Masters of illusion The mysterious world of energy storage pricing East Penn's Dan Langdon retires, Chris Pruitt takes over as CEO A life in energy storage: Shep Wolsky dies aged 91
The promise of the year ahead: what 2018 means for us all R Thorsby steps down as EVP for LA O S Battery Council International LD R O
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CONTENTS MASTERS OF ILLUSION
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF ENERGY STORAGE PRICING Investment in energy storage may be skyrocketing but the projected return on investment for such projects often remains difficult to calculate with any degree of accuracy… indeed, it’s problematic even getting an accurate handle on their pricing per kilowatt hour • World of solar investments expanding and now backed by storage • The lead versus lithium dilemma
Discussions over energy storage system pricing typically ignore the fact that lead batteries can be harnessed for most functionality — but not all — that an ESS requires. And a lot cheaper too
• ALABC tests waters for international seminars on lead batteries in ESS
EDITORIAL4 The curse of the first-mover advantage
East Penn’s Dan Langdon retires, Chris Pruitt steps up • Thorsby announces retirement from BCI • Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences opened in September • Microporous hires new VP of global operations • Donofrio joins Johnson Controls as EVP and general counsel • Gridtential appoints Barton as CEO, Gruenstern joins technical board • TBS Engineering moves into new facility • Martin Milani appointed CEO of Sunverge Energy • Four industry figures join Navigant’s global energy practice
Chris Pruitt: continuity for East Penn as new CEO takes over 8
Shep Wolsky, early pioneer of lithium ion batteries and founder of the International Battery Seminar series, died in November, aged 91
Exide Technologies announces $35m grid factory and new product lines • Interstate Batteries signs exclusive deal with auto parts retailer • Northstar’s Springfield project officially connected to grid • Furukuwa Battery partners Vietnamese manufacturer Pinaco • Hammond Group’s lead battery laboratory wins award for innovation • India’s Exide Industries expands battery range to include lithium •Log 9 Materials claims technological breakthrough with graphene • Daramic announces another $50m for Asia expansion, presents new EFB separator range • Discover Energy announces new CEO and Korean manufacturing acquisition
ENERGY STORAGE NEWS
ESS installation costs set to fall by at least 50% by 2030 • Musk meets 100 day, 100MW installation deadline for ESS in Southern Australia • Eaton launches data centre UPS service to aid grid frequency management • Schneider Electric, NGK sign MoU for sodium sulfur system
Shep Wolsky: much admired, sadly missed, dies aged 91 17
Calnetix adds new model to flywheel storage range • SMA completes portfolio of UL-listed Sunny Central storage inverters • Salt cathode could lead to cheaper energy storage • Post-doctoral scholar Min Ah Lee answers key questions about salt technology
Thorsby steps down as EVP for Battery Council International10
How to believe six impossible things before breakfast 29
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 1
CONTENTS VIEW OF THE YEAR AHEAD
Batteries International spoke to the great and the good of the energy storage industry about their views on the year gone by and the trends for the one ahead • Well begun — half done , Terry Murphy, Hammond Group • Making sure the regulatory decision makers get the message, Andy Bush, ILA • Lead-acid industry trends for 2018 , Dawn Heng, Daramic • Expect a breakthrough — perhaps even this year! Mark Thorsby, BCI • The view ahead — “what if?” Craig Brunk, Bitrode • Electricity storage is the essential component of a smarter grid, Georgina Penfold, Antony Price, ESN • Acceleration — 2017 was good, but 2018 will be better, Troy Miller, S&C Electric • Global demand for lead acid batteries has been increasing across all application segments, Scott Fink, Sorfin Yoshimura • Regulatory changes ahead to affect European power landscape, Rene Schroder, EUROBAT • 2018 and the rise of long duration storage, Scott McGregor, RedT • A year for making further improvements, Doug Bornas, MAC Engineering • Finding roles for lead as well as lithium. Max Ianniello, Sovema Group • Lead prices to climb as supply squeeze continues, Neil Hawkes, CRU • A great year for lead acid, Steve Mate, Co-efficient
BACK TO BASICS
Isidor Buchmann reviews the characteristics of the six staple lithium chemistries
RedT: Vanadium redox profile80
Vanadium redox to flourish in deep energy storage Microgrids nudge into the mainstream Lessons to be learnt from the last solar challenge race
80 83 86
Our comprehensive guide to energy storage events around the world
BATTERY HEROES Papazov: R&D to the fore116
Geno Papazov: from humble beginnings to international respect for his research contribution to the battery industry
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2 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
EDITORIAL Mike Halls • firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead acid and the curse of first mover advantage First mover advantage. It was the buzz phrase in the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s. And oddly enough words that seem relevant again today for the emerging energy storage market. The 1990s were heady times to be a financial journalist. Market sentiment flew all over the place. Most of it nonsense, too. Towards the end of the decade a sudden rash of internet experts emerged. They solemnly pronounced that companies such as webvan.com trading at $30 a share were undervalued. Webvan closed trading shortly after that last announcement — yes at 6¢ a share. Commercial valuations of what was to end up as penny stock companies were valued in the tens of billions of dollars. A new business vocabulary emerged at the time, terms such as “crossing the chasm”, “early adopters” and “first mover advantage” were the commonplace of investor prospectuses of the time. The whole financial industry nodded its head wisely as we journalists wrote these pearls of wisdom down. And, though the term “first mover advantage” dated at least to the 1970s — actually, it’s an idea that dates to the earliest days of commerce — it was an important term in trying to understand a market that had flung itself into existence just a handful of years before. The basic business idea is what it says. The first firm in a new market wins market leadership. And with this comes market share, roughly translated as profits over the rest of that business universe. Usually first mover advantage comes in two forms — technological leadership (aka an invention) or control of a market asset, a price squeeze on a new supply. When cemented, first movers block late entrants from making inroads into this market. Normally the price of entry has become too high. This should now sound very familiar in the battery world too. A decade ago, lithium was an exciting entry into specialist, if mainstream, technological markets — the cell phone, the laptop. It was a huge business but still at the periphery of lead’s core markets, automotive, stationary and back-up power. Around 2009 lithium was given the chance to move into the mainstream. In the US, in particular, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave $2.4 billion to the sector and talk of first mover advantage re-emerged. A vast amount of hype and investor 4 • Energy Storage Journal • Winter 2017/2018
money flooded into the sector, it seemed a little like the internet bubble again. It’s not too difficult to think of the collapses that were to happen — A123 Systems (which died with a huge weight of government and investor money), Better Place, Solyandra, Ener1 — to name the more obvious ones — and to realise that in fragile new markets others would inevitably follow. The dominoes still fall. Last year major players such as Alevo and Aquion had to retire from trading. But rather than tackle the arrival and fall of the first wave of entrants into a new market space, the lead battery business sat on its hands. It ridiculed the technology — but mostly within its own walls and not in the mainstream media. Why talk about lithium gaining a foothold in a market when the price was ridiculous, the batteries explosive and hadn’t we all heard predictions of the death of lead acid batteries for years anyway? As the world-wide incumbent it, theoretically at least, should have vast pools of capital to fight off any challenges. (As an aside, the fact that the lead battery industry still spends a relatively pitiful amount on its defence — and given the huge volumes of business at stake — this issue continues to be a puzzle to this magazine.) But in actuality the first mover advantage for lithiumion batteries was not destroyed by the collapse of some of these names. Rather, given the wall of money that had been thrown at the sector, it had time to regroup. The fact that it had the potential to devastate the lead battery community was almost universally ignored. Some in the industry, such as Hammond, took the challenge seriously. But they were the exception. Even now the extent of the lithium challenge is still being ignored. In the view of this magazine, lead’s demise is unlikely to come in the decade to come, but the probability is rising for the one after that. It may be fanciful talking to the bleached white laboratory coats predicting a future in a world where electrons can be counted as green ones while fossil fuel ones are miscreants (and anti-social to boot)! But government policies across the world are giving a momentum for change where the little world of first movers has become the mainstream. This past year we’ve seen governments such as the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway and India stake their country’s future on electric vehicles. www.energystoragejournal.com
EDITORIAL Mike Halls • email@example.com California is just about to vote on the same. What many in the lead battery side of the business had reckoned was nothing more than a hype bubble has proved to be more durable. The similarity with the dot.com bubble is close. The spectacular slump in 2001 of shares — with even Amazon dropping from a high of $107 a share to $8 — may have showed that first mover advantage could be a volatile thing. But the fact that Amazon is trading in 2018 at around $1,200 a share makes another point, too, that once an industry matures, the first movers walk away with the profits. There are at least three ways that first mover advantage works against the existing leader, here lead. • A new technology may be a disruptive one but it’s ahead of its time or badly executed. Market adoption will be too slow to make it commercially successful. (This, by the way, gives rise to the term second mover advantage, third mover, etc.) But is this the case? Market adoption of lithium has been patchy, but last year 98% of all new large energy storage systems no longer looked to lead for its storage option. Lithium as a battery chemistry of the future is no longer ahead of its time. It’s already the de facto standard for computing, mobile phones and being scaled up along the whole energy product chain. • The new technology may displace the incumbent one but the pace of the technology renders new products out of date. Again this isn’t quite the case: the prophets of this age are already saying that lithium-ion is already to be replaced by new chemistries — think lithium air, lithium sulfur — and in the closing months of last year, the excitement over solid state magnesium batteries. Although the current lithium-ion batteries that are finding their way up the value chain, from laptops to handheld drills to forklifts and large scale storage, may eventually be a relic of the past, they are still replacing lead in the process. • So-called last movers arrive to snap up the winners in the melée of competition that heralds the arrival of new products and technologies. This is now too late. The incumbent technology of the future is already starting to look like lithium. Across North America, traditional lead battery manufacturing firms have been looking at making lithium batteries for at least the past five years. www.energystoragejournal.com
But at the same time is the lead side of the business prepared to deliver the kind of products — and that’s not just batteries — that the ESS installers of the future want? Unfortunately they’re too late in the game. The rise of the gigafactory — now spreading like a rash across the planet — has seen to that. So does that mean that the lead battery — the work engine of the modern world for five generations — will be left on the scrapheap of yesterday’s technology? Can it survive this onslaught of first movers? The sad answer is probably not, unless it can counter the technological assault that it is facing. Yes, trade bodies such as BCI and ILA are now preparing a spirited defence of the industry. But how far is the industry prepared to back their initiatives? How much cash will it devote to counteracting EU or Californian initiatives to outlaw lead? What kind of support will it give to lobbying the European Commission or the US Senate? In the real world, the race between the hare and the tortoise always ends with the hare winning. One of the strangest outcomes of the ILA workshop in November — see commentary as part of this issue’s cover story — was the odd conclusion. The new generation of large scale ESS installers know little of lead’s capabilities — especially in the advanced battery world. But at the same time the lead side of the business is totally unprepared to deliver the kind of products that the ESS installers of the future want. Energy Storage Journal • Winter 2017/2018 • 5
Engineered additive solutions for the future of energy storage. www.hmndgroup.com
Happy New Year From Everyone At Hammond For the challenges ahead...
InnovatIon award wInner
East Penn appoints Pruitt as new CEO East Penn, the US battery manufacturer, appointed Chris Pruitt as chief executive officer and president on January 1. Dan Langdon, 66, the former CEO is retiring after 32 years with the firm. Langdon will remain on the board of directors. Pruitt joined the firm as a financial controller in May 1994 after working as a senior manager for international accounting and consultancy firm Ernst & Young for 10 years. He had been spotted early on as a potential candidate for a senior slot. “DeLight Breidegam [the founder of East Penn who died aged 88 two years ago] spent the last 15 years of his life working to ensure a smooth transition of management and what would happen after he was gone,”
Dan Langdon told Batteries International. “Chris was a key part of his thinking from early on. “We liked his approach and the way he handled people from the outset. When we first met him he was in charge of recruiting new staff for Ernst & Young and we immediately admired the way he could read and understand people and situations in a respectful and professional way.” Pruitt joined the same year that Dan Langdon moved from being chief fi-
nancial officer to president. Their career paths have been very similar, Langdon, also joined East Penn as a controller in 1986 before becoming chief financial officer and then president. In 1999 Pruitt was promoted to CFO. This is a key position in most companies and enabled Pruitt to have a strategic view of the company’s activities. This also brought him into greater contact with the operational and sales side of the business. Part of the corporate
“I’m part of the same senior team that’s been in place for the past few years. We are a successful company and this will continue if we keep a sure and steadfast focus on our employees, customers and the community that we live in.” – Chris Pruitt 8 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
culture in East Penn has always been for the senior management to have a daily informal lunch together with clients, suppliers or other staff and has also enabled management to get exposure to all areas of the company’s business. “For the past 10 years I’ve been actively involved with the customer side of the business,” Pruitt told Batteries International. “I’ve spent a lot of time understanding the way we go to market — our sales force, how we get things done, and our channels of distribution.” “And this became more important later when I became executive vice president of sales, finance and administration.” In 2014 following the untimely death of Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz, then chief executive officer, Pruitt became president of the firm and Langdon took over as chief executive officer. Pruitt sees the direction of East Penn as largely unchanged by his appointment. “In a sense this is the same senior team that’s been in place for the past few years,” he says. “We are a successful company and this will continue if we keep a sure and steadfast focus on our employees, customers and the community that we live in.” And the future? Pruitt believes that there
Dan Langdon retires after 32 years with the firm are still huge opportunities to be grabbed within the lead battery market. East Penn’s subsidiary Ecoult — which produces the UltraBattery a unique combination of a lead battery that incorporates an ultracapacitor — has been active across the US in the past few years. East Penn has been a licensee and investor in Gridtential, a bipolar battery developer, and an experimental line is being tested. Gridtential says its battery could well be the next step change for lead battery performance. Pruitt says East Penn has been actively involved in R&D in lithium ion battery capabilities and manufacturing. “We have invested a lot of time and money in understanding this technology. At the moment we believe it’s best to be knowledgeable about all this — but in the end it’ll be time that tells.” Langdon leaves East Penn in the best of health having been part of a team that grew the firm from annual sales of around $300 million in the early 1990s to $2.5 billion nowadays. “I am pleased to have Chris take the helm and very thankful to the Breidegam family and all of the employees for their support of me over my 32 years,” he says. “We cannot thank Dan Langdon enough for the tireless service and leadership that he has brought to this company,” said Dan Breidegam, chairman of East Penn. “My family and I are pleased to continue to work with Chris to help move this company forward. He has been a pil-
lar in our company, as well as the community, and he will continue to uphold my family’s vision and values.” Bob Flicker, chief operating officer, and part of the core management team said: “We would all like to congratulate Dan Langdon on his retirement and sincerely thank him for his leadership. As we move into the New Year, we will continue to build the company and carry on the legacy of those who came before us. I will continue to work with Chris Pruitt, Dan Breidegam, and our leadership team over the next few years to prepare our company for the next generation.” And Dan Langdon’s thoughts on the future? “As a board director I’ll obviously be involved in decisions about issues such as capital expansion and so forth. Although I’ll miss the daily contact with all of my friends at the company, I won’t be away permanently from it. At present, my wife, Kathy, and I plan to do some of the things we didn’t have more time for earlier — fishing in Florida, travel to Europe, and summers in Delaware.” Pruitt, as per the ethos of East Penn and the Breidegam family is very much involved in the local community. He currently is involved as the treasurer and board member of the Wyomissing Foundation. Formerly he was a board member of YMCA, chairman and board member of The United Way of Berks County, president and treasurer of The Children’s Home of Reading, board member of Big Brothers/
Langdon leaves East Penn in the best of health having been part of a team that grew the firm from annual sales of around $300 million in the early 1990s to $2.5 billion nowadays Big Sisters, board member of the Children Advisory Center, treasurer and board member of The Reading Area Community College Foundation, audit committee chairman and board member of the Berks Community Foundation, and board member of the Shippensburg University College of Business Advisory Board. In March 2011, Chris received the Wilburn H Doran award in recognition of his outstanding work with the United Way and in the Berks County Community. In 2013, he was named
CFO of the year by the Lehigh Valley Business Journal. Also in 2013, he was honoured by the YMCA for his community service. In December 2016, he received the Eugene L Shirk award for Community Builder. This annual community award is given by Berks Community Television (BCTV). In December 2015, he received the Sydney D Kline award for Outstanding Community Service. Pruitt is also a member of both the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of Certified Public Accountants.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 9
Thorsby announces retirement from BCI Mark Thorsby is to step down at the end of December as executive vice president of Battery Council International. A replacement for this key position within the North American battery community is being sought. ‘I’ve had a great seven years,” he told Batteries International. “But I hit 65 in February and what with a hugely increasing workload, I thought it was about time to pass the baton on to another.” Thorsby may continue working for BCI — not as an employee but working on a contract — until a replacement is found. Realistically a new replacement would be unlikely to happen before spring. This means that he again will help organize the annual BCI meetings, an event which he has revitalized in recent years. This year it will be held in Tuscon, Arizona at the end of April, “I’m more than happy to ensure a smooth transition for my replacement,” he says. “It would be an honour in Tuscon to introduce my successor to some of the great people he or she will be working with in the years ahead.” Thorsby, a popular figure in the industry best known for his good-natured friendliness as well as his huge contact book, leaves behind a substantial legacy. He, with Andy Bush, the head of the ILA, has been one of the key movers in a huge reawakening — both within and outside the lead battery industry — to the importance that lead can offer in a world where energy storage will be the pressing issue of the next generation. Certainly BCI has successfully beaten off many of the challenges that have
threatened to cripple the industry in recent years. Thorsby has been deeply involved in blocking disruptive Californian legislation that threatened to effectively shut down the use of lead in the state. He has also led the way in tackling issues such as blood lead levels, promoting greater research into the issue as well as leading the campaign to generate industry acceptance of the need to do so. Thorsby’s time at BCI will best be remembered for him being one of the driving forces in the internationalization of the lead community. Working in partnership with the ILA, he helped formulate the strategy behind the promotion of lead in a communications campaign that kicked off this September. As part of this he has helped double BCI’s operating budget to $3.6 million. This 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,” he told Batteries International in September. “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.” Market expectations are that a similarly influential campaign will operate in Europe when the ILA starts its own initiative in January. Eventually the communications campaign is likely to spill over to Asia, with Japan and Korea following suit and then potentially China and India. So what next for Thorsby? “I don’t want to say that I’m going to live on the golf course after I retire — though I do want to play a bit more,” he said. “I’d like to stay involved in some capacity with this industry.” Thorsby will be sorely missed. “He’s not just a great guy to work with but a moti-
vator, someone who gets things done,” said a leading industry figure. “It would be a shame if someone with his skills, contacts and experience were to be lost to this industry.” Separately, BCI announced on October 12 that entries for the 2018 Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation Award are now being accepted. The deadline to get them in for next year’s award, which will be presented in Tucson, Arizona, between April 29 and May 1, is February 12. BCI has issued the following key factors that entrants should bear in mind with their entries: sustainability, safety, cost, performance, uniqueness and value Last year’s winner was NorthStar Battery, which won for its Advanced Connected Energy mobile app, an integrated system that allows the user to monitor battery performance remotely.
Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences opened in September The Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences at Moravian College in Pennsylvania was officially opened towards the end of September. The centre — which is home to nursing, public health, informatics and undergraduate health
10 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
services — is named after the former chief executive and vice chair of East Penn who died in 2014. Sally’s mother Helen Breidegam, wife of DeLight Breidegam, the founder of East Penn who died in 2015, opened the $23 million centre which was raised from voluntary
subscriptions. Some 500 guests attended. Before her death, Miksiewicz hoped to surprise her mother by naming the health sciences building after her. Instead, her parents decided the building would bear Miksiewicz’s name.
ILA kicks off European campaign with appointment of Jarman The International Lead Association has appointed Hywel Jarman as its communications director, marking the start of its campaign across Europe to inform and educate regulators and policymakers about the benefits and sustainability of lead batteries. Jarman started on January 2. He will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic communications strategy across the UK-based ILA and its research arm ALABC, working in the US. The ILA’s counterpart campaign in North America — the Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative — kicked off in September with Battery Council International’s appointment of Lisa Dry.
“Now that the initiative is proceeding in America and Europe, we expect it to be picked up and continued in other parts of the world,” says Andy Bush, managing director of the ILA. “It is vital that we ensure regulatory decision-makers consider our industry and our products based on the latest facts and evidence available. We have a good story to tell and this
Microporous hires new VP of global operations
Sawyer: new global operations VP
Microporous, the lead-acid separator company, appointed Robert Sawyer as vice-president of global operations in October. His duties will include leading the engineering, supply chain and quality teams. He joins from SVI Austria, an electronics manufacturer for OEMs, where he was managing director.
Sawyer has worked in the electronics manufacturing industry for three decades and has spent almost 15 years working in Malaysia and Thailand. “His success in the US, Europe and Asia with companies such as Raychem/ Tyco and Flextronics aligns perfectly with the leadership needs of the business as it extends capacity beyond the US and Europe,” Arnie Gillert, director of sales, Americas, told Batteries International. Microporous, which is based in Tennessee and has a second plant in Austria, makes and sells high-performance rubber and rubber polyethylene separators for flooded lead-acid batteries. The firm says it has customers in 23 countries on five continents.
year we will be loud and proud in talking about the strengths of our industry and the many benefits of the lead-based products which power our everyday lives.” The ILA and BCI are working together to support each other’s campaigns. “Hywel brings an excellent and much needed skillset to our campaigning,” says Bush. “He brings considerable communications and advocacy experience from his work in Brussels and London.” Jarman spent the past four years as director of external affairs at a leading UK business organization, the Engineering Employers Federation, where he was responsible for promoting and representing the interests of the UK manufacturing industry. A former journalist, he has held a range of senior strategic communications and marketing positions during his work in the pub-
lic and private sector. “The lead industry has been and remains highly successful but it hasn’t always done enough to communicate its story,” Jarman says. “Part of my work through the ILA is to put the record straight about the importance of lead in our industrial eco-system and the role it plays in many every-day and essential products, from vehicle batteries to emergency back-up facilities supporting vital public services. “Part of that story is the industry’s record for the highest level of environmental sustainability and standards. The industry is also looking to the future as the results of innovation and research come to fruition and new products and market opportunities start to unfold. “I’m looking forward to working closely with lead producers and manufacturers throughout the value chains where lead is a major and vital contributor.”
Donofrio joins Johnson Controls as EVP and general counsel Johnson Controls announced on November 9 that John Donofrio would take over as executive vice president, corporate officer and general counsel from November 15. He took over from Judy Reinsdorf, executive vice president and general counsel of Tyco from 2007 to 2016. In September 2016 Tyco merged with Johnson Controls. The firm says Reinsdorf will support Donofrio through the transition period. Donofrio was previously vice president, secretary and general counsel for the global confectionary firm Mars.
Before that he was general counsel and secretary at the Shaw Group and Visteon. Earlier, Donofrio was a partner and trial attorney at Kirkland & Ellis and went in-house to become Honeywell’s vice president intellectual property and deputy general counsel. He later became vice president and general counsel of Honeywell aerospace division. He is also on the board of directors at FARO Technologies, the computeraided measurement and imaging devices and software developer, where he is chairman of the nominating and governance committees.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 11
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Gridtential appoints Barton as CEO, Gruenstern joins technical board. Gridtential Energy, the bipolar lead battery start-up, has appointed John Barton, former president of global asset management for SunEdison, as its new chief executive. In an October 24 announcement, former Johnson Power Solutions’ global VP of product and advanced engineering Bob Gruenstern was also named as a technology advisory board member. Barton takes over from Christiaan Beekhuis, who has been with Gridtential since 2011. Gruenstern joined JCI as an engineer in 1982 and retired from the firm in the summer of 2014. He presently works as a consultant to Interstate Batteries. Gridtential said the appointments were made because of Barton’s experience in the sustainable energy sector and across global supply chains, and Gruenstern’s engineering knowledge. The appointments follow the closing of its $11 million series ‘B’ financing round in September. Barton said: “After my two decades of product development, high-volume manufacturing and solar, I believe we’re seeing the same intersection of technology advances, increases in performance and cost reductions in energy storage that catapulted those industries to the next level. “This convergence is already transforming existing markets and enabling new ones, like the shift from 12 volt to 48 volt in hybrid cars.” Ray Kubis, chairman of Gridtential, said: “Barton’s operations experience will help our battery partners move to high volume manufacturing of our silicon joule technology.” In a silicon joule battery, silicon wafers are used as
Two new appointments at Gridtential: Barton (left) and Gruenstern
current collectors, replacing the lead grids used in traditional lead acid monoblocs. In an interview with BESB, Gruenstern said he was on the brink of retiring when Kubis approached him. “I’m a big proponent of lead-acid and when I heard about Gridtential I thought I’d like to see,” he said. “I didn’t expect it — you’ve got to have the right kind of technology and the right kind of market pull and when I went out on site with them I thought, they’ve got something unique that could solve the bipolar quest.
“The two major advantages are weight, because of the reduced amount of lead, and scaling up in voltage terms: the construction allows layers to be placed one on top of the other. This has always been a hurdle for lead-acid when it comes to 48 volts — you would have to use four lead-acid batteries and string them together with a cable connection. With this technology it can all be done in one unit. “Once you’ve achieved voltage of six, 12, 24, it’s just a matter of adding more layers.”
Gruenstern said that when inserting the plates, although some of the manufacturing process has to change, often it meant eliminating some of the steps or modifying existing ones. “In the end you are mixing and making lead-acid paste, assembling a battery, filling and forming the battery,” he said. “I’d really like to see bipolar come to fruition. Lead acid has been that technology that has evolved maybe not in giant steps, but it always remains an attractive trusted solution. It’s great to see when it makes the steps to keep up with application changes. “Lead acid has traditionally been excluded from a funding standpoint, but it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been trying to keep up and compete. Bipolar doesn’t have the energy density of power density of lithium, but it makes a good step towards it.”
TBS Engineering moves into new facility TBS Engineering, the UKbased lead-acid battery machinery maker, is expanding its operations with a new purpose-built facility in Gloucestershire costing £15 million ($19.6 million). Sales director Mark Gardiner said the new 100,000 sq ft facility, which will become operational in spring 2018, will give it greater capacity and increased efficiency. “We have a strong order book going into next year and we don’t see any reason to worry that there will be any change in the near term,” Gardiner told BESB. TBS customers include East Penn, Johnson
Controls and Trojan Battery. “The energy storage market is constantly exploring a variety of avenues for lead-acid, be they in reserve, automotive or standby power,” said Gardiner. “People are looking at load levelling in the grid and more renewable energy — there are plenty of applications where power storage is going
to be critical, and that won’t just be with the one chemistry.” The new facility will be the global head office for TBS Engineering, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2017. “Our investment in the new facility will support our growth and expansion plans,” said TBS managing director David Longney. The company, which specializes in plate manufacturing equipment such as rotary expander lines, multi alloy casters and continuous pastemixing systems, is part of Berkshire Hathaway, the US conglomerate headed up by billionaire Warren Buffett.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 13
Martin Milani appointed CEO of Sunverge Energy Sunverge Energy, a developer of residential energy storage systems and virtual power plant (VPP) software, has appointed Martin Milani as its new chief executive. He takes over from co-founder and CEO Ken Munson. Milani has been chief operating officer and chief technology officer for Sunverge since December 2016. His background of over 25 years in technology, including experience in grid services and modernization, position him well to lead the company into its next phase of growth. Milani will lead the development of Sunverge’s cloud
and edge software platform for managing distributed energy resources and smart home devices — including energy storage, residential and commercial PV and smart thermostats The Sunverge platform allows utilities and third parties to connect multiple energy storage units, other distributed energy resources (DERs) and home energy management systems to operate in unison as a VPP. The VPP platform provides benefits along the entire energy value chain, from consumer to market, delivering energy efficiency, bill savings, peak shifting and other essential reliabil-
ity benefits, across an entire community or service area. Before joining Sunverge, Milani was CTO and general manager of Nexant, a provider of technologies focused on the next generation intelligent grid, distributed energy resources, and the digital customer experience. Previous positions include: CTO of Tidal Software (acquired by Cisco Systems); CEO and CTO of Intersperse, a provider of monitoring and management solutions for the service-oriented enterprise; CTO of iBuilding, a web services process-flow management and orchestration company; and chief inter-
net technologist at Times Mirror Corporation. Before joining Times Mirror, Milani held senior-level technology and management positions at Wells Fargo, IBM, Retix, and Locus Computing. During former CEO Ken Munson’s tenure, Sunverge grew into a market leader in the distributed storage space. It consistently earned recognition as a Global CleanTech 100 company, and achieved commercial success in North America, Australia and Japan.
Four industry figures join Navigant’s global energy practice Navigant announced on November 7 that Mike Bianco, Jan-Willem Bode, Chip Wood and Bertil Heerink had joined the company’s global energy practice. Bianco has 26 years’ experience in information and operational technology solutions engineering, program management, and systems integration. He was previously vice president of Bridge Energy Group’s grid operations practice. Navigant says: “He will lead utility clients in developing solutions to deliver a distributed, and more sustainable power grid. This includes supporting the development and delivery of large-scale, transformational programs for utility grid modernization, distributed energy resources, and renewables. Jan-Willem Bode becomes a director based in London. Bode will work on markets in Europe and the Middle East and head the region’s strategy and technology team. Bode previously worked for Ecofys, a Navigant company. He also was
the co-founder and CEO of Mongoose Energy, a community energy company in the UK that financed more than £100 million ($133 million) of communityowned renewable assets. He is a former investment banker with SocGen. Chip Wood becomes a director based in Charlotte,
North Carolina. He has spent over 30 with Duke Energy, most recently as vice president, business development for its renewables business. Bertil Heerink becomes a director based in Brussels and Utrecht in the Benelux. He previously worked for the Dutch government’s en-
vironment ministry as head of European Union affairs, and as a counsellor of embassy in the permanent representation to the EU. He was also a member of the European Commission’s climate change negotiating team, responsible for the political contacts with the US and Japan.
Fludder becomes CEO of NEC Energy Solutions NEC Energy Solutions appointed Steve Fludder, as its new chief executive in early November. Fludder takes over from Hiro Ezawa, who is chairman of the firm and was CEO on a temporary basis. Fludder has substantial global experience, including 15 years based in Korea, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the UAE. He was most recently the CEO of Alpha-En Corporation, a publicly traded New York based clean energy company. Before that, he spent four years as a senior executive
14 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
officer with the Samsung Group as chief marketing and sales officer of Samsung Engineering. He also led Samsung Engineering’s US operation as president and CEO based in Houston, Texas. Fludder started his career at GE as an engineer for GE Aircraft Engines. He spent 27 years with the company including five years as a vice president and corporate officer. He led GE’s companywide Ecomagination environmental business initiative which grew to $18 billion during this time.
Before that he was responsible for several GE technology-based businesses across Asia, particularly as president and CEO of GE Energy China in Beijing, where he grew revenue 10-fold to over $1 billion in three years. Hiro Ezawa said: “his outstanding experience scaling and growing energy related businesses, executing transformational strategies and driving operational excellence, we couldn’t have a better executive leading us through this period of significant growth.”
CONTINUING TO GROW Let’s talk about what that means for you.
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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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SHEP WOLSKY — 1926-2017
Shep Wolsky, creator of International Battery Seminar and early pioneer of lithium batteries, dies aged 91 Sumner Wolsky, better known as Shep, the founder of the International Battery Seminar and a grandee of all chemistries within the battery industry, passed away on November 12 at the age of 91. He was a much loved and much admired figure — many of the current senior figures in the industry owe a debt to Wolsky who was famously generous to a fault with colleagues, friends and even strangers. He was also enormously bright. He graduated from high school aged just 15 and — notwithstanding the intervention of the Second World War — was able to gain his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Boston University aged just 21. Although his service in the US Navy, he was enlisted in the summer of 1944, was curtailed by an acute attack of scarlet fever, he was trained as a radar technician. This, with his academic experience gave him an introduction to Raytheon, the US electronics and engineering giant in 1949. It was that same year that he married Ann, a beautiful and intellectual woman and his wife of 62 years. She died in 2012. The two were to travel the world together visiting places as diverse as China — in the days when few westerners had visited the country — and Japan. In 1957 he joined PR Mallory — now Duracell — and was based in Burlington, Massachusetts where he became vice president of research and development. In this position he was to criss-cross the US ensuring quality control over Mallory’s plants across the country and taking designs from the drawing board to full implementation. There he helped to introduce Li-metal, Li-sulfur dioxide and Li-thionyl chloride batteries. He also helped Sony when it introduced the lithium-ion battery, obtaining the first US government approval for their transport. Wolsky wrote more than 100 technical papers and consulted on the de-
velopment of batteries with clients all over the world. Senior industry figures have expressed their condolences to the Wolsky family. Thomas Dougherty, a former director for advanced battery and hybrid systems and veteran at Johnson Controls, says: “I have known Shep for over 20 years. He has guided me in many endeavours. He is and was a man of letters and a person that warmed our hearts. We all must pass but he endures in our minds and goals for the future. God bless all that knew him and let us follow his momentum.” And Jean-Pol Wiaux, director general of Recharge, said: “I shall remem-
ber him as a gentleman …I always had an admiration for his motivation to look at the future and never be satisfied with today’s achievement.” Although most knew Wolsky as a rather shy and reserved person he was also a deep humanitarian. His daughter Amy recalls one such example, how a Cambodian refugee family fleeing the genocide of Pol Pot were brought to the US by a well meaning church group. “There were two adults, Bun Hor and Vana Tan, both whose spouses had been killed in the war and who married in a refugee camp in Thailand, and four children ranging in age
“I have known Shep for over 20 years. He has guided me in many endeavours. He is and was a man of letters and a person that warmed our hearts. We all must pass but he endures in our minds and goals for the future. God bless all that knew him and let us follow his momentum.” – Thomas Dougherty, a former director for advanced battery and hybrid systems and veteran at Johnson Controls. Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 17
SHEP WOLSKY — 1926-2017
from infancy to 14. They knew no one, did not speak English, could not drive a car and were here in this country completely alone. “My dad watched them move in from our yard across the street. You need to understand that my dad was a quiet, shy man. But, one day he got up the courage to cross the road into these people’s lives and he changed them forever. “He essentially adopted them, then we as a family adopted them. I think of the Tan family as my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. We shared our cars with them. We took them to doctors and stores. He brought them to our house on Cape Cod. “But most importantly, my dad offered the unskilled Bun Hor Tan a job in his laboratory. That single act of kindness epitomized my dad’s life. The job Bun Hor Tan had with my dad’s company lasted for 20 years.
