certain volume of electrolyte but also has openings at its bottom for a 360° flow circulation. Some 30 years ago, acid stratification didn’t
harm flooded batteries so much because the batteries weren’t being charged and discharged so heavily — and cars didn’t have all the electronic devices using them. AGM batteries eliminated this problem but they are much more expensive and heat sensitive. OEMs looked for alternatives and this is when the enhanced flooded battery was developed to be used also for stop-start applications. “At the moment the Mixtech technology is more focused on the aftermarket than the OEM market. The OEM market is a tough one to get into: OEMs are very conservative,” said Rose. “However, with the new 360° mixing technology already been accepted by an OEM, which has used the iQ Power mixing device in EFB batteries for stop-start since January this year, the first step into the OEM market he been made.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 37
Monbat buys Italian recycler amid confidence in lead battery industry Bulgarian lead-acid battery maker Monbat bought Italian lead battery recycler Piombifera Italiana in September. Piombifera Italiana, the third largest recycling firm in Italy, will be incorporated into Monbat’s recycling subsidiary, Monbat Recycling. The purchase is the second major move in just over a month, with MonBat announcing its intention to buy a majority stake in the Tunisian lead battery manufacturer Assad on August 17. “The lead battery is still king,” director of corporate communications Vanya Babanin told Batteries International. “Sure, the lithiumbased solutions are going to make their place on the market but this is not expected to happen overnight. In the next 10 years, probably North America and Western Europe will have
sizeable fleets of electric cars — but it is not predictable today how significant their market share will be. “For Monbat the main focus is the after-market, so we expect the effect to be visible probably in 1520 years. As for the rest of the world, the time frame is much brighter. “This is why Monbat focuses on market presence in different continents including Africa and South Asia. Through diversification in recycling, new acquisitions and growth, we expect our EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to reach €70 million ($82 million) by 2021.” Babanin said Monbat had a strong market presence in western Europe, and that supplementing this business with recycling would close the cycle and facilitate the
processing of scrap batteries. “Monbat is a vertically integrated business in the manufacturing and recycling of lead-acid batteries and this will remain our main scope of activities for the next few years,” said Babanin. “We have diversified our product range to lithiumion high power cells and batteries through our acquisitions in Germany (Gaia Akkumulatorenweke and EAS Germany, in July). “We strive to have a healthy balance in our activities with recycling, and the processed lead from recycling is used for both the in-house manufacturing and for selling to third parties, depending on the economic situation, seasonal dynamics and lead price on the LME.” The batteries for recycling
US lead battery usage in ESS falls, but upturn possible A GTM Research report in September says leadacid battery energy storage systems deployed in the US took up just 0.5% of the total amount of deployed storage in the country in the second quarter of the year. Although lithium-ion was by far the leading chemistry, it dipped slightly below 95% for the first time since Q3 2015, and vanadium redox flow batteries held 5% of the market share. It was the 11th consecutive quarter that lithiumion should dominate the energy storage market, holding 94.2%. And while most utility-scale projects used the newer chemistry, the behind-the-meter seg-
ment also favoured it, and the trend, according to the report, was expected to continue. Alistair Davidson, director for products and sustainability at the International Lead Association, said this trend was not set in stone. “There are a growing number of projects using lead batteries,” he said, including ALABC demonstration projects using lead batteries for frequency regulation and microgrids in Canada and the USA. “In addition, ALABC members have installed a number of projects all over the world in this sector, but more work is needed to communicate the benefits of lead batteries,
38 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
as we believe that lead batteries provide an excellent option in renewable and utility energy storage applications.” “R&D work of ALABC and its member companies has highlighted the performance strengths of lead batteries in terms of improved shallow cycle performance, cycle life, calendar life and energy density,” said Davidson. UK company PowerVault is one example of an increasingly rare breed of firms that makes lead-acid storage systems, and has no plans to stop doing so, but it also makes lithium and has adapted its systems so that consumers can make the change themselves.
come from the Italian market, said Babanin, and Monbat’s membership of COBAT, Italy’s official recycling association for lead, entitles it to an annual quota of scrap batteries. “This is a logical decision for the economic group in the context of us striving to assure both sustainable economic growth and sustainable environment,” said Monbat CEO and chairman Atanas Bobokov. Separately, MonBat announced its intention to buy a majority stake in Tunisian lead storage battery manufacturer Assad on August 17. The final decision for the acquisition of the stake in Assad is expected by the end of November after due diligence has been carried out, MonBat said. Assad specializes in manufacturing, distributing and recycling lead storage batteries and has two production factories in Tunisia. MonBat operates four plants, which manufacture and recycle lead-acid batteries. The news comes a week after MonBat appointed Peter Bozadjiev as its new executive director. He was previously its chief financial director. Viktor Spiriev becomes CFO of MonBat Group. Both had previously worked together for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accountancy and advisory firm. Bozadjiev was also appointed general manager of Monbat Holding, the company that will deal with the two recent acquisitions of lithium-ion battery manufacturers Gaia Akkumulatorenweke and EAS Germany. MonBat is a subsidiary of Prista Oil Holding, a Bulgarian producer and trader of motor and industrial oils, greases and special fluids.
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Aquion Energy returns to business, announces new mystery owner Bankrupt saltwater battery firm Aquion Energy has emerged from the ashes following its sale by auction in June, the company announced on July 21. The firm says the new majority-American joint venture, with new chief executive Philip Juline, has resumed operations after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules. Philip Juline is probably the user name of Philip Zhang, the chairman and chief executive of Juline Capital. Zhang, who was educated in China, did a masters in
business administration at Michigan University. There is a connection in that the inventor of the technology behind Aquion is Jay Whitacre — CTO and co-founder of the company — who did his PhD in materials science at Michigan University. Juline said the company will refocus on technology and “go-to-market opportunities … with a renewed focus on expanding our product offerings into the growing markets in China and other global markets”. Aquion had said it made the safest batteries in the
world, with its Aspen batteries using aqueous hybrid-ion technology. The company appeared to enjoy a meteoric rise, shipping its batteries commercially and confirming installations in Japan, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Australia and California. It had a string of wellknown investors, including Microsoft chief Bill Gates, oil companies Shell and Total, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers and Bright Capital. In all, some $190 million had been invested in the company, say certain media
Aurelius wins grant to commercialize clean lead battery recycling Aurelius Environmental, a waste collection and treatment firm, and Aurelius Technologies — a new company set up at the end of May — have partnered the University of Cambridge to commercialize Fenixpb — a recycling technology that received a grant of more than €1.3 million ($1.5 million) from the European Commission. The grant to develop the technology, which the company claims produces lead oxide that outperforms that from virgin lead, came from
the EC’s Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies budget for 2016-17. Athan Fox, technology director at Aurelius Technologies, says its patented process produces lead oxide directly from waste lead oxide paste, unlike recycling systems on the market, which produce lead metal that is then oxidized separately to afford lead oxide. “We enable a direct route to lead oxide, reducing the cost of the overall process substantially. Our lead ox-
ide is also of a unique, nano-crystalline morphology, which means that we can produce batteries that outperform (in terms of energy density and life) current lead-acid batteries,” Fox told Batteries International. “This would be a significant breakthrough in the field, because it means the recycled product is potentially superior to the primary product produced from virgin lead.” Invented at the University of Cambridge by Vasant Kumar, the technology is
Investment firm KPS buys C&D Technologies Investment firm KPS Capital Partners has bought C&D Technologies, a firm that produces systems for power conversion and electricity storage, the firm announced on August 22. As well as making, engineering and supplying VRLA and VLA (vented lead-acid) batteries for the telecommunications, UPS, energy and infrastructure and engine starting sectors, C&D also makes lithium-ion batteries, bat-
tery monitoring systems and battery accessories like racks and cabinets. It has offices across the world. KPS managing partner David Shapiro said the company planned to “aggressively grow the C&D platform both organically and through strategic acquisitions. “As a result of KPS’ acquisition, C&D is now well capitalized, with a strong balance sheet and
40 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
access to KPS’ strategic, operational and financial resources,” he said. C&D, which is based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, US, operates four manufacturing plants in the US, Mexico and China. Chief executive officer of C&D, Armand Lauzon, said the two companies shared the same focus and that the capital injection would accelerate growth initiatives.
reports. The history of the firm has been chequered. Just a week after announcing its biggest battery installation in Japan, in March, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the June auction, Aquion was bought by the entity known as Juline-Titans LLC for $9.16 million. One media source said the firm was set up at the end of May as a Delaware-listed company. A Delaware listing provides preferential tax treatment to overseas investors. There has been speculation that Titans is a Chinese company. Another Chinese company, Enpower Energy, had underbid Titans by $50,000, according to a statement. licensed to Aurelius. Kumar works as a consultant for Aurelius to improve the core technology. Fox said the goals in developing the technology were in line with other recyclers — a clean, green system with low emissions and zero noxious gases. But he said the technology was vastly different. “We do not use electrolysis,” he said. “Instead, our process is carried out in water – at room temperature. This sees the recycling of lead paste via a lower energy process. Importantly, under the calcination (thermal treatment process) stage — where our intermediate burns under controlled conditions — we actually release energy. This energy, which is more than 400mWh per 1,000 tonnes processed, can be captured and used to subsidize electricity.” Fox said the technology is patented in China, the US, Russia and India, and the grant would see it deployed in Europe. Fox said the company had built a pilot plant and was now developing larger scale commercial systems. One aspect of the Fenixpb technology is its suitability for small-scale recycling.
Consortium receives government backing to build first Australian lithium-ion manufacturing facility Plans for a lithium-ion gigafactory in Australia were given a boost on August 28 when the premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, publically supported the Townsville project following the submission of a scoping study that demonstrated its positive economic impact. A consortium — that includes Boston Energy and Innovation, materials firm Magnis Resources and US companies Eastman Kodak, lithium-ion research company C4V and electronics manufacturer C&D Assembly — is planning to build a A$1.6 billion ($900 million) 15GWh lithium-ion factory in Townsville, Queensland. Chairman of Magnis Resources Frank Poullas said the consortium was: “Making strong progress across a
number of fronts in advancing this major project, both in terms of securing funding and technical development. This work is crucial in laying the foundations for the Townsville Lithium-ion gigafactory. “And the successful completion of the plant would help secure Townsville as a leading international hub for technology and innovation. Townsville City Council approved the offering of the 400-hectare site in June in exchange for equity in the project. The outcome of a scoping study, initiated by Magnis and C4V, was instrumental in bringing all consortium members together to fast track the plant. Pilot testing of manufacturing processes and pro-
duction of prototype battery products has begun. The work is part of a process package being developed for the next phase of the feasibility study. The latest development comes as Palaszczuk’s Powering Queensland plan, which set out a combined A$1.16 billion ($900 million) investment, aims to ensure the state’s energy supply reaches its 50% renewable energy target by 2030. The plan also included the announcement of a reverse auction for 100MW of energy storage by the Queensland government this June. The consortium is also planning to build a gigafactory in New York state, with the group having already signed a contract with leading officials from the Huron Campus technology facility-
back in May of this year. The Queensland plant is the second lithium-ion gigafactory planned for Australia. Start-up company Energy Renaissance announced on August 10 that a memorandum of understanding had been secured from Darwin’s government to build its 1GW Renaissance 1 battery facility in the state. Energy Renaissance aims to start production at the A$100 million ($78 million) factory in late 2018, following two years of exploration of a number of potential sites within Australia. Support from the Northern Territory government in Australia comes as the state heads towards its future goal of installing 50% renewable energy in the Northern Territory by 2030.
TerraE Holding announces plans for Germany’s third Li-ion gigafactory Raw materials firm Magnis Resources announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding on August 28 with TerraE-Holdings, the consortium established to build a 34GWh factory in the country by 2028. The consortium of 18 companies and research institutes from throughout the supply chain plan to construct the large-scale lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in Germany. TerraE Holding was founded in May, after six member companies in the Kompetenznetzwerk Lithium Ionen Batterien — Lithium ion battery competence network — formed an initiative to establish large-scale series manufacturing.
Holger Gritzka, CEO of TerraE Holding, told ESJ: “The number of cells will depend on the type of cells, and this will depend on customer demand.” Gritzka also confirmed that the consortium had “nothing to do with Tesla” and a decision had yet to be made on the location, although there is speculation it will be built on two of five sites earmarked within the country. The factories will be operated as “foundries,” to allow TerraE Holding, which will build and operate the factories, to manufacture bespoke lithium-ion cells to customers’ specifications. The project, which has already secured €5.2 million ($6.2 million) in subsidies
Holger Gritzka, CEO of TerraE Holding
from Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research, should cost around €1 billion to complete. TerraE Holding GmbH is in negotiations with partners inside and outside the consortium to secure a long-term technological advantage, and is beginning discussions with potential customers and investors,
in particular from industrial sectors (forklift trucks, landscaping equipment, cordless tools), energy storage and electromobility (city buses, passenger cars and trucks). The latest gigafactory announcement comes after Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, broke ground at another €500 million plant that was built for assembling lithium-ion energy-storage units for carmaker Daimler in May. Eighteen months ago, ground was broken on Germany’s first gigafactory, the 5GW, Batterien-MontageZentrums (BMZ) factory in Karlstein-Großwelzheim (Karlstein), Germany, that is scheduled to be completed some time in 2020.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 41
Major fundraising round starts for Sweden’s 32GWh factory Battery plant developer Northvolt is targeting potential customers in the automotive and energy storage sectors, opening its first major round of fundraising in August. It plans to build a 32GWh lithiumion gigafactory in Sweden by 2020. The company, run in part by two former Tesla employees — ex-supply chain head Peter Carlsson, who founded the company, and Tesla executive Paolo Cerruti as its chief operat-
ing officer — aims to raise around €4 billion ($4.2 billion) for the project. The “partnership round” of funding, which closes this autumn, aims to raise around €100 million from customers such as carmakers, energy storage firms and industrial concerns, with the aim to begin work in the second half of 2018. Northvolt has previously raised about $14 million, with investors including Sweden’s largest utility Vattenfall, which added Skr5
million ($610,000) to the project. In March, investment firm InnoEnergy announced a €3.5 million investment. Northvolt, which is based in the Swedish capital Stockholm, announced on July 4 that public consultations would be held this autumn in the two Swedish municipalities Skellefteå and Västerås after discussions with eight Swedish and two Finnish municipalities this spring. A Northvolt statement at
Materials demand to outstrip supply by 2020 A materials shortage is around the corner as the global lithium-ion market attempts to match demand from the energy storage, EV and consumer markets with supply, according to analyst firm Benchmark Minerals. By 2020, benchmark analyst Casper Rawles forecasts, demand from the lithium-ion battery sector for all uses will cause a tipping point where demand from the market will have grown to the point where supply will struggle to keep up. The materials that are more susceptible to deficits are the critical minerals transitioning from small markets, with privately traded contracts and undeveloped supply chains, to much larger volume and developed markets. “This is certainly the case for cobalt, but lithium is another industry where we foresee a problem with supply meeting demand in the future,” said Rawles. “At the moment Australian Spodumene projects have been able to help fill the gap between supply and demand enough to keep up with demand, and are typically higher cost. Brine sources take longer to bring online than hard rock and even then, production problems can persist. Once getting into production
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it’s another challenge to produce the battery grade material — an additional, specialized processing step. “This is why we have seen more than a tripling of prices in both markets. Lithium experienced its price increase slightly before cobalt, but both markets have experienced similar rises. We track the prices of battery grade chemicals for both lithium and cobalt and importantly we forecast that the higher prices will remain in both markets for some time.” The market for lithium-ion is only set to grow; California, as the US’s biggest energy storage mover, could see the state’s three investor-owned utilities procuring 1.325GW by 2020 under proposals by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2014. Other states have their own targets, of which Hawaii’s is the most disruptive, with plans to be free of fossil-fuel power by 2040. Not-for-profit power consultants Smart Electric Power Alliance’s recent National Energy Storage Market report found that 622MW of storage had been deployed in the US this year to date — with the market research firm IHS claiming that there will be 6GW of installed global capacity by the end of the year.
the time stated: “The decision to proceed with two municipalities contemporaneously is due to the ambitious schedule, where the necessity of receiving an environmental permit quickly is essential to keeping the timetable. “Both Skellefteå and Västerås have excellent abilities to meet the requirements that are fundamental to the establishment, such as access to land, energy and infrastructure.” Northvolt’s planned construction requires a specialized permit, and the planned operations require an environmental assessment.
Add to that the number of cheaper EVs — the Tesla model 3, the Chevrolet Bolt and the new Nissan Leaf, to name but three — all with 60kWh packs coming to the market (never mind the demand for lithiumion cells from the consumer markets), and according to Benchmark the lithium-ion industry will grow to 170GWh in the next three years, up from 70GWh in 2016. To meet demand a slew of cellmaking projects are being built or are planned in Europe, North America and Asia. Benchmark began actively tracking the wave of new or expanding battery megafactories — plants with a 1GW or greater capacity — three years ago. At the time there were just two of these plants planned, but now it is tracking 17 that are due to be in production by 2020, representing a rise of nearly 250GWh in capacity. Rawles said: “We are not suggesting the plants will be operating at full capacity, but it highlights the shift the industry is going through. “Whether these plants get built or not, the shortage of critical minerals in the lithium-ion battery supply chain is driven by real demand. “At Benchmark, 12-18months ago one of the questions we were regularly asked was ‘are electric vehicles the future of transportation?’” “That is no longer the case. We are now asked how quickly electrification will happen.
Bringing the industry together
Meet the team
Mike Halls, Editor Mike, a former journalist with the UK newspaper the Financial Times, has been involved in journalism, publishing and print for three decades. “I’m particularly fond of writing about the batteries industry,” he says. “It’s an unusual mixture of being fast-paced but slow to change — and friendly too. What’s more there’s always something more to learn.”
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Karen Hampton, Publisher In her recent years of working within the battery business Karen has become a well known figure at conferences — not least as our social butterfly. “My job,” she says, “is to get the maximum benefit for our advertisers to make sure their name and brand is out there, while maintaining the integrity, fairness and excellence our publication is renowned for.”
Antony Parselle, Designer Better known in the office as ‘Ant’ he’s been working in magazine design and layout since the early 1990s. Not so good on showing his best side however
PUBLISHER Karen Hampton Tel: +44 (0) 7792 852 337 firstname.lastname@example.org
June Moutrie, Business Development Manager She’s our accounting Wunderkind who deals with all things financial — a kind of mini Warren Buffett.
Jade Beevor, Advertising Manager Jade, who joined the team in early 2015, is already getting a feel for the industry. “This is an incredible business we’re in,” she says. “These people are literally changing the future of our lives — and the planet too!”
Jan Darasz, Cartoonist Jan has an international reputation as a cartoonist able to making anything — including an electrolyte! — funny. And as for LiCFePO4 ...
EDITOR Mike Halls +44 (0) 7977 016 918 email@example.com
Wyn Jenkins, Supplements Editor Don’t let his boyish charm deceive, Wyn’s been a journalist and respected editor on major financial titles for some 20 years. When not heading his own publications firm, Seren Global Media, he looks after our supplements.
Kevin Desmond, Batteries Historian Actually more than just a historian on batteries as he’s written about many things. He’s the inspiration behind our Batteries Hero section.
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Megtec introduces a ‘GigaCoater’ for lithium ion battery electrodes
Innovate UK awards £1.5m for first of its kind liquid air energy storage
Megtec, a subsidiary of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, launched this September the GigaCoater wide-web coating line for lithium-ion battery electrodes. The firm says they have been developed to provide high-volume production of battery electrodes. “Each
Highview Power Storage announced on August 1 that it had received a £1.5 million ($1.85 million) grant from the UK government to test the grid-scale frequency response services’ capability of a 5MW hybrid liquid air energy storage system. The funding was awarded for frequency response from a facility using liquid air energy storage — LAES. This is part of a competition called ‘First of a Kind Deployment of Innovation’ run by Innovate UK, the development agency. The system will use the LAES technology alongside supercapacitors and flywheels at the UK company’s 5MW/15MWh precommercial demonstrator facility at project partner Viridor’s Pilsworth landfill gas plant in Bury, Greater Manchester. The aim is to test the system’s performance and economics ahead of business-as-usual operation by summer 2018. A typical LAES system will take up to 30 seconds to respond and provide standard frequency response services, but in its hybrid configuration, with the flywheel kicking in first, the system will
GigaCoater can produce up to 3GWhr of electrode per year on average. Our dualcoating method, in combination with coating rheology and GigaCoater machine properties, maximizes production time and delivers in-line quality control,” said a company official.
EDF and Stornetic begin testing flywheels for grid The performance capabilities of German firm Stornetic’s flywheel technology for short term energy storage services will be tested by French utility EDF’s facility Concept Grid site in Moret-sur-Loing near Paris in September. The joint-project, announced last November using Stornetic’s DuraStor technology, will assess the performance of flywheels in meeting the demands of a modern grid environment and customer requirements. Although only 160Kwh in size the test project will give researchers a better understanding of flywheel stability to handle frequency regulation, firming and voltage control services on grid-scale applications. The testing is set to last around three months, with
the possibility of a six-month extension. Thilo Engleman, a project manager at Stornetic, said the earliest he would expect a MW-scale project involving flywheels would be early 2019. The Concept Grid laboratory helps manufacturers, start-ups and academics better understand the realworld challenges of delivering storage with the aim of reducing the time it takes to bring new smart grid technologies to market. The facility reproduces real distribution networks and will enable the testing of DuraStor in controllable conditions of operation and thus demonstrate the technology in the future smart grids, said Etienne Brière, renewables and storage program director at EDF’s R&D..
Mining firm explores ways to produce battery-ready cobalt UK-based metal mining firm Vedanta Resources is to study how to produce cobalt as a battery-ready product for EV use. Vedanta is well placed because 98% of cobalt comes as a by-product of copper and nickel mining — and Vedanta’s finished copper production in 2015-2016 was 123kt of a total mined production of 182kt. The company has cop-
per smelting and mining operations in India and Australia as well as Zambia, where its Konkola Copper Mines are some of Africa’s largest integrated copper producers. Vedanta Resources’ chairman, Anil Agrawal, says he wants the Konkola mines to be the largest integrated copper producer in Africa and Vedanta’s hub for copper and cobalt production in the continent.