18 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
“My dad became the Tan family’s first and life long friend. To the Tan children my father was simply ‘grandpa’.” But it is for the international battery seminars for which Wolsky will be remembered. The seminars were the first of its kind that were not just academic meetings but designed to serve the needs of the industry from both a research and a commercial point of view. Highlights of the meetings over the years — the first seminar Wolsky set up was in 1983 — has been the introduction and presentations of new technologies, perhaps the most notable was when Sony chose the seminar as a platform to announce its lithiumion technology in 1991. In recognition of his contributions to the field, the annual battery innovator award given out each year at the seminars is to be named the Shep Wolsky Battery Innovator Award.
“Working on the international battery seminar until his passing, his passion and impact on the worldwide battery community was profound and he will be deeply missed,” said Phillips Kuhl, president of the conference organizer Cambridge Enertech. Although he eventually moved to Florida, Wolsky remained true to his Massachusetts roots. He was a Bostonian sports fan, he loved Gilbert and Sullivan and published short stories and plays that were performed as recently as last year. The author of this obituary interviewed him just after the death of his wife who he had clearly been devoted to. He was a man of great heart, a man full of ideas and accomplishments but also a rounded man — as interested in poetry and theatre as in the world of science. Shep Wolsky August 21, 1926 – November 12, 2017
Oman opens first lead battery recycling plant The Oman-based Arab Lead Company announced in November it had opened the country’s first lead battery recycling plant, which has an annual recycling capacity of 5,443 tonnes. The $13 million facility, in the Al Rusayl Industrial Es-
tate in Muscat, has the capacity to produce lead with a minimum purity of 97% and polypropylene with minimum purity of 95%. According to the local Muscat Daily newspaper, the factory will produce lead ingots in the first in-
stance, which will be sold to the Oman car manufacturing industry. Eventually, the factory would work with Be’Ah, the environment services holding company responsible for waste management in the sultanate. It says it has
UN assembly agrees resolution on lead battery recycling in Africa A UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi meeting between December 4-6 made a resolution to combat backyard lead battery recycling in Africa. The assembly, the UNEA3, came up with the ‘Resolution on eliminating exposure to lead paint and promoting environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries’, which included measures to encourage member states to improve the sound management of waste lead-acid batteries. Tobias Schleicher, an economist with the independent research and consultancy agency Oeko Insitut in Germany, told Batteries International that from his point of view the resolution was an “important success within the UN process on lead”. He said: “Among others, the resolution encourages member states to continue their efforts for the environmentally sound management of waste lead acid batteries.” The Oeko Institut’s Andreas Manhart, senior researcher, sustainable products and material flows, said the resolution was a muchneeded signal. “It will raise the awareness for unsound lead acid battery recycling — in particular in developing countries,” he told Batteries International. “We now hope that follow-up action will be tangible. It will not be enough to study ULAB volumes, but authorities will
need to be trained and supported. “We will also need some form of international minimum standard for ULAB recycling that can be used for licensing and inspection, and also avoid each country struggling with such challenges alone. “UN resolutions have quite some influence in many developing countries: new resolutions often set the agenda for activities and processes in the ministries and administrations responsible for the environment. Moreover, UN resolutions also mean there is likely to be financing — either via international funds, or by bilateral support from other countries.” The Oeko Institut has been part of a Lead Recycling Africa Project that focused on the four countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon, where it found a mixture of issues such as fatal lead poison-
ing in children, manual battery breaking, backyard lead smelters, the disposal of sulfuric acid directly into soil, and a pile-up of plastic battery cases leading to the cross contamination of lead into daily-use products. In Cameroon, it found small firms were informally recycling lead then passing it on to the manufacturers of cookware that was then used all over the country in restaurants, homes and on open food stalls. Lead poisoning when it did occur was rarely diagnosed correctly, the project found, but symptoms were attributed to other diseases. The project found that in 2016, the total number of end-of-life ULABs was 1.23 million tonnes. Also involved in the project were the NGOs Agenda Tanzania, the Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action (CJGEA), the Research and Education Centre for De-
begun collecting waste lead batteries. The new plant coincides with the privatization of waste management in the sultanate, which will involve the closure of 317 dump sites, according to the newspaper. velopment (CREPD) and PAN Ethiopia. Patrick Schröder, a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies based in the UK, told Batteries International: “There is strong momentum for solar PV mini grid development to being electricity to the rural poor without access. “The issue of used leadacid batteries, which are used in the automotive industry, and increasingly as storage, hasn’t received sufficient attention yet. They are being recycled, but in most cases by the informal sector, which operates in the same way as waste recyclers, without proper facilities, and a lack of protective gear without consideration for environment and health. “There is some movement among regulators to get on top of this issue, but it will be difficult. I see a role for extended producer responsibility of the international battery manufacturers, as most batteries are imported and the recycled lead is exported back.”
BCI study confirms lead batteries to be the most recycled product in the US Perhaps not so new but at least it’s evidence based. A new study commissioned by BCI published on November 15 confirms that lead batteries remain the most recycled consumer product in the US. The study, by SmithBucklin Statistics Group, found that 99.3%
of batteries in a whole range of applications — light and heavy-duty vehicles, tractors, marine and RVs, golf carts, aircraft and stationary — were recycled. The study included new battery shipments, battery exports, imports of products with batteries and imports of scrap lead
and used batteries. Virtually no lithium batteries are recycled. In 2014 the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that the recycling rate of lead batteries was the highest among products compared to newspapers (68%), aluminium cans (28%), tyres (40.5%) and glass
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 19
Aqua Metals prices $15m stock offering but law firms start securities investigations Aqua Metals, the lead battery recycling company, has raised new capital but is also being investigated by various US law firms for possible violations of federal securities laws by the company’s officers. On January 13 a class action law suit was filed against the firm. On December 8 the firm announced it had priced an underwritten public offering of 7,150,000 shares at a public offering price of $2.10 per share, before fees that would have given the firm gross proceeds of just over $15 million. Oppenheimer & Co was the sole underwriter for the offering. Also that day, US firm Glancy Prongay & Murray announced it was launching an investigation into the company, saying: “On May 9, 2017, Aqua Metals disclosed the existence of several major issues with its recycling facility rampup. On this news, the company’s stock price fell $4.34 per share or 26%, to close at $12.31 on May 10, 2017, thereby injuring investors.” Other firms have launched investigations. However, Californian law firm Pomerantz took this further on January 13 and announced a class action lawsuit would soon be filed. Pomerantz said: “The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) the Company was touting the business value of the Interstate Bat-
tery Partnership and the JCI Partnership; (ii) the Company was aware of and ignoring material unresolved deficiencies in the AquaRefining technology and process preventing large scale development; (iii) the Company was experiencing numerous execution and operational issues preventing scaling and production ramp up at its facility; (iv) the Company was unable to produce and generate revenue from its core business, therefore, remaining unprofitable; and (v) as a result, Aqua Metals’ public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.” Filing a law suit does not mean that any impropriety has occurred but that a legal case will be made to determine if this has happened. Chairman and CEO Steve Clarke said in midDecember he was unable to respond to Batteries International about the initial investigation saying: “We are in a SEC quiet period and cannot comment.” During a quiet period, a publicly listed company cannot make any announcements about anything that could cause a normal investor to change their position on the company’s stock. All this is a far cry from the numerous accolades that the firm has won over the past two years. At the end of May, for example, the firm was named Breakthrough Solution of the Year by S&P Global Platts, the energy and commodities markets information provider. This March Aqua Metals’ stock price hit a high of nearly $22 a share. On December 11, its stock price dipped below $2.
The share offering as well as the legal moves highlights the mix of opinions over Aqua Metals. In an investor call on November 9, Clarke revealed that progress on setting up Aqua Metals first battery recycling plant in Reno, Nevada was mixed. The 80,000 tonnes a day that in January 2016 Aqua Metals announced it was intending to produce by early 2017 did not materialize. Clarke refused to be drawn on the key question of the throughput of the plant — probably the best indication of how advanced the firm was — but was prepared to talk about the progress of the installation equipment and give some details of its further licensing relationship with Johnson Controls. “We’re not providing individual tonnage per day, utilization rates or any of that data,” he said. “What we are saying is that we’ve got 16 modules on site. We’ve got eight fully assembled. We’ve put four on site and assembled them in less than a month, it was a tremendous effort and I’m confident we’ll have all 16 assembled by the end of the year.” Bhakti Pavani, senior research analyst at Euro Pacific Capital, asked about any modifications that might be needed for producing lead ingots — to which Clarke replied that the issues faced and resolved with the battery breaker had been “quite unexpected” but were resolved, and that the 16 existing modules were being ramped up. However he would not be drawn on the utilization rate of the four modules that Aqua Metals says are up and running. Lead battery recycler Aqua
Metals announced securing the licensing agreement with Johnson Controls in February 2017. “It’s difficult for us to provide some of the level of detail that all of our investors want around exactly where are we with JCI, what’s going to be the first facility, how big is it going to be and how many more are we going to do,” Clarke told the investors’ conference call. “Quite honestly, we’re not going to be able to provide the level of granularity that people want because we’re talking about highly commercially sensitive matters that neither we or JCI particularly want all of our competitors to know about.” He said the firm was “thrilled” with the relationship with JCI. “We’re somewhat overwhelmed by the scale and scope of what we could do in rolling out and providing equipment. That process has started. It will include engineering and other services as well as providing AquaRefining modules. But in terms of providing capital to the company, it adds another dimension.” Separately, Aqua Metals issued a Notice of Allowance by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the first US patent for its AquaRefining technology on October 16. A Notice of Allowance determines that the patent application meets all requirements to satisfy a patent application — ie description, design, drawings or blueprints. Approving an application and granting the patent are different things. Aqua Metals has already had patents issued in Japan, Korea and Australia.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 21
Exide Technologies announces $35m grid factory and new product lines Exide Technologies, the lead battery manufacturer, announced on October 25 it was planning to build a $35 million punched grid factory in Kansas City, Missouri, US that will produce three billion grids a year. The 180,000 sq ft facility is in answer to the company’s growing market share in the automotive and industrial battery market, Exide CEO and president Vic Koelsch said. At the AAPEX 2017 conference in Las Vegas on October 31, new product lines in the so-called ‘start your vehicle’ and ‘power your vehicle’ categories were revealed. “Our transportation business is up significantly — double digits over last year
— with growth primarily in the automotive segment,” Koelsch told Batteries International. “Growth has been driven by the acquisition of major aftermarket and retail customers as well as growth with existing customers. “Overall, the market for lead batteries remains strong and growing. We anticipate some market segments to be impacted by lithium where lead acid isn’t able to solve the application problem or provide the solution. We’re certainly seeing this develop in the automotive segment based on the degree of electrification. “We expect other segments may see a higher adoption rate; a recent example is the golf car. Exide
will continue to strengthen its lead product lines while pursuing lithium alternatives where appropriate.” The new products in the ‘Power your vehicle’ category include additions to the Exide Edge battery line, which are start-stop compatible and include AGM products as well as a new enhanced flooded battery. Exide claims the Edge line provides 10%-20% more power, has up to four times the cycle life and recharges more quickly. In the ‘Start your vehicle’ line, the Exide Excell line of batteries has new cold cranking capability, the company said. Exide was not the only battery giant to unveil products at the AAPEX
conference last October. Saying it was addressing the increasing demands for safety, comfort and sustainability, JCI’s Power Solutions brought 11 new AGM batteries with different sizes to the conference. “Johnson Controls can now address nearly 90% of cars in the US that would require a replacement AGM battery, including high-electrical-load vehicles and stop-start vehicles, which are expected to grow globally by 60% by 2025,” the company said. “In anticipation of this growth, Johnson Controls will invest more than $780 million globally between 2015 and 2020 in AGM technology to increase capacity.”
Interstate Batteries signs exclusive deal with auto parts retailer Interstate Batteries, the US battery brand, announced on December 12 it had formed an exclusive partnership with Advance Auto Parts, an automotive aftermarket parts retailer that has more than 4,900 outlets in the US and overseas. The partnership, which will officially begin in spring 2018, “offers unrivalled automotive aftermarket product assortment and availability”, a company statement said. The new deal means that Advance Auto Parts will be the only auto parts retailer to stock Interstate’s batteries — and it will eventually stock them at its Carquest stores, which are independently owned, as well as its own firm’s stores. Subsidiaries Worldpac, Autopart International and Carquest Canada will also offer Interstate products “in the future”, the statement said. “Together with Interstate, we are positioned to in-
crease market share in batteries and achieve growth,” said Advance Auto Parts president and CEO Tom Greco. “Long-term strategic partnerships with our suppliers are important and this is a great example.” The two firms say Interstate’s battery distribution network, the largest in
North America, combined with Advance’s locations will mean customers are guaranteed a 99% coverage for cars, light trucks and speciality battery demand. The firms will also work together to ensure that more than 30 million batteries are recycled every year, the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of lead.
Northstar’s Springfield project officially connected to grid NorthStar Battery officially connected its Blue+ thin plate lead battery to the grid at City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri, US, on November 2, holding a dedication ceremony to mark the connection. “The BESS has been cycled several times (1MWh discharges) and the system is operating as intended,” chief operating officer Carlos Estrada told Batteries
22 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
International, adding that the system had a life expectancy of between seven and 10 years. The system has been installed to peak shifting, frequency regulation and UPS back up power for the utility’s customers in the southwest region of Springfield. With NorthStar’s 1,140 batteries, housed in two containers, back-up is immediate, with 2.5
“This alliance places us where our professional and retail customers are making purchasing decisions, allowing Advance Auto Parets and independent Carquest stores to serve as convenient, one-stop shops to meet our customers’ needs,” said Scott Miller, president and CEO of Interstate Batteries. available at 100% depth of discharge and 1MW at 40% DOD. The system will be monitored by NorthStar’s ACE remote management system, which took the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Innovation award at the BCI conference in May. Senior management teams from NorthStar Battery and City Utilities joined officers from the local and state governments for the dedication ceremony.
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Furukuwa Battery partners Vietnamese manufacturer Pinaco Pinaco, the Vietnamese battery manufacturer, and Furukawa Battery, the Japanese lead-acid battery manufacturer, are to form a strategic partnership and an agreement to that effect should be signed by the end of the year. The agreement should last for five years. Although Furukawa already owns 10.5% of Pinaco, the agreement will allow it a greater presence on the Pinaco board in exchange for more technical input. One member has already been appointed to the board, said Aki Hashimoto, responsible for corporate planning and strategy at Furukawa Battery. Future projects could include the manufacturing of the UltraBattery, developed by Australia’s CSIRO and Furukawa Battery, before being commercialized by the East Penn subsidiary Ecoult. “We will deepen and
ter Far East Wind International (I-Wind), a project it described as “the starting point of our industrial storage battery business overseas”. “We will consider which areas we will focus on and possibly expand the UltraBattery in the Vietnamese market depending on the local demands and requests from Pinaco,” Hashimoto said. Pinaco makes motorbike and car batteries under the brand Dong Nai as well as dry cell batteries under the brand Con O. Government figures in 2016 showed there were 45 million registered motorbikes in Vietnam, which has
a population of 92 million. Tariffs on car imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be lifted entirely in 2018, and Vietnam’s car market is expected to grow at 20% annually in the following years. More than 304,000 automobiles were sold in 2016 compared to 133,000 in 2014. In 2014, Pinaco was awarded Ford Q1 certification from Ford Motors Group — its highest award and a global recognition for suppliers that have achieved a high level of performance in quality, production and management capacity and customer satisfaction.
Hammond Group’s lead battery laboratory wins award for innovation
our customers.” Thanking the group’s employees for their hard work and commitment, Murphy said: “It’s been recognized in the battery community, but perhaps more importantly, now it’s been recognized in our community.”