44 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Vedanta announced in July that it produces around 1,000 tonnes of cobalt-copper alloy per year and aims to boost that to 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of pure cobalt. “We are looking to determine the right engineering to produce cobalt for batteries rather than a copper-cobalt alloy,” said Tom Albanese, the retiring CEO of Vedanta.
take even less than a second. With response times in the sub-second range, the technology is comparable with lithium-ion, as well as being scalable up to 100MW, making it comparable to CAES (compressed air systems) and pumped hydro in capacity, although LAES can be deployed regardless of the geographical constraints. The project will cover an area of 375 square meters — the footprint for a 20MW/80MWh system is around 1500 square metres. An HPS spokesperson told Batteries International: “The two systems are complementary and will enable the Hybrid LAES plant to provide standard and fast frequency control services. “The sub-second response required for fast frequency control services will be provided by flywheels and is characterized by a low energy capacity. LAES will supplement the response of these as required.” It will be the first time the technology has been deployed for grid frequency services, such as Firm Frequency Response, and tested against the requirements of the National Grid’s new Enhanced Frequency Response service to maintain the UK grid frequency within the ± 1% of 50Hz. The funding comes after Highview built the world’s first LAES pilot plant (350kW/2.5MWh) connected to the grid at UK network firm Scottish and Southern Energy’s biomass plant in Slough, which ran from 2011 until 2014. The system works by taking electricity off the grid and using it to cool air to -194°C until it becomes a liquid, where it is stored in tanks at low pressure above the ground. www.batteriesinternational.com
NEWS Drax to replace coalfired power with battery storage The UK power generation company Drax announced on September 13 it had drawn up plans to introduce 200MW of battery storage at its soon-to-be shuttered coal-fired Drax Power Station in Yorkshire. The project aims to explore battery storage as one of the options available to the company as the UK government phases out coal-fired power generation, with the goal of closing the last facility by 2025. The company, which has operations in the UK and the US, says it is to consult on long-term plans that also include changing two coal units at the power station to gas. The plans are being developed to increase Drax’s ability to provide the flexible generation and responsive grid support services the UK’s grid will need post 2025. The development is, however, subject to investment decisions and would need to be underpinned by a 15-year capacity market contract, said the company.
California bill to streamline energy storage deployment advances A bill that would streamline and standardize the process for deploying energy storage systems in California passed the Assembly floor on concurrence on September 7, and now heads to be signed into law by Jerry Brown, state governor. The main elements of Assembly Bill (AB) 546 is that it will allow the submission of a permit application and associated documentation online, encourage the Office of Planning and Research to develop energy storage guidance drawing from existing best practices, and establish fees for permitting and inspection. The bill’s author, David Chiu, representing the 17th Assembly District of California, which includes the eastern half of San Francisco, hopes it will hasten and encourage the deployment of energy storage technology. “Our future energy needs will require us to dramatically improve energy storage and increase the
flexible management of electricity supply and demand,” said Assembly member Chiu. “California should encourage simplicity and standardization with local permits. When permitting conditions vary between cities, it can slow the industry down. Guidance that draws from best practices can help local governments standardize their processes so that the energy storage industry will grow quickly and safely.” In 2015, Assembly member Chiu’s AB 1236 was signed into law by the governor. The reforms established the uniformity and permit processing ease for electric vehicle charging stations, with the aim of lowering the cost of installations and expanding the infrastructure to accommodate EVs on California’s roads
reliability for Gateshead’s power network. The battery project, made up of six Younicos Y.Cube battery units, has been designed to respond to grid fluctuations.
NIB Centrica completes Younicosbased battery storage system in UK
US distributed storage company NEC Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, announced on September 7 it is to supply an 18MW lithium-ion system to Swiss utility Elektrizitätswerke des Kantons Zürich, which once completed early next year will be the largest battery energy storage system in Switzerland, will be owned and operated by EKZ for primary reserve services.
UK utility Centrica’s distributed energy and power business announced on September 18 that it had completed the installation of a 3MW lithium-ion commercial battery storage system to ensure grid
NIB Duke plans 13MW of battery storage US utility Duke Energy unveiled plans on September 21 to build 13MW of lithium-ion energy storage systems at two locations in western North Carolina to help with reliability and provide energy grid support to its grid system.
NIB NEC to supply Switzerland’s biggest primary reserve ESS
Real-world tests begin to explore VRFB for grid modernization A pilot project to test the real world capability of vanadium redox flow batteries on the US grid began on September 22 as part of a wider research project by the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium — a partnership between the US Department of Energy and national laboratories. Municipality-owned utility EPB activated the 100kW/400kWh Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) — situated at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, community solar array — as part of GMLC’s programme of developing and testing new technologies that could enhance the flexibility and resiliency of the US’s national power grid. The project will explore how a VRFB — supplied by US manufacturer UniEnergy Technologies — can be integrated with smart grid automation to
ensure security of supply and provide grid-scale services when integrated with renewable energy generation. The GMLC programme is a partnership between the US’s DOE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The site was chosen because Chattanooga’s power distribution infrastructure combines a community-wide fibre-optics network with more than 1,200 automated power management devices and is seen as ideal for testing new technologies and developing best practices. EPB will use the battery system for a wide variety of applications including solar integration, voltage regulation, back-up power, advanced microgrid operations and energy management.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 45
NEWS Lead-acid key element in India’s power network transformation The Indian energy storage market is set to grow to 70GW in the next five years as the country integrates renewable energy sources and adopts electrified transport, according to a report for 20172022 by the India Energy Storage Alliance. The country’s need to stabilize its grid power, growth in electric rickshaw (e-trike) sales, reduction in diesel gensets use and the integration of solar PV — from residential to micro-grid scale — will cause the jump from the current 4.4GW capacity, says the report. IESA estimates that more than half of the demand capacity by 2022 will come from India’s emerging wind and solar integration, frequency regulation, peak management, transmission and distribution deferral, diesel usage optimization and electric vehicle markets. The Ministry of New and
Renewable Energy recently set a deployment target of 100GW of solar (from 13,650MW in July 2017) and 60GW of wind (up from 25,090MW in 2016) generated power in India by 2022. India could attract investments in energy storage device manufacturing to the tune of $6 billion in the short term. IESA compiled the new version of the report taking into consideration current opportunities as well as a detailed overview of various growth scenarios and key government initiatives, such as the government’s 175GW renewable target, National Electric Mobility Mission (FAME India Initiative), National Smart Grid Mission, ‘Make In India’, and India’s Smart Cities mission. In India, the lead-acid market is around Rp27,000 crore ($4.2 billion), with stationary and motive applications accounting for Rp12,650 crore, the IESA India Lead Acid Battery Market
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Landscape Report (Stationary and Motive Applications) found. The report forecasts that stationary and motive application segments will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14% until 2020 and the market will double to Rp25,000 crore. Shri Raj Kumar Singh was appointed India’s new minister of state for the ministry of power and for the ministry of new and renewable energy on September 5. On August 28 Singh’s predecessor, Shiri Goyal, oversaw a technical cooperation deal between the government and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit under the 2013 Indo-German Energy Programme. Green Energy Corridor’s plan to improve the grid integration of renewable energy. Germany has pledged almost €1.5 billion in loans to help India develop its infrastructure, training, and research and development,
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ANALYSIS The laws of supply and demand don’t make much sense when a huge market suddenly comes into being. Think back to the early days of the internet, when usage was growing by 2,000% a year — the spectacular booms and busts that followed were seemingly unpredictable. Is the energy storage industry poised to go the same way? Jim Smith reports.
Gigafactories and the first-mover advantage It’s 1994 and a young Jeff Bezos had had a great idea to create a new business on the then-booming internet. Why not, he thought, use a new ruling — where you could avoid paying US state sales taxes if you didn’t have a physical presence in the state — and sell goods more cheaply in the new mall known as the internet? The rest is history. He called his web start-up Amazon.com. And some 23 years later, Bezos is worth around $83 billion; in fact depending on the markets on a particular day, he is the richest man in the world.
In business vernacular, Amazon was an excellent example of a first mover. The company gained a market advantage early that allowed it to buy up rival firms and become the go-to on-line shopping platform. If we take the first mover ideology into the battery world, Asia, and particularly China, is the Amazon of the lithium-ion battery industry. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, if Chinese battery companies deliver on their targets they will have the capacity to produce 121 GWh of batteries by 2020. By 2021, global
battery-making capacity is forecast to reach 273GWh, up from about 103GWh today. And the rest of the world is now fighting to catch up. There are four lithium-ion gigafactories being built outside Asia — one in Karlstein, Germany (15GWH rising to 30GWh by 2020) by the BMZ group; Daimler AG’s wholly-owned subsidiary Accumotive’s $500 million factory in Kamenz (due on-line by mid-2018); one in Nevada, US (35GWh by 2020), by Tesla; and Korea’s LG Chem’s electric vehicle bat-
Tesla’s planned final look for its gigafactory in Nevada, The firm broke ground on the plant in June 2014. Its planned annual battery production capacity is 35 gigawatt hours. Tesla says this is nearly as much as the entire world’s current battery production combined. Source: Tesla
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 47
ANALYSIS “Based on current mining production we may see a short-term squeeze in lithium supply/demand which is likely to ease off in the early 2020s, but we could face another squeeze in the second half of the next decade.” tery plant in Wrocław, Poland, which aims to start production of 100,000 batteries a year from the second half of this year. Both BMZ and Tesla have begun cell production, but neither is close to full capacity to date. That leaves a lot of capacity unaccounted for, which is where three more companies have stepped into the global lithium-ion battery manufacturing arena. Plans are under way for two more gigafactories in Europe. First, battery plant developer Northvolt plans to build a 32GWh lithium-ion gigafactory in Sweden by 2020. The company opened its first major round of fundraising targeting potential customers in the automotive and energy storage sectors in August. The company, run in part by two former Tesla employees — ex-supply chain head Peter Carlsson, who founded the company, and Tesla executive Paolo Cerruti as its chief operating officer — aims to raise around €4 billion ($4.2 billion) for the project. The partnership round of funding, which closes this autumn, aims to raise around €100 million from potential customers such as carmakers, energy storage firms and industrial concerns, with the aim of beginning work in H2 2018. Northvolt has previously raised about $14 million, with investors, including Sweden’s largest utility Vattenfall, which added Skr5 million ($610,000) to the project. In March, investment firm InnoEnergy announced a €3.5 million investment. Northvolt announced on July 4 that public consultations would be held this autumn in the two Swedish municipalities Skellefteå and Västerås after discussions with eight
Swedish and two Finnish municipalities this spring. A Northvolt statement at the time said: “The decision to proceed with two municipalities contemporaneously is due to the ambitious schedule, where the necessity of receiving an environmental permit quickly is essential to keep the timetable. “Both Skellefteå and Västerås have excellent abilities to meet the requirements that are fundamental to the establishment, such as access to land, energy, and infrastructure.” Elsewhere in Europe, TerraE Holding, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, has put together a consortium of 17 companies and research institutes to build a large-scale production facility for lithium-ion cells. TerraE Holding was founded this May, after six member companies in the KLIB (Kompetenznetzwerk Lithium Ionen Batterien — Lithium-ion battery competence network) formed an initiative to establish large-scale series manufacturing following an initial meeting to establish the consortium on July 18 in Hanau. Its founding partners are BMZ Holding, the former CEO of Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché Ulrich Ehmes, and Holger Gritzka, a former manager of system builder Thyssenkrupp System Engineering, who will also take over the management. TerraE aims to reach up to 34 GWh a year by 2028, using a foundry business similar to that seen in the semiconductor industry, which effectively means TerraE Holding will build and operate the factories and customers can have lithium-ion cells produced to their own specifications. Gritzka, CEO of TerraE Holding, told Energy Storage Journal: “The number of
“Both Skellefteå and Västerås have excellent abilities to meet the requirements that are fundamental to the establishment, such as access to land, energy, and infrastructure.” 48 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
cells will depend on the type of cells, and this will depend on customer demand.” The consortium includes companies from throughout the supply chain, such as infrastructure manufacturing planners, material producers, machine engineering companies, cell manufacturers and industrial consumers. Australian-listed raw materials firm Magnis Resources announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding on August 28 with TerraE-Holdings. Financing is still undecided, with discussions under way with industrial partners, financial investors and other parties in European countries. It has, to date, secured €5.2 million in subsidies from Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research. The gigafactory should cost around €1 billion to complete. Meanwhile there is continued talk that Tesla’s planned “Gigafactory Europe” — initially referred to as Gigafactory 2 but now probably to be called Gigafactory 3 or 4 — will be located in the Czech Republic or Germany, where negotiations have been held with the government. Tesla, being Tesla, may eventually plump for an outsider. Tesla’s so-called “Gigafactory 2” is now, following the takeover, the SolarCity Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York state.
Australia aggressive ESS adoption
Australia has been pushing the use of energy storage from residential-scale systems after the announcement on July 6 that Tesla had secured the contract to build a 100MW lithium-ion system in South Australia. In recent months that push has also included plans for two gigafactories, which would add a combined 16GWh to the global output. Start-up Energy Renaissance announced on August 10 that it had secured a memorandum of understanding from Darwin’s government to build its 1GW lithium-ion Renaissance 1 battery facility in the state. Energy Renaissance aims to start production at the A$100 million ($79.5 million) factory in late 2018, following two years of exploration of a number of potential sites within Australia. Support from the Northern Territory government comes as the state heads toward their goal of seeing its energy mix rising to 50% renewables by 2030.
ANALYSIS Michael Gunner, chief minister of the Northern Territory, said: “Battery storage will be an important element in future renewable energy propositions and it is exciting that Energy Renaissance has identified Darwin as its preferred site.” The company plans to produce cells, industrial-scale containerized energy storage systems, EV packs and custom solutions. Meanwhile, there is a second player in the race to be first mover in Australia’s gigafactory industry. A consortium-led project is planning to build a $1.6 billion, 15GWh lithium-ion factory in Townsville, Queensland. The local council approved the offering of the land in June in exchange for equity in the project. The consortium includes Boston Energy and Innovation, Magnis Resources and US companies Eastman Kodak, Nasdaq-listed C4V and electronics manufacturer C&D Assembly. If those names look familiar it’s because they are also planning a gigafactory in New York State, US. The group announced on May 22 it had signed a contract with officials from the Huron Campus. The outcome of a scoping study, initiated by Magnis and C4V, were instrumental in bringing all consortium members together to fast track the 15GWh plant. Pilot testing of manufacturing processes and production of prototype battery products for potential customers has begun. The work is part of a process package being developed for the next phase of the feasibility study. In late August, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk came out to publicly support the Townsville project following the submission of a scoping study that demonstrated the project’s positive economic impact. Chairman of Magnis Resources Frank Poullas said the consortium was: “Making very strong progress across a number of fronts in advancing this major project, both in terms of securing funding and technical development.” He believes the successful completion of the plant would help secure Townsville as a leading international hub for technology and innovation. It comes as Palaszczuk’s Powering Queensland Plan, which set out a combined A$1.16 billion investment, aims to ensure the state’s energy supply reaches its 50% renewable energy target by 2030. The plan, announced
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“The first-mover advantage only holds true if supply meets demand in the early phases of a market’s development. There are still too many variables about the quality and quantity of the demand side to have any confidence about the future.” in June, also included the announcement of a reverse auction for 100MW of energy storage by the Queensland government.
Shortage of supply
Electric vehicle sales passed the two million mark last year — with 90% of sales in China, US and Europe. This is set to increase as a number of European countries plan to ban sales of fossil-fuel powered cars in the coming decades. The first ban happens in the Netherlands in 2025. Countries are also pushing for a larger portion of their energy mix to come from renewables, which in turn will drive the MW-scale energy storage markets and increase the adoption of behind-the-metre storage. This is good news for the green energy markets, but a question mark hangs over the materials industry’s ability to meet demand. The cobalt (the smallest market of the three lithium-ion critical materials) supply is precarious, and stood at 93,000 tonnes in 2016. Lithium, the second of the three materials (the other graphite), production stood at 160,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year in 2015. But according to a Goldman Sachs estimate that year, a 1% increase in battery EV penetration would increase lithium demand by 70,000 tonnes of LCE a year — or roughly half of 2015’s global demand. Lithium, cobalt and flake graphite are certainly more susceptible to supply squeezes than say nickel, because current production of these materials is relatively low, so there will need to be an increase in mining, says James Frith, energy storage analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. But he doesn’t believe the construction of more gigafactories should
hasten any materials shortages as they would be responding to demand from the automotive sector — which wasn’t likely to increase due to higher production capacity. “It is therefore likely that many of these factories will be running below full capacity when they are first commissioned,” he says. “Based on current mining production we may see a short term squeeze in lithium supply/demand which is likely to ease of in the early 2020s, but we could face another squeeze in the second half of the next decade. “Cobalt has faced a squeeze in the last year but this has been exacerbated in part by funds such as Pala investments and Cobalt 27 stockpiling the metal. As things stand, and assuming stockpiling doesn’t continue, cobalt supply is likely to be sufficient for the next half a decade.” If the materials supply is in place to support the gigafactories of the future, the only question remaining is whether the demand for lithium-ion batteries will be in place in such volumes. The gigafactory race is lurching forward. But the challenge facing the industry is whether supply will become oversupply. Will countries and companies, as one industry commentator points out, suffer the fate that overtook the hugely successful Japanese semi-conductor industry that dominated the world in the 1990s? “There are too many ifs in the equation to figure out who will be the winners and losers in this race to be market leader,” he says. “The first-mover advantage only holds true if supply meets demand in the early phases of a market’s development. There are still too many variables about the quality and quantity of the demand side to have any confidence about the future.”
There are four lithium-ion gigafactories under construction outside Asia — one in Karlstein, Germany; another in Kamenz, also Germany; another in Nevada, US; and, the fourth in Wrocław, Poland. www.batteriesinternational.com
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COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING
Making the economics of lithium disposal stack up — sensibly?
Recycling lithium ion batteries is still uneconomical — for most of the time the cost of recycling is greater than the value of the metals retrieved. Moreover, dumping of the batteries is unacceptable for safety and pollution reasons. Until prices go down, this will continue to be a handicap to the development of the EV and large-scale grid storage markets. There’s a rough rule of thumb that’s been used about recycling large format lithium batteries for the past few years. The cost of recycling is roughly a tenth of the cost of the new battery. So, a $7,000 EV battery will cost around $700 to dispose of. As a rough rule of thumb it’s useful, but all lithium batteries aren’t created
52 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
equal. There are six basic chemistry types and three of these contain cobalt, a metal for which there is high demand and, over the past year, ever-rising prices. LCO, lithium cobalt oxide, contains around 60% cobalt; NMC, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, contains between 10%-20% cobalt; and NCA, lithium nickel cobalt aluminium
oxide, has about 9% of cobalt. LCO is used in high power devices such as the iPhone; NMC is used in Tesla’s Powerwall; and NCA is used in high power, long range cars such as Tesla’s Model S. Given the size of, for example, EV battery packs, recycling of some chemistries can be seen as border line eco-
COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING nomical but, for the most part, LFP, lithium iron phosphate, the commonest chemistry used in grid storage or electric vehicles, has little value. And a lot of expense to tap that little value. While materials make up the largest part of the cost of the battery and the cathode accounts for the majority of materials cost, the part of this attributable to lithium is relatively small. Primary production of lithium is not energy intensive, particularly for lithium production from brines, where solar evaporation is used to extract the mineral from salt flats. As a result, the expense of separating out a small quantity of lithium from recycled batteries, while possible, is not justified by the value of what can be gained. “The price of lithium would have to go way up before it seriously hurt the cost of the battery,” says Linda Gaines, transportation system analyst at the US Argonne National Laboratory. Moreover, the more diverse the number of battery materials found in the battery, the more complex is the recycling process. In a lithium ion battery, other elements are there such as nickel, aluminium, manganese, carbon in the form of graphite and not forgetting the lithium itself and the casing. The point of all this is to suggest that any discussion of lithium recycling tends to talk in the generality and fall down in the specifics. And in the generality — with anecdotal evidence that lithium batteries are being discharged and stored in warehouses — recycling is difficult to justify economically. One lead smelting veteran put it simply: “For the dollars of smelting you have to put in, you only retrieve a few cents of metal that have any value from recycling lithium batteries. That’s the difference with lead recycling — the lead is worth something and justifies the cost of processing it.” Maarten Quix, who heads up the recycling business unit of metals refining and recycling specialist Umicore, says: “In comparison with lead acid batteries, which consist of lead, acid and plastic, the complexity of rechargeable lithium ion batteries is much greater, with a variety of cell formats, and metals used to make these batteries for the portable electronics, automotive and stationary storage markets. Umicore, located near Antwerp in Belgium, is a global materials technology and recycling group with around 10,000 employees and a turnover of more than €10.4 billion ($12 billion). It produces catalysts for vehicles to re-
Analyzing the health of an EV battery at Spiers New Technologies
duce atmospheric emissions from engine exhausts as well as materials for making rechargeable batteries, including cathode materials. In 2016 and also earlier this year, Umicore announced investments in the expansion of facilities, which are located in China and in South Korea, for the production of cathode materials for producing lithium ion batteries. The company’s third business, recycling, links the recovery of materials from different metal-containing waste streams, including catalysts and rechargeable batteries, so that these products at the end of life can be recovered, processed and the materials used in closed loop processes, by refineries within Umicore. The main challenge for recyclers has been designing operations to be flexible enough to process the different batteries it receives as there is such variation across different lithium ion batteries. “For incoming batteries recycling plants need to maximize the metal recovery value versus the process to do so,” says Brittany Westlake, an engineer scientist at EPRI, acknowledging that the challenge with stationary storage is that no cell design or chemistry has emerged as the standardized format. “That may take years to occur,” she says. In a sense this lack of standardization is a symptom of the relative immaturity of the market. Standardization enables economies of scale throughout the life cycle of a battery. And it is this lack of economies of scale that will continue to hinder lithium recycling. Umicore’s pilot plant can be scaled up relatively easily, so the firm says, from processing 7,000 tonnes of metal a year to 400,000 when supplies increase. But the question is when will supplies increase?
The International Energy Agency reports that the world stock of electric vehicles reached 2 million at the end of 2016 — roughly 0.2% of passenger light duty vehicles in the world. But moving back into the world of generalities, this figure includes hybrid vehicles, with a less demanding range requirement for its batteries, and the figure for pure electric vehicles is around 1.2 million. And projected figures for deployment by the IEA give scenarios ranging from 200 million electric vehicles down to 60 million by 2030. Near term the IEA reckons electric car stock will range between 9 million and 20 milling by 2020.