Hammond Group was awarded the highest team award from the Society of Innovators on October 26 — the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation. The award was presented for Hammond’s leadacid battery laboratory E=(LAB)2, which was created in 2015 to work with industry to improve battery charge acceptance and cycle life. The Indiana-based Society of Innovators aims to honour creativity that changes lives and fuels economic development. The laboratory, in Hammond in the US state of Indiana, was set up to develop advanced battery and energy storage chemistry. It
strengthen the relationship in aspects such as management, business and technologies. We have provided technical support to Pinaco since 2010. We will consider which areas we will focus on,” Hashimoto told Batteries International. “We believe the demand for automotive batteries is increasing due to the growing availability of fourwheel cars in Vietnam and the need for eco-friendly cars like idling start-stop vehicles is increasing as well.” Furukawa has operations in India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. In June it installed the first UltraBattery in Thailand for the wind power-generating firm In-
also houses a high capacity performance additives production line that serves the Americas. “We went beyond highly engineered expanders,”
president Terry Murphy said. “Products such as our advanced expander line have opened up a new world of business of offering tailored solutions to
Sacred Sun wins contract again for UPS batteries in UK-France tunnel Chinese lead-acid battery manufacturer Sacred Sun announced on December 1 that it had been handed a new contract to provide the UPS to the 31-mile (50km) undersea rail tunnel between Britain and France. The company says there has been a zero fault rate since it installed its AGM
24 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
lead batteries 10 years ago to Eurotunnel — which was renamed ‘Getlink’ this November. “The batteries performed very well in the wet, highsalt-corrosive environment and have been running stably and reliably since being put into use, well satisfying the requirement of power supply for
lighting, monitoring, and safeguarding the good running of the overall system,” a Sacred Sun company statement said. Sacred Sun’s product range is wide, spanning telecoms, UPS, energy storage and motive power applications. It is one of the largest VRLA battery companies in China.
Student applications for $2.5k bursaries to ELBC extended to January 31 $2.5k (€2,000) sponsorships for students wishing to attend the 16th European Lead Battery Conference in Vienna in September are up for grabs until the end of January, the ILA and Ecobat Technologies announced on January 11. A limited number of sponsorships for students or others involved in the development or manufacture of lead-acid batteries is always made available to cover registration, travel and accommodation costs. Applicants should send CVs and an abstract of their battery work to Maura McDermott at the conference secretariat. More than 800 delegates are expected at the
16ELBC, which will be held on September 4-7 and should be the largest gathering of lead battery experts this year. Presentations will be heard on topics ranging from consumer requirements for energy storage applications; the use of carbon in lead batteries; battery testing and advanced analytical techniques; additives; development of electrochemical models; improving lifetimes and deep cycle life; future production requirements; and gas evolution and water loss in relation to dynamic charge acceptance improvements. Registration for 16ELBC opens in March.
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India’s Exide Industries expands battery range to include lithium Exide Industries, India’s largest lead acid battery manufacturer, says it will begin assembling lithiumion batteries in India from next year, with the possibility of manufacturing them as demand grows. Chaowei Power Holdings, or Chilwee, a Chinabased lead acid battery manufacturer, confirmed to Batteries International that it would be working with Exide to develop an assembly plant with a view to future manufacture, but did not give any further details. An unnamed German battery manufacturer and the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai are also said to be involved, reported BloombergQuint, the Indian media company. Exide did not answer queries from either Batteries International or BloombergQuint about the lithium move. India has announced it intends to produce and sell only electric vehicles by
2030 in its push to reduce the country’s dependence on oil. Exide had already hinted about such a move this July, when chief executive Gautam Chatterjee said he saw great potential for lead batteries in the booming e-rickshaw market but that the firm would start production of lithium ion batteries when the sales of electric two-wheelers picked up. And in June the head of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) Rahul Walawalkar said he expected to India add more than 1GWh of lithium-ion battery assembly capacity this year, with a host of companies getting in on the act, according to press reports. Adding the chemistry to its portfolio does not mean that Exide is giving up on lead acid, with demand for lead batteries remaining high in the rickshaw sector. However, rising lead prices have forced the company to increase the price
of its batteries by 7.5%. To answer the need for more lead, the company announced in January that it would set up a third lead smelter in Haldia, West Bengal. Its 100%-owned subsidiary Chloride Metals will run the smelter, which will be built on land offered by the state government to Exide. “The finer details of investments have still not been made public or finalized and once the land is obtained and made useable for industrial activity we should be able to give figures for capacity and capital expenditure,” chief public relations officer Sudipto Roy told Batteries International on October 30. “We use 50% recycled lead in our batteries. It is not only a cost issue but part of our environmental commitment too. We have our own smelting units in southern and western India. In the other regions we collect old batteries from our customers and send
them to authorized local smelting units and buy back the lead from them. “It is a government rule that all battery makers buy back their old batteries from the customers and send them for smelting.” Speaking to Batteries International, Ajoy Raychaudhuri, director of the New Delhi-based Battery and Recycling Foundation International, said all lead battery makers were thinking about making the switch to lithium but had not done so yet. “Nothing so far has happened, there’s not a single lithium battery that’s been produced yet,” he said. “But since the Indian government has taken the decision to do away with the ICE, it’s foremost in people’s minds and by 2030 40% of all cars will be EVs. “Lead acid battery makers will be okay for the next five years — but they will have to do something then.”
Log 9 Materials claims technological breakthrough with graphene Indian start-up Log 9 Materials claims to have made a technological breakthrough using graphene to improve the capacity of lead-acid batteries by 30%, founder and CEO Akshay Singhal told Batteries International on October 26. The life cycle had also increased by 35%, he said.“We are close to commercialization and trying to partner up with existing players in the market to cater to different needs of batteries in different applications, ie operational requirements are quite different for a car battery as compared to a storage battery for solar panel applica-
tions,” Singhal said. “So far the interest has been from domestic players including the defence sector. Some of them are interested for automobile applications, others for solar energy storage, etc. “Our novelty lies in improving the efficiency of lead batteries at a commercially viable price. It is cheaper — more energy can be stored per unit mass — and the battery life has been extended. Previously a battery life of two years is now almost three. “At Log 9 our focus has been on the affordability of graphene-based products.
26 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
We have formulated a series of graphene formulations suited for different battery applications.” Adding graphene to the battery should not require any change to the manufacturing process. “Where manufacturers were adding, say, four powders to the paste inside the battery, now they will have to add five,” Singhal said. Log 9 Materials, based in Bangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, began life as a graphene and nanoparticles manufacturer in July 2014. Capital raised from Asian private equity firm GEMS
(General Enterprise Management Services) in March enabled the company to set up a 4,000 sq ft R&D facility in Mathikere, Bangalore and a 1,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Deoband in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Log 9 began its series ‘A’ fundraising this October and says it will have five “new ready to market technologies” by the middle of 2018. Some 95% of India’s energy storage devices use leadacid batteries, said Singhal, although Log 9 was working on similar advancements in lithium-ion technology.
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Daramic announces another $50m for Asia expansion, presents new EFB separator range Daramic, the lead-acid polyethylene battery separator manufacturer, has announced it will spend more than $50 million over the next three years to expand its production capacity in Asia. The expansions will take place at Daramic’s facilities in Tianjin, China, Prachinburi, Thailand, and at its most recent plant in Gujarat, India, which opened in April. Making the announcement in the opening address of the 17th ABC in Kuala Lumpur in September, Daramic president Bryan Moorehead, who co-chaired the ABC’s organizing committee, said the investment brought the company’s total spending in Asia to more than $200 million since the company began operating in the continent in 2000 with its manufacturing plant in Prachinburi. “With these expansions, it will also provide a more balanced capacity for Dara-
mic to support our customers across all regions in the world,” said Moorehead. Moorehead said innovation in the industry would be the key driver for the next five to 10 years, and that Asia provided a growth opportunity for the industry as a whole. Daramic is an Asahi Kasei company and says it is the world-leading manufacturer of high-performance polyethylene battery separators for lead-acid batteries in automotive, industrial and speciality applications. Separately, the battery separator manufacturer, gave its first private two-day presentation to the Japanese car giant Toyota on November 28-29. Daramic presented its new enhanced flooded separators, which it says can fulfill Toyota’s EFB/start-stop needs. Its parent company, Asahi Kasei, also exhibited more than 50 of its automotive components, including inte-
rior and exterior electronics, battery components, interactive displays and a new concept car, the AKXY. “It is the first time Daramic has had a private exhibition with Toyota, which shows the successful engagement that the lead-acid battery industry can have with Toyota,” said Dawn Heng, director of global marketing for Daramic. “We are honoured to share the breadth of automotive solutions, including Daramic’s enhanced flooded separator solutions, while engaging in discussions with Toyota employees from different functions to understand their focus, pain points and unmet needs for automotive battery and electronic systems.” The showcase was the third major global OEM summit in 2017 from Daramic. “As electrification continues to play an important role in automotive ecosystems, it is important to understand not only the bat-
tery needs, but the overall system needs,” said Heng. “For example, the battery management system and other electric components require much more interaction with the battery than ever before. It’s only through understanding ecosystem needs completely that we can engage with auto manufacturers to develop solutions in a systematic manner. “Asahi Kasei, with its breadth of automotive solutions, has positioned Daramic and its sister companies to deliver solutions that meet automotive manufacturer electrification requirements.” Asahi Kasei Group companies Daramic, Celgard and Hipore are among the world’s largest providers of lead acid and lithium-ion separators and are collaborating with Asahi Kasei Automotive to provide a full suite of electrification products for the automotive market.
Discover Energy announces new CEO and Korean manufacturing acquisition Discover Energy announced the acquisition of manufacturing facility iQ Power Asia, which makes flooded batteries with the anti-stratification technology Mixtech, on November 17, along with the appointment of Steve Nam (pictured left) as CEO. After months of financial restructuring, Canadabased Discover bought the Korean plant from iQ Power Licensing, the Swiss company that developed the mixing technology for flooded batteries. The Korean plant has been re-named the Discover Mixtech Manufacturing Company. Discover Energy
co-founder Steve Nam becomes the new company’s CEO. While mixing technology is not new, the company says other electrolyte-mixing systems only partially mix the electrolyte, whereas Mixtech performs an entire 360° circulation. The device has no moving parts and uses the driving dynamics of the vehicle to achieve the mixing results by using hydrostatic pressure differences from driving movements in the battery chambers. The more a flooded battery is charged and discharged, the more stratification becomes a problem
28 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
— which was eliminated with AGM batteries. However they are much more expensive and heat sensitive, which prompted designers to come up with EFBs. A source close to Discover said one large carmaker had been using the Mixtech batteries in two models for a year, and that other OEMs were in talks with the firm. The facility in Korea was set to open a second production line, the source said. “The acquisition of the manufacturing facility secures the supply of automotive and commercial batteries to sustain the global success of its Discoverbranded Mixtech product
line,” the company said. The source also said further details would be released at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Mainz, Germany, at the end of the month. At the end of September David Norman joined the firm as director for product and business development with a remit to introduce Discover’s Advanced Energy Systems products — lithium ion batteries — to energy storage resellers and to expand Discover’s solar market footprint globally. Norman spent the last 17 years at Schneider Electric and Xantrex Technology in senior global positions.
‘How to believe six impossible things before breakfast’ — the European Commission view A European battery value chain was launched at a high-level EC consortium on October 11, where business leaders and politicians met to urge the energy storage industry to catch up with China. “The transcript of the event showed how completely out of touch this meeting was with the reality of the present situation, It’s like the White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass — how to believe six impossible things before breakfast!” one industry commentator later said. “This is a clear case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted — it’s too late. Europe’s battery manufacturing business has been engulfed by Asia already. “Moreover the discussions were hopelessly weighted against lead — it hardly got a mention at all — it is complete foolishness to believe that a proven and existing technology has been usurped by a still unproven one with a host of yet unresolved environmental handicaps, such as recycling still to be dealt with.” Speaking at the meeting, vice-president of the EC in charge of energy union Maros Sefcovic said that to remain dependant on Asian technology, as is the case today, cannot be an option. “We need a clear vision to create a European battery alliance, a full value chain of battery alliances established in the EU,” he said, promising that by 2025 the battery sector in Europe would be worth €250 billion ($300 billion) a year — the same size as the Danish economy.
“Alice laughed: ‘There’s no use trying, one can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’’ — Alice in Wonderland
Matthias Machnig, German state secretary of the federal ministry for economic affairs and energy, said a clear industrial policy was needed and investment from OEMs. “We don’t need more feasibility studies, we need concrete steps forward,” he told the consortium. “We are late in Europe and we have to focus and concentrate on a clear industrial roadmap.” And in a bid to ensure lead-acid batteries will be a part of the mix, the ILA has urged the commission to remain technology neutral. “The ILA agrees there is an urgent need for a clear European framework that supports innovation in battery technology… But this must recognize and support the future potential for all battery types, including lead batteries,” an ILA statement read. “The reality is that internal combustion and elec-
tric engines are expected to co-exist for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we must remain technology neutral and encourage the continued development of all battery chemistries through appropriate financial and legislative stimulus.” Of all the vehicles sold in Europe in 2016, 60% incorporated stop-start, lead battery technology, the ILA said. “Lead batteries are also present in micro-hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles. In fact, virtually every vehicle on the road in Europe relies on a lead battery, and this demand will continue into the foreseeable future for transportation and critical industrial applications.” Rene Schroeder, executive director of EUROBAT, said the initiative was welcomed but said all technologies should be considered. “EUROBAT believes that one key condition for the success of this initia-
tive is that coherence must be found for a regulatory framework that ensures a further development of all existing and new battery technologies in Europe,” he said. “A variety of battery chemistries and technologies exists today: lead, lithium, sodium and nickel batteries. They all answer to different demands in terms of performance, capabilities and applications. Batteries play a key role in the development of cleaner vehicles, from start-stop technology to various degrees of powertrain hybridization and the emergence of full electric passenger vehicles, trucks and buses. “However, internal combustion engine and electric vehicles will co-exist for the foreseeable future, and full advantage of all possible CO2 emission saving potential from automotive batteries in all types of vehicles should be taken.”
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 29
Lithium only zone — new £80m UK research facility not to target lead acid Funds from a new £80 million ($108 million) government-funded UK battery research facility, announced by Greg Clark, secretary of state for business and energy on November 29, will be directed at developing lithium batteries but lead acid batteries will not even get a look in. The facility is to be built with collaboration between WMG, at the university of Warwick, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council. Dave Greenwood, a WMG official, told Batteries International that the facility would be funded by the Faraday Challenge, for which automotive was the leading application, but that grid storage, marine and aviation applications would also be engaged. But when it came to the battery chemistries, “the facility is primarily aimed at lithium-ion technologies and those that will succeed it (such as sodium-ion, solid state and multivalent chem-
istries),” Greenwood said. “This is disgraceful,” a senior battery figure told Batteries International. “There’s an almost instinctive knee-jerk bias to promote lithium over lead through a sheer lack of understanding of lead as an energy storage chemistry. This is a political and funding decision based on ignorance.” Not all lead battery industry insiders agreed. ALABC’s Geoffrey May said: “The facility is focused on automotive batteries and any battery developments that have application in energy storage will be a plus but not the key driver. Since it is automotive and mainly EVs, it has to use high-energy density batteries. The call for proposals was in the public domain and it is no surprise that the successful bidder is West Midlands based with the University of Warwick a key player as they are close to the automotive industry and have competence in battery research.
“I don’t think the lead battery industry can feel excluded on this one. We have to play to our strengths.” The WMG said: “The Faraday Challenge is driven by automotive requirements (in the first instance). The sector can buy adequate lead acid batteries in the open market without a need for a development facility like this.” Greenwood said that as far as recycling was concerned, the facility would explore the use of materials and constructions of batteries that can be more easily recycled, “and will explore the use of recycled material in the construction of new batteries.
“It won’t be directly developing material recovery process,” he said. “The facility will assist manufacturers and boost the future vehicle and transportation electrification industry by leading innovation, enabling the creation of products with performance ahead of international benchmarks speeding market entry, enabling rapid growth, and acting as a magnet for inward investment in the key technologies. It will also significantly scale up UK skills capacity in this area,” the announcement said. The plant should be up and running by 2019.
RedT’s vanadium flow batteries connected to UK farm and holiday development Utilities company Centrica has signed up vanadium flow battery developer RedT Energy as the first official participant in its local energy market trial, in which £19 million ($25million) has been allocated to test flexible power generation and storage to reduce pressure on the local grid. RedT’s 1MWh ‘machines’ — the firm does not consider them batteries — were officially connected to the grid on November 13. The machines will store energy generated by solar panels at a 600-acre farm, the Olde House, in north
Cornwall in the south of England, which also has a number of holiday homes. When holidaymakers come back from the beach in the evening, there will be enough power stored in the batteries to provide electricity for their overnight needs — with estimated savings of 50% on grid imports during peak periods. Centrica’s project was launched in December 2016 with Western Power Distribution, the University of Exeter and the National Grid and funded by Centrica, the British Gas Energy for Tomorrow fund and a
30 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
grant from the European Regional Development Fund. It is part of a shift away from large power stations to smaller, more distributed providers, making it possible for users to trade any excess generation with other consumers, said Joe Worthington, a RedT spokesperson. “Now these machines are up and running, Centrica will take control of the operation of the system and use them to trade energy,” he said. “In addition to traditional contracted grid services
such as frequency response, merchant revenue services like this will play an important part of our future energy system.” RedT says its flow machines will last for more than 25 years. “The Olde House is a perfect example of how UK businesses can now utilize more of their renewable generation and make money supporting the electricity grid,” said RedT CEO Scott McGregor. He reckons the potential market for behind-the-meter energy storage in the UK is in the range of 3,000 GWh.
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ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM NEWS
35GW of new US storage to be installed by 2025 predicts ESA The path to a more resilient US grid has been laid out in a new white paper published on November 6 by the Energy Storage Association and developed in conjunction with Navigant Research. The report — 35x25: A Vision for Energy Storage — details the way to drive the deployment of more than 35GW of new energy storage systems in the US by 2025 and, in turn, move the country towards a disruption-proof grid. The creation of such a grid will require, the report says, the continued evolution of the way policymakers, operators and other stakeholders think about the grid. The ESA believes there are three areas where public policy regulation reforms could unlock the potential of energy storage.
“First, there needs to be signal of value for the services storage provides, be it in market designs, programs, or rates,” says the association. “Second, there needs to be inclusion of storage in all planning and procurement processes as a regular part of business. “Third, there needs to be access for storage to interconnect with the grid and operate in a flexible manner, including under a variety of business models. Both regulators and legislators have work to do on these counts.” By building more on-demand capacity, responsive balancing capability, as well as energy storage technologies will help address grid vulnerabilities and make modern grids more resilient, sustainable, efficient and affordable.
“First, there needs to be signal of value for the services storage provides, be it in market designs, programs, or rates” More specifically, the ESA believes, it will need to be bi-directional; controlled at a granular, sub-hourly level; increasingly decarbonized; use central generation, distributed energy resources, energy efficiency and demand response, and energy storage to balance and optimize the operations. Post 2020, the relationship between end-users and utilities will increasingly see customers become prosumers as well as consumers as their awareness of how, when and what energy sources they use grows with their use of tools such as smart grid, EVs, storage, and solar.
“The most forwardthinking utilities are systematically procuring grid services from customer-sited resources, and we expect that trend to continue,” says the ESA. Power outages, surges and spikes cost the US economy between $70 billion and $150 billion each year and as an increasing number of EVs, data centres and renewable energy generation is brought on line this is set to increase. In 2017, the US had around 500MW of installed energy storage, deployed in retail and wholesale markets.
World’s first hybrid supercapacitor, flywheels and LAES system to test EFR, FFR capability Energy storage company Highview will test the grid frequency service capabilities of the world’s first hybrid flywheel, supercapacitor and liquid air energy storage (LAES) system at its Viridor’s Pilsworth landfill gas plant in the UK, the firm announced on October 12. The project at Highview’s existing 5MW/15MWh LAES pre-commercial demonstrator looks at how the system can meet the requirements of the UK grid operator National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response and Firm Frequency Response services. The Pilsworth LAES plant will be commissioned in early 2018 and the hybrid system is due to be in full operation by next summer.
The project will use a Siemens supplied flywheel system storing up to 4,000kJ, with the 2,950kJ supercapacitor coming from Maxwell Technologies. The power conversion element to control the transfer of energy to load banks, supercapacitors, flywheels and the grid will be provided by Siemens Sinamics S120. Vincent Morton, Siemens’ development manager for integrated drive systems, told Batteries International the technologies were chosen over lithium-ion because a flywheel and supercapacitor hybrid system was better suited to the requirements of delivering a large burst of energy for a relatively short time — high power, low energy — that
suited the application. “From calculating many combinations to suit the particular parameter in this system (including but not limited to: energy, power, duty cycle, budget) this system was selected,” Morton said. “The combination of flywheel and supercapacitor also allows flexibility and a platform to innovate and develop advanced control of power management between the different types of storage.” The LAES process is expected to ramp up to the declared output in a few seconds, with the energy storage system providing the balance of the declared output during this period. The Siemens Sinamics S120 power converters will con-
trol the flow of energy in and out of the flywheels by accelerating or decelerating the flywheel rotor. The S120 motor modules provide a variable voltage, variable frequency threephase supply to the flywheel stator and converts this to a steady DC voltage on the S120 DC-link. The Sinamics DCP controls the flow of energy in and out of the supercapacitors by increasing/decreasing the DC voltage applied, while maintaining a constant DC voltage at the S120 DC link. The S120 active front end then converts this DC voltage from the DC link to a 50Hz grid compliant import/export to the grid via a Siemens GEAFOL transformer.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 33
ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM NEWS
ESS installation costs set to fall by at least 50% by 2030 The installed costs for stationary battery energy storage systems will fall by more than 50% across the different chemistries and technologies by 2030, according to a report published on October 6 by the International Renewable Energy Agency. While 96% of global installed stationary power storage capacity will continue to come from pumped-hydro systems, economies of scale and technology breakthroughs should see the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as lithium ion and flow batteries. The finding were published in IRENA’s Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030, which was launched during the ‘Innovation for Cool Earth Forum’ in Tokyo, Japan, which ran between October 4-5. Michael Taylor, senior analyst, renewable energy cost status and outlook at IRENA, told Energy Storage Journal: “We see lower
installation costs and decarbonization of energy as interlinked. “They are both likely to contribute to deployment growth. Due to recent, sometimes rapid, cost reductions for renewable power generation, lowcost storage systems can be an enabler for the efficient management of high shares of variable renewable electricity in the systems (noting that they are competing with other options to do this). “However, at the same time as battery deployment starts to increase, best practice and operational experience may unlock synergies for continued cost reductions that will in turn open up new business opportunities for battery electricity storage technologies that may not have been plausible in the past.” Installations costs of vanadium redox flow battery systems were forecast to decrease the most, around 66%, from $347/kWh in 2016 to $119/kWh by 2030.
Musk meets 100 day, 100MW installation deadline for ESS in Southern Australia It was a gamble, but Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has fulfilled his promise to install the world’s largest lithium ion powered energy storage system in South Australia within 100 days, the state’s premier Jay Weatherill announced on November 23. The 100MW/129MWh system will now enter a phase of regulatory testing — to ensure the battery is optimized and meets AEMO and South Australian government requirements — with the goal of being able to offer back-up
power during the Australian summer. The ESS was energized for the first time on November 24, at 8.36am and reached 31MW in two minutes, Audrey Zibelman, the leader of Australia’s energy market operator said. Throughout the testing period, the battery, connected to French renewable energy company Neoen’s Hornsdale windfarm in Jamestown, will be providing system security services to South Australia’s energy grid.
34 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
For lead-acid, installation costs by 2030 are expected to halve from its 2016 numbers. The decreased costs for lithium-ion systems will vary depending on the chemistry (between 54% for LTO [estimates in 2016 range between $473/kWh and $1,260/kWh] and up to 61% for LFP systems). Compressed air energy storage is set to fall from $53/kWh for a typical project in 2016 to $44/ kWh by 2030. Installation costs for flywheel systems should decline to between $1,000/kWh and $3,900/ kWh by 2030 as cycle and calendar lifetimes improve. Taylor says lithium and other non-lead chemistries were likely to dominate the deployment in stationary applications out to 2030,
but lead-acid batteries had the potential to remain in use if they could decrease costs. “For instance, compared to the automotive market, the stationary lead acid production processes could be better optimized through increased automation,” he said. “Electrode improvements that rely on carbon embedding or the introduction of copper stretch metal meshes in the negative electrode of flooded lead acid batteries also have the potential to improve system performance. This could see them retain a place in the market, notably in hybrid storage systems that combine high power storage solutions like flywheels or lithium ion batteries with less expensive (albeit less performing lead acid batteries) for longer term energy provision.”
LADWP turns to 20MW battery storage to meet renewables target The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has turned to a 20MW battery storage project at its California Beacon Solar Plant as it looks to increase renewables generation and expand its storage capacity portfolio to 50MW, it was announced on November 13. LADWP is ramping up its integration of renewables like solar energy, and consequently its utility-scale energy storage deployment, in response to the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility leak in 2015. The Beacon Battery Energy Storage System Phase 1 project will be owned and operated by
LADWP. The new storage project, located at LADWP’s 250MW Beacon solar farm and wind turbines in the Mojave Desert, will integrate solar power into the grid to help LADWP meet its target of 178MW of new energy storage by 2021. Construction started in the summer, and once complete the project will provide LADWP’s grid with regulation, frequency response, and load following capacity. LADWP plan to accelerate the development of a 30MW Phase 2 Battery Energy Storage System expansion at the site for a total of 50MW before 2021.
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ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM NEWS
Eaton launches data centre UPS service to aid grid frequency management Power management company Eaton will launch a firstof-its-kind UPS-as-a-reserve (UPSAAR) back-up power service before the end of the year that allows data centres to manage their real-time power consumption and therefore help transmission operators to regulate grid frequency. Eaton will be the first to introduce this functionality to UPSs, enabling more than 500MW of potential capacity for frequency containment reserve markets across EMEA (its installed base with UPSAAR compliant UPS systems in the field). The UPSAAR service is aimed at large data centre operators, including co-location or cloud service providers, and will offer financial rewards in return for adjustments made to their power consumption. The service was developed in collaboration with Fortum, an energy generator and vendor provider in European and Indian markets. The service will initially be offered on the company’s three-phase, 20-400kWh 93PM and its 250-1200kVA Power Xpert 9395P UPS
models. Both UPS systems can be used with lithiumion batteries supercapacitors and lead acid batteries. Marika Sinikari, segment marketing communications manager at Eaton, said the system was about regulating grid frequency by limiting consumption when required, rather than planning the consumption (load shifting), which is normally required to balance the volatility in renewable supply or if a power plant drops from the grid. She told Batteries International: “UPSAAR can be used for both normal frequency regulation and for disturbances. The UPS will regulate the amount of power taken from the battery, that replaces consumption in the grid, as needed. The continuous frequency regulation for normal grid situations requires lithium-ion technology, while reserve applications against disturbances suits more traditional battery technologies. “FCRs are not energy intensive, especially the disturbance reserves. It’s more about having the regulating power capacity to momen-
Schneider Electric, NGK sign MoU for sodium sulfur system French firm Schneider Electric and Japanese company NGK Insulators signed a memorandum of understanding to market sodium sulfur (NaS) energy storage systems on November 8. In November 2016, NGK and Schneider Electric conducted integration testing of the interface between the NAS battery and ES Box at NGK’s factory in Komaki City, Aichi Prefecture in central Japan. The Conext Core XC ES is a series of central inverters designed for high efficiency and flexibility for battery-
based energy storage systems. NGK has been providing NaS battery systems for load levelling and emergency power supply since 2002. According to the Energy Storage Association, NaS battery technology has been demonstrated at over 190 sites in Japan. More than 270MW of stored energy suitable for six hours of daily peak shaving have been installed. The largest NaS installation is a 34MW, 245MWh unit for wind stabilization in Northern Japan.
36 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
tarily support the grid rather than feeding vast amounts of energy. This also suits the UPS applications that typically don’t have long backup times and large energy storage (relative to system power).” As the energy markets move toward greater renewable penetration, the need to investigate services such as FCR to maintain grid frequency increases. Janne Paananen, technology manager for power quality, Eaton EMEA, said: “This turns supply and demand on its head. Instead of just demanding power, data centres can support the grid and be compensated for it. “The data centre industry has been moving away from focusing solely on energy and cost savings over the last five years, and it is now more about making invest-
ments pay for themselves. Data centre professionals can create a revenue generation strategy around assets that they already have, such as the UPS. “There’s free money lying on the floor, just waiting to be picked up.” According to Eaton’s research of data centre professionals across Europe, 55% of respondents would consider FCR to increase the returns of investment in technology and to help the data centre balance fluctuating energy needs. Sinikari said the amount of money a data centre could expect to receive by using UPSaaR would be determined by the frequency containment market in which the asset owners could leave their bids. “In Finland the compensation for this has been between €30,000-70,000/MW ($36,000-$83,000) depending on the year, if you bid for all hours,” said Sinikari.
Australia’s largest private sector ESS, solar project closes first funding round Commissioning of a solar plus 10MW energy storage project in Australia has been scheduled for late 2018 after Singaporebased energy project company Nexif Energy announced it had secured financing for the first round of the project on November 13. Once completed, the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm project near Port Augusta in South Australia, will include a battery — to be upgraded to 30MW in the future — connected to 59 wind turbines. The system will be connected to a 275kV grid line managed by ElectraNet The project is set to be one of Australia’s largest private sector-initiated and owned grid battery systems not underwritten
by a government contract or funded by government grants, the company said. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will act as financier, lending up to A$150 million ($115 million) for construction of the first stage of the wind farm and Investec has provided facilities totalling A$39 million for working capital and letters of credit. Construction of the project should take 12-18 months and be in operation for more than 25 years. Nexif Energy was formed in August 2015 by Nexif, a Singapore-based independent power management company, and Denham Capital, an energy-focused private equity firm. The move is only the latest in the state’s adoption of energy storage.
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ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM NEWS
US grid modernization: momentum builds in Q3, regulatory changes ahead The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center released its Q3 2017 edition of The 50 States of Grid Modernization on November 1. The quarterly series looks at US state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on grid modernization, utility business model and rate reforms, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. The overall picture is that momentum behind the transition away from a carbon based energy economy into one that incorporates renewables and energy storage is picking up — if, as perhaps should be expected, in a disparate and occasionally faltering rate between states. The report finds that 33 states and Washington DC took some type of action on grid modernization during Q3 2017.
Specifically, the report found that:
• 38 state or utility pro-
posals in 21 states to implement demand response programs or deploy advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid technologies, microgrids, or energy storage were pending or decided. • 20 states considered or enacted changes to policies related to grid modernization, including energy storage targets and clean peak standards. • 19 states plus Washington DC took action to study or investigate grid modernization, energy storage, demand response, or rate reform. • 15 states plus four regional transmission organizations considered changes to utility planning processes or rules enabling market access. • 12 states plus Washington DC took action related to utility business model or rate reforms. • Seven states considered adopting new incentives or making changes to existing incentives for
energy storage and microgrids. “Energy storage and other distributed energy resources are playing a large role in grid modernization efforts,” said Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and manager of policy research at the centre. “Distributed energy resources are being increasingly viewed as a potential solution, rather than simply a challenge.” Of the 33 states taking action on grid modernization during the quarter, 26 took actions specifically related to energy storage policies and deployment. Overall, the most common actions of the quarter related to advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid, and energy storage deployment, followed by grid modernization investigations. A total of 184 state and utility-level actions related to grid modernization were proposed, pending, or enacted in Q3 2017.
The report says the top five policy developments of Q3 2017 were: • Regulatory commissions in New Mexico and Washington amending integrated resource planning rules to require full evaluation of energy storage options; • Oregon initiating a broad investigation into grid modernization and utility business models; • The Texas Public Utilities Commission considering an ALJ’s proposal for decision that would allow AEP Texas North to own battery storage assets; • California’s state legislature enacting a bill requiring utilities to consider the role of storage and other DERs to meet peak demand as part of the integrated resource planning process; and • The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s recommendation to open an expansive grid modernization proceeding.
Lithium-ion tested with VRFB batteries in renewable energy test project in Singapore Two Singapore led consortiums will test how utilityscale lithium ion and vanadium redox flow battery energy storage systems can be used to integrate renewably generated power on to the city-state’s grid, the Energy Market Authority and SP Group announced on October 23. CW Group and Red Dot Power will receive around S$17.8 million ($13 million) in grants for the initiative which will have an aggregated capacity of 4.4MWh. The plan is for them to be operational for three years at two substation locations in the north and north-east-
ern areas of Singapore. Findings from the testbeds will inform Singapore’s transition to the larger use of ESSs as it moves toward its target of 1GWp of solar beyond 2020. Ng Wai Choong, chief executive of EMA, said: “Insights from this test-bed will be useful for Singapore to learn how storage can enhance the stability of our
grid, provide quick response capacity and improve operational flexibility. We are also exploring how to couple energy storage with solar forecasting capabilities to enable greater deployment of solar in Singapore.” The winner of the lithium-ion test-bed has not yet been announced, however a RDP-led consortium will use German battery storage
“Insights from this test-bed will be useful for Singapore to learn how storage can enhance the stability of our grid”
38 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
company Younicos’ VRFB for a 2MWh test-bed. EMA’s forecast of 1GWp of solar beyond 2020, has led it to explore solutions with a possible duration of six to eight hours, which is why consortium member and technology partner Younicos is testing 0.25MW and 2MWh systems with an eight hour duration. Younicos will provide its YQ software to control the battery system and interface it with Singapore Power’s grid operation. It will work with RDP in the installation and maintenance of the system.
Hyperdrive Innovation launches ‘next gen’ battery using Nissan Li-ion cells
UK-based lithium-ion developer and manufacturer Hyperdrive Innovation launched its Gen 4 modular system incorporating Nissan’s latest lithium-ion cells for the electric vehicle and energy storage markets at the EVS30 trade show in Stuttgart, Germany, on October 9. The new scalable 152 Wh/kg battery — almost 50% bigger than its Gen 2 product — uses UK-made battery cells and includes a battery management system designed to work with all existing generations of the Japanese OEM Nissan’s battery modules. The system, an update from the model launched
earlier this year, will be available from 2018. Stephen Irish, managing director — commercial , told Energy Storage Journal the modular battery packs could be scaled up to hundreds of kWhs. He said: “Our technology is highly flexible and easy to deploy across a range of applications. Driving commonality between applications enables rapid development. “Hyperdrive knew that cell technology would improve, and working with Nissan enables us to future-proof our design. The new modular battery pack offers a step change improvement in enabling density and value.” He expected the stationary
energy market would grow in the UK and the rest of the world. “It will take a little time for all the economic benefits to be fully available to all consumers but the advantages are clear and the technology is ready. “The interplay between electric cars and stationary energy storage in homes and businesses offers many opportunities for small system design including sophisticated demand-side management.” Hyperdrive’s new technology follows the launch of the second-generation Nissan Leaf car and incorporates the cell technology developed in Japan and manufactured in the UK.