“Once EV batteries have reached the 80% capacity level, they are still a valuable energy storage asset, they need to be repurposed not recycled. There could easily be a further 10 to 15 years of useful working life in them.” — Dirk Spiers, SNT Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 53
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COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING The spread of this forecast is unlikely to give recyclers comfort when looking to invest and obtain these economies of scale. Moreover, economies of scale in terms of recycling volumes will be hampered by geographical dispersity — will, for example, all the spent EV batteries in Norway or Spain have to be shipped several hundred kilometres to be disassembled in Germany before being processed in Belgium? The same, of course, will apply to spent batteries used in large scale utility-style storage. Next, the effective life of these batteries is still relatively unknown. Earlier iterations of EV batteries, for example, assumed a working life of around seven years. (A working life being presumed to be until the battery can only recharge to 80% of capacity.) Nowadays this is gradually extending out and talk is that EV batteries will have an operational life of at least 10 and even up to 15 years. This means that if mass adoption of EVs were to take place in 2020, meaningful volumes of recyclable batteries would start appearing by the 2030s. “But this would be a ridiculous situation were it to occur,” says Dirk Spiers, the founder of Spiers New Technolo-
gies. “Once EV batteries have reached the 80% capacity level, they are still a valuable energy storage asset, they need to be repurposed not recycled. “There could easily be a further 10 to 15 years of useful working life in them.” Spiers, arguably the founding father and prime mover of the so-called ‘second-life’ market that looks at repairing and servicing used lithium batteries (among other chemistries), has spent the past six years developing a diagnostics ability and huge database to gauge the health and worth of these batteries. “In our experience it is rare that we can’t repair or repurpose the batteries that we receive — his firm is already partnered with three leading car manufacturers — sending batteries to be recycled is the last option. It’s also the rarest.” Second life deployments of lithium ion batteries repurposed from cars for stationary storage applications being promoted by some car makers, including Mercedes Benz and Nissan, have now become a fast growing market — especially for domestic installations. Excess manufacturing capacity is being integrated into existing repurposed batteries. The result of this is — as one commentator calls it — “we are just about to Cost components of a lithium-ion battery kick the lithium recycling can yet further $ / kWh down the road”. The 250 kind of volumes that will make recycling practical in terms of scale economies might, he reckoned, not be Profit margin happening till the late 200 2030s, if not later. Manufacturing This — and we move overhead to generalities again Overhead & profit — is different for grid 35% storage batteries as this 150 depends on what their function and usage will Labor be. Much of our present knowledge is still Other materials up in the air in terms 100 of lifetime expectations but research has provSeparator en (unsurprisingly!) Material that capacity for LMO Electrolyte costs batteries, for example, 65% varies with the number Anode 50 of cycles and the depth of discharge. One NREL study in Cathode 2015 suggested that were full cycling to oc0 cur once a day then a 15 year life span would
be reasonable. (Here the working life would end with replacement at 70% of capacity.) It is common to find project guarantees of up to 20 years for integrated storage and conversion systems. Projections of the size of the energy storage system market vary considerably from forecaster to forecaster — it is relatively easy to find growth rates to 2025 that vary from 30% CAGR to 70% — but increases to around 25GW by 2020 and then on suggests that large volumes of lithium batteries will be entering into recycling only in the 2030s.
A third of total system disposal comes from the recycling process but there is the scope to reduce costs involved in dismantling and transportation. In future, as volumes grow, localized dismantling in other global locations will help to reduce recycling costs by reducing transportation costs. In the automotive industry an established reverse logistics supply chain is in place, where vehicles are taken apart and components are refurbished or sent to scrap metal or to recycling centres, so the collection and take-back infrastructure is well established for cars and vehicles at least. “Through its links with the automotive industry Umicore can gather information on volumes of different types of cars that are ready for recycling,” says Quix. In the lead acid battery industry in the US recycling is above 96%, the highest anywhere in the world for the industry. But the industry has had a hundred years to get to this point. Regulation has been an important driver and economies of scale has helped to reduce cost and get the infrastructure in place, like logistics and transport. “In some ways, the large format lithium ion battery industry cannot compete as it is not at that scale yet,” Westlake says. And, until there is more convergence within lithium ion, not just in terms of metal combinations, but also in terms of formats and even types of plastics used in the separators, cost-effective recycling will be a challenge. Quix points out that recycling costs can be reduced if lithium ion batteries can exploit existing collection and transportation infrastructure already in place for other waste streams. If it requires an entire new logistics infrastructure it will be costly. Three major global markets for electric vehicles are emerging: North America, Europe and Asia, led by China. As it becomes more clearly under-
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 57
stood where high volumes of lithium ion batteries are emerging, from electric vehicles, Umicore reckons it will be able to localize its operations, building further recycling plants to serve specific regional markets. Umicore has a set-up of drop-off points in different global locations. In the US there are four. In some regional markets, such as south east Asia, Umicore will also take care of the paperwork required for trans-boundary and international shipping. Any large format batteries that Umicore collects are taken to Hanau am Main in Germany, where the packs are dismantled for being sent 340 kilometers to its UHT furnace in southern Antwerp. Dismantling the power packs is still a largely manual procedure.
Cathode-to-cathode process on hold
US-based battery recycling company
Retriev (formerly Toxco) does recover lithium from batteries in the form of lithium carbonate, but the process is used for primary (non-rechargeable) batteries only. The process occurs at the company’s battery recycling operation in Trail, in British Columbia, in Canada. In 2013 Retriev won a patent for the separation and recovery of the metal components of the lithium cathode materials from discarded lithium batteries. The patent also provides for regeneration and use of the cathode material in the lithium ion battery cells for use in new lithium batteries. This “cathode-to-cathode” process was developed to provide materials that could be fed back into battery manufacturing in a closed loop process. According to Todd Coy, executive vice president, at Kinsbursky Brothers, which owns Retriev, cathode-tocathode recovery and reuse potentially
provides a lower cost material to the manufacturer. It does this by conserving and reusing materials that are otherwise mined or produced through other industrial processes and potentially lowers the cost of recycling batteries through added value of materials. In 2009 the US Department of Energy awarded Retriev $9.5 million to build a plant — finished in September 2015 — to manage end of life lithium ion batteries from EVs. Originally, the facility was intended to integrate cathode regeneration to return materials to battery producers. Because of the slow growth of EV sales, coupled with rapid changes in battery chemistries, and the development of potential second use or repurposing of lithium ion batteries, Retriev put the project on hold. A a business case cannot be made for cathode-tocathode recycling today, according to Coy.
Umicore’s process for recycling lithium and nickel batteries In 2004 Umicore began R&D into an ultra-high temperature process for recycling lithium ion, lithium polymer and NiMH rechargeable batteries. The company commercialized the process in 2011. Spent battery packs are collected and shipped to the company’s site in Hanau, Germany where they are dismantled. The modules or stacks of batteries are then sent 340km to the company’s recycling plant in Hoboken, a suburb of Antwerp in Belgium. The trial plant has an installed capacity of 7,000 tonnes a year — this is roughly the equivalent of being able to process around 35,000 EV batteries, but expressed at around 20 tonnes a day is a negligible size for an industrial recycling process. The modules, about the size of shoeboxes, are melted down in the UHT furnace. The process contains particulates, since no cell separation or shredding takes place. The component metals and materials are then separated into an alloy, containing copper, cobalt and nickel, which are valuable, and into a slag fraction. The copper, cobalt and nickel are sent to refineries, which then process them so they are ready to be processed
58 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
UHT furnaces: More a concentrated capsule of intense heat than any conventional oven
as new cathode materials. The slag fraction from nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, used in Toyota’s Prius — the most widely commercialized plug-in hybrid car — contains rare earth metals that are further processed through a partnership Umicore has with chemicals company Solvay. Umicore says that it is possible to refine the slag further and recover the lithium. So far the commercial logic for this is not there — the main cost of creating lithium batteries is reaching the purity required. The slag can be used in construction. However, Umicore has developed a
process for extracting the lithium for reprocessing into lithium carbonate so it can be re-used in lithium ion battery production. The process for refining lithium could be ramped up in future when demand for lithium ion batteries grows. Current end-of-life volumes that are recycled amount to a few thousand tonnes annually. However between 2020 and 2030 this annual figure could increase to more than 100,000 tonnes. The plastic and other organic materials, including solvents and electrolytes, are burned as a fuel to produce heat for the process. The exhaust gas is cleaned so there are no emissions. The small amount of fluoride found in batteries is also collected and solidified for controlled landfill deposit. Maarten Quix, who heads up the recycling business unit of Umicore says: “From an environmental and market point of view, a closed loop of recycling lithium — so the metal ends up back in battery production, much like most lead from lead acid batteries today — will become more important and valuable in future. “We will increase overall processing capacity when the market for end-oflife lithium ion batteries demands it.”
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COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING
A recent study by the Electric Power Research Institute has started to analyze the numbers for the total costs of recycling, including factors such as collection and shipping. By Sara Verbruggen
Getting the bigger cost picture Lithium ion batteries will start to emerge from their commercial deployments, EVs in volume before they reach end-of-life in stationary storage applications. However, the Electric Power Research Institute in the US has produced a study to examine all aspects to do with recycling large grid batteries. Compared with Europe, where regulations focus primarily on companies involved in the production or supply of batteries, the onus is on end-users of batteries to undertake measures for their proper disposal. However this should not deter suppliers from taking an interest in end-of-life issues. Brittany Westlake, an engineer scientist at EPRI who has been working on the project, says: “It started about a couple of years ago, when a large Californian utility approached us wanting to know the costs, steps and challenges involved in dismantling and recycling the components from a ‘theoretical’ 1MWh grid battery following decommissioning.” EPRI is in the final stages of producing a report on its findings.
60 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Westlake says: “No one in the US market had undertaken a step-by-step analysis before of what exactly is involved. For instance, there are just a few locations where these batteries can be transported to for recycling, by Retriev and Umicore, in which case the batteries are shipped from Europe for recycling. “So for a start we had to factor in the transportation costs to collection points, which were more than several hundred miles.” Issues the study seeks to address also
explore regulations and guidelines and responsibilities between the vendor and the end-user as well as third parties. Westlake presented EPRI’s findings at a NAATBatt conference in late 2016. “Our presentation at NAATBatt was unusual as the programme was mainly centred on transportation batteries. But afterwards suppliers came and spoke with us,” she said. “Our advice would be to design batteries with their 10 year operational lifetime in mind but also in terms of
Module removal cost – (draft calculations)
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COVER STORY: LITHIUM RECYCLING COST ANALYSIS: DECOMMISSIONING A 1MW ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM
“So for a start we had to factor in the transportation costs to collection points, which were over several hundred miles” — Brittany Westlake, EPRI their disposal at the end. For example, how do you maximize lifetime but make sure that the battery at the end of life can be dismantled without minimal complexity in order to access the cells?” The ramifications impact the whole supply chain for producing grid battery storage systems. From the study’s findings, EPRI advises systems to be designed that both easy to install and also decommission but also to design modules with disassembly in mind. EPRI’s report will be of interest to utilities and third party integrators since it can provide them with data to help factor in the cost of decommissioning and recycling, as part of the total cost of ownership of grid storage systems, into upfront contracts and bids. EPRI’s report is due for publication in 2017. Westlake says discussions continue about whether to make it public. Arguably, for the benefit of the industry as a whole the report ought to be made public because it will shed light on a topic that the stationary storage industry needs to address today. Anecdotally, the interest in recycling of lithium ion batteries is rising up the agenda at key events such as those organized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, compared with a few years ago, when topics regarding the recycling of EV batteries were largely ignored.
62 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
For a 1MWh lithium ion battery energy storage system, the total calculated weight was 58,000 lb in total weight, with the majority of this weight belonging to the batteries, as well as scrap metal, followed by power conversion and electronics components, then components from any cooling and air conditioning equipment and the smallest portion belonging to computing and electronics components making up the communication and system controls. For costing purposes the process was broken down into three main stages; onsite dismantling, shipping and equipment disposal. Onsite dismantling involves labour, shipping material and packaging and EPRI’s study estimated this to cost in the region of $38,300 for a 1MWh battery storage system. Then they had to factor in the transportation of hazardous material over many hundreds of miles, with any remaining material going to local recyclers. The estimated cost was $28,000. The equipment disposal took into consideration the vendor battery disposal cost and also the scrap metal value, and came to around $24,200. The total cost for recycling a 1MWh battery was calculated at $90,500. The majority of this cost – over $70,000 – is the cost associated with the lithium ion battery modules, which used LG Chem’s nickel metal cobalt cell chemistry for the study.
The study then goes on to calculate the costs using the various lithium ion battery makes and chemistries on the market today, comparing number of modules to battery weight, which can have an impact on both removal and packaging costs as well as transportation costs. These costs were calculated using the same labour cost of $175/ hour. Costs ranged from $1.00/lb to $2.50/lb. The most expensive batteries to recycle are Samsung’s lithium manganese oxide batteries, which came in at around $151,600 for a 1MWh battery storage system, followed by NEC’s lithium iron phosphate batteries and Toshiba’s lithium titanate batteries, which both cost around $137,000 for a 1MWh system. The cheapest are Kokum’s NMC batteries, at just over $52,000 for a 1MWh system, then Samsung’s NMC batteries at around $56,000 for the same sized system. Interestingly, the onsite dismantling, transportation and equipment disposal costs are fairly evenly spread for the batteries that are cheapest to recycle, but for the batteries that are the most expensive, the equipment disposal costs become more significant. For Samsung LMO batteries, for instance, the equipment disposal cost is $85,000 with $30,000 calculated for transportation and $36,600 for dismantling.
Calculation assumptions (source EPRI presentation) Recycling cost estimates by chemistry (2015) NCA – Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide NMC – Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide LMO – Lithium Managanese Oxide LFP – Lithium Iron Phosphate LTO – Lithium Titanate Total battery module weight range 15,000 – 25,000 pounds 25,001 – 40,000 pounds 40,001 – 60,000 pounds Module weight range 22 – 66 pounds 67 – 110 pounds 111 – 165 pounds 166 – 220 pounds Labour rate
Cost per pound $1.00 $1.00 $2.50 $2.50 $1.00 Estimated shipping costs $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 Estimated time for removal and packaging 15 mins 25 mins 35 mins 45 mins $175 / hour
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US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE US president Trump and much of his administration may not believe in climate change but the momentum behind the country’s adoption of renewables and energy storage is growing not slackening. Jim Smith reports.
“With respect Mr President — it’s going to be business as normal for the rest of us” Global warming. It’s the debate that never seems to go away. The recent hurricanes wreaking havoc across the US — the cost of the Texas storms is now $100 billion and rising — have reactivated the same tired arguments both for and against. In the leadership race for the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump famously said climate change was a hoax, concocted by China, and the Paris Agreement was detrimental to US jobs. And in the end, the fossil fuel giants backed Trump’s presidential campaign and pumped huge sums of money — $1 in every $10 raised — for his presidency. So it was more or less inevitable at the July G20 summit that Trump would ignore his 19 other partner countries and say: “In order to fulfil
my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw [from the Paris Agreement].” Immediately the climate change debate returned to the headlines. European leaders, prime ministers and even former president Barack Obama hung their heads in disbelief that the US, as the world’s second biggest greenhouse gas emitter behind China, had, in the words of French president Emmanuel Macron, “turned its back on the world”. But for all the histrionics, will US withdrawal have an impact on its decarbonization goals? After all, individual states, cities and utilities are already invested, the ball is rolling and many places, such as California, Minnesota and Hawaii,
THE PARIS AGREEMENT The Paris Agreement went in force on November 4, 2016, and so far 160 countries have ratified the document ito try and keep the global temperature from rising 2oC above pre-industrial levels by 2100, and to go a step beyond that and limit the increase to 1.5oC. To do this each country has promised to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, and to review those emissions every five years. As part of the agreement, each country will give nationally determined contributions — monies put forward to help achieve the targets — with enhanced support to assist developing countries in meeting their targets. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change with a new technology framework and an enhanced
64 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
capacity building framework. Its critics, on either end of the spectrum, claim the targets are too high and as such unobtainable, or too low and as such will be ineffectual even if reached. Another criticism is that the majority of the agreement’s stipulations are voluntary, and do not legally oblige any country to adhere to the goals — the US almost derailed the agreement over the word ‘shall’, which it had changed to ‘should’, on Article 4.4 on page 21 of the 31-page document.
are reaching a tipping point in their renewables goals. Indeed, time and money and the drive to be first mover in their geographical areas are prioritized more than creating or restoring coal, gas and nuclear plants. The other argument by Trump, that he wanted to bring back the jobs in coal, is a moot point; for every coal job that would be created, another could be created in the PV, battery and microgrid industry. Already there are more workers involved in the PV industry than in coal mining. So why is the Agreement so important? It is agreed that global temperatures will rise by as much as 2.7°C by 2100, and the Paris Agreement wants to limit this to below 2.0°C above pre-industrial times, with some setting stricter goals of 1.5°C. In Europe that commitment has seen governments declare — with the zeal of a bornagain tree hugger — that they want to ban the sale of ICE engines; in Norway and the Netherlands that will be by 2025, in Germany by 2030, and in France and the UK by 2040. Scientists point out the Paris Agreement must be stepped up if it is to have any chance of curbing climate change. To this end, each country will review its contribution to achieving the goals every five years, with rich countries — like the US — committed to helping poorer nations by providing climate finance to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy. But what is all the fuss about? This isn’t the first time the US has pulled out of an agreement. In 1997 the US pulled out, and others failed to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, which aimed to tackle climate change. What makes the Paris Agreement different, and even historic, is that it ties the world’s nations together in a single agreement following a consensus among nearly 200 countries that
US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE there is a need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And aside from the media attention, Olaf Lohr, director of business development for German energy storage firm Sonnen, which has an office in Los Angeles, says: “We don’t believe Trump’s push for fossil fuels will have a significant impact on the continuing adoption of US energy storage.” He cites growing customer awareness, increasing innovation of costefficient technologies and increasing adoption of storage as contributing reasons why the industry will continue as business as usual. “The president’s focus is more on jobs. Innovation in the renewable energy sector and the economics of fall-
ing prices will only bring more jobs into the market. The solar industry has demonstrated this quite nicely,” says Lohr.
Moving towards a tipping point
The big question is whether the withdrawal will affect US businesses and derail the country’s decarbonization objective. Ellen Anderson, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, doesn’t believe it will. “The US, by and large, does not support this decision,” she says. “The Paris Agreement matters because it demonstrated there is a consensus, with a sense of urgency, to take action. “I think the president has little sup-
port for these actions and there is only a small pool of the populace that agrees with his decision.” Anderson is better qualified than most to talk about the politics of decarbonization. She is a former member of the Minnesota Senate and chaired a number of energy committees in her eight years. She was chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and also spent two years as a senior adviser on the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board on energy and environmental issues. She is a passionate advocate of decarbonization. She is just one of many high-ranking
LOSING THE RENEWABLES CROWN As the renewables and storage sector matures, a key element of being a prime mover in the industry is that you become a hub and own core parts of the industry such as R&D and manufacturing. California, for example, put in place procurement targets in 2013 and 2014 and has subsequently become a hub for renewable energy storage. In New England, Massachusetts is angling itself to be the area’s first mover, and “Right now there’s a similar race in Maryland, which is giving tax incentives because they want to lead in their region,” says Roberts. But what Roberts fears is that the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will have wider implications than simply upsetting state goals. “The downside to the withdrawal is one of global leadership and making sure the US is at the forefront of this,” he says. “Many people agree that the US is in the lead of this technology and now it’s open for others to do that. China, for example, is ideally positioned to pick this up and dampen the US’s potential to claim that crown.” China’s officials are on the record as saying that by and large they will proceed with or without the US as part of the Paris Agreement. “Europe is committed and many others are also committed to the Paris Agreement. China has even indicated it will fill in the vacuum of power caused by the US,” says Anderson. Following the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, individual states
within the US will continue to actively pursue their renewable energy goals. Whether that is because they want to reinvigorate their energy mix, defer the costs of upgrading aging power generators or because they want to position themselves as an industry leader in the decarbonization of power. The reality is that it’s business as usual for many states, despite the withdrawal. The real test of the withdrawal will be the wider impact, as Europe, China, Australia and a host of other countries speed towards a cleaner, greener energy mix. These countries will want to become industry hubs, controlling research, development and manufacturing of technology from battery cells to PV panels and from invertors to energy storage system controllers. So, paradoxically, Trump’s desire to bring back the jobs in coal could potentially mean that many other jobs are not created as the US tumbles down the renewable energy pecking order. Jim Greenberger, head of NAATBatt, recalls being in a restaurant at a conference at the day after the US withdrew from the Paris climate accord. He says at the next table sat a group of 10-12 Europeans and Chinese, who had also been attending the conference: “When they heard the news of Trump’s announcement, one of them stood and offered a toast to his table. ‘This is good news,’ he said. ‘We all stand to gain market share.’ “As an American, that toast poured
salt on a wound that was already raw. President Trump said in his announcement that his action was going to stop nations laughing at us. I do not know whether or not that is true. But I do know first-hand that other nations are now toasting America’s apparent withdrawal as a competitor in the increasingly important and increasingly lucrative business of renewable energy. “Renewable energy is the future. How we provide power to an increasingly electronic world without choking ourselves on the by-products is one of the great challenges of this century. It will also be one of the great business opportunities. “No one succeeds in business by running away from opportunities. The same can be said of nations. President Trump’s effort to turn America away from the future will not succeed. The pursuit of opportunity, and the optimism that drives it, are hard-wired into the American character.” So in a strange way, although China may be ideally positioned to take the baton from America and run with it into a lucrative future, US business savvy may simply ignore the politicking of its leader and continue to take the lead.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 65
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US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE “While new economic models continue to evolve and emerge, policy changes, growing consumer awareness and requirements for net-zero energy housing continue to drive the industry forward and we believe the tipping point is in the not-too-distant future.” politicians and business elites to put their time and effort into climate activities. Former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg — who happens to have a book titled Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet — and who is the United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change, has said that work to reduce emissions will continue despite Trump’s statement. Mostly that’s because a lot of activity from cities, states and companies is already under way and many are ramping up their efforts in response to individual decarbonization goals. Anderson says: “Hundreds of mayors and companies have pledged to abide with agreements and they will meet those obligations. I even know of a former Exxon CEO that supports the Paris Agreement. “Utilities are in support of it and are genuine in their efforts to decarbonize. In Minnesota we have Xcel Energy — Top 10 countries based on total PV installed capacity (MW)
it’s a fairly large utility crossing eight states — and in the last 15 years they have embraced carbon reduction and become the number one wind utility.” Matt Roberts, vice-president at the Energy Storage Association, says he believes state governments are continuing to tell people they are committed to introducing renewables to the energy mix, and states and cities still believe it is important to forward with their plans.
The need for progressive regulation
In the US the utilities and what happens in their territory is run by the state. However, when it crosses borders it becomes a federal issue, and if it goes across a further state it become the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — the agency that handles interstate energy commerce and multi-state transmission planning. Roberts says: “To their credit they are open to new technoloTop 10 countries based on added PV capacity in 2016 (MW)
Source: International Energy Agency, 2017
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gies such as storage, demand response and renewables.” In reality everything in the US related to energy had been partly driven by states setting standards, federal policies having a significant impact on grid modernization, infrastructure investment, and other drivers that are opening opportunities for innovative solutions like storage. Roberts said: “The federal government has done things to advance green energy but it’s the individual states that have the laboratories and are moving those things forward.” The first major energy storage law was passed in 1978 with PURPA (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act). The policy was championed by president Jimmy Carter in response to the energy crisis of the early 1970s. This stated that a utility should buy renewable energy if it was developed at a cost equal to or below what a utility would have to pay for a traditional power plant. From the late 1970s through to the past few years, solar and wind energy have been so expensive that no utility had to worry about them matching or beating their avoided cost. So in practice, PURPA meant it was in favour of traditional energy generation. But as renewables and energy storage costs continue to fall, PURPA is pushing states such as Utah, Idaho and Montana, which have been slow on the uptake in adopting utility-scale projects. The result in many circumstances has been contentious — utilities and developers are arguing over rates, contract lengths and terms of agreements, as evidenced by the recent squabbles in Montana, where FERC has argued that the local utility has acted illegally but has not been willing to intervene, suggesting that other considerations — namely the next steps after PURPA — are in play. Almost three decades after PURPA, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed in July that year by the US Congress. It aimed to combat growing energy problems by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for energy production of various types. Two years later the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (originally named the Clean Energy Act of 2007) aimed, among other things, to promote research into and deployment of greenhouse gas capture and storage options. Then in 2011, the FERC ruling, Or-
US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE der 755, increased the payment structure that utilities had to pay for fastresponding sources including batteries and flywheels in the frequency regulation service markets. The push towards renewable integration of the energy mix was later expanded by Order 784, which put fast response solutions against traditional gas or coal-fired plants in the ancillary services market. The accounting and reporting rules introduced in Order 784 aimed to help utilities achieve rate recovery for energy storage equipment. In January 2016 the US Supreme Court ruled that demand response be allowed in wholesale markets, as FERC had previously implemented. Roberts said: “This also is a big gateway for storage (and of course, storage performing demand response, as well as other applications). Energy markets are definitely open to renewables, as it is a least-cost market, so if the price fits they are allowed.”
Risk adverse in changing market
So the drive towards a decarbonized future in the US is being determined by customers and grid-scale suppliers. Both will be heavily influenced by price. Lithium-ion, arguably the most popular choice of chemistry for the residential to grid-scale energy storage world, is seeing costs fall due to economy of scale. This is due in large part because of gigafactories such as Tesla’s in the US, and the host of others planned for Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Australia as capacity is forecast to reach 278GWh by 2021. But the US’s decarbonization goals rely on more than cheap batteries. “The way utilities operate is they are very risk averse and focused on longterm planning. However, nowadays they see the writing on the wall,” says Anderson. “Most see coal as becoming the dinosaur in our energy system because our market place has access to cheaper natural gas and renewables.” In 2001 the US Environment Protection Agency launched the Green Power Partnership program to increase the use of renewable electricity. The GPP set out the process to reduce emissions so that utilities, at least in the regulated states, were able to see what the energy resource mix would, or at least should, be in the next 15 years. “In states not as politically supportive of coal energy, such as Minnesota, which can see where the future is heading, they will have to make sig-
nificant investments to upgrade their coal plants,” says Anderson. “In our state we have a goal of 80% reduction of carbon across the economy by 2050, and that’s parallel with other states’ goals and some are more aggressive than that.” One of the most progressive states is California, whose governor, Jerry Brown, wants the state to be reliant on 50% renewable energy by 2030. Its transition to a renewable energy future is highlighted by two events. The first happened on July 12, 2016, when the state generated a record 8GW of utility-scale solar and 4GW of behind-the-meter (residential or commercial) solar. The second happened earlier this year, when 77.5MW of storage was speedily added to the state’s grid — in systems delivered by the Tesla-Edison project, San Diego Gas & Electric with AES Energy Storage and Greensmith Energy Partners with AltaGas — following a California Public Utilities Commission mandated procurement order. This was after a rupture in the Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir caused 197,000 tonnes of methane to spill into the atmosphere in October 2016. Lohr said that with strong renewable energy goals and state incentives for clean energy products, California is on a trajectory to dominate the clean energy adoption race. “Based on declarations from California and several other states, we think state leaders have made it quite clear to both state residents and innovative, energyfocused businesses like Sonnen that these commitments will not waiver despite the national Paris Agreement withdrawal.” So it seems the US is getting close to a tipping point where de-carbonization is not going to be preventable. “I think it’s not stoppable,” says Anderson. “But the big question is how fast, who will lead on this and who will lag behind?”
Tipping point within reach for energy industry
How much and how fast the transition to a fossil-fuel free future will happen is debatable, but the drive towards integrating renewables in the energy mix is a given in many states. “What we are looking at is a question of knowing coal use is already cut in half and then it’s a question of, ‘will that be replaced with a renewables infrastructure?’ That could be the tipping point, if markets and policy
“Hundreds of mayors and companies have pledged to abide with agreements and they will meet those obligations. I even know of a former Exxon CEO that supports the Paris Agreement.” — Ellen Anderson, University of Minnesota
“We don’t believe Trump’s push for fossil fuels will have a significant impact on the continuing adoption of US energy storage. Innovation in the renewable energy sector and the economics of falling prices will only bring more jobs into the market. The solar industry has demonstrated this.” — Olaf Lohr, Sonnen Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 69
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US RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE “Solar prices are coming down; wind power prices are coming down; battery prices are coming down because demand is high. Renewables is one of the key elements of what is happening on the grid. The trend demands a better greenhouse system, and it makes sense to use solar PV and storage in a hybrid system” — Brad Luyster, IPERC framework push against the use of fossil fuels,” says Anderson. Even states such as New Mexico, which has a relatively small goal of reaching 20% renewables produced in the state by 2020, as set out in its Renewable Portfolio Standard, are pushing forward with regulation. In 2007 the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission adopted an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electric utilities to implement the 2005 Efficient Use of Energy Act. The rule stated that investor owned electric and natural gas utilities must evaluate all supply and demand side resources. This August the NMPRC amended a commission rule that moved the state towards advanced technology for the storing of renewable energy. Despite this, Carlos Padilla, a commission official, says the state has yet to have a standard in place for energy storage. “The focus was on the potential and the economics of the storage of renewable energy rather than decarbonization, which is an aspect that is regularly covered by intervening parties in utility cases,” says Padilla. “The IRP ruling made by the commission provides for explicit consideration by utilities operating in New Mexico of energy storage resources in the development of their Integrated Resource Plans. “The ruling adds a new storage element to the supply side. It is too soon to know the implications at this point, in regard to economics, and the extent to which there could be additional renewable sources is still unknown.” Lohr, however, believes the tipping point for residential energy storage has not quite been reached due to a slower development of rates. “While new economic models continue to evolve and emerge, policy changes, growing consumer awareness and requirements for net-zero energy housing continue to drive the industry forward and we believe the tipping point is in the not-too-distant future,” he says.
“Moreover, the withdrawal has triggered some states, cities and other entities to set aggressive climate goals. If 50% or more of the sourced energy needs to come from renewables, you need to plan for a wide adoption of energy storage.” Some in the industry believe it is simply a case of markets dictating which direction the industry goes. “I believe in the markets and capitalism; let the market decide where it is going,” says Brad Luyster, director of business development at intelligent microgrid company Intelligent Power and Energy Research Corporation (IPERC). “So much is already going on — I don’t think the Paris Accord is going to be detrimental to what is happening in the US because the markets are already moving in that direction.” In a power system that was centralized in the 1970s, but which like many others is prone to defects and outages, the end user ultimately wants 100% power supply because people are sensitive to outages, says Luyster. “On commercial businesses, hospitals and data centres, where sensitivity
is heightened, it has become a business driver rather than just something different or more efficient,” he says. “Solar prices and wind power prices are coming down; battery prices are coming down because demand is high. Renewables is one of the key elements of what is happening on the grid. The trend demands a better greenhouse system, and it makes sense to use solar PV and storage in a hybrid system. “Amazon has changed the retail world, and in the same way microgrids are changing the energy world. My big thing is to have an automated system because once you put supply and demand together you are able to get more services, which in turn creates new markets. “In the next five to 10 years, when a homeowner has solar on their roof, if they have excess energy or want to buy energy from a neighbour they can buy or sell their solar energy, and that will open up new markets. “The long-term trend will be a world of real-time energy. I’m optimistic that energy will be bought, sold and used by the end-user using distributed energy resources.”
Sorry Mr President. Former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who is the United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change, has said work to reduce emissions will continue despite Trump’s statement.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 73
CONFERENCE IN PRINT
Welcome to a special section of our magazine, called Conference in Print. Our aim is a simple one. We want to offer you the readers a section where you can highlight your products, technology and skills to our broader audience — rather like going to a conference or an exhibition without the inconvenience of all the travel! We’re putting no restrictions on what you’d like to showcase — this is your section not ours — but hope that this will prove an invaluable and cost-effective way to reach our audience of subscribers and readers.
CONFERENCE IN PRINT Too many delivery fleets are spending too much money on a problem that’s rarely discussed. Turning off the engine too many times shortens the battery life. This leads to lost profits, increased maintenance, stranded assets, and irritated customers. Chad Hall from Ioxus illustrates the problem — and outlines its solution.
How supercaps can effortlessly extend starter and battery life Package delivery companies more often than not require drivers to turn off the engine at every delivery, irrespective of the weather or location, in an effort to decrease emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
While these idle-reduction activities do save fuel and emissions, they also cause problems with the vehicles. Turning off and restarting the engine generates hundreds of engine-off and cranking events per day per truck.
During these engine-off periods, flashing lights, CCTV, GPS, Telematics, computers, head lights, wipers, and fans continue to run. This, combined with the short duration between deliveries, leads to a nominally low state of charge (SOC) and elevated temperatures on the battery due to the nearly constant use. The voltage drops as the energy is used during these events and the subsequent cranking is followed by only a few minutes of alternator recharging time before the next stop event. This
By providing the energy to run ancillary systems and then to crank the engine, battery cycling is all but eliminated during normal operation. That means the time spent in the sulfation zone — a condition that leads to early battery failure — is dramatically reduced.
Figure 1: uSTART® Field Results in Delivery Trucks
76 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
charge depleting activity leads to a continually low SOC (see figure 1) — sometimes low enough to strand the vehicle. Furthermore, the low SOC during cranking results in higher currents drawn by the starter, and lower starter speeds causing longer cranking, ultimately leading to higher temperatures and rapid aging that cause the starters to require annual or frequent replacement.
Ioxus has developed a unique, twoterminal, Group 31 footprint, dropin smart ultracapacitor-based battery support system that allows for easy retrofit in existing trucks without the need to rewire them, or a direct installation in a new OEM vehicle. One or more of the two existing lead acid batteries are removed, and a single uSTART module is inserted in its place. Once connected using the original wires and connections, the uSTART has functional LED lights to indicate its readiness, and alerts the installing technician that the system is activated and ready. The driver then triggers ignition, and the truck roars to life. uSTART consistently provides the right amount of energy and power to the starter. Noticeable is that start time with uSTART is reduced by up to 30%. System voltage during starting is increased by an average of two volts vs. the standard battery system (see figure 2), all but eliminating low voltage
CONFERENCE IN PRINT RETURN ON INVESTMENT Considering the reduction of batteries, and life extension of the remaining batteries, adding the increased starter life, plus the elimination of jump starts, the return on investment for the uSTART in package delivery applications is as little as 16 months. uSTART is a unique solution to delivery truck battery problems.
The return on investment for the uSTART in package delivery applications is as little as 16 months. conditions in the vehicle. The uSTART increases starter and battery life by up to two times. Once the engine is running, the uSTART is recharged rapidly and is quickly and consistently ready for the next delivery. During the stop event (engine is off), the uSTART provides the power and energy to run the ancillary loads for up to several minutes, and stays ready to support the engine start. By providing the energy to run an-
cillary systems and then to crank the engine, the attached battery cycling is all but eliminated during normal operation. That means the time spent in the sulfation zone (a condition that leads to early battery failure) is dramatically reduced. The uSTART also has a built in jump-start mode, allowing the driver to jump the vehicle in a worst case scenario, without connecting cables or waiting for a service call.
Noticeable is that start time with uSTART is reduced by up to 30%. System voltage during starting is increased by an average of two volts vs. the standard battery system, all but eliminating low voltage conditions in the vehicle.
Figure 2: uSTART® Field Operation Class 6 Deivery Truck
Chad Hall is the co-founder and senior vice president of Ioxus, Inc. He was instrumental in securing VC funding as well as federal and state resources for the establishment of the company and further development of products. More information about the uSTART product can be found at www.ioxus.com or writing to email@example.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 77
CONFERENCE IN PRINT The completely automated continuous mixing process for producing electrode slurries — one of the key components of lithium ion batteries — is an alternative to the widespread batch processing used today. It features significantly lower costs and seamless process control as well as improved product consistency and quality, writes Bühler’s Adrian Spillmann
Continuous mixing process for producing electrode slurries for lithium-ion batteries Manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries are in the process of massively expanding their global capacity. These investments are being driven by rising demand for electric vehicles, among other things. By 2025, the market for such vehicles will grow from today’s two million vehicles to eight million. The light and compact energy storage devices, however, also drive innumerable portable electronic devices, from smartphones to laptop computers. Another application with strong growth potential is the stationary large batteries used for intermediate storage of wind and solar energy before it is fed into the electricity network. The production of lithium-ion batteries is multi-staged and extremely complex. One of the central process steps is the wet treatment of the so-called electrode slurries. These viscous suspensions are coated onto metal foils, which are then dried, calendered and trimmed to fit the battery application. The quality of the electrode slurries has a direct influence on the electrochemical performance and thus the capacity of the finished battery.
Batch processing: limited capacity, expensive
Powdered active materials, conductive additives and binders are gently dispersed in a liquid carrier medium in the production. Battery manufacturers usually use a batch process today. The raw materials are kneaded in a mixer and then diluted. This relatively expensive operation takes up to six hours to complete. In addition to the large amount of time it takes, another disadvantage is the limited capacity. No more than 2,000 litres can be processed in one continuous pass, which means that for producing larg-
78 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Adrian Spillmann is head of market segment battery solutions with grinding & dispersion technologies at Bühler.
er quantities, many separate systems need to be installed. That adds expense to the batteries. This process also includes many manual operations that can negatively influence the quality. Batch processing can be replaced with a continuous mixing process. The machine core is based on a synchronous rotating twin-screw mixer. Compared with the conventional procedure, this approach offers a number of advantages: • with higher capacities and lower space requirements, the investment and operating costs are markedly lower; • the seamless process control enables a gentle and efficient dispersion as well as the possibility of processing a wide range of raw materials; • the constant process and product parameter monitoring also improves the consistency and quality of the electrode slurries and helps reduce the number of rejects.
The continuous mixing process offers various advantages. It can handle several process steps at once as an aggregate, such as mixing, homogenizing, dispersing and degassing. Thanks to the various dosing points for adding solids and liquids, the solids concentration and therefore the viscosity can be varied at any time. The mixing and dispersion process can be adjusted exactly to the requirements of the raw materials, which can be sensitive in part. Controlling the shear forces ensures that the active materials and conductive additives are dispersed to the desired degree in the carrier material without overloading them. In sum, the flexibility in the raw materials used is very high. For example, carbon nanotubes can be used as a conductive additive. This material is difficult to disperse in conventional batch processes, which is why an additional processing step with a three-roll mill or an agitated bead mill is needed.
Continuous mixing replaces multiple batch systems
The continuous production process has a throughput of up to 2,500 litres per hour. One single production line can therefore replace multiple batch systems. The 70 million litres of electrode slurry required by a gigafactory per year can be handled with just six lines compared to at least 24 batch systems needed for the same amount. The investment costs are thus a total of 60% lower. Due to its various advantages, the continuous mixing process offers battery makers a new possibility to produce large quantities of electrode slurries. Thus, the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries can be met without compromising quality and keeping investment costs low.
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Batteries International â€¢ Autumn 2017 â€¢ 79
CONFERENCE IN PRINT The presence of a continuous parasitic load on a battery complicates the charging process. Isidor Buchmann, founder of Cadex Electronics explains the process.
How to charge lithium-ion batteries with a parasitic load Charging a battery is simple but the complexity rises when a parasitic load is present during charge. Depending on battery chemistry, the charge process goes through several stages, and with lithium-ion Stage 1 consists of a con-
stant current (CC) charge that brings the battery to roughly 70% state-ofcharge (SoC). The cell reaches 4.20V/ cell, a common voltage limit for Li-ion, after which Stage 2 continues by applying a constant voltage (CV) charge.
Unofficial findings show that cycling cells with extended hold times at 4.20V/cell does not lead to lithium plating with quality cells. However lower grade cells could develop high impedance, which can result in Li-plating when held at 4.20V/cell for an extended period of time at elevated temperatures of 40Â°C.
The current begins to drop as the battery saturates. Full-charge is reached when the current decreases to typically 0.05C, which is one-twentieth of the rated ampere-hour. Li-ion cannot absorb overcharge and no charge is applied in Stage 3. Figure 1 illustrates typical voltage, current and capacity signatures of the CC-CV charge. The CCCV method is also used to charge lead acid with the difference that a float charge is applied in Stage 3 to keep the battery at full charge and to prevent sulfation. Nickel-based batteries receive trickle charge when fully charged to compensate for selfdischarge. The Li-ion system is so efficient that excess energy has nowhere to go when the battery is fully charged. Turning the charge current off keeps the battery stable and enables the voltage to neutralize. A continuous float charge, also known as high-voltage-hold, increases the Li-ion battery to above the specified upper cut-offs potential. This would possibly produce gas; possibly cause a breakdown of cell components and probably shorten battery life and compromise safety.
Type of battery usage
Figure 1: Charge regime of the lithium-ion battery. Stage 1 applies bulk charge under constant current (CC). Stage 2 completes the charge under constant voltage (CV) as part of saturation charge. Stage 3 is the ready mode with no charge applied.
80 â€˘ Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2017
Battery usage can be categorized into three groups. The most basic is the Detachable Mode where the battery is charged outside the device unaffected by a parasitic load. Applications include mobile radios, power tools, drones and general instrumentations. This Detached Mode enables the most simplistic charge method because the battery is independent from a device. Most commercial charging
CONFERENCE IN PRINT
Whereas the failure rate of a quality Li-ion battery produced by major manufacturers is around 1 in 10 million, the early Boeing 787 batteries had a failure rate of three in 800. chips are designed to operate in this mode. A growing usage pattern is the Contained Mode in which the battery is charged in the equipment. Smartphone, laptops and some medical devices are examples. The battery is charged in the device by connecting to the grid. The available AC power is divided into charging the battery and operating the device. When fully charged, the battery disconnects from the charger but may from time to time receive a topping charge. This typically occurs when the state-of-charge drops to 93%. The third group is the Attached Mode where the battery is installed in a device. Typical applications are vehicles delivering hotel load and starting the engine. In the Attached Mode, the battery becomes part of an integrated system that is charged during the operation. Some medical, military and industrial devices also operate in Attached Mode providing vital functions. Table 2 summarizes battery usages in different charging environments.
The presence of a continuous parasitic load on a battery complicates the charging process. It should be noted that most devices draw some parasitic load but the current is low and may consist of protection circuit for the Liion battery, memory back-up or run-
ning a clock. This does not distort the charge routine and can in most cases be ignored. However, the parasitic load in the Attached Mode can be high and distort the saturation signature in Stage 2. Such interference in the charging regime requires an alternate full-charge detection mechanism. Possible solutions are reducing the charge current in Stage 2 for some time, then turning the charge off and applying a topping charge when the state-of-charge drops to 93%. Another method is keeping the cell at the 4.20V/cell level. This would be the simplest technique but most Li-ion manufacturers do not approve of this method for safety and longevity reasons. A further option is lowering the charge from the customary 4.20V/cell to 4.10V/cell. This reduces capacity and cell manufacturers consider this viable but are not totally comfortable. Scientists are studying the behaviour of Li-ion at various high-voltageholds as a function of electrolyte additives and choice of active materials. Unofficial findings show that cycling cells with extended hold times at 4.20V/cell does not lead to lithium plating with quality cells. However lower grade cells could develop high impedance, which can result in Liplating when held at 4.20V/cell for an extended period of time at elevated temperatures of 40°C. Keeping Li-ion at high-voltage-hold
is a sensitive issue. Few technical papers have been published that suggest how to correctly charge a battery with a parasitic load, nor do battery manufacturers share best practices. It is known that float charging at elevated temperature can cause a breakdown of cell components, which can potentially lead to an electrical short in the cell. Findings reveal that this defect does not necessarily relate to lithium plating that occurs when exceeding the charge voltage or when charging below freezing. Other harmful effects are at work that requires further examination. Component breakdown can be reduced with electrolyte additives. Each battery manufacturer has its own secret sauce and is hesitant to publish the ingredients. As smoking and lack of exercise affects the health of each person differently, so also is no consistent information available when charging a specific Li-ion system with a parasitic load. There appears to be a lack of information on the effect of high-voltage-hold on Li-ion, especially when operating at elevated temperature and when fast-charging. Let’s look at lead acid, a system that shares similarities with Li-ion with charging but is more forgiving with overcharge. In Stage 1, lead acid charges to 2.40V/cell. Applying a fully saturated charge at Stage 2 is important to prevent sulfation. Instead of cutting the charge current to zero when ready, Stage 3 lowers the voltage from 2.40V/cell to 2.25V/cell to maintain full-charge. Keeping lead acid at the high 2.40V/ cell would cause gassing and promote plate corrosion. Applying a voltage
Battery usage in different charging environments Group
Battery is charged outside the device with no parasitic load. Charger follows the signature of the battery.
Mobile radios, power tools, drones
Battery is charged in equipment. Built-in charger charges battery independently of circuit; disconnects battery when ready.
Smartphone, laptops, small medical devices
Battery is installed in a device. Vital functions draw parasitic loads. Charging by topping charge or holding voltage at different levels.
Vehicles, airplanes, some medical devices
Table 2: Battery usage in different charging environments. Parasitic loads add to charging complexity.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 81
CONFERENCE IN PRINT reduction is important especially in stationary applications where the battery is under continuous charge. The charging system in a vehicle brings the battery to typically 14.40V (2.40V/cell) with no provision to lower the voltage when fully charged. Reducing the voltage to 13.50V (2.25V/cell) on a long road trip would be preferable but lead acid is forgiving and tolerates this condition by receiving rest when the vehicle is parked. Starter batteries are often replaced with LiFePO4 (Li-Phosphate) running on the same charging system. Four cells in series produce 12.80V, a similar voltage to six 2V lead acid cells in series. Each of the four Li-phosphate cell tops at 3.60V, which is the correct full-charge voltage. At this point, the charge should be disconnected but the topping charge of the vehicular charger continues while driving. Li-phosphate is tolerant to some overcharge; however, keeping the voltage at 14.40V for a prolonged time could stress the battery. Time will tell how durable Li-Phosphate will be when operating with a regular charging system programmed for lead acid. Li-phosphate batteries are also being installed in wheelchairs, scooters, golf cars and computers-on-wheels in hospitals. It is wise to assure charger compatibility when replacing lead acid with Li-phosphate. An aircraft shares similarities with a vehicle in that both systems operate in the Attached Mode. As in a vehicle, the battery in an aircraft can be disconnected once the auxiliary generator provides power. An incident occurred when a nickelcadmium (NiCd) battery overheated on a Boeing 777 in mid-flight. The circuit breaker was pulled without incident to separate the battery from the system. Pilots demand that the battery be at full charge at all times. With NiCd, the common on-ship battery of passenger airplanes, this is no problem, but the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is equipped with Li-ion operating in Attached Mode. In 2013 this battery did indeed develop problems but experts say that the onboard battery fires were not caused by incorrect charging but by battery flaws. Whereas the failure rate of a quality Li-ion battery produced by major manufacturers is around 1 in 10 million, the early Boeing 787 batteries had a failure rate of 3 in 800.