The company’s energy systems are already being incorporated into EVs from airport and municipal fleets, to autonomous machines and heavy duty vehicles. Allan Cairns, CEO of Hyperdrive Innovation, said: ”As the market for electric vehicles continues to grow, our new battery platform offers manufacturers a more compact pack that delivers a longer range and a lower cost per KwH. “Hyperdrive is helping major global companies to electrify and expand their product ranges whether it is construction equipment or robots as well responding to the growing demand for stationary energy storage.”
Calnetix adds new model to flywheel storage range Calnetix Technologies’ Vycon energy storage products division has introduced a higher-capacity flywheel energy storage to its range VDC XXT. The firm says it can deliver over 450kW and 6,300 kW seconds of energy storage and has a 20 year operational life. Vycon president Frank DeLattre says: “we designed the VDC XXT model to boost power rating
Vycon president DeLattre: boosting power by 50%
by 50% within the same footprint as our other models for a power density of
72kW per square ft.” The firm says the VDC XXT can be used in a stand-alone solution or to augment a battery-based UPS. Since 98% of utility outages are for 10 seconds or less, the flywheel can deliver the needed DC energy to the UPS first during these events, saving the batteries for longer-term outages and thus prolonging battery life. The firm says its frictionless maintenance-free fly-
wheel levitation solution provides up to 99.6% energy efficiency and eliminates the need for lubrication or periodic replacement of mechanical bearings. The VDC XXT systems are UL and CE approved and are certified and integrated by major manufacturers of three-phase UPS systems, including Eaton, General Electric, Mitsubishi, Riello, Schneider Electric, Socomec and Vertiv.
SMA completes portfolio of UL-listed Sunny Central storage inverters SMA announced two new power classes for its utility-scale storage product portfolio on November 30. These are the Sunny Central Storage 2750-EVUS for 1,500V projects, which has achieved UL 62109 listing, and the Sunny Central Storage 2475-US for 1,000 V projects has achieved UL 1741 listing. Other products in the line-up, including the Sunny Central Storage 2200US and the 2500-EV-US,
achieved UL listing earlier this year. “With a complete utilityscale storage product portfolio, SMA can create customized storage solutions to meet the challenges of individual projects, using advanced technology and a full power class lineup for 1,000V and 1,500V applications,” said Volker Wachenfeld, executive vice president of SMA’s Offgrid and Storage Business Unit. The Sunny Central Stor-
age inverter is the central component of SMA’s solution for integration of large-scale battery storage systems into the utility grid while ensuring maximum grid stability. Sunny Central Storage inverters are compatible with different types of battery technologies, including those from all leading manufacturers. The inverter offers comprehensive grid management services such as automatic frequency control and
ramp-rate control. The battery inverter is optimized for continuous operation at nominal load and temperatures of -25˚C to +50˚C and is also available as a mediumvoltage block solution from SMA.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 39
Salt cathode could lead to cheaper energy storage The latest research on a sodium ion battery by a Stanford University team has resulted in a design for a sodium cathode that claims to cost 80% less than of a lithium-ion battery with the same storage capacity. By binding sodium ions to a compound known as myo-inositol the scientist have calculated a sodium cell would cost $35/ kWh (based on $10/kg for its sodium salt Na6C6O6) compared to $48/kWh for NMC ($30/kg for NMC) in lithium cells.
In a half cell (vs Na metal anode), the team reported that the specific energy density of their cell was 726Wh/kg, and the maximum specific power is 3.151 W/kg. The findings by chemical engineer Zhenan Bao and her faculty collaborators, materials scientists Yi Cui and William Chueh, were published in the October 9 edition of Nature Energy journal. Having already optimized the cathode and charging cycle, the researchers plan
to focus next on the anode of their sodium-ion battery. In September a Stanford paper authored by postdoctoral scholar Min Ah Lee and Bao presented a high performance sodiumorganic battery by using a biomass-derived ionic crystal, disodium rhodizonate (Na2C6O6). The paper found that to achieve a viable Na-ion technology for grid storage applications, the battery would require sodium hosts with material sustainability, sufficient energy density
and cycle stability. The paper stated: “Given the high theoretical specific capacity (501 mAh/g) and abundance of disodium rhodizonate, it is one of the most promising cathode materials for SIB, which can be obtained from biomass through green chemistry. “The material disodium rhodizonate, is readily available, low cost and easy to make the desirable morphology as a cathode for SIB. We consider that the feasibility of sodium-organic battery now depends on the development of successful anode material to be coupled with our cathode material.”
Post-doctoral scholar Min Ah Lee answers key questions about salt technology ESJ: How did you come up with the costing for the sodium battery (you say its 80% cheaper than a lithiumion), and what is the cost per kWh? Min Ah: To be precise, we are comparing the cathode costs to build a battery. Our calculation is based on the full-cell energy density for graphite-NMC lithium cell and our phosphorous-Na6C6O66 sodium cell. Based on material costs — $30/kg for NMC and $10/kg for our sodium salt — the cost per kWh for NMC in lithium cell is about $48/kWh, and that for our sodium salt (Na6C6O6) in sodium cell is $35/kWh. With further development of a better anode having lower operating potential in the future, the cost should be decreased by some $20/kWh with an increase in full cell energy density. We are expecting the wholesale price or cost for mass production of our cathode material to be even cheaper than $10/kg as it is originated from biomass. ESJ: What is the specific power of your technology? Min Ah: In a half cell (vs Na metal anode), the specific energy density is 726Wh/kg and the maximum specific
40 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
power is 3151 W/kg. Note that this value is normal to “only” cathode mass. In a full cell (vs phosphorous), the energy density normal to total anode and cathode mass was 281Wh/kg and we did not conducted any rate tests of full cells for getting a high power density number as it would be limited not by our cathode but by the anode that we used as one of possible candidates. It should also be remembered when considering the total mass for battery casing, it should be roughly one third, and this should be carefully optimized in industry level. ESJ: At what stage is your research, and how long before your technology would be available for mass production? Min Ah: The mass production of our cathode materials and the resource myo-inositol is already available. Myo-inositol is naturally present in the human body being a cell membranes component and is found in many foods, particularly in corns, nuts, fruits. Inositol is used as a nutritive supplement in infant formula and is available as an over-the-counter 50 nutritional supplement in pharmacies. The synthesis of sodium rhodi-
zonate from myo-inositol is through oxidation in aqueous solution at room temperature which should be scalable. But the entire shift from lithium to sodium for a battery is still limited by the performance of anode. We are working on developing better sodium anodes. ESJ: Can you explain how the new technology works? Min Ah: In this study, we mainly focused on making a sustainable and energy-dense cathode and used the phosphorous as an example to complete a full cell. We first carefully monitored the evolution of structure and morphology during sodium storage in the cathode, and revealed that the redox reaction is not fully reversible, which is in turn deteriorating redox capability in the following cycles. So then we further conducted a systematic study on how to facilitate fast and reversible four sodium storage in this electrode, and identified the size of active particle and solvating power of electrolytes holds the key to realize this mechanism by reducing the kinetic barrier. So smaller size, and higher solvation of sodium ion allow us to have better performance.
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING
Investment in energy storage may be skyrocketing but the projected return on investment for such projects often remains difficult to calculate with any degree of accuracy…
…indeed, it’s problematic even getting an accurate handle on their pricing per kilowatt hour. Wyn Jenkins reports
Smoke and mirrors Investment in energy storage is soaring. In the first nine months of 2017 alone, some $1.23 billion was raised by battery storage, smart grid and efficiency companies, up from $910 million raised in the same period in 2016. In battery storage alone, some $563 million was raised in 25 deals in the first nine months of the year, com-
42 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
pared with $209 million raised in 29 deals in the same period of 2016. What is more, its anticipated growth is very bullish. A recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance called ‘Energy Storage Forecast, 20172030’, predicts that the global energy storage market will double six times in this time period, rising to a total of
125GW/305GWh. The report notes that this trajectory mirrors the incredible expansion of the solar industry between 2000 and 2015, in which the percentage of total generation from photovoltaics doubled seven times. The report predicts that approximately $103 billion will be invested
COVER STORY: ESS PRICING
— the pricing puzzle that taunts energy storage investors in energy storage between 2017 and 2030. It also suggests that energy storage is essential to flexibility during this period, both utility-scale and behind the meter. It makes the case that energy storage will become integral to the increasing penetration of renewable en-
ergy across the world’s electrical grids. With so much money pouring into a sector, it is perhaps inevitable that not all deals will complete smoothly and not all investors will realise the return they were hoping for. But in some cases investors could misunderstand or even be misled — deliberately or
otherwise — by the way in which energy storage units detail their project return on investment and detail key elements such as pricing per kilowatt hour. The reality is that the basis of the figures varies. And that’s the nub of the problem. >
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 43
COVER STORY: ESS PRICING But intrinsic to a growing number of these projects is the energy storage component, which will help determine the overall cost of such an operation and have a huge bearing on its long-term potential return on investment. Sometimes figures are given for a whole installation; sometimes calculations are offered per cell or per pack. But these differences can make a big and important difference to the relative attraction of an energy storage project to investors and its commercial viability. The multiple variables present in any energy storage project make it extremely difficult to accurately calculate the cost of energy storage, never mind the ‘value’ of it or the pricing per kilowatt hour. But the extent to which this is a problem is a moot point. Geoffrey May, director of FOCUS Consulting, says that individuals will naturally focus on the pricing metric that shows a particular projector installation in the best possible light. “To be fair, it depends on what question you ask — I don’t think people are setting out to mislead,” he says. “If you ask for the all-in installed cost of an energy storage system you should get what you ask for. And most investors are very sophisticated. They are spending large amounts of money on very expensive kit — I would be amazed if they do not understand the information they are getting. But that said, it is possible some users could find it confusing.” But this can become a problem for
several reasons. May notes that the use of certain pricing metrics can be used to make some battery chemistries look better than others. “And that is important when you consider the way in which perception of their merits then develops, and investments and grants are awarded based on these perceptions. The winner based on this can often be lithiumion; some in the user community think it is the only game in town, whereas really you want a level playing field,” May says.
Total cost of ownership
May believes that most owners of energy storage installations will primarily be interested in the total cost of ownership. But when it comes to calculating this, every chemistry or technology used will vary dramatically. A pumped hydro system, for example, may have a life expectancy of 25 years or more; compressed air energy storage a life span of 15-20 years; a flywheel a life span of 20 years or more. In contrast, most chemistry-based energy storage systems will only have a life span of between five and 15 years. But these too vary dramatically in other ways. Lithium-ion is more expensive up front but delivers very efficient power and energy density. Lead acid is cheaper but can have a shorter lifespan and a poor depth of discharge. “The power-based electronics will last longer but their upfront costs will be greater than a battery based on any chemistry. This all needs to be fac-
tored in. Batteries need more monitoring and the batteries may need replacing at certain times. It is very difficult to compare like for like,” May says.
A question of perspective
This dynamic also becomes closely tied into the outlook of the investor, their timescale for a project and their expected return on investment. This can vary, depending on the type of investor backing a project and their wider expectations. “This will depend on the top level thinking of investors and things like the balance between capital costs and its life in service. But investors will generally understand the nuances of different forms of energy storage and act accordingly,” May says. Don Karner, president of Electric Applications Incorporated, agrees that differences exist in how the pricing per kilowatt hour is calculated, often depending on the perspective of the person doing the calculation. “The cost for a kWh in and out of storage varies significantly whether you are listening to a supplier or a customer,” he says. “Battery companies typically talk about the cell. We hear a lot of this because they have an advertising budget. However, this rarely includes many of the most significant costs of ESS operations. “It is more typically the cost of the cell divided by the tested cycle life of the cell (though this typically has no relationship with the warranted life of the cell) multiplied by the capacity of the cell.” However, for an ESS customer, what really counts is the lifetime average cost of putting a kWh in and taking it back out of the entire ESS. But as this is a complex calculation, involving many confidential factors, it is rarely discussed. For such a calculation to be made accurately, at least eight factors need to be considered, including: battery war-
“Battery companies typically talk about the cell. We hear a lot of this because they have an advertising budget. However, this rarely includes many of the most significant costs of ESS operations. It is more typically the cost of the cell divided by the tested cycle life of the cell (though this typically has no relationship with the warranted life of the cell) multiplied by the capacity of the cell” — Don Karner, Electric Applications Incorporated 44 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING ranty period, specific warranty terms, labour costs for battery replacement, costs for battery disposal or credit for battery recycling, cost of service outage cost (replacement power, etc), round trip battery efficiency, power conversion system efficiency and the cost of input energy and/or value of output energy. That said the reality is that most of these costs are either very difficult to come by or are a closely guarded secret, so full disclosure of actual costs for a kWh in and out of an ESS is a hard — and elusive — nut for the industry to crack. The calculation also depends on how the storage facility is used. Unlike technologies related to conventional generation, such as the creation of electricity, energy storage technologies have a variety of uses, some of which are in front of the meter or power-grid oriented, while others are behind the meter related to the distribution of energy. Moreover, a single energy storage unit may be used for several different uses — in front of the meter this could be improving transmission grid performance, frequency regulation or PV integration. Behind the meter uses could include microgrid, peak shaving, back-up power and more. The way in which an energy storage application is used has an important bearing on the energy storage units to calculate their pricing per kilowatt hour. “The numbers will also be subject to some argument and it depends on the objective of the person giving them and what they are trying to achieve,” May says. “There are so many factors to cycle in on top of the obvious things such as capital investment and lifespan. It depends on the number of cycles, the frequency and voltage, whether high power is needed and for what duration. There are many moving factors you have to consider. “The way in which the National Grid in the UK may use a hydro pump station to stabilize the grid is very different from the way in which a solar farm may use energy storage to sell energy at a more attractive rate at a certain time of day.” May admits that as the energy storage sector has grown, the calculations used to determine pricing per kilowatt hour have become more and more important to the sector. It is especially relevant in tender processes where the companies tendering for a project will
46 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
“The numbers will also be subject to some argument and it depends on the objective of the person giving them and what they are trying to achieve. There are so many factors to cycle in on top of the obvious things such as capital investment and lifespan. It depends on the number of cycles, the frequency and voltage, whether high power is needed and for what duration. There are many moving factors you have to consider” — Geoff May, FOCUS Consulting know what they will be able sell the electricity for. He gives the example of National Grid putting out a tender for enhanced frequency response in which it is explicit what they will pay for the service. Operating costs referenced here would include fuel and maintenance, depreciation, end-of-life costs and finance costs. In the case of a battery storage system it would also include the cost at which electricity is available for charging as fuel costs and the energy price is the available price on discharge. For frequency regulation services the price model is different. In this case, the battery operator would get paid a fee to provide a set amount of specified capacity which can be either input or output over a contract period under agreed conditions.
The closest thing to a standardized calculation relating to costs for all generating assets and battery energy storage is the so-called Levelized Cost
of Electricity, conceived by financial advisory firm Lazard. This calculation is usually the average cost to build and operate a power generating asset over its lifetime divided by the average minimum price at which electricity must be sold to break even over the life of the project. The most comprehensive work on the potential use of this calculation for energy storage costs has been done by Lazard and published in a series of reports, each improving on the model and analysis, the most recent of which was published in November 2017. The third version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage provides socalled “value snapshots” for energy storage technologies across all major use cases. Independent non-profit the Rocky Mountain Institute is also trying to quantify the value of battery energy storage, focusing on opportunities with multiple use cases and value stacking. According to the Energy Storage World Forum (ESWF), which is seeking perspectives on this issue ahead of an event in May 2018, it is increasing-
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING ly important for the industry to both agree on a ‘value’ calculation for energy storage and also to get some idea of how quickly costs are dropping in this sector. But it acknowledges that this is a big challenge. “With installation and operating costs being the major barrier to further uptake of energy storage, having clear figures for current costs, speed at
which costs are dropping and realistic predicted future energy storage costs are of great importance to the whole range of related industries,” says the ESWF. Interestingly, May notes that while public domain calculations are available from US and UK sources for the so-called Levelized Cost of Electricity, more specific commercial calculations are not.