82 â€˘ Batteries International â€˘ Autumn 2017
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
How should a Li-ion battery be charged with a parasitic load? A solution is high-voltagehold by applying a float charge in the Attached Mode, but this removes one level of safety redundancy, which concerns battery manufacturers. Should the float charge go out of control, the cell gets overcharged and lithium plating will occur. It is also known that high-voltage-hold at elevated temperature causes a breakdown of cell components. The long-term effects in practical use may not yet be fully understood. The answer to safely operate Li-ion in the Attached Mode may lay in the choice of electrolyte additives as well as lowering the In the early 1970s, the National Transportation Safety Board reported several battery incidents per year involving the then new NiCd, but none led to casualties. A redesign eventually made NiCd safe and similar improvements will also be made with Li-ion on board of an aircraft. One big advantage of Li-ion apart from higher specific energy is their
full charge state. The stress level of Li-ion is lowest between a state-ofcharge of 30% and 80%. EVs use this preferred SoC bandwidth to achieve extraordinary long battery life, however the packs must be oversized to compensate for the reduced capacity. Li-ion is optimized for various applications that range from highenergy single cells for consumer products, to sturdy multi-cell configurations for medical, military and mobility use, and to high power cells for power tools. Operating Li-ion in the Attached Mode is a growing market and battery manufacturers will need to take note and deliver a product that will serve this new application. low maintenance. The Boeing engineers did, however, reach out to the automotive sector to learn how large Li-ion batteries are managed in electric vehicles. They discovered that an EV battery has some 50 sensing points for safety; the Boeing 787 had fewer than 10. This shortcoming has now been corrected.
Unofficial findings show that cycling cells with extended hold times at 4.20V/cell does not lead to lithium plating with quality cells.
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FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: SCHMID GROUP In the first of a series of profiles of companies offering flow batteries we look at how Germany’s Schmid Group is finding high volume deployments for its energy storage systems based on vanadium redox flow chemistry.
Squaring up to the lithium challenge Vanadium redox flow batteries are well suited to grid-connected and off-grid energy storage applications, especially for longer duration applications, requiring energy to be stored over periods of six, or eight hours, or even longer. Schmid Group, a production equipment supplier to the photovoltaic, flat panel display and electronics industries, has been refining the technology since 2009, more recently launching a line of products. One of the company’s earliest pilots of its energy storage system based
on vanadium redox flow batteries was with Stadtwerke Freudenstadt, a local utility in Germany, which installed a container in early 2014, to allow the partners to monitor how reliably the system works on the grid. Schmid has also been producing, in limited volumes, a compact flow battery energy storage system for homes and small commercial installations for Germany’s growing solar PV selfconsumption market, which is supported with government subsidy. However, due to the falling prices of lithium ion-based energy storage systems available to consumers, this has become a highly competitive market, according to Henrik Buschmann, vice president, business unit energy systems at Schmid Group. Nevertheless, the system installations will provide Schmid with data on the performance of its compact VRFB energy storage system in reallife deployments for solar self-consumption.
Schmid has also modified the compact system for the telecoms market. Buschmann says: “We see lots of potential for telecoms, because the batteries have long operational lifetimes, as their degradation from cycling is minimal compared with lithium ion and other batteries. This is especially the case in hot climates. “Another advantage, over lead acid batteries in telecoms, is that they are hard to steal because they are one large unit and there is no street value attached to this type of battery, un-
Falling prices of lithium ion-based systems has heightened competition between flow batteries and other energy storage products 84 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
like lead acid, where the lead can be sold as scrap metal.” To enter this market, Schmid has begun working with a reseller that supplies telecom batteries into South Africa. The batteries are undergoing technical testing at Schmid and the negotiations with the reseller are underway. Once concluded, pilots will be arranged at telecoms installations in South Africa. The challenge for the flow battery industry is that the stacks are expensive to produce, so long duration, energy-intensive storage applications need to be identified. A higher energy capacity simply requires the installation of larger tanks with more electrolyte, made from vanadium — the storage medium. For more power, additional stacks are installed that convert the current and store it in the electrolyte. Flow batteries can also cost less to operate compared with other types of batteries used to provide power for telecoms sites, because they are more impervious to the effects of degradation that impact other batteries and their operational lifetimes, like heavy cycling and high temperatures. The other challenge is finding markets to sell volumes of batteries into, so that production capacities can be scaled up to produce larger volumes and achieve economies of scale to start pushing down prices. Telecoms is a promising opportunity as it could demand high numbers of flow batteries, in markets where telecom towers are being built where there is poor or no grid infrastructure, such as in many parts of Africa and the Indian sub-continent. UK firm REDT, which is also commercializing energy storage systems based on vanadium redox technolo-
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FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: SCHMID GROUP While lithium ion is far from suitable for every type of use case demanding storage, especially for longer duration deployments, it is proven and the largest producers of lithium ion batteries are able to offer performance warranties for up to 10 years.
VANADIUM — LOCKING IN PRICES Talk of eventual shortages of vanadium in the future are almost certainly over-hyped. Australian Vanadium is developing a site in Western Australia with the potential to mine the metal. The mine will not begin production until 2019. The Gabanintha project, measuring 91.4 million tonnes at 0.82% vanadium, has the potential to produce high-grade vanadium, which is needed for low cost production. Today Largo Resources, through its Maracás Menchen mine in Brazil, produces the highest grade, lowest cost vanadium, producing a record 800 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide in September 2016, much of its output supplying the steel industry. Even though rebar steel production is seeing little growth, new steel
86 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
applications continue to drive demand. Australian Vanadium has also acquired a pilot line for making electrolyte from British company C-Tech Innovation. It aims to be producing commercial quantities of electrolyte by this summer, buying in vanadium from third party sources until its own mine comes on-stream. By having total control over key stages of the vanadium battery supply chain, Australian Vanadium will be able to reduce the cost of VRFB production. Enhancements to vanadium processing across the supply chain, starting with the mineral itself, to electrolyte synthesis, to stack design, will all lead to reductions in production costs.
gy, is targeting telecoms applications too. The company says its storage systems can either be used as part of a micro-grid, alongside sufficient PV to provide firm, stable power to the telecom tower, reducing the requirement for a diesel genset to be run. Alternatively, the genset can be at a higher loading to charge the flow battery, instead of running for much longer periods of time at inefficient load levels to power the tower directly. But flow battery technology also faces a bankability challenge. While lithium ion is far from suitable for every type of use case demanding storage, especially for longer duration deployments, it is proven and the largest producers of lithium ion batteries are able to offer performance warranties for up to 10 years. Investors and lenders need to see this warranty, especially when they are financing installations developed by start-ups lacking longevity. Similarly, in the telecoms market VRFBs will be going up against lead acid technology, which has been around for many decades. There is no solution to the bankability challenge except to be able to refer to the performance results of systems that have been running for a long time, in real-world deployments, to fully understand the operational costs. Investors in projects and their lenders need to be convinced the technology is reliable. This comes from having greater numbers of deployments. In Germany Schmid has also recently secured deals to supply its larger containerized energy storage systems for projects, which will generate important information on how the technology performs. One is with the Technical University of Dortmund, where the flow battery storage system is integrated into an AC test network for smart grid applications. The university’s researchers have designed a smart grid infrastructure applicable to low-voltage grids in future, connected up to electric vehicles, solar PV systems and a controllable local power transformer, as well as energy storage. The 30kW/100kWh system is configured to work both within the grid and in a stand-alone mode. One advantage of vanadium redox technology for this type of smart grid deployment is that its energy capacity can be scaled independently of power.
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The changing face of The world of uninterruptible power supplies is changing. New features of the industry range from a gradual replacement of lead batteries for lithium ones, a different relationship with utilities and an increasing reliance on the internet for monitoring and related cyber-security
t 11pm on Friday August 25, the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since 1961 made landfall. By the next morning the US Department of Energy reported that the category 4 Hurricane Harvey had caused 258,137 customer power outages, and by Monday around 280,000 households were still without electricity, as utilities curtailed restoration work until conditions became safe to do so. But it was not all doom and gloom. During the disaster more than a dozen HEB Grocery supermarkets kept their lights on, and by the Monday 63 of their stores in the Houston area were open for business. Of those, eight were working in islanding mode, drawing natural-gas generated power from Houston-based microgrid company Enchanted Rock. It brought the importance of microgrids to the foreground. In an era when the whole world wants to be connected — to both electricity and cloud-based information — the need for not only power, but an uninterrupted supply, has become a critical requirement to daily lives.
88 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
“The field will not be the same 10 to 15 years from now because remote management is a stepping stone to automation, and just like almost every other industry, automation is coming.” — Chris Mangum, Servato
uninterruptible power Hurricane Harvey brought the importance of microgrids to the foreground. In an era when the whole world wants to be connected — to both electricity and cloud-based information — the need for not only power, but an uninterrupted supply, has become a critical requirement to daily lives.
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 89
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UPS The need to keep our technological matrix running has seen the growth of everything, from small batteries needed to keep internet routers running, to KW-scale UPS systems — like Tesla’s domestic Powerwall — and commercial buildings using similar technologies. Arguably the biggest growth area is in the grid-scale arena, where utility companies are installing megawattscale systems for a range of services to prevent power-grid outages — current installations tend to be lithium-ion, but lead-acid still has a part to play.
Can lead-acid remain the first choice?
But sealed lead-acid batteries have their issues, says Leo Craig, general manager at Riello. “They are better than using NiCad because of cost and the cadmium content, which is not a nice material to have around or to dispose of. Wet-cell batteries have their health and safety issues, and lithium-ion was way too expensive,” he says. Chris Mangum, CEO of battery management company Servato, believes lithium-ion will likely conquer
aspects of the market, but for communications networks that are largely at the mercy of the elements, lead-acid will stay dominant unless there are major breakthroughs with lithium-ion technology. There are three main reasons for this, says Mangum: “First, lead-acid batteries are by far the cheapest option, lithium-ion is getting closer, but to match the amount of power per dollar delivered by valve regulated lead-acid is not yet possible with lithium-ion. “Second, VRLAs withstand environmental conditions such as high-temperatures, humidity and the like better than lithium-ion. Third, in relation to the second point, some communications companies have had bad experiences with lithium-ion (exploding batteries damaging equipment), which has turned the industry off for the foreseeable future.” As far as matching the life-cycle capabilities of lithium-ion, Mangum says customers are hoping more for reliability and deep discharges rather than frequent cycling. And for those sites that don’t have
“The change will take place in the next five years as sealed lead acid batteries are gradually replaced by lithium-ion in new UPS projects, much the same as some motive power applications are transitioning today.” , Leo Craig, Riello www.batteriesinternational.com
major space constraints, the higher energy density of lithium-ion will not have as much of an influence on the decision. But, he says, for residential sites, people will want small, sleek batteries capable of many cycles, so lithium-ion will win there. However, some believe the economy of scale that is bringing down the cost of lithium-ion will eventually see leadacid usurped by lithium-ion. Craig believes that the change will take place in the next five years as sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries are gradually replaced by lithium-ion in new UPS projects, much the same as some motive power applications are transitioning today. Beside price, lithium-ion batteries have other benefits when used in place of SLA batteries, says Riello’s Craig. For residential sites and small-scale commercial applications, customers will predictably gravitate towards the small, sleek lithium-ion products — especially as distributed energy sources become more widely adopted. Currently a deep-cycle lead-acid battery will be able to cycle around 3,000 times, compared to the several thousand times displayed by lithium-ion chemistries — depending of course on how the battery is stored and cycled. Craig Markovic, director of product development for Bedrock Automation, also believes lithium-ion will become business-as-usual for UPS providers because of the technology’s superior useable capacity, fast and efficient charging, voltage sag, high current applications and power density. He says that using lithium-ion batteries with a UPS will enable the user to start using the asset in smart grid applications and demand response contracts from day one. Over the past 20 years, the following variants of the lithium chemistry have been commercialized: lithium cobalt oxide; lithium iron phosphate; lithium manganese oxide; lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide; lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide; lithium titanate and, relatively recently, lithium sulfur. Markovic says: “The list of chemistries continues to grow, and each of the technologies has inherent characteristics. Designers of the battery systems need to understand the pros and cons of each of the chemistries before the technology can be correctly applied.”
New services new challenges
Today, a UPS can be used not only for black-start services, but also in dayto-day operations to ensure the power is kept on by cleaning or condition-
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 91
UPS ing the electrical supply of all voltage sags, surges, spikes, waveshape faults and frequency variations; any one of which can cause damage to sensitive electronic equipment instantaneously or over a period of time, which can be the cause of early equipment failure. To provide these services the UPS must work, and one of the big issues concerning the industry is the monitoring of the batteries that power them. However, a shortage of man-power and money, particularly for remote, unmanned sites in communications, telecom, power, railroads, and other industries, to complete the necessary manual maintenance of backup power systems is a concern. That, says Mangum, is in part because of falling margins that reduce operational budgets, an aging workforce that will take its institutional knowledge into retirement, an aging power infrastructure and more and more connected devices (the Internet of Things) that require an uninterrupted service. The pressure is on to improve backup power or face customer attrition, disruptive communications outages, and possibly big government fines, said Mangum. “The relationship between UPS customers and utilities has led to some forward-thinking utilities beginning to provide redundant power feeds as a service, but they are still yet to provide UPS or backup battery systems. There may not be an economic case for this, although we think there is.”
Remotely controlled technology
As UPS systems become ever more important, maintaining backup power could become more difficult than ever before. Servato’s answer to the maintenance question is to have designed a technology that eliminates the prime cause of lead-acid battery failure in the field: over-charging. “The industry uses standard floatcharging at all sites, and this methodology increases the rate of oxygenrecombination and consequently leads to other issues such as grid corrosion and plate loss, which leads to battery failure,” said Mangum. Another method of avoiding failure is to keep the batteries at rest with a virtual disconnect (solid-state electronics) and to only charge the batteries when necessary. This can potentially double the battery’s life and help maintenance teams take more advanced measurements of the batteries. The other ben-
92 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Another method of avoiding failure is to keep the batteries at rest with a virtual disconnect (solid-state electronics) and to only charge the batteries when necessary. This can potentially double the battery’s life. efit of keeping a battery at rest is that it provides a much clearer picture of its state of health when measuring it. This enables robust data collection and analytics. And information is king in battery maintenance. As industrial devices become more intelligent, they also become more vulnerable to disruption, which is why new UPSs need to be far more capable and elegant than anything currently on the market. An area that offers a solution is Internet of Things systems, which have now been developed to the point where they can be used for remote management, which is opening up the scope and applications available to customers. In stages, the technology roadmap for UPSs looks like this: remote monitoring that enables the collection of data; remote management that enables the collection of data; and the human responses to patterns, trends, and stimuli (taking the knowledge from the retiring generation of engineers and being able to store it electronically, to be accessed by the next generation of maintenance teams or artificial intelligent systems). Mangum said: “The field will not be the same 10 to 15 years from now because remote management is a stepping stone to automation, and just like almost every other industry, automation is coming.” With enough data on both sides, over time the proper responses to field issues can be programmed into the technology using smart contracts. The system would be similar to that which made headlines earlier this year, when The National Grid, which oversees the UK’s grid infrastructure, announced it was working with technology provider DeepMind (a subsidiary of Alphabet) to develop a type of AI. The technology can use so-called ‘cognitive computing’ to crunch huge amounts of data, and has the poten-
tial to stabilize UPS systems using prelearned solutions. Up-to-date information on individual assets would effectively allow the remote triaging of field issues that would allow the computer program to order parts (batteries, rectifiers, and the like) when a replacement was necessary, and schedule maintenance. “The reliability gains should be dramatic as well,” said Mangum. “Far more service interruptions occur than should, and the inefficiencies are solvable with extant technology.” Markovic believes that as the number of remote digital devices connected using IoT increases, so too will the need to secure them from cyber threats. This means that the proper implementation of both safety and cyber security elements need to be incorporated in the design of battery management systems. He said: “It should be impossible for unauthorized participants to turn off a UPS. “For a large manufacturing enterprise, which values production at millions of dollars a day, this could be an economic hit as well as a safety issue. This is why we use deeply embedded cyber security methodologies in our technology, so that unauthorized instruction originating from cyber adversaries will not be accepted. “This will be critical in maintaining the availability of a UPS system, especially if lithium-ion gains a bigger market share of the UPS industry to the detriment of lead-acid.” Bedrock, which manufactures cyber secure UPS technology for industrial control systems, uses unique certificates and keys embedded in all of its modules, which provide what it calls the “root of trust” against which all hardware and software components must be authenticated. Any module that fails authentication is immediately disabled.
The relationship between UPS customers and utilities has led to some forward-thinking utilities beginning to provide redundant power feeds as a service, but they are still yet to provide UPS or backup battery systems. www.batteriesinternational.com
BACK TO BASICS From basic voltage to electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Isidor Buchmann, founder of Cadex Electronics discusses basic lithium ion test methods.
Battery verification: testing is the key to firming industry gains Our growing dependency on batteries requires advancements in diagnostics to observe capacity loss to maintain reliability as the capacity declines. It also means the ability to identify anomalies to prevent catastrophic failures, and predict the end of battery life when the battery fades to a set capacity threshold. A battery cannot be measured, only estimated to a varied degree of accuracy based on available symptoms. This is similar to a doctor examining a patient by taking multiple tests and applying the law of elimination. Rapid-test methods for batteries have been lagging behind other technologies; complexity and uncertain results when testing outliers are the reasons for the delay. Cadex realizes the importance of battery diagnostics and has made notable advancements in rapid-test technologies. These developments form the building blocks for diagnostic battery management, a new direction innovative companies are pursuing in the care and maintenance of batteries. Rather than inventing another new super battery, diagnostic battery management is vital to assure reliability of current battery systems by monitoring capacity, the leading health indicator, along with other parameters. Capacity represents energy storage, internal resistance relates to current delivery, and self-discharge reflects mechanical integrity.
All three properties must be met to qualify a battery. In addition to these static characteristics, a battery has different of state-of-charge (SoC), dynamic characteristics that effect battery performance and complicate rapid-testing. Well developed battery test technologies must recognize all battery conditions and provide reliable results, even if the charge is low. This is a demanding request as a good battery that is only partially charged behaves in a similar way to a faded pack that is fully charged. Test methods range from taking a voltage reading, to measuring the internal resistance by a pulse or AC impedance method, to coulomb counting, and to taking a snapshot of the chemical battery with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Capacity estimations by deciphering the chemical battery are more complex than digital monitoring by coulomb counting. Digging into the chemical battery involves proprietary algorithms and matrices that function as lookup tables similar to letter or face recognition. Voltage and internal resistance do not correlate with capacity and fail to predict the end of battery life effectively, especially with Li-ion and lead acid systems. The truth lies in the chemical battery. A digital measurement alone is subject to failure because the chemical symptoms are not represented.
Here are the most common battery test methods: • Voltage Battery voltage reflects state-ofcharge in an open circuit condition when rested. Voltage alone cannot estimate battery state-of-health (SoH). • Ohmic test Measuring internal resistance identifies corrosion and mechanical defects when high. Although these anomalies indicate the end of battery life, they often do not correlate with low capacity. The ohmic test is also known as impedance test. • Full cycle A full cycle consists of charge/discharge/charge to read the capacity of the chemical battery. This provides the most accurate readings and calibrates the smart battery to correct tracking errors, but the service is time consuming and causes stress. • Rapid-test Common test methods include time domain by activating the battery with pulses to observe ion-flow in Li-ion, and frequency domain by scanning a battery with multiple frequencies. Advanced rapid-test technologies require complex software with battery-specific parameters and matrices serving as lookup tables.
Capacity estimations by deciphering the chemical battery are more complex than digital monitoring by coulomb counting. Digging into the chemical battery involves proprietary algorithms and matrices that function as lookup tables similar to letter or face recognition. www.batteriesinternational.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 93
BACK TO BASICS • BMS Most Battery Management Systems estimate SoC by monitoring voltage, current and temperature. BMS for Li-ion also counts coulombs. • Coulomb counting The full charge capacity of a smart battery provides coulomb count that relates to SoH. FCC readout is instant but the data gets inaccurate with use and the battery requires calibration with a full cycle. • Read-and-charge A charger featuring RAC technology reads battery SoC with a proprietary filtering algorithm and then counts the coulombs to fill the battery. RAC requires a on-time calibration for each battery model; cycling a good pack provides this parameter that is stored in the battery adapters. RAC technology is a Cadex development.
DIGITAL BATTERY ESTIMATION At a charge efficiency of 99%, Li-ion is best suited for digital battery estimation. This helps in the BMS design by enabling capacity estimation with coulomb counting. While the readings are instant, occasional calibration is needed to correct the tracking error that occurs with random battery usage. In comparison, nickel-based batteries have low charge efficiency and high self-discharge, deficiencies that skew digital tracking. Under the right conditions and moderate
• SOLI The state-of-life-indicator estimates battery life by counting the total coulombs a battery can deliver in its life. A new battery starts at 100%; delivered coulombs decrease the number until the allotment is spent and a battery replacement is imminent. The full scale is set by calculat-
ing the coulomb count of one cycle based on the manufacturer’s specifications (V, Ah) and then by multiplying the number with the given cycle count. SOLI can be used in wheelchairs, medical devices, traction and UPS, installed when new or added as retrofit. Wireless connectivity provides fleet management. Reliable results are only possible when robust symptoms are present. This is not always possible, especially with unformatted lead acid batteries or packs that had been in storage. A good battery pulled
temperature, lead acid batteries are reasonably efficient but not quite suitable for dependable coulomb counting. Cold temperature reduces the efficiency of all batteries and this also affects rapid-testing. Although a battery may function below freezing, charge acceptance is reduced and charge times must be prolonged by lowering the current. Some chargers do this automatically; if not certain, do not charge Li-ion batteries below freezing. form service generally provides solid symptoms with good accuracy; readings from a weak battery can be muddled with inconsistent results. Reliable measurements are impossible if the symptoms are vague or not present, which is the case if the battery has turned into a potato. This fools the system and the battery becomes an outlier. Well developed rapid-test methods should correctly predict nine batteries out of 10. EIS has the potential to advance further and surpass other technologies.
TEST PROCEDURES Table 1 summarizes test procedures with the most common battery systems. Lead acid and Li-ion share communalities in keeping low resistance under normal condition. Exceptions are heat fail and mechanical faults that raise the internal resistance and a battery replacement ahead of time. Nickel-cadmium and nickel-metalhydride, and in part also the primary battery, reveal the end-of-life by elevated resistancenickelbased and primary batteries reveal end-oflife by elevated internal resistance.
A N A L O G
D I G I T A L
Estimates SoC in open circuit condition. Temperature and active materials within a battery system may cause slight voltage variations. Performance evaluation is not possible.
Identifies heat fail and other defects; cannot do capacity estimation
Correlation exists between resistance and capacity
Use sparingly on large batteries
Recommended for small batteries
Time domain checks resistance, ion flow; Frequency domain reads capacity
Internal resistance correlates in part with SoH.
High efficiency enables time and frequency domain
Resistance check with lookup table for diverse batteries possible
Voltage, current and temperature sense to monitor battery
Not practical due to inefficiencies
High efficiency enables coulomb counting
SoC by voltage
Low charge and discharge efficiency makes this impractical
Not suitable due to low efficiency and high self-discharge
Good for most Liion. LiFePO has high self-discharge
Used for critical applications with good results
Not practical because of low charge and discharge efficiency, high self-discharge
Enabled by high efficiency
Estimates battery life based on delivered energy. A new battery starts at 100%. Drawing energy consumes the coulomb allotment, prompting battery replacement when zero. Can be applied to all batteries.
Low capacity may not affect resistance
Resistance relates to SoC; unique for each battery type
Table 1: Battery test methods for common battery chemistries. Lead acid and Li-ion share communalities by keeping low resistance under normal condition; nickel-based and primary batteries reveal end-of-life by elevated internal resistance.
Table 1: Battery test methods for common battery chemistries. Lead acid and Li-ion www.batteriesinternational.com share 94 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017 communalities by keeping low resistance under
VIEW FROM THE ILA
Batteries International spoke to Andy Bush, head of the International Lead Association, before the ABC meetings about plans for the industry’s future.
Shaping a new landscape for lead battery industry Speak to Andy Bush, ILA chief and you’ll find a man on fire, if in a rather British way. He is enthusiastic, passionate, even excited about what he’s doing, what can be accomplished and how the lead industry will fare in the future. “The ILA is in a different shape to anything I’ve experienced in the past 20 years,” he says. “For most of the history of the organization, we’ve been a reactive body, coping with crises, difficulties or new regulations as they’ve happened. “Now we’re truly a proactive organization — we want to shape events rather than react to them and by the end of the year hopefully we’ll be able to see some of the first fruits of our efforts.” Two factors highlight the differences between the previous ILA and the current one. The first is the role of the ALABC (a pre-competitive battery research consortium aimed at improving lead battery performance) which became firmly assimilated into the ILA in early 2016. Rather than running as an independent organization, but nominally under the control of the ILA, the ALABC now acts as an agent complementary to the strategies of the parent. The second has been the forging of close links with US-based Battery Council International, which like the ILA has become increasingly proactive in defending the interests of its members — for BCI this is principally the lead battery industry of North America. Realising that the lead battery industry was under a very real threat of being legislated out of business, BCI has been on the offensive for the past couple of years. Over that time Mark Thorsby, BCI’s head, and Bush have collaborated closely. They speak together at least a couple of times a week. Their aim is to be able to look at issues in a complementary and coordinated fashion. This coordination is already help-
We’ve a similar set of targets — policymakers, regulators, decisionmakers in the legislative area and most particularly the influencers of these people. In Europe it’s a more complex task as well given the range of cultures and languages that are involved ing share global strategies within the battery industry — coordination, for example, on the levels of lead in battery workers’ blood look set to result in the introduction of international, if voluntary, standards. The two have been working together on what, for want of a better title, is becoming known as the US Communications Initiative. This is set to roll out over the next few weeks — a campaign to reflect the importance of the lead battery business in the US. The initiative will have its own website and will contain short videos describing the role of lead batteries in
society, technical details such as its recyclability while also becoming active in social media. The principal target for the initiative, however, is not the general public but policymakers that have an impact on the industry. A director for the campaign is in the process of being selected. The ALABC arm of the ILA, which is based in Durham, North Carolina, will be part and parcel of the initiative, providing technical information and support in demonstrating recent technical advancements and capabilities of lead batteries. This will initially focus on ensuring that the key technical benefits of lead batteries are conveyed to key stakeholders, whether end users in the automotive and utility and energy storage sectors, or technical policy makers. In addition, ALABC is involved in a number of automotive and renewable energy storage demonstration projects that highlight the strengths of lead batteries in these applications. Across the other side of the Atlantic, the ILA is planning a similar initiative which will be launched later this year. A director to head up the campaign is being sought. “We’ve a similar set of targets — policymakers, regulators, decisionmakers in the legislative area and most particularly the influencers of these people,” says Bush. “In Europe it’s a more complex task as well, given the range of cultures and languages that are involved. “Both our campaigns shouldn’t be seen as having an endpoint, rather than an on-going effort to show how we can exert a policy influence for the industry.” One of the key questions — given that quite large sums of money are involved in the campaigns — is how success can be measured. This is difficult one to assess in that it’s rare to be able to point to fundamental changes to policy. More often than not it’s the ability to tone down
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VIEW FROM THE ILA legislation that might be disruptive, or deflect it. That’s not to say that clear wins don’t happen. BCI’s recent work in tempering prospective laws curtailing the use of lead in a draconian fashion in California has been a clear win for BCI. Another that stands out has been the ILA and EUROBAT’s constant lobbying of the European Commission to ensure that EU-wide bans to lead, as per the REACH directive, are continually being kicked further down the road. Bush believes that success in several ways can be measured away from clear policy shifts — though that is the campaigns’ eventual goal. He says one can gauge how effective one has been, for example, by the amount of media coverage that is generated, the knowledge that the right kind of information is being seen by the right people and, most particular-
Another result that stands out has been the ILA and EUROBAT’s constant lobbying of the European Commission to ensure that EU-wide bans to lead, as per the REACH directive, are continually being kicked further down the road. ly, the creation of a dialogue between the decision makers and the ILA, EUROBAT and BCI. The ILA is clearly in a different place from where it has historically been — which was typically on the back foot. For years the industry had been assaulted on all sides for simply promoting a metal that was deeply unfashionable. A generation ago lead was to be found often dangerously in petrol, household paint and even in children’s toys. Nowadays the prime use of lead — roughly 85% of all lead is used in batteries — one of the most recycled
products in the world. Bush is clearly positive about having a good story to tell. “It’s time to change out-dated negative perceptions of lead dating back to the 1960s and 1970s,” says Bush. “Nowadays we must contrast the positives of lead to the downsides of other technologies. Central to that effort is ensuring lead and lead batteries get the positive recognition they deserve. “Just as importantly, we must be prepared to contrast those positives to the challenges faced by other battery chemistries,” he says.
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EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC It was a blow-out. In pretty much in every way you could think of it. This year’s Asian Battery Conference — the 17th since it’s inception — has arguably been the most successful since the conference series began in the late 1980s.
Scenes from an exhibition: 17ABC M ore than 1,000 delegates attended the networking event, which was held in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center in the heart of Malaysia’s capital city. The centre itself was flanked by two excellent hotels — the Mandarin Oriental and the Traders — each providing ample spots for discussions as varied as battery electrolytes, smelting and the next beer. The view from the top bar at the Traders was exceptional. The exhibition itself proved to be probably the best held at the ABC given the record number of exhibitors’ booths and the huge variety of companies represented. “We talked to companies
Continued on page 98 >
THE OPENING RECEPTION
As is customary at the start of ABC conferences, traditional dancers from the host country displayed some of the finesse and style of Malaysia’s folk history and culture
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EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC < Continued from page 97
that were at the cutting edge of new nano-carbon technology as well as more prosaic — but still fascinating — firms that had developed containerized solutions for transporting spent lead acid batteries,” one delegate told Batteries International. The conference agenda consisted, as ever, of some of the old names with some of the new. And with 80 presentations on offer, there was a lot to be learnt. Subjects ranged from testing secondary batteries for renewable energy storage at a grid scale, given by Herbert Giess, who won the International Lead Award on the first day, to Daramic discussing the new separator technology that the firm has been developing for startstop vehicles — a hot topic given the expanded role of enhanced flooded batteries across the world and particularly so in Asia. Continued on page 99 >
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LEAD GLORIOUS LEAD — THE JOYS OF SMELTING
The International Secondary Lead Conference (ISLC), which targets lead producers, technical and environmental experts, equipment producers and suppliers, opened two days ahead of the main ABC meetings. There was a record number of attendees — 220 — and there was a general consensus that that this was a conference that had come of age. “It’s now a well-established and well-known event in the life of our industry,” one attendee told Batteries International. “This year’s been great for the networking as well as the conference topics. “My only quibble about what was an otherwise excellent event is the fact that it’s only held every other year. This really is a conference that should be held annually.” Certainly, there’s a growing need for the larger battery industry to understand secondary lead better. “Effectively 65% of the world’s lead supply comes from recycled lead,” says Mark Stevenson, the
founder of the conference. “And about 85% of that is used in the battery industry. What goes on in the world of battery collection, break-up and smelting has a direct impact further down the supply chain. “Also some of the topics that we need to talk about — such as blood lead levels or stopping lead contamination — are common themes for us all.” This was the fifth conference in the series. The first was held in Macau in September 2009, followed by Hyderabad in 2011, Singapore in 2013 and Bangkok 2015. The conference brings together all aspects of secondary lead smelting, discussing plant design; smelting regimes; refractories; burner design; slag formation and structures; pollution; and environmental control, among other presentations. It was opened by Andy Bush head of the ILA. Full details of the presentations are given ahead of the events section towards the end of this magazine.
EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC < Continued from page 98
“There was pretty much something for everyone involved in lead,” another delegate told Batteries International. “I’d be hard pushed to say that there was a single theme to the meetings given the diversity of what the industry is facing but there was a continued focus on the role of carbon in improving partial state of charge and dynamic charge acceptance. “The other main area of focus was the growing area of large scale grid storage where lead batteries should — and so far haven’t — have a significant role in providing the link between renewables and utilities.” One of the more spectacular features of the meeting was the huge display behind the speaker’s podium, which appeared to have an extraordinary high quality resolution — “more real than reality”, said one delegate. Mark Stevenson, one of the organizers of ABC, said he’d been
pleased with the event and that part of the success was that he remained true to his idea of what makes a good conference. “I don’t like to overcomplicate it or over-sell it,” he said. “Nor am I keen on using numbers of attendees as a reflection of success either. For me, it is just about putting on a regular, quality conference for people. When I took over as chairman 18 years ago, it was a fairly technical conference. “We kept some of that aspect of it but it is also about the industry just getting together and making new friends and networking. “There is a whole range of things that we can now offer around the exhibition that are good. It is about offering people a whole package. Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic place to visit, in addition to their work of the conference.” His co-organizer, Mark Richardson, says: ”Very generally, we measure success in terms of the contacts Continued on page 100 >
ENTEK ROLL OUT FOR ABC A moment of calm ahead of the exhibition
ENTEK had its entire global sales team on hand for the 17ABC. Earlier this year, ENTEK announced a joint partnership with PT Separindo, forming ENTEK Separindo Asia. NSG has also joined the partnership snd the three companies plan to leverage their combined strengths, and enhance their
position in Asia. The team from ENTEK (pictured) took a break from booth setup and conference activities to celebrate three birthdays and a birth. Rick Pekala, Clint Beutelschies and Marcus Ulrich celebrated birthdays and Ankur Singh welcomed his second child, a boy, just two weeks earlier.
Sorfin’s winner of the pedometer challenge
From front to back: Tay Hwa Beng, Steve Gerts, Robert Waterhouse, Rob Keith, Greg Humphrey, Ankur Singh, Clint Beutelschies and Carri Moffatt.
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EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC < Continued from page 99
that people make at our event. And specifically the number of one-on-one meetings that happen at the event and afternoon. “Success shouldn’t ever be only about boasts of the numbers of delegates that attend — though that’s important as an indicator of the utility of the conference — it’s the benefits that the show brings to the business of the attendees. “A lot of froth is talked about how conferences are successful or not in terms of the catering, the quality of the rooms or the gala dinner. “That misses the point. That’s not to say that these things aren’t important, they form the background for the meetings to happen. You need an atmosphere of seriousness with a high quality of intellectual content in the presentations but you also need one of making life easy for the delegates by creating a convivial atmosphere.” Another reason for the growing popularity of the event is due to the efforts of the organizing committee to reinvent and revitalize the event in recent years. “We have increasingly looked to push out the boundaries of what people can expect. We aim to Continued on page 101 >
HAMMOND TOUR VISITS ‘SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS’
Ahead of the hustle and bustle of the 17ABC sessions, Hammond Group offered a special tour of the world’s most famous pewter factory — the Royal Selangor. It was both cultural — and fun. First bit to learn was the Malaysian heritage of how pewter — which we, as good electrochemists, all know, consists mostly of tin (but with copper, antimony and bismuth added) — was discovered and how it had become one of the country’s prized materials. With the help of a tour guide, the roughly 75 guests were chaperoned through the museum The highlight of the trip was the hands-on experience of pewter-smithing in the School of Hard Knocks — a workshop dedicated to visitors learning how to get to grips with pewter itself and creating your very own pewter dish to take home. Using traditional tools, the group were equipped with a round pewter disk and hammer, which was vigorously hammered at until members of the grop were left with an object that resembled the shape of a bowl. The key part of that sentence being the word “resembled”. “It was a tour with a difference,” one of the delegates told Batteries International. My thanks go to Terry Murphy and Eric Holtan for thinking this one up. A parting gift from Hammond — a pewter goblet — made for a wonderful afternoon.”
Two of MAC Engineering’s finest
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EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC Viewpoint: Karen Hampton, Batteries International
AN EVENT TO REMEMBER — IF YOU CAN What always stands out for me during ABC events is the networking. Others may find it’s the width and breadth of the speakers, and their subjects get their juices flowing. Not me. For me it is all about the networking. Even before the exhibition starts I’m meeting old friends, catching up and making plans for the week. Yes, with an eye firmly on business — who’s doing what, what’s new, who’s gone where — but also with a nod and a wink to the fun. And 17ABC was no different! We charged full on into the week and made the absolute most of our time. Highlights for me were many but one of the most notable was the Hammond visit to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory. We were treated to a fascinating tour of the factory and the history behind its inception, met a truly lovely lady, Datin Paduka Chen Mun Kuan, granddaughter of the founding family, and were given the opportunity to create our own pewter bowl which led to much hilarity and fierce (friendly) competition. Sorfins’ ‘Run with Sorfin’ competition sticks in my mind for all the wrong reasons. The idea was they tracked your steps during the conference and recorded them
each evening — a prize was given to the person who made the most steps each day with the overall winner being the person who ‘stepped it up’ over the three-day conference. My colleague Jade and I were sure we would be among the winners — who else could possibly do more steps than us, who roam the exhibition and bars all day long? We’d failed to take into account the tenacity of Nitinai Nakkhasb from The Storage Battery, who must have run at least 10 miles every morning and evening! At least Jade got ranked eighth; I was nowhere to be seen — if only I’d worn it to the gala night, with all the dancing, alas, vanity prevailed — it clashed with my outfit. And I couldn’t persuade a certain gentleman from Bitrode (you know who you are!) to put my pedometer on when he went running every morning! 10 out of 10 to Sorfin for getting the energy back into our old battery bones! The last, but by no means least, event that will never be forgotten was the gala dinner and show. As always it was spectacular. Too many acts to name but needless to say they all were extremely good — I especially loved the violinist. Batteries International managed to reserve a table when no reservations were being taken — although I’m not so sure the violinist particularly enjoyed our table when we thoughtfully helped him out with a rousing rendition of the Beatles’ classic Hey Jude, which then prompted a Mexican wave throughout the dining room when each table followed suit, one by one. Our thanks go out to Entek for sponsoring the gala night, and to the Conference Works team for coordinating the entire event in such a splendid way.
< Continued from page 100
always improve the programme, get better speakers in, make sure we have good entertainment and try and work with the best people wherever possible. “It used to be more of a dry, very technical conference but it has evolved a lot since its early days. It is now a rounded conference for the whole of the lead-acid batteries world. We try to cater for everything, whether you are a salesperson, technical engineer or just want to meet and greet.”
“Success shouldn’t ever be only about boasts of the numbers of delegates that attend — though that’s important as an indicator of the utility of the conference — it’s the benefits that the show brings to the business of the attendees” — Mark Richardson, organizer, ABC. Continued on page 102 >
The conference paper — Battery Street Journal www.batteriesinternational.com
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EVENT REVIEW: 17ABC < Continued from page 101
“Nor am I keen on using numbers of attendees as a reflection of success either. For me, it is just about putting on a regular, quality conference for people” — Mark Stevenson, organizer, ABC “I know that a lot of conferences like to pick an overarching theme and revolve things around that. I prefer to ensure we cover many topics and allow speakers and delegates to dictate what is happening in the industry,” Stevenson said. “I prefer to mix things up and maybe be a little more eclectic.” At a more general level the conference showed that while energy storage is being encouraged and backed by governments in various countries, thereby kick-starting energy storage projects in many forms, its momentum will transcend that — and is relevant to every country on the planet. In China, for example, smaller businesses are starting to install their own systems linking
solar cells and batteries. This is not necessarily driven by government, it is driven by need. This event has now become the preeminent conference in Asia and as things stand it looks as if that growth is going to continue. But Stevenson says that despite the name of the event and the fact it is always held in Asia, the conference is effectively a world event with executives from many countries attending. “It just happens to be in Asia,” he says. “Most of the presentations and issues are global in their nature. “Any of the trends you see on the global stage are reflected in what is happening in Asia and people see great potential in this part of the world. To some extent we are seeing
more companies from outside the region attend this event as they see it as a good way to network with Asian executives and better understand the dynamics in this part of the world. ” The origins of the ABC started in 1987 through an organization called the Zinc and Lead Asian Service, which was a collection of Australia and other Asia-based companies involved in smelting and related industries. Their main objective, he says, was to promote learning and education around the use of lead. The conference was launched in its current format in 1997.
It’s Bali, folks! Yes, Bali — the tropical paradise as equally famous for its unspoilt beaches as its night life — will host 18ABC in September 2019. Unlike the ELBC conferences in Europe, where death threats are muttered about any move to the next venue, the ABC folk are easier. When pushed for details by Batteries International they admitted that the next ABC meetings were to be held somewhere or another, probably in September, and probably in a couple of years’ time. “We’re not fudging the issue,” they said. “We’re not like that ELBC mob who are just plain indecisive.” But that all changed last week when Mark (the Australian organizer) remembered that the fates had intervened in the past. “Last time at 16ABC there was a meteor shower over Bangkok — as pictured in this excellent newsletter — and it announced miraculous signs ahead of my 25th birthday. And do you know what I saw today? A travel agent offering cheap flights to Bali. “The gods have intervened.”
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thAnK YOu fROm SY fOR pARticipAting in OuR event At the 17ABc
www.sy-community.com USA: email@example.com
FRANCE: firstname.lastname@example.org THAILAND: sorfin-yoshimura.co.th
BRAZIL: email@example.com INDIA: firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT REVIEW —5ISLC 5TH INTERNATIONAL SECONDARY LEAD CONFERENCE Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia • September 18-19
ISLC enters second decade as forum for secondary lead The 5th International Secondary Lead Conference, now in its 10th year, was opened by conference chairman Mark Stevenson on September 18 with a record number of delegates and a comprehensive technical agenda covering most aspects of used lead battery recycling. Delivering the keynote address, Andy Bush, the managing director of the International Lead Association, congratulated the industry for prioritizing the sustainability agenda and acknowledged that the lead battery industry was at the forefront of “green” battery technologies, because the recycling sector ou-performed all other competing battery chemistries. However, Bush also reminded the industry that the underperforming recyclers in certain emerging economies were the Achilles heel of the industry, giving the sector a bad press on occasion, and there was an ever-pressing need to improve standards across the board. Huw Roberts, the director of CHR Metals, reminded delegates of the huge increase in demand for lead on the world markets, and especially China, over the past 10 years. He also pointed out that forecasts for growth in lead demand were entirely positive, especially the growth in energy storage. However, Roberts reminded the delegates that outside the SLI market, the lead battery industry faced competition on a level playing field and the only tangible advantage over the competing technologies was the recycling performance of the lead battery market. It was timely therefore for Dong Li, the chairman of Leoch Batteries, the largest integrated lead battery manufacturer and recycler in China, to explain how the Chinese lead industry had raised its environmental performance over the past six years. The initiative in China to upgrade recycling operations was led by the government and most recently revised the environmental performance standards upwards. These are now forcing companies to either raise their environmental profile or leave the business.
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Athan Fox, technology director for Aurelius Technologies, then explained how in conjunction with Vasant Kumar, from Cambridge University, they were in the final development stage of commercializing a hydro-metallurgical recycling process based on dissolving the lead components of a battery in citric acid. This process, he claimed, eliminated all emissions, discharges and hazardous waste problems, but also produced a lead oxide with a modified crystalline structure that gave rise to a dense paste that had the potential to store up to 30% more energy than conventional battery paste.
Life cycle assessment
The overriding message from the speakers in the morning session was the move to a greener recycling industry, and Alistair Davidson, the ILA’s products and sustainability director, updated delegates about the ILA’s plans for conducting a new Life Cycle Assessment for lead batteries. He said it was important because, since the last study in 2011, the industry had made so many improvements to its environmental performance that there was no doubt that the industry’s footprint had dropped several shoe sizes in the past half dozen years and the previous study was not a true reflection of the current performance. The outcomes of the study would also be used to reinforce the lead battery industry’s claims to be the only battery technology that is truly holistic in its approach to life cycle management. Matthew Morton, the RMT Plant Metallurgist, took this further and presented to the conference an approach taken in Australia to eliminate effluent discharges into municipal sewage or surface water capture systems. Clearly quality and environmental performance can only be confirmed if accurate measurements of the material produced can be assured and Mukund Pant, from Metal Power, profiled the many applications of the analytical equipment available to the industry. Whilst the industry’s headline topic
for most of the media has been the environmental performance, internally the sector has been dedicating itself to reducing not its environmental footprint, but also occupational exposure and Dan Askin, the president of ESCA Tech, shared his experiences about the best ways and means of reducing occupational exposure by abiding with and following a series of logical and progressive behaviours that minimized the opportunities for lead to enter the human biology.