ESWF acknowledges that calculating the cost of energy storage is not an easy task, especially as the term covers a whole range of technologies ranging from hydroelectric storage to electrochemical to flywheels to thermal. “Creating an apples-to-apples comparison is challenging even before the different energy storage applications are taken into account,” it notes. It also acknowledges that as this re-
World of solar investments expanding Investors are becoming more specialized and targeted in the way in which they invest in solar projects, but the single biggest driver of investor interest in this sector remains what incentives governments put in place to encourage growth. According to Tyler Ogden, an associate at Lux Research, these are the main drivers of these energy storage projects globally. A wider range of investors, ranging from banks to private equity, has moved into this sector with specialized units in recent years and projects are increasingly being bought and sold by investors with different return horizons. In the UK, for example, WIRSOL Solar, a German solar energy provider, specializing in the planning, financing, construction and maintenance of solar power plants, recently sold 19 solar projects to investment company Rockfire Capital. The 19 solar sites, each ranging between 2.5MWp and 20.5MWp, have a total capacity of around 105MWp. Cumulatively the portfolio that has been sold produces enough energy to generate almost 100 gigawatt hours a year. WIRSOL suggested that the deal worked well for both parties and it would consider similar deals in the future. “Collaboration with Rockfire in the transaction was altogether positive,” said Peter Vest, the managing director of WIRSOL. “We will be continuing to build further solar parks in Great Britain in future. “In the process, we will decide on a case by case basis whether it makes more sense to adopt and operate a plant on our own portfolio, or to pass it on to a suitable investor who is interested in a secure and very long-term investment, for example with a view to providing a stable basis for pension funds.” Ogden says it is increasingly common for such projects
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to receive investment from different types of investor at different stages, depending on their timeframe and expected return on investment. The US is now one of the fastest growing markets for investment in solar energy, predominantly because of the supporting policies that are in place to encourage the growth of this sector. It has replaced Europe in recent years because many of the supporting policies in Europe have expired or been rolled back now. By contrast, China generates the most solar energy globally in part thanks to historical government supporting policies and subsidies there. India is tipped for strong growth in this area because of ambitious targets and supportive policies. The country plans to have an installed solar power capacity of 100GW by March 2022. The installed capacity at the end of September was just over 14.7GW. So it needs to add an additional 85GW in the remaining four years and six months. Recent reports suggested it planned to auction off 20GW of solar power capacity in one go to help meet these targets. Along with India, the US is anticipated to have the strongest growth in the coming years. Some of the European players big in this market in recent years, such as the UK and Germany, are tipped to stay flat. Ogden say the reason for such strong growth in the US is the mixture of incentives offered at a Federal level and by individual states to promote and drive the growth of this sector. “We are anticipating big growth in the US,” he says. “But we will also see strong growth in many markets across smaller markets in Latin America and the Middle East as more governments pass supporting policies designed to kick start investment.”
COVER STORY: ESS PRICING mains an emerging technology, there is simply not enough data available yet to make strong future predictions. “Energy storage costs are coming down, which promotes uptake, which brings costs down further — this much we know — but the rate becomes exponentially less predictable the more it is projected forward,” it says. “While a great amount of effort has been expended determining the cost
of energy storage, there has not been the same focus on the value of energy storage — a factor more elusive and harder to quantify. The beneficiaries of the value of energy storage can roughly be divided into end users, the grid and the wider environment. “Value to consumers is one aspect that can be easily calculated. The benefit of backup energy storage, reducing demand charges and the opportu-
nity to further lower future electricity costs are generally easy to quantify and then compare to the lifecycle cost of an energy storage installation. “The value of energy storage to the grid is where the most research is currently being carried out. With so many real world cases that directly benefit from energy storage — frequency regulation and response, energy arbitrage, ramping support, voltage
and now backed by storage Ogden says there are three main ways in which governments do this: by setting a feed-in tariff, meaning they agree to buy renewable electricity at a certain price (though this can lead to surges and reliability issues in terms of connections); via a government-led tender for a certain amount of capacity and accepting bids for that; and through offering tax credits to companies. The last of these has represented a big driver of capacity in the US in recent years. In November, the latest version of new tax reforms tabled by the Republicans threatened to slash such tax credits as they apply to wind projects, but solar had been left largely unscathed. The tax credits, which can be claimed for as much as 30% of the upfront investment costs in a renewable project, have proven increasingly popular with some of the large banks, which make qualifying investments through dedicated investment arms. But they do not always hang on to these investments. Once built, they are often sold on to a different type of investor more interested in taking the steady revenue from the sale of electricity long term. “A 30% tax credit is a good incentive and has led to more innovation and technology being development in this field,” Ogden says. The rate at which that electricity can then be sold varies state by state and will depend on a number of factors, with subsidies varying state by state. But intrinsic to a growing number of these projects is the energy storage component, which will help determine the overall cost of such an operation and have a huge bearing on its long-term potential return on investment. While not all projects will include the storage aspect of this from the start, there are places where it is almost always an intrinsic part of the project. This includes in Hawaii, for example, where a number
of very high-profile projects have been launched. Most recently, US solar manufacturer and developer SunPower and battery storage maker AES Distributed Energy revealed plans to build one of the largest solar and battery storage projects in the world on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The 28MW SunPower solar system will be accompanied by a 20MW, five-hour battery storage system — making it the largest solar plus storage system in the state of Hawaii and one of the largest battery storage installations in the world. Hawaii is aiming for 100% renewables by 2045. Kauai is already becoming a centre for solar and storage projects. Tesla and its now fully owned Solar City built a 13MW solar plant with a 52MWh battery system that delivers as much as 13MW of power to the island grid during the evening peak hours of 5pm to 10pm. Such projects use lithium-ion batteries and other countries including India, where the grid is less stable than more mature countries, may well replicate the concept. This has led to the rise of investors willing to back the engineering, procurement and construction phase, whether it be banks or private equity firms, which then sell the project on once complete. First Solar, for example, which predominantly makes solar panels, has its own EPC arm that will finance projects at an initial stage before selling them on to long-term investors seeking less risk at a later stage. Meanwhile, there has also been strong growth in the number of securitizations used to fund solar schemes. In October, the size of this sector surpassed the $1.5 billion mark thanks to strong issuance this year from a handful of companies increasingly leveraging this sector, including Solar City, Mosaic, Sunnova and Dividend Finance.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 49
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING support and capacity firming — accurately calculating value allows for smart long-term grid planning. “The area where the value of energy storage is the most difficult to quantify is coincidentally where it has the chance to have the greatest impact. Reducing carbon emissions is the end goal of switching to a majority renewable grid. The inherent variability of such a grid is the main driver behind stationary energy storage development. One way countries are recognising this value is using energy storage as a way to further cut emissions and meet their ambitious national and international targets.” The report concludes by admitting that, due to the number of interlinked variables involved, it may be almost impossible to reach a point where value can be calculated for each energy storage technology as a whole, although recent research continues to move in a promising direction. “However, as energy storage technologies continue to mature and more performance data is gathered, the timeline of future predictability for both cost and value can be extended further into the future,” it says. The most recent version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage report acknowledges that “a rational and costbased analysis is necessary to enable a modern grid, cost-effective energy development and an increasingly clean energy economy.”
It explains that alternative energy costs have decreased dramatically over the past eight years, driven by advances in technology, maturation of the supply chain and the resulting economies of scale in manufacturing and installation and, in the US, by federal subsidies and related financing tools. “A key question for industry participants will be whether these technologies can continue their cost declines and meet growth expectations as the industry continues to mature, and after the near-term step down and forthcoming permanent expiration of such subsidies,” the report notes. However, adding storage to renewables often eliminates the LCOE advantage. As an example, Lazard calculated that utility-scale crystalline-silicon PV now has an LCOE range of $46/ MW to $53/MW of generation — this is less than the lowest levelized cost for coal, at $60, or natural gas, at $68. But adding a battery and bidirectional inverter to the PV system to deliver 10 hours of storage with a 52% capacity factor brought the cost up to $82/MW. This could also become an important issue given the growth of the use of corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which are designed to provide major corporates with clean, reliable and competitively priced power. In recent months, a number of deals
have emerged that illustrate this trend. Norwegian aluminium company Norsk Hydro unveiled a long-term PPA with Swedish wind power firm Markbygden Ett to provide Norsk Hydro with an annual baseload supply of 1.65TWh. The wind farm, owned by GE Energy Financial Services and Green Investment Group, will be built close to Piteå in northern Sweden. Swedish utility Vattenfall also recently signed a 10-year deal to power Microsoft’s international data centre operations in the Netherlands using wind power. Microsoft will receive all the energy output from the new Wieringermeer onshore wind farm to be built close to Amsterdam. Vattenfall is set to invest more than €200m to “repower and expand” the 100-turbine Wieringermeer facility. And aluminium producer Alcoa signed a 281.4MW deal with the Norwegian firm Norsk Miljøkraft in late October. The Nordlicht project consists of two sites (Kvitfjell and Raudfjell) near Tromsø. Alcoa is buying the electricity for its smelter in Mosjøen, with Siemens Gamesa supplying 67 4.2MW turbines. As energy storage as a sector grows it will indeed become critical for the industry to establish a standard way of establishing the cost and value of such projects — and therefore their potential return on investment.
Unsubsidized levelized cost of energy comparison
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING
Lead versus lithium: dilemmas over price versus performance Discussions over ESS pricing typically ignore the fact that lead batteries can be harnessed for most functionality — but not all — that an ESS requires. And a lot cheaper too.
One area in which variations matter in the way in which energy storage units detail their pricing per kilowatt hour is in the battle between lead acid and lithium based chemistries for market share in various key sectors. This is the battle at the very heart of energy storage at the moment,” says Geoff May, director of FOCUS Consulting. While the two chemistries have their strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of energy storage, stark differences can emerge between the two depending on how the pricing per kilowatt hour is calculated. Energy storage units using one or the other are engineered and built in very different ways. Lead acid installations will usually use a series of racks connected by a battery monitoring system and an inverter.
Lithium battery systems can be more complex to engineer in the way the batteries are connected, while safety considerations may dictate that each cell has a circuit protector for safety reasons and the entire system has a cooling system.
On such installations, the price per kilowatt hour at the cell level would favour lead acid batteries, May says, because of the lower cost of the materials related to each cell. However, the same calculation as applied to the entire installation would show a very different result in favour of the lithium-ion installation. “But to be fair, it depends on the question you ask,” May says. “I don’t think people are setting out to mislead. And most investors are very so-
“The problem in all this is that many such bodies see lithium-ion as the only game in town and that’s not true. The investor community can be guilty of jumping on the bandwagon of what is only really the latest fad of opinion.”
phisticated. Most would not find it confusing.” But there are other things to consider, he says. There is a wider perception relating to the differences between the two chemistries that can determine the extent to which investment is made in their development or grants awarded by public bodies or research institutes to explore further innovation. “The problem in all this is that many such bodies see lithium-ion as the only game in town and that’s not true. The investor community can be guilty of jumping on the bandwagon of what is only really the latest fad of opinion.” A recent cover story in sister publication Energy Storage Journal took up this theme, pointing out that there should be a much more level playing field between different chemistries to reflect their true strengths and weak-
“Though lithium-based batteries have achieved impressive, higher standards in energy density over the last 25 years, their safety hazards remain very real, with huge consequences when something goes wrong in design, assembly, controls, usage, or collection and return after use. Think Samsung and a $5 billion recall.” – Ray Kubis, Gridtential www.batteriesinternational.com
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING
From Advanced Battery Concept’s perspective, the true benefit of its GreenSeal technology will be in the 20%-30% lower production costs based mostly on the reduction in the bill of materials. That is huge.” – Ed Shaffer, ABC nesses. It pointed out that best-ofclass lead acid batteries can already compete head to head with lithium batteries for .a wide range of largescale ESS applications. Trojan, for example, already manufactures a deep cycle battery that has a working life of 17 years. There is another downside that is difficult to factor in when attempting to make price comparisons between the two chemistries. How do you factor in a price when something goes wrong with lithium batteries? How do you price in the potential cost of, say, a recall? Or the grounding of an entire fleet of airlines over a lithium fire?
Getting the big picture
Ray Kubis, chairman of Gridtential, a bipolar lead acid firm, says: “Some claim lithium ion is a better investment at scale, yet you just need to look at the recalls within the industry along with the scale of new factory investments. If you invest $5 billion in a battery factory then have periodic recalls such as we’ve seen with cellphones, laptops, or with Boeing, what’s the return on investment then?” The Samsung recall in early 2017 of its Galaxy Note7 phone has been estimated by some analysts to have cost the firm up to $5 billion if all the losses are incorporated. There is also the troubled issue of
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how one prices the cost of recycling into these price dynamics: “This is an environmental angle that that is often largely disregarded,” says May. “How is that factored into the cost per kilowatt hour?” Perhaps one side of the debate that is very much neglected by the lithium users in particular are the huge improvements seen in lead batteries in recent years. There are at least five other mainstream directions in which the lead market is upping its game as a cheaper rival to lithium as an industry standard.
“The nub of the problem between lead and lithium is mostly a question of price and recyclability,” says Terry Murphy, chief executive of Hammond, who has refocused the firm to concentrate on the battery sector. “For advanced energy storage, lithium-ion batteries meet most of the technical requirements, but are too expensive. By contrast, lead acid batteries are inexpensive and 100% recyclable, but don’t have the necessary cycle life. The challenge has been to extend that life.” The Hammond product that changes the picture is a new generation of expanders called SureCure expanders that dramatically improve dynamic charge acceptance. “Our goal is to enable lead acid batteries to achieve 80% of lithium-ion’s technical performance. But at just 20% of its cost,” says the firm. Dynamic charge acceptance — the way batteries can accept and rapidly store large influxes of energy — is the next big thing for the lead acid business. It opens up two worlds — that of microhybrids in the automotive sector and the huge new areas of business opening up with grid scale storage. In laboratory testing and now in production batteries, Hammond has achieved an order-of-magnitude increase in dynamic charge acceptance while simultaneously increasing cycle life to show relative comparisons to control samples. The innovation does not require a change in other battery paste ingredients, grids, or plates. Nor any change in any other material component or process. No new tooling, production technique, distribution, use, scrap characterization or recycling. SureCure represents a new expander family, with no safety concerns or known adverse effects. Perhaps one of the most interesting
facets of Hammond’s new expander range is the fact that, for example, the extended cycle life that can be added to a battery can be multiplied when paired with, say, a bipolar battery.
Pioneering research carried out through the use of carbon additives in negative lead battery electrodes started well over a decade ago but a whole new generation of products is just emerging. The latest studies from ABC suggest that the combination of a bipolar battery and carbon additives is an immensely powerful one. Carbon additives as such don’t change the basic electrochemistry of the battery but they do increase specific power and reduce sulfation, the principal cause of lead battery failure. A good example of a new additive comes from Heraeus Battery Technology, which launched its Porocarb carbon powders in September. These increase charge acceptance by up to 20% and life cycle by 100%. “Porocarb is a product family of synthetic porous carbon powders tailored specifically for demanding electrochemical applications in which the needs for a designed porosity intersect good kinetic accessibility,” says the firm, which claims its product is the first conductive additive that ensures electronic connectivity within the electrode and enhances ionic conductivity. “Even at the highest levels of electrode compression and loading, Porocarb ascertains open pathways within the electrode that help with electrolyte supply and distribution during filling and operation. It enables advanced electrochemical systems that were previously not achievable using standard carbon conductive additives.” Developed in 2014, the additives have been tested with actual customer pilots, says the firm, and have demonstrated increased charge acceptance of up to 120%; faster recharging rates; increased cycle life of up to 100%, and nearly 50% greater capacity at deep-discharge operations for longer power supply.
New battery configurations
Although new battery formats have come and then seem to fade away — think Axion Power or Firefly Energy — two new configurations stand out. The first is the UltraBattery, which combines the fast charging rates of an ultracapacitor technology with the energy storage potential of a lead acid
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COVER STORY: ESS PRICING battery technology in a hybrid device with a single common electrolyte. The second is the final arrival of a successful line of bipolar batteries from Advanced Battery Concepts and, a close runner behind, Gridtential. For the UltraBattery, combining the technologies of an ultracapacitor and a lead battery in one cell means that the UltraBattery works efficiently in a Partial State of Charge (PSoC). Compared with conventional VRLA batteries, the UltraBattery provides more energy and costs less over its lifetime when used in variable power applications. The technology is more efficient, and is equally as safe and recyclable as conventional lead batteries. Although this technology has been around for the past five years, it is only now becoming commercially more available. Two firms make the battery — Ecoult, a subsidiary of East Penn Manufacturing, and Furukuwa Battery.
Ecoult partners Exide Industries
Last May, Ecoult signed an agreement with Exide Industries, the largest battery firm in India, which is now going to manufacture them. Market expectations are that they will change the face of the energy storage market in the country. UltraBattery technology is already successfully deployed in automotive and stationary energy applications. An Ecoult spokesperson said: “UltraBattery technology is well suited to a large number of industry sectors including: grid/microgrid support, including frequency regulation; power quality; spinning reserve; energy shifting and demand management and smoothing and ramp-rate control (particularly for renewables); micro and medium HEVs; dual-use for data centres and buildings; diesel efficiencies; residential energy management; and other transportation (particularly railways). “We are very excited about the possibilities for dual-use applications. These exploit UltraBattery’s ability to provide grid and UPS support in a single installation (ie selling grid support services while the grid is available, but switching to UPS for any grid-outage event). “The cost for such applications suggests that businesses such as data centres could gain an attractive return on their battery investment.” Perhaps the most exciting advance in the last couple of years has been the
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“Our goal is to enable lead acid batteries to achieve 80% of lithium-ion’s technical performance. But at just 20% of its cost. I believe it’s a target that’s already in our sights.” – Terry Murphy, Hammond Group successful arrival of bipolar batteries — a concept that has promised a lot in the past, think Atraverda, for example, but has never been able to deliver because of problems of execution. On paper, bipolar offers a new way of constructing a lead-acid battery, one that has the potential to make batteries cheaper to manufacture, and more importantly deliver better performance than traditional lead acid batteries or even lithium batteries in some applications. The key to realizing the technology’s potential lies in the biplate, specifically making it non-corrosive, lightweight, conductive and cheap. Several companies have tried to make a viable, marketable biplate, but so far the difficulty has always been taking the concept through to commercialization. But that is no longer the case. Two firms stand out at the moment — Advanced Battery Concepts (ABC), which has a commercial line in operation, and Gridtential, which is close to commercializing its product. Both firms have attracted investment from major lead battery firms in the US and abroad and the first massproduced bi-polar batteries could be rolling off the factory production lines soon. In a bipolar design, the current flow is extremely uniform across the active material. “As a result,” says Ed Shaffer, CEO and co-founder of ABC, “you have higher utilization of the active material or more energy. “Additionally, the design is very suitable for thin layers so higher power can be achieved as well with much better charge acceptance.” The simplified construction and uniform current flow also results in higher cycle life, up to three times, ABC says, “as long as you can maintain the edge seal”. Data from ABC shows that using its technology, a battery can reach three
times the cycle life but with half the lead. “That means that every pound of lead mined can be used six times longer… or put another way there is six times less lead needed for the same amount of energy. That is fantastic,” says Shaffer.