The afternoon session opened with a short metallurgical course in metallurgical thermodynamics by Sander Arnout, the managing director of InsPyro NV, with a focus on the application of the Gibbs Energy Minimization Concept and the Ellingham Diagrams by interpreting the information from the various phase diagrams so that the pyro metallurgical recycling process could be conducted in a manner that was most energy efficient, extracted the maximum amount of lead from the feed material and produced the minimum amount of slag with as low a lead content as possible. This short course was without any doubt the most challenging technical session of any of the previous conferences and also the most appreciated for the high level of content. Undoubtedly, Arnout will be invited for a second course in lead recycling dynamics. Gravita’s head of the lead business, Vijay Preek, then discussed ULAB scrap in India. This has long been a major problem for the licensed and environmentally friendly recycling sector because of competition from the hundreds, if not thousands, of informal recyclers. He said the government’s recent monetary initiatives to counter the black economy had opened the door for authorized smelters to obtain more ULAB scrap and even drive some of the informal recyclers out of business. With these monetary initiatives in mind, Gravita had invested in further plant upgrades and commissioned a new secondary lead smelter at Chitton. Joshua George, the CEO for Citrecycle, informed the delegates that the company would shortly be commissioning a pilot plant in India to test the hydro-metallurgical process his company had developed specifically for adoption by informal operations as a means of eliminating the unacceptable environmental contamination
EVENT REVIEW —5ISLC and occupational exposure generated by their backyard smelting operations. Brian Wilson, representing Environmental Resources Management of Germany, finished the day with a case study in Nepal that outlined a model methodology to determine the most environmentally and cost-effective approach to the management of ULABs in countries with economies in transition, and particularly in those nations harnessing the green energy opportunities that used lead batteries are the media for energy storage.
Managing financial risk
The second day of the ISLC began with a workshop session looking at managing the financial risks associated with a commodity-based business and was led by Edric Koh, head of the LME’s South East Asian Division. With the lead price trading at more than $2,000 per ton, recycling used batteries can lead to financial ruin if the LME lead price falls before the lead recovered from the batteries is processed and sold. Koh explained how financial risks can be minimized by hedging the lead content of the used batteries and locking in the recycling margins. With its eyes set across the world of lead recycling, three presentations followed from India, China and the United Arab Emirates. Lakshmanan Pugazhenthy, better known to those in the lead business as Pug, updated the delegates on the impacts of the Indian government’s recent financial interventions in the money markets, resulting in a noticeable increase in the availability of ULAB to the licensed recyclers. A welcome, albeit unexpected, outcome of demonetization and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax or GST. China’s latest initiative to improve the lead industry’s environmental performance, the introduction of the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR ,was illustrated by professor Lin Yeo, the director of the Industrial Development Research Centre at Zhejiang University. Yeo Lin explained that this well-intentioned initiative had fallen short of expectations because it had been introduced on a voluntary basis, unlike the EPR in the European Union, where it is mandatory, and its effectiveness was being undermined by a regressive tax regime. Nevertheless, Yeo Lin informed everyone that the ineffectiveness of the EPR scheme was well understood and she was preparing a study to submit to the government with the objective of streamlining the EPR scheme in a manner that would close the loop for batteries and direct the ULAB to the formal sector for recycling. Salam Al Sharif, chairman of the Sharif Group, then explained how his firm had expanded its recycling abilities in three different countries to cope
with the increasing numbers of ULAB found in the Middle East.
ISLC who wanted to test it.
First residue, or slag, as it is known in the industry, is classified globally as a hazardous waste and disposal of the slag to a special confinement site is becoming increasingly expensive. Added to that, there are very few such sites in nations with emerging economies. Over the years companies have piloted several schemes to either render the slag inert or non-hazardous or convert it into a saleable product that binds the lead content in such a manner that it will not leach into the environment. Nevertheless, there is no disposal solution that is entirely environmentally sound and so the final session of the conference was a discussion forum to share ideas about possible processes that might result in either a recycling technology that did not generate any slag, or a process that would, in a costeffective manner, either remove the toxic components or render them harmless to human health and the environment. What was clear from the discussion was that there are many different recycling technologies with each one producing a different form of furnace residue. Resolving the slag issue was an important aspect of closing the environmentally sound life cycle of the lead battery, but as a first step the industry needed to know what the present state of slag generation was, that is, the ratio of slag to metal and the composition of the slags. The ILA’s Bush said he would make arrangements to set up a data base and use that as the basis for further work on slag reduction and the production of inert residues. Closing the ISLC, Mark Stevenson thanked all the contributors and the delegates for their participation in what has been a most rewarding two days, and he welcomed the industry to meet again in two years’ time in Bali, Indonesia.
Massimo Sbrosi, the Engitech metallurgical technology and business development manager, said the firm had further developed its lead recycling CX process to extract more sulfur from the furnace feedstock, thereby reducing the amounts of slag produced and the levels of sulfur dioxide in the furnace offgas stream. Improvements to burner operations will also reduce the levels of NOx gases and this together with upgrades to the filter plants will reduce particulate emissions to well below current limits. Massimo also announced that Engitech will be looking to develop electrowinning technologies in a partnership arrangement with leaders in this field. Rob Wirtz, Wirtz Engineering’s director of engineering, then looked at the latest innovations in recycling equipment, particularly the push button access to the battery crusher, a real breakdown time saver, and the continuous cast screw conveyor were certainly welcomed by those in the front line of ULAB recycling. Traditionally the favoured route to process the battery electrolyte has been to produce commercial gypsum because the cost of reconditioning the electrolyte to regenerate the battery acid has rendered the final product uncompetitive. However, Almir Trindale, the CEO of the Brazilian company Antares Reciclagem, announced that the company had developed a low-cost process that can regenerate the battery electrolyte to a saleable quality at a competitive price. The process, known as EcoÁcido, has won national and international environmental awards and has been adopted by nearly all secondary lead smelters in Brazil. Making his first appearance at the ISLC was Genaro Guinto, the combustion applications engineer for Air Liquide in the Philippines. Genaro described how the company’s three oxygen combustion technologies could reduce the levels of NOx gases by up to 90% and carbon dioxide emissions by 60% using their Boostal burner systems. Rasvir Mustan, the CMO for VitaPro International, then discussed a possible means of detoxification using a medication called ProPectin, derived from apple pectin. Trials had shown that even a short course of the medication has resulted in measurable reductions in lead in blood levels. Rasvir informed the conference that the company understood the lead industry might regard ProPectin as a “novelty” product and so he offered a free one-month trial to any number of employees for any company at the
Commentary by Brian Wilson
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 105
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2017 EVS30: 30th International Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition Stuttgart, Germany October 9 -11 EVS30 — Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition, is the industry meeting point for the entire electric mobility industry. Manufacturers, users and decision-makers can get the latest picture of all forms of electric mobility in Stuttgart and discuss new trends and possible uses of electric power transmission. Every 12 to 18 months, researchers, government representatives and industry experts from around the world gather for the latest update on all aspects of electric mobility. They discuss its technologies and components, such as battery and fuel cell drives as well as new trends. The event rotates between North America, Europe and Asia. Contact www.messe-stuttgart.de/en/evs30/
Energy 2017 Birmingham, UK October 10-12
Energy 2017 is the industry trade event dedicated to renewables, innovation and power solutions.
Birmingham hosts Energy 2017 in October
Uniting all the key business players in the industry such as architects, project/ energy managers, engineers and developers, this event provides the perfect platform to unite the energy sector and the wider interconnected industries.
Brazil International Renewable Energy Congress — BIREC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 23-25 Brazil International Renewable Energy Congress (BIREC) returns for its second year as Brazil’s leading strategy and investment renewable
energy event. The content rich agenda provides the latest updates and in-depth insights into Brazil’s energy sector. The only gathering of its kind, BIREC is the place Brazil’s renewable energy leaders come to do business and secure investment. The annual congress unites international and local stakeholders from government and policy to finance and solutions providers, bringing together all stages of the value chain to drive the country’s renewable energy industry. Contact www.bireccongress.com
Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia • October 22-26 Intelec has a long-held reputation as the premium international forum where emerging trends and key issues about powering communications resources are canvassed among academia, industry and infrastructure operators. ICT networks are no longer quarantined to traditional telecom carriers or data centres. Increasingly, large scale critical digital networks are designed and operated by a range of industries including oil & gas, mining, rail and aviation. Our theme, Driving Innovation in ICT Energy Infrastructure reflects the
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international reality that as research and technology developments continue to deliver never-ending convergence opportunities, innovation is the vital element for the delivery of reliable and resilient communications energy systems. Intelec 2017 will boast an exciting conference program of knowledge tutorials, presentations of research and developments, workshops and keynote addresses, to encourage engagement, dialogue, networking, and the sharing of ideas. And the techni-
cal program will be emphasized and reinforced with an Industry Exhibition showcasing the latest in power conversion equipment, energy storage options, and infrastructure integration design. Industry sectors facing the challenges of powering high-value ICT infrastructure will find INTELEC 2017 a rich and valuable source of technical know-how and product information. Contact http://www.intelec2017.org
The Battery and Energy Storage
CONFERENCE WATCH MONTHLY The definitive guide to battery energy storage conferences and meetings for the year ahead
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE Contact Jade Beevor email@example.com
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2017 2nd Industrial On-Site Lithium-Ion Cell Production Technology Seminar Itzehoe, Germany October 23-24 This seminar focuses on the industrial preparation of lithium ion pouch cells. In practical modules, the cell assembly will be performed hands on by starting with the raw material and going up to the final cell and characterization. The corresponding lecture program gives insights in the latest pouch cells technology trends on the material and on machinery as well as on processing side. The battery training takes place on site at Custom Cells production facility and the Fraunhofer ISIT as Custom Cells R&D partner in north Germany. Contact www.sdle.co.il
Lithium Battery Materials & Chemistries 2017 Hyatt Centric, Arlington, VA, USA October 31 - November 1 This conference will provide in-depth coverage on the chemistries, both current and next-generation, that are shaping the future of energy storage. From novel electrode/electrolyte materials to higher-capacity cathode/anode structures, this conference will explore how to economically increase battery energy density. Topics will include, but are not limited to: • Current & future lithium battery market overview • Most recent advancements in lithium-ion technology • Breakthroughs in next-generation lithium technologies • Improved battery materials • Nickel manganese cobalt cathodes • Silicon anodes • Novel electrolytes • Solid-state batteries • Commercialization
Itzehoe, Germany hosts the 2nd Industrial On-Site Lithium-Ion Cell Production Technology Seminar in October
Tokyo, Japan November 7 -8
It is an energy-business platform where a summit and an exhibition take place for two days in Tokyo. We highly value the rising demand of energy storage from the standpoint of sustainable society. The event was designed to match all manner of seekers and providers of “energy storage, power infrastructure, and deep insights into the relevant economic climate”. C-suite executives from around the world account for about 60% of the total participants, hence great opportunities to have business meetings efficiently. More to the point, speakers invited from world-renowned institutions share their exclusive insights into energy storage and its future trends, thereby raising awareness of sustainable society sure-footedly. ESSJ is going to be the one-and-only event that helps you make headway in your business, project finance, distributed generation, FEMS, CEMS, DESS, CSR, BCP, etc.
ESSJ – Energy Storage Summit Japan – is an annual international event organized by Messe Dusseldorf Japan.
the complex electrochemical, thermal and mechanical behavior of LIBs while forensic investigations and regulations are required for safe transport. The Battery Safety 2017 conference continues this vital dialogue to integrate and implement LIB safety to meet ever-increasing energy demands. We invite battery safety specialists, regulators, forensic scientists, manufacturers, BMS experts, pack designers, chemists and electrical engineers who are improving battery safety to submit a proposal for consideration of a podium or poster presentation. Contact www.cambridgeenertech.com/batterysafety/
Energy Storage Summit Japan
Battery Safety 2017 Arlington, Virginia, USA November 2-3 Higher energy and higher use lead to higher risk. While research continues to boost the energy storage capability of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) and leads to expanding applications and consumer use, the task of implementing effective safety strategies falls on regulatory authorities, cell manufacturers, R&D engineers and forensic scientists. Accurate tests and models are critical for predicting and controlling
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Tokyo, Japan hosts the Energy Storage Summit in November
The largest global gathering of lead battery experts in 2018 Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Centre, Vienna
16th European Lead Battery Conference & Exhibition
800+ 100+ 50+ 50+ delegates
Prospective presenters are invited to submit an abstract by 1 December 2017.
Reserve your exhibition stand now for free.
Become a 16ELBC sponsor Maximise your companyâ€™s visibility with a gold, silver or bronze sponsorship package.
Maura McDermott, International Lead Association, Bravington House, 2 Bravingtons Walk, London N1 9AF United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 7833 8090 +44 (0) 20 7833 1611 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ila-lead.org/16elbc
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2017 Energy Storage Studio Conference
2nd Annual ASEAN Solar+ Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017
Cleveland, Ohio, USA November 14-15
Manila, Philippines November 14 -15
Solar & Off Grid Renewables Southeast Asia Bangkok, Thailand November 20-21
2nd Annual ASEAN Solar+ Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 is the largest congress focusing on solar and energy storage market in ASEAN. Investors over the world are gradually realizing the potentials of energy storage market in ASEAN, especially Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. Participants from governments, utilities, independent energy producers, energy storage products manufacturers, consulting companies, associate as well as other related sectors are invited to together discuss applications, opportunities and challenges for solar and energy storage development in ASEAN market.
STUDIO: Storage Technology, Uses, Deployment, Integration, and Operations. The Energy Storage Association’s (ESA) Energy Storage STUDIO Conference covers the advancement and integration of technology to support electric service. Unlike other conferences, STUDIO brings together utilities, technology developers, and other stakeholders for … • expert technical study, • peer-to-peer education, • an exchange of real world solutions, • objective-minded learning, • and an intimate, non-sales pressure environment As an attendee, you will convene with technology leaders and come away with the knowledge necessary to accelerate energy storage solutions that support a clean, resilient, safe, and affordable grid.
As the demand for solar energy and investment continues to steadily grow, Solar Media are back with the 5th annual Solar and Off Grid Renewables: South East Asia your definitive guide to building successful solar, storage and microgrid businesses in the ASEAN region. Learn from 50+ speakers and network with 200+ attendees with talks from government, asset owners, IPPs, investors, lenders, developers and advisors active in the ASEAN energy market.
The Future of Energy Storage London, UK • November 15
There are few areas of the energy and utilities industries that storage doesn’t promise to upend. What impact will energy storage have on your business? How are utilities responding to the next great energy transformation? Find out at our Future of Energy Storage event. 100+ energy storage leaders from the
110 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
likes of National Grid, Ofgem and SP Energy Networks, will come together to explore the investment climate, policy and regulatory developments, network connections, the impact of EVs and much more. Featuring several hours of networking opportunities with networks, generators, suppliers,
regulators and more, this energy storage conference provides exclusive access to the people, ideas and technology driving the sector forward. Contact www.marketforce.eu.com/events/utilitiesenergy/energy-storage
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2017 Battery and Energy Storage 2017
Birmingham, UK November 28 -29 Decarbonization, decentralization and vehicle electrification are the pillars of a low carbon future. But in a society powered by storage, how do you differentiate between a multitude of storage technologies whilst building the business case for investment? How do you traverse new and existing regulations, differentiate your offering in an increasingly homogenous market, and forge profitable partnerships? Join us at Battery and Energy Storage 2017 — the UK’s leading event exploring the business case for battery and energy storage technologies for Electric Vehicles (EV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) and stationary storage applications. The Battery and Energy Storage event will address the challenges of creating profitable and tangible business models, deciphering the regulatory landscape and understanding how to unlock new revenue streams. Featuring a combination of industry best practice, interactive discussions, tailored content and networking opportunities, this two-day event will unite stakeholders from the automotive and energy industries in promoting both a more sustainable future, with clear roadmaps to successful outcomes. Contact www.internetofbusiness.com/events/bess/
Australia Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 Brisbane, Australia December 5-6 Australia Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 is the largest congress focusing on solar and energy storage market in Australia. Participants from governments, policy makers, investors, financers, utilities, developers, network providers, solar & energy storage products manufacturers, consulting companies, associate as well as other related sectors are invited to together discuss applications, opportunities and challenges for solar and energy storage development in Australian market. Contact www.australiaenergystorage.com
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Mumbai, India • December 5 -7 ees India (electrical energy storage) is the major platform for storage technologies reshaping India’s energy sector and enhancing grid reliability ees is the industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies — from components and production to specific user application — ees™, a special exhibition at Intersolar India, is the ideal platform for all stakeholders in the rapidly growing energy storage market. Intersolar India will be hosting and highlighting the special exhibition „ees India“ to extend and round up electrical energy storage innovations and programs. ees India is the industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies
— from components and production to specific user application — is the ideal platform for all stakeholders in the rapidly growing energy storage market. The focus at ees is on energy storage solutions suited to energy systems with increasing amounts of renewable energy sources attracting investors, utilities, installers, manufacturers and project developers from all over the world. The huge economic growth in India and the strong engagement of the Indian government for energy security and renewable energy, the potential market for electrical energy storage in India is expected to be tremendous in the future. With the exclusive location of the exhibition and conference in Mumbai, the financial and commercial capital of India, ees India will globally attract powerful buying power for electrical energy storage innovations. Contact www.intersolar.in/en/home.html
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2018 World Future Energy Summit Abu Dhabi, UAE January 15-18, 2018 The World Future Energy Summit, part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017. Already the world’s most influential event dedicated to advancing the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology, to mark this milestone, exciting changes are being made to the exhibition and conference that will make it the most interactive and inspirational to date. Within the exhibition, dedicated country pavilions will enable attendees to meet with influential industry and government figures. In 2017, the exhibition at the World Future Energy Summit brought together 600 companies from 32 countries and more than 33,000 attendees from 175 countries, making it an essential place to network and seek new business opportunities. Contact www.worldfutureenergysummit.com
Energy Storage & Connected Systems London, UK February 6-7, 2018 “Energy Storage & Connected Systems will bring together key industry figures to focus on the future of energy in the UK; covering practical examples of storage that are currently being de-
ployed and how they integrate into a broader network of connected systems including smart buildings, grids and electric vehicle infrastructure. After an opening plenary attended by all, the conference will split into two tracks covering both grid-scale storage and behind the metre, localised energy storage. In both cases, the content will also look at how we establish a policy framework for energy storage in the UK, including developing common technical standards and good practice. The event will take place at the Olympia Conference Centre, London on 6 – 7 February 2018.
sights to fuel your business for months. Organized by Solarplaza and FMO, and widely supported by over 20 of the world’s largest industry players and finance institutions, this event is not to be missed by anyone involved in solar project development in Asia, Africa or Latin America.
San Diego, California, USA February 20-22, 2018
Making Solar Bankable 2018 Amsterdam, Netherlands February 15-16, 2018 Making Solar Bankable is not your average gathering. Markets are moving, new business models are arising and solar is becoming a serious part of the energy mix in emerging markets, making the need for bankable projects and well-structured finance solutions more relevant than ever. 500+ project development & finance executives from 40+ different countries will come together again in Amsterdam. Through unique network facilitation and focused sessions per segment you’re sure to get enough leads and in-
SAE 2018 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium
SAE organizes and/or administers more than 25 international meetings and exhibitions each year covering all aspects of technology related to design, manufacture, and service life cycle for the automotive, aerospace, offhighway and other related mobility industries. Meticulously planned by a key group of organizers representing leading companies within the industry, this symposium features technical sessions that will be presented on the following topics: “HV-Policy and Market,” “Autonomous Electrified Vehicles,” “Electrification Infrastructure,” “HEV’s and PHEV’s,” “Non-Passenger Car Applications,” and more. Contact www.sae.org/events
Advanced Automotive Battery Conference Europe (AABC) Mainz, Germany • January 29-February 1, 2018 The 7th International AABC Europe, held in January 2017 in Mainz, Germany, drew record attendance this year, with more than 700 attendees from 35 countries taking part in interactive discussions on the development and future market trends for vehicle electrification. In-depth sessions spanning battery chemistry, engineering, raw materials, lead acid, and supercapacitors, as well as high-volume xEV and specialty automotive applications highlighted needs and advances from OEMs and across the value chain. Formal papers and panel discussions were complimented by 75+ poster presentations and, new this year, networking roundtables facilitated by our speaking faculty. Work has already begun on an expanded technical program for 2018. Contact www.advancedautobat.com/europe
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 113
SAVE up to €400!
Register by 1 December
29 JANUARY - 1 FEBRUARY 2018 | CONGRESS CENTRUM MAINZ | MAINZ, GERMANY 29 January - 1 February 2018 • Mainz, Germany
“People show what will be the future, but it’s also dealing with practical questions, it’s not just a dream.”
“We see experts from the car companies, the battery suppliers, and the system integrators. The presentations are of excellent quality.”
Muriel Desaeger, Ph.D., Toyota Motor Europe
Eckhard Karden, Ph.D., Ford Research & Advanced Engineering
“It’s the most important conference per year in Europe. It’s a must for battery developers and people involved in battery research.” Arnold Lamm, Ph.D., Daimler AG
2018 PROGRAMS R&D Symposium 1
R&D Symposium 4
CHARGING & INFRASTRUCTURE
R&D Symposium 2
R&D Symposium 5
R&D Symposium 3
R&D Symposium 6
Application Track 1
Application Track 2
HYBRID & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
SPECIALTY/PUBLIC TRANSPORT EVs
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2018 Energy Storage Europe Dusseldorf, Germany • March 13-15, 2018 Energy Storage Europe 2018 is the trade fair with the world’s largest conference programme on energy storage. Setting the dates for the next few years and moving to a new hall offer the growing number of exhibitors even better planning and presentation options. Contact www.energy-storage-online.com
EUEC 2018 San Diego, California, USA March 5-7, 2018 EUEC facilitates information exchange and fosters cooperation between industry, government, and regulatory stakeholders for the protection of our environment and energy security. Now accepting Reservations to Exhibit and Abstracts to Speak at EUEC 2018 • Over 1,700 attendees network at 8 lunches, receptions and breaks held in the 150 company exhibit area • Over 400 presentations are made by experts in 10 track Contact www.euec.com
India Smart Grid Week Battery Japan
Energy Storage Summit
Tokyo, Japan February 28-March 2, 2018
London, UKS February 27-28, 2018
World’s Largest-scale international exhibition showcasing various components, materials, devices, finished rechargeable batteries for rechargeable battery R&D and manufacturing. Attracting industry professionals of great quality to the show is essential in satisfying our exhibitors. We strongly believe it is the essence for a successful trade show. Founded in 1986, Reed Exhibitions Japan has been focusing on gathering a large number of quality visitors to the shows from all around the world. As a result, we have established a reputation in attracting huge number of high quality professionals for serious business meetings.
Energy Storage Summit returns to London in February, and with interest building around the potential of the UK storage sector, the event expands across two days in 2018 to reflect the upward trajectory of this exciting market. • DNO, Regulators, National Grid • PPA Providers: Utilities, ESCOS, Traders, aggregators • Finance community: Banks, boutique mezzanine providers, renewable asset owners, private equity • End users: Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Installers, Large energy users • Developers from all backgrounds entering the market and targeting a wide range of segments • Energy storage companies and their supply chain
Contact www.batteryjapan.jp/en/ Tokyo, Japan hosts Battery Japan in February 2018
New Delhi, India March 5-9, 2018 ISGW 2018 will bring together India’s leading Electricity Utilities, Policy Makers, Regulators, Investors and world’s top-notch Smart Grid Experts and Researchers to discuss trends, share best practices and showcase next generation technologies and products in smart grid and smart cities domain. ISGW 2018 will include plenaries, interactive workshops, panels, keynotes, and technical sessions. Contact www.isgw.in
Middle East Electricity Dubai, UAE March 6-8, 2018 Middle East Electricity is pleased to announce the newest product sector on the show floor – Energy Storage and Management Solutions (ESMS). Located alongside the region’s busiest trade focused solar industry event, Solar at MEE (formally Solar Middle East), ESMS will draw buyers from across the MEA region looking to source products and services for renewable energy generation projects. MEE is the region’s leading international trade event for the power industry, with dedicated product sectors for power generation, transmission & distribution, lighting, solar and brand new in 2018 – Energy Storage & Management Solutions. Contact www.middleeastelectricity.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 115
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2018 Battery Tech Expo UK Telford, UK March 15, 2018 The battery industry is on the cusp of a power revolution with big technology companies investing heavily in the next generation of battery development and energy storage. Telford in the West Midlands is a major UK hub of the high tech industrial sector and will bring together professionals from across the advanced battery technology industry. The event will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the latest products, technologies and services covering the Battery Management Systems, EV Battery, Battery Storage, Battery Development/ Discovery, Commercial and Mobile Power Device sectors. Operated by 10four Media, the Battery Tech Expo will provide a unique and additional opportunity for companies within this industry to network with a high quality audience and do business. Running alongside this event is Power Electronics Expo UK. Contact Tel: +44 1283 3 37291 Email: email@example.com www.batterytechexpo.co.uk
Energy Storage China Beijing, China March 26-28, 2018 Energy storage is profoundly changing the world of energy across the world. The World of Energy Storage by Messe Düsseldorf, in partnership with leading partner organizations, has been growing since 2010 with the launch of Energy Storage Europe in Germany. Messe Düsseldorf offers five different events in every relevant region of the world: China, Europe, America, India and Japan. Products and sectors covered: Energy storage, Renewable energies, Marketfeasible applications, Transformation of the energy system, Overall context of the energy supply industry, Industrial energy storage solutions, European grid integration, Electro-chemical storage, Mechanical storage technologies, Thermal storage technologies, Future energy storage Contact www.escexpo.cn
116 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
35th Annual International Battery Seminar & Exhibit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA • March 26-29, 2018
As the longest-running annual battery event in the world, this conference continues to be the preferred venue to announce significant new developments in advanced battery technology. This meeting provides not only broad perspectives, but also informed insights into significant advances in materials, product development and novel applications for all battery systems and enabling technologies. Make plans now to participate in the 2018 International Battery Seminar & Exhibit which will return to Fort Lauderdale from March 26-29, 2018. Nearly 850 attendees from more than 500
organizations representing 26 countries participated in the 2017 event. The entire advanced battery ecosystem was well-represented in Florida, including leading OEMs, top battery manufacturers, developers of advanced materials and components, plus national labs and universities from around the world. Attendance grew by more than 30% for the second year in a row, and has more than doubled since joining Cambridge EnerTech in 2015. Contact www.internationalbatteryseminar.com
Solar Pakistan: The 7th International Renewable Energy Exhibition & Conference Lahore, Pakistan • March 29-31, 2018
The main focus of this exhibition is to highlight the importance of the most practical and readily available non-conventional renewable resource i.e. Solar Energy. Studies suggest that the reliance of solar energy can be effective in combating the current power crisis in the country. Many developed economies have already started utilizing clean and renewable energy solutions due to which their installation cost has decreased globally. This is high time that Pakistan began to adopt this trend
so that it can get over the energy deficit and speed up the rate of its growth. Solar Pakistan will be the biggest energy event in Pakistan to bring together the decision makers, stake holders and concerned authorizes on one platform where they can discuss a way forward on how to move ahead with a plan to control the ever increasing energy deficit in Pakistan. Contact www.solarfairpakistan.com
FORTHCOMING EVENTS – 2018 Energy Storage Innovations Berlin, Germany April 11, 2018 - April 12, 2018 Join us for the annual IDTechEx event focusing on future energy storage solutions, including advanced- and postLithium-ion technologies, new form factors and emerging applications. The event brings together different players in the value chain, from material & technology developers to integrators to end-users, providing insight on forthcoming technologies, material selection, market trends and latest products. Energy Storage Innovations Europe is co-located alongside a series of synergistic events on wearable, sensors, 3D Printing, Graphene and 2D materials and printed electronics.
The free-to-attend annual conference and exhibition brings together the UK’s largest group of buyers from the bioenergy, solar, offshore and onshore wind, hydropower and wave & tidal sectors, as well as those involved in energy storage, heat, low carbon transport and sustainable cities solutions. Since its launch in 2001, All-Energy has provided the industry suppliers,
Contact www.idtechex.com/energy-storage-europe/ show/en/ Organizer: IDTechEx
All Energy 2018 Glasgow, UK May 2-3, 2018 All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable energy event allows the entire spectrum of the renewables industry to showcase their energy solutions.
experts and thought-leaders from the renewable energy supply chain the opportunity to connect with new customers, increase their sales opportunities and expand business networks in this fast-changing marketplace. Contact www.all-energy.co.uk Tel: +44 208 439 5560 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Battery Show Europe Hanover, Germany • May 15-17, 2018 Taking place 15-17 May 2017, in Hanover, Germany, the exhibition will highlight the latest manufacturing solutions along the supply chain, including battery materials, components and manufacturing equipment, across a range of industries including automotive, electronics, power tools and utilities. The co-joining conference offers insights from 70+ expert speakers including automotive OEMs, tier 1s, academic and research organisations. Contact www.thebatteryshow.eu
Battcon Florida, USA • April 22-25, 2018 Battcon is a high-energy mix of industry specific presentations, panels, seminars and workshops, plus a trade show. More than 600 storage battery users meet at Battcon for three days of professional development and networking focused on the design, selection, application and maintenance of stationary battery systems. It’s a forum where those in the data center, nuclear, telecom and utility industries can learn from and network with industry experts. Battcon is an educational venue where users, engineers and manufacturers stay up-to-date by learning of the latest industry trends and how to apply best practices to the manufacturing, safety, selection, installation, and use of stationary batteries. The core conference provides an intense learning experience unavailable from any other industry source. Presentations include cutting edge topics delivered by leading authorities. Open discussion panels and breakout workshops geared to the utility, datacenter and telecom segments are also included in the conference. Data center, nuclear, telecom or utility industry professionals who are working in mission critical facilities or are involved in the development of stationary batteries and related equipment will find the Battcon experience is second to none. Every year, more end users are discovering Battcon, the conference geared for industry novices and seasoned battery professionals alike. Contact www.battcon.com
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 117
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BATTERY PIONEERS: JUERGEN GARCHE Kevin Desmond tells the story of Jürgen Garche, who became one of the driving forces behind advances in fuel cells and batteries.
Chasing an electrochemical dream world Jürgen Werner Garche was born in Cottbus, a university town about 125km south east of Berlin, in February 1944. He was born at a time of great change: the Second World War was coming to a close — and when it did Cottbus fell into the Russian sector and so became part of the German Democratic Republic. By the time Garche was eight, the
GDR was detached from Western Europe, with consequences that affected much of the middle years of his future career. In 1962 Garche left home and started his professional training as a laboratory chemist at the huge Lützkendorf mineral oil plant, near Leuna — then about a three-hour drive from Cottbus. The following
. In 1970 Garche submitted his doctoral thesis on “The Thermodynamics of Concentrated Electrolytes”, so helping to extend the validity of the DebyeHückel equation to higher salt concentrations.
Forklift driven by a 3 kW hydrazine-air fuel cell (1966)
year — becoming the first university student in his family — he started reading chemistry at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden). His particular interest in electrochemistry brought him to the attention of Kurt Schwabe, rector of the TUD. He was also director of the TUD Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry which was founded in 1900 as Germany’s first electrochemical institute. From Schwabe’s invitation in 1966, the 24-year-old made his first contact with an applied electrochemical project, an industrial 3kW fuel cell forklift truck developed by BAE Berlin and TU Dresden. This project was directed by electrochemists; the main challenge was developing the hydrazine anode with a relatively low activity. Although Garche’s interest was related to applied electrochemistry, Schwabe persuaded him to do his PhD work in theoretical electrochemistry. In 1970 he submitted his doctoral thesis on “The Thermodynamics
Garche in the lab during as PhD student at TU Dresden (1969)
Batteries International • Autumn 2017 • 119
BATTERY PIONEERS: JUERGEN GARCHE
Jürgen Garche in front of a ZSW 2 kW PEMFC test rig
After German reunification in 1990, Garche moved to Ulm in southern Germany to join the recently founded Electrochemical Energy Storage and Energy Conversion Division of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research a not-for profit R&D institute established by Wolfgang Witschel. of Concentrated Electrolytes”, so helping to extend the validity of the Debye-Hückel equation to higher salt concentrations. During this period, Garche was a keen athlete, both as a middledistance runner and in basketball; he represented the TU Dresden basketball team. He also worked as a life guard on the cold Baltic Sea, near Warnemünde, where he spent his summer breaks to make money for his study. In 1975, he married Ursula Weiss, an orthopaedic doctor. They were later to have a son, Stefan, who in a sense has followed his father’s footsteps. He is a lawyer at the North Rhine-Westphalian Energy Agency responsible for the legal aspects of national and international fuel cell and battery projects. As was common in East Germany at that time, Garche continued to work at his alma mater where he was promoted to assistant lecturer, eventually supervising Klaus Wiesener’s applied electrochemistry R&D group, which looked at Galvanic Elements and specialized in batteries and fuel cells. Garche’s special interest was the interface reactions between the Pb-grid and the PbO2 active mass in the positive lead-acid battery
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electrode. This positive electrode is thermodynamically unstable and in fact already a lead-acid battery system. “At that time, the main measurement techniques were potentio-dynamic and impedance methods,” Garche says. “Of course, sophisticated and expensive equipment now available has been partially helpful to get deeper insights in electronic and chemical structures. For most investigations even today classical electrochemical methods are mostly sufficient.” In his Habilitation qualification in 1982 at TU Dresden, Garche described a model of the dynamic stability of PbO2 electrodes in lead acid batteries. This would later be republished in The Journal of Power Sources. This model explains the passivation and self-discharge behaviour of PbO2 electrodes. Furthermore Garche established a model of Pb corrosion that explained the influence of
the active mass and polarization conditions. After German reunification in 1990, Garche moved to Ulm in southern Germany to join the recently founded Electrochemical Energy Storage and Energy Conversion Division of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) a notfor profit R&D institute established by Wolfgang Witschel. The main challenges at that time were to form an electrochemical team of scientists coming from other disciplines. In 1991 he was appointed privatdozent (external lecturer) for electrochemistry at Ulm University. Two years later he was made extraordinary professor for electrochemistry at the university. Four years later Garche took over from Witschel, expanding the ZSW into an internationally wellknown institute, employing nearly 100 co-workers and supported by a 15% basic institutional financing through the federal state of BadenWuerttemberg. The management tasks, as development of the new division and fundraising of a high number of projects, was very time demanding, shortening the research time. But as Garche says, “Managers of R&D institutes should still reserve time to undertake their own research!” This period saw the development of a high-rate, long-life and safe polymer 2V lithium ion battery, which could be used to replace the lead-acid cell; basic work in catalysts and membranes field long-life direct methanol fuel cells; and especially R&D in the field of the proton exchange membrane for fuel cells. The latter started with basic research working with Ulm University, going via cell and stack development all the way to proton exchange membrane for fuel cells system integration — at first for stationary residential house energy supply and later also for EVs. As a consequence, in 2004 Garche, with the Ulm Public Utility, set up a spin-off company, Ulmer Brennstoffzellen-Manufaktur. This designs, manufactures and sells mainly complete proton exchange
In 1991 he was appointed as privatdozent (external lecturer) for electrochemistry at Ulm University. Two years later he was made extraordinary professor for electrochemistry at the university. www.batteriesinternational.com
BATTERY PIONEERS: JUERGEN GARCHE He was a cofounder of the first biannual JapaneseGerman workshop of electrochemists, then later the Italian-German workshop and later still the Japanese-ItalianGermany workshop. The 8th Japanese-ItalianGerman workshop took place last December in Japan.
Garche speaking at the 14the Ulm ElectroChemical Talks
Participants of the 6th Higher Educational Round in May 2015 at China’s Wuhan University of Technology
membrane for fuel cells systems up to 2kW. Another ZSW spin-off is BaSyTec, which has become a well-established worldwide producer of battery testing systems. In Ulm today about 350 people have formed an informal R&D centre for fuel cells and batteries, and Ulm now has an international reputation. As well as the ZSW, also in Ulm are the Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU), the University of Ulm and the
Daimler R&D Center Ulm. In 2001, Garche was appointed guest professor at Shandong University in Jinan in China. In 2012, he was appointed visiting professor at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and at the Sapienza University Rome in 2009, 2012, and 2016. In 2014 Garche was listed as “one of the world’s most influential scientific minds” by Thomson Reuters, as a reflection of his scientific contribution in peer-rated research
“The twice higher electrical efficiency of lithium-ion battery systems is a strong argument for EVs as are fuel cells in a future renewable energy-shaped society.” www.batteriesinternational.com
papers. Garche is more reticent about this: “In this case ‘influential’ means probably ‘often read’ and is therefore not quite the same!” In 2015, after his retirement from the ZSW, he was appointed senior professor at the University of Ulm and he is still directing diploma and doctoral theses. In his academic carrier he supervised more than 60 PhD theses. One of his students, Dirk Uwe Sauer, has become a well-known and highly respected academic and international speaker. Despite spending most of his later career on advanced batteries and fuel cells Garche has always been interested in lead-acid batteries, regularly participating in lead-acid battery conferences. This interest has grown in the last five years with the introduction of lead acid batteries as an energy source for micro hybrid cars, where R&D continues to be a rich source area for finding new ways of increasing dynamic charge acceptance. This topic is discussed in detail in the new book Lead-Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles edited by himself, Eric Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand. He was a co-founder of the first biannual Japanese-German workshop of electrochemists, then later the Italian-German workshop and later still the Japanese-ItalianGerman workshop. The 8th JapaneseItalian-German workshop took place last December in Japan. An area of special concern for Jürgen Garche has always been education and training, particularly in fuel cells, which as a young technology needs well-trained specialists and not only
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BATTERY PIONEERS: JUERGEN GARCHE
Garche is as much home in the lead battery community as with those working on fuel cells. Here at the 4th ELBC meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, 1994. Left to right: Ian Beecroft (Journal for Power Sources), Jürgen Garche, David Rand (CSIRO), Kathryn Bullock (AT&T Bell Labs; president of Electrochemical Society 1995-1996) and Eberhard Meissner (VARTA)
Lead Acid Batteries for Future Automobiles, co-edited by Jürgen Garche, Eckhard Karden, Pat Moseley and David Rand.
academics. In 2003 he founded the Fuel Cell Education and Training Centre in Ulm with large seminar rooms and laboratories for practical experiments. As a member of the executive board of the advisory council of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP), Garche has made a powerful impact on the development of fuel cell and H2 technology in Europe, especially in the field of education and training. He has also been the chairman of other organizations acting in the field. For almost 20 years, Garche has been a key figure in the formation of an informal fuel cell and hydrogen alliance which was the precursor of the German National Organisation H2 and Fuel Cell Technology. He was the deputy chairman of the advisory board until 2015. Garche has published several books and 300 papers on electrochemical energy conversion, mainly on batteries, fuel cells and electrochemical capacitors. For the standard book Encyclopaedia of Electrochemical
Rand and Ernst Voss in 1989. Since his retirement from ZSW in 2004, Garche has remained active as a consultant for his own firm, FCBAT Ulm, with clients ranging from international industry and research institutes to Germany’s transport and digital infrastructure ministry. Although he says he relaxes by reading, listening to classical baroque music such as Bach and Heinichen (this goes back to his time in Dresden which once was the capital of baroque music), biking and trekking — his main hobby remains, to this day, electrochemistry. After nearly 50 years of work in the battery and fuel cell field, Garche has firm opinions on the future technology for electric vehicles. “The twice higher electrical efficiency of lithium-ion battery systems is a strong argument for electric vehicles, as are fuel cells in a future renewable energy-shaped society (hydrogen is produced via electrolyser from renewables),” he says. “But in today’s more fossil energybased society the well-to-wheel efficiency of fuel cell driven cars is about 1.3 times higher than lithiumion powered EVs. Furthermore a range increase is much easier with FCEVs, because only the hydrogen storage capacity has to be increased.” Garche reckons that in the future both technologies will be deployed — fuel cells for longer range EVs and lithium batteries for short to middle range cars.
Power Sources published in 2009 (5 volumes with 350 chapters) he was the editor-in-chief. He is the inventor, or co-inventor, of 10 patents and has worked on the editorial boards of The Journal of Power Sources, Fuel Cells – From Fundamentals to Systems and The International Journal of Hydrogen Economy. Garche has been awarded honours for his contributions to electrochemical energy conversion: the First Prize of the Academy of Science of Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic for work on the oxygen electrode in 1985; the German Gas Industry’s Award for residential fuel cells in 2000; the ChristianFriedrich-Schönbein Gold Medal of the European Fuel Cell Forum for his work on PEMFCs in 2003; and the UECT award in 2006 for establishing an international forum for communication between industry and science on batteries and fuel cells. In 2016 he was appointed the Grand Master of the α/ß Society — an informal club of distinguished electrochemists established by David
This period saw the development of a high-rate, longlife and safe polymer 2V lithium ion battery), which could be used to replace the lead-acid cell; basic work in catalysts and membranes field long-life direct methanol fuel cells; and especially R&D in the field of the proton exchange membrane for fuel cells. 122 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
d r o w t s a l e Th Don’t look at a gift horse too closely … Cynical, that’s the only way to describe it! But Mike Moeller, head of Remy Battery, is starting his recruitment drive early — with the donation of an all terrain vehicle to his former school — Martin Luther High in Wisconsin. The ATV will be used as part of the school’s new power technology program to help students
Photoshop has a lot to answer for Rumours that Mark Thorsby, the charismatic head of BCI and the brainy Boris Monahov, ALABC technical head, were one and the same person — how many times have we heard “have you ever seen them both in the same room?” — can now be dispelled. Every picture tells a story. The new word on the street is of course they are identical twins separated at birth. One was sent to live under an oppressive and despotic regime run by a succession of mad tyrants. But less about Chicago, the other went to glorious Bulgaria.
gain skills and experience that is in high demand for today’s workforce. So cynical? Why? Moeller said he’d planned to trade in his ATV for a new model. “But this is a much better use for the vehicle. The kids gain hands-on training, and Remy Battery has a new roster of potential future employees.”
Blood, blood, glorious blood “There’s no lead in my pencil,” boasts Brian Wilson, one of the world’s top trouble shooters in dealing with lead contamination in developing countries. “In fact my blood lead level is so low — its under 2µg/dl — that you wouldn’t even be able to test me.” Brian, a former smelting manager at Britannia Refined Metals, knows every trick going in keeping lead levels down — “personally I still do everything that I did in my smelting days, I wash my hands thoroughly, I don’t touch my hair, I drink plenty of fluids and much, much more. “But the things I’ve seen! When we instituted a ban on overtime for those with high lead levels at Britannia, we were astonished to find that some of our staff were getting round this by donating blood and then filling themselves up with water. Once I got wind of this, I instituted haemoglobin testing. There may not be lead in his pencil, but he’s as sharp as ever.
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d r o w t s a l e Th Sorfin, steps and a fallen humanity A strange sight on the opening day of the ABC meetings. A hundred people waving a black wristband in a frenzy. On closer examination this was a watch-cum-pace counter. For every step you walked, it counted them. It was all part of a clever ploy called ”Run with Sorfin Yoshimura” for the firm, which acts as a marketing agent for a host of battery-related products and firms. Each day those that wear the wristwatch can count their steps at the conference and, if they’ve done the most, can win a prize. The best, on the Friday, is a highly desirable Apple watch. In theory an admirable metaphor for using a fast paced, competitive business player to boost your sales. But not when the black-hearted lead industry gets involved. The first wave of cheats found that they could wiggle the watch in the air with each movement adding
a step. “I’m running at about 10 miles an hour,” said one cheating Brit. But that was child’s play for the more devious — and wicked — in the lead battery community. One senior Australian figure immediately suggested that his wife should wear it in the gym on the treadmill, and then pass it on to her friends. Another budding entrepreneur (American) suggested a rental scheme to a local child who had to engage in running around all day. But the pièce de résistance came from a stunning young Asian lady who examined the watch for a few seconds and immediately said that it’d be child’s play to shorten the length of the stride to something ridiculous. Meanwhile the rest of us more honest folk continued to wiggle our hands in the air.
Manners maketh man Can we never have a break from the moaners at our conferences? At the 2015 ABC we heard delegates moaning that the sky bar in Bangkok was “just too high” to be satisfactory. “It makes you feel a bit dizzy being so high, perhaps they should have put the sky bar lower down?” we heard. (The ground floor?) At a recent conference in Goa we heard moans that — published verbatim — “the palm trees by the pool were too high … if this hotel knew what they were doing they’d have made them shorter to give you more shade by the pool.” So Batteries International has been waiting to see what complains would be made this time. Would the elevators be too fast? Or too slow? Did that floor really had to be that shiny? Wasn’t it unfair of the organizers to choose a capital city that was hard to spell? But surprisingly no. No complaints about the venue were heard. Yes, a few mutterings from the North American contingent about the lack of a golf course nearby — “what’s the point of a battery conference if it doesn’t have 18 holes?” — but that was compensated in the Mandarin by a virtual driving range. The worst we’ve heard so far was that the lilies in the reception smelt a bit but, grudgingly, “I suppose they’re meant to do that.”
The brightest stars in the lead firmament
A little something for the plane sir? Worried that your Dreamliner flight might be heading for a nightmare? Fear no further that thermal runaway from someone’s laptop will send your plane to its doom. George Brilmyer and Mike Gilchrist at HighWater Innovations have come up with the perfect solution — PlaneGard. It’s a fire containment case designed to protect people and property from lithium-ion battery fires. 124 • Batteries International • Autumn 2017
Entries for the 2018 Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award are now being accepted, the BCI announced on October 12. Application need to be submitted by February 12. The award will be presented in Tucson, Arizona on the first day of BCI’s annual conference starting April 29. BCI says entrants should bear these factors in mind: Sustainability, safety, cost, performance, uniqueness and value. www.batteriesinternational.com
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Published on Oct 24, 2017
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