A new generation of separators is emerging — the largest players at the moment are ENTEK and Daramic, both of which have developed separators that allow lead batteries to be customized for use in varying climates and locations. Most importantly, however, this customization means that step changes in terms of greater cycle life are being achieved.
TPPL —Thin Plate Pure Lead
Two lead battery firms in particular, EnerSys and Northstar, have been pushing this technology further. Thin Plate Pure Lead batteries have a higher energy density, fast charging capabilities and eliminate topping up of the batteries. TPPL essentially is a simple idea though complicated to achieve. TPPL batteries have a manufacturing process to create thin plate pure lead (99.99%) grids that measure 1mm compared with the conventional 2mm-4mm plates. Using thin plates improves power density as more plates can be fitted into the same-sized cell. Using a stronger acid in the battery further enhances power density. TPPL also lowers energy consumption. EnerSys says it has measured up to a 40% reduction in the energy required to maintain a battery fully charged, compared with a traditional lead-calcium battery with the same power. Advanced TPPL batteries are virtually maintenance-free during their anticipated design life, which contributes to their low total cost of ownership. Northstar says that one of its battery ranges has a design life of more than 15 years at 20°C. Moreover because of their advanced casings the batteries can withstand operating temperatures of -40°C to -65°C. The low self-discharge rates means that TPPL batteries also store well. Their shelf life is up to 24 months between refresh charges. The latest research work by the ALABC — the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium — is seeking to find yet higher energy densities for lead batteries and claims its researches are very positive.
Raise your performance
COVER STORY: ESS PRICING
ALABC tests waters for international seminars on lead batteries in ESS The International Lead Association launched the first of a series of international workshops on November 24 aiming to demonstrate the functionality of lead in next generation energy storage systems. Although the message is not new — the lead battery industry is aware of its recyclability, sustainability, safety and the like — the workshop intention is part of the ILA’s campaign, through its
ALABC arm, to extend lead awareness to an energy sector that is increasingly looking at lithium as the new norm. There were four presentations in all, led by an introduction from Andy Bush, head of the ILA. “This will be the first workshop of many,” he said. “It’s part of a much broader effort by ILA to put the positive message for lead across to a wider audience. Efforts in the US are already under way
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR LEAD STILL OPEN
Farid Ahmed, the principal analyst for lead markets with Wood Mackenzie, told the workshop there were real opportunities for lead to re-establish itself as the battery chemistry of choice and also that there was still a window open for it to fight back. “While there is an abundance of lithium in terms of a global resource, the rate at which production needs to expand to meet projected demand over the next decade outstrips anything previously achieved for a mined commodity,” he said. “That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it won’t be easy.” Added to this, Ahmed said there was an absence of any meaningful new supply of metallic nickel powder in the coming years, essential for
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Li-ion batteries. Possibly an even greater concern is the lack of forecast production capacity of Liion batteries, whether or not the raw materials are available. “This means that the availability of Li-ion batteries will remain constrained for the next decade or so, limiting the rate at which battery prices can fall,” said Ahmed. “The likely outcome will be that in the short to medium term, Li-ion batteries output will go preferentially to the application most demanding of light weight and high energy density — electric vehicles and hybrids. “Unlike lithium, there is ample future supply of refined lead, with over half of global production coming from recycling. This opens a window of opportunity for lead batteries to become established as the best option for deployment as the energy storage battery chemistry of choice, both in terms of performance and cost.” But this window of opportunity needs to be grasped by the lead community. Eco-Economix’s Clifford-Smith, speaking to BESB six days after the workshop, said: “I made it obvious I was interested in taking our projects further but since then no one has called!” [There were at least three lead battery manufacturers at the seminar.]
in collaboration with BCI, and work in Europe will begin in the new year.” A new director, Hywel Jarman, started work in January to oversee all ILA and ALABC communications work and the campaign. (Full details are contained in this magazine’s PEOPLE NEWS section.) There could be a very positive reaction to these seminars given the more general attitude across the entire energy storage market that lead is an out-of-date technology and lithium is the market standard. One of the delegates, Jon CliffordSmith, managing director of EcoEconomix, an independent energy consultancy based in the UK, said lead had not figured in their thinking. EcoEconomix is in the process of commissioning six ESS projects — five 10MW installations and one 20MW installation — all in the south of England. “We’d all dismissed lead out of hand,” he said in a group discussion at the end. “I didn’t realise lead was so versatile and the price difference with lithium is enough to make many storage projects cashflow positive far earlier than our projections. “When I heard the benefits at the seminar I was astonished because this was something that is hardly known at all. Cost, for example. Because as long as it’s got longevity of at least 10 years and has performance capacity, we would consider it. “We need 10MW of power and 10MWh of storage capacity. If we had a guarantee that we would still have that in 10 years’ time, again, we’d consider it.” He also said the recycling factor was a major reason to look at lead. “We want to save the planet too!” he said. Some of the more detailed workshop findings provided information, in particular about lithium recycling, that were new to much of the larger lead industry. Geoffrey May, a director at FOCUS Consulting and speaker at the seminar, said his personal estimate for the processing cost of dealing with
COVER STORY: ESS PRICING end-of-life lithium-ion batteries was $4,000-$5,000 a tonne. This is a far cry from the fact that recycling lead is a profitable business given the metal has an intrinsic value of its own. May said, “Moreover, only a fraction of material from end of life lithiumion batteries is effectively recycled.” It is widely known in the market that large amounts of lithium batteries are standing electrically discharged in warehouses as storage is cheaper than the present prohibitive cost of recycling them. The expectation is that at some time costs will come down to a point where recycling would not have such punitive charges. Quoting figures from the Argonne National Laboratory, May said that in the production process for lead batteries 30 megajoules of energy were used per kilo. To make lithium batteries, 170MJ/kg of energy were used. When it came to carbon dioxide emissions, he said, with lead 3kg were emitted per kilo, yet with lithium, CO2 emissions stood at 12kg. May gave five reasons for choosing lead: technical performance; affordability; unparalleled safety; sustainability; and the fact that it is proven as a reliable system.
AN ADDITIONAL MESSAGE REQUIRED …
Andy Bush, head of the ILA, said that although the workshop had proven its worth, it had exposed a concern in the lead battery manufacturing industry. “Talking to attendees afterwards we became aware that today few battery manufacturers seem able to provide the products that system integrators for utilities, for example, want for the new energy storage systems that they need.
“They are looking for a complete solution — something that goes beyond selling batteries on their own. That means battery firms seeking to make inroads into these markets must provide a lot of the infrastructure that surrounds them. And this goes beyond the mechanics of say the inverters and the cabling to the powerful software to make this all work, that systems integrators are seeking.” Bush says the feedback ALABC has received so far suggests only a handful of international manufacturers have the ability to put complete packages together and this will limit adoption by users. “To address this need will almost certainly require out-of-house expertise as well as collaborative work within the industry and outside partners,” said Bush. One possible way forward might be for ALABC to refocus the original workshop concept bringing together lead battery makers to better understand future market requirements.
Pros and cons of different batteries
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 61
TRENDS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
Well begun — half done
Terry Murphy President, Hammond Group
hile Hammond is known for tailored performance additives, we’re taking a fresh look at other components, including battery oxide. We’re developing a novel technology to produce battery oxide where the particle size, free lead, and acid absorption may be tailored to improve a battery’s manufacturability, shorten curing times, or otherwise improve performance.
We’re developing a novel technology to produce battery oxide where the particle size, free lead, and acid absorption may be tailored to improve a battery’s manufacturability, shorten curing times, or otherwise improve performance.
Partnering with customers and suppliers, Hammond’s E= (LAB)2 battery lab is extending our scope of work to evaluating new electrolytes, separators, grid materials, bipolar configurations, and active health management systems. In all this work, our goal remains the same — to enable lead acid batteries for advanced energy storage, including hybrid vehicle applications. We must continue to improve the
Lead-acid industry trends for 2018
n 2017, we witnessed electrification continued to play an important role in automotive ecosystems and the lead-acid battery was requested to deliver more power in an efficient and sustainable manner from automotive, motive power and then to stationary applications.
Dawn Heng Global marketing director, Daramic
62 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
In 2018, we anticipate this trend will continue as improving lead-acid battery performance will remain a high priority. This means that batteries will need to work in a more stringent environment than ever and, in particular, working with an increased partial state of charge. This will bring further challenges — the need for better acid stratification,
charge acceptance and cycling technically In 2017, we also saw the emergence of an aggressive EV roadmap combined with a ban on the sale of internal combustion engines by 2030 as a timeframe in some European and Asian countries. As the global leader in providing full solutions in automotive application, however, Daramic sees more collaboration opportunities in lead-acid and li-ion batteries than competing against each other. In 2018, we should be able to see more dual battery model systems/applications leveraging benefits from both lead acid and li-ion batteries.
TRENDS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD technology if lead acid batteries are to remain relevant in these emerging markets. Apart from improving battery performance, our industry must also work more effectively to change the social narrative regarding lead acid batteries. Somehow, our society has been bewitched by lithium’s charismatic leadership and has deferentially turned off its critical thinking. Consider this: the lead battery industry has achieved the seemingly impossible task of a fully developed infrastructure for the closed-loop recycling of virtually 100% of all spent batteries. Millions of tons of an irreplaceable natural resource are saved every year. This is cradle-to-cradle sustainability without peer or precedent! And what’s the response to such unparalleled stewardship? Worse than just crickets. The EU, and now California, can hardly wait for the opportunity to ban lead batteries altogether. In favour of what? Well, almost anything, including lithium-ion batteries whose least-cost, end-of-life disposition is to a landfill. If our industry doesn’t get ahead of such willful ignorance, in a few years we’ll be left simply to commiserate over lost markets and the sheer waste of resources in whatever “regrettable substitution” is mandated for lead acid batteries. Unfortunately, the hard truth remains that despite major strides made, especially in Start-Stop SLI, lead battery performance is still deficient in meeting the requirements of emerging applications. So, even as lead’s inherent advantages of low cost and sustainability should make us market leaders, lead acid batteries simply are not participating in either hybrid vehicle growth or renewable energy storage, a potentially huge market likely on the cusp of tremendous growth. So, lead acid battery chemistry must now take it up another notch. While lithium-ion chemistry is well suited for cell phones and laptops, and perhaps in transportation, it is highly inappropriate for large-scale energy storage where we believe lead acid chemistry will find its long-term competition in redox flow, flywheels, and other energy storage technologies. That said, we frankly should be grateful to the promise-them-anything marketeers of lithium-ion for providing our industry with a timely wake-up call. www.batteriesinternational.com
Ensuring the regulatory decision-makers get the message
Andy Bush Managing director, International Lead Association
am filled with optimism and some caution for the year ahead. The quality and significant number of innovative projects and collaborations underway worldwide in our industry is a cause of great excitement and much of it has thus far been under wraps.
Leading companies and universities, facilitated through ALABC [the US based research arm of the ILA] are nurturing impressive developments in lead battery technology. There is increasing interest from governments in lead battery research after years on the side lines, and together these will result in some significant steps forward in new and existing markets.
Some of these should be announced in the year ahead and ALABC’s commitment to supporting collaborative research will help keep lead batteries at the forefront of the many opportunities the industry is looking toward in the decade ahead. However, on the other side of the spectrum, we are facing regulatory challenges and competitive pressures — both of which we are tackling head on. Last year we enjoyed some success, for example, securing an exemption to 2021 for lead batteries from the End of Life Vehicle directive’s lead ban. Our priority this year is to counter regulatory efforts to substitute lead batteries. It is and should be for the market to decide which products it uses based on cost, performance, and indeed the environmental benefits which we firmly believe continue to favour our products. Lead-based batteries are safe, highly sustainable and reliable. They also offer strong performance at a more affordable price. All of these factors are attractive in our existing markets and in the new markets opening up for our technology. So it is vital that we ensure regulatory decision-makers are able to consider our industry and our products based on the latest facts and evidence available. Above all we have a good story to tell and this year we will be loud and proud in talking about the strengths of our industry and the many benefits of the lead-based products which power our everyday lives.
Our priority this year is to counter regulatory efforts to substitute lead batteries. It is and should be for the market to decide which products it uses based on cost, performance, and indeed the environmental benefits which we firmly believe continue to favour our products. Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 63
2018: THE YEAR AHEAD
Expect a breakthrough — perhaps even this year! through. Our industry has made
Mark Thorsby Outgoing EVP, Battery Council International
believe our industry is poised for a major breakthrough and I have a feeling that it is going to occur in 2018. However, I am not certain as to the precise nature of the break-
great progress in establishing its credibility and reliability in working with several regulatory agencies in California in the past four years and several other state agencies in 2017. Our message is being received and believed by knowledgeable regulators and legislators in state capitals. 2017 saw tremendous progress on the Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative. Lisa Dry is now on board as BCI’s director of strategic communications and, in Europe, Hywel Jarmin joined this month as ILA’s director of communications and will be leading an effort to launch a similar communications initiative in Europe. The industry received a four year extension of the exemption for lead batteries related to the End of Life
Vehicle Directive in Europe last year. We have seen a significant uptick in lead battery research and development projects in 2017 with more to come in 2018. The life cycle assessment for lead batteries project is underway and a comparison with lithium ion will be completed late this year. The Economic Impact Study has been completed and published. The 2017 Recycling Study report has been published confirming that lead batteries continue to achieve exemplary results. Reports are being published at an increasing rate about the shortcomings of lithium ion batteries. All of this sets the stage for a breakthrough. The global strategic alliance among BCI, ILA, EUROBAT and ABR is stronger than ever and is directly responsible for much of the recent progress. 2018 sets up to be a very interesting year — stay tuned!
Our message is being received and believed by knowledgeable regulators and legislators in state capitals. 2017 saw tremendous progress on the Advancing Lead Batteries Communications Initiative
The view forward — “what if?”
Craig Brunk Director of sales, Bitrode
017 was strong year of growth for Bitrode Corporation. Our growth wasn’t just in sales; we saw growth in the diversity of our customer base as well as the products our customer base is involved with. Fortunately, our battery testing equipment is chemistry neutral, so we are able to see a broad spectrum of the energy storage industry.
Historically, our primary customer base has been universities, research labs and OEMs involved in the development of final product lead acid 64 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
batteries and advanced chemistry batteries. North America, China and Europe were home to these major players. 2017 was a year of change in what is being tested and where it is being tested. Suppliers of base materials, component and additives are all diligently working to improve their products which are increasing performance, reducing cost and extending battery life. Testing of these new products is no longer taking place just at ‘HQ’. Testing facilities are being localized in China, India, southeast Asia, Latin and central America and Africa. 2018 will continue to be a year of growth and change in the energy storage industry. Lead acid battery
manufacturers and their suppliers will continue to expand their global markets and their product offerings. Most in the market recognize the threat that alternative chemistry batteries brings and are launching alternative chemistry research and some will even release production product with the new technologies. Engineers and technologists will continue to push the requirements of the batteries; which in turn is pushing all the rest of us to improve our technology and capabilities. Will 2018 will be the year where energy storage technologies merge? Just to name a few, there are lead acid batteries, lithium ion batteries, supercapacitor batteries and flow batteries and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps 2018 will be the year where that one technologist will ask, “what if…” and create the perfect battery!
Engineers and technologists will continue to push the requirements of the batteries; which in turn is pushing all the rest of us to improve our technology and capabilities. www.batteriesinternational.com
2018: THE YEAR AHEAD
A year for making further improvements in R&D to improve our equipment so we can offer machines to the industry that will help improve quality and reduce labour. We will continue to design and improve our equipment in ways that are beneficial to our customers and to the industry in general.
Doug Bornas Director of sales, MAC Engineering
n 2018, we expect to see continued growth in the lead acid battery market. We will continue to invest
We will be challenged to produce more equipment that reduces scrap, reduces lead in the air, reduces employees, all the while trying to maintain production speeds and costs. The battery industry will face challenges from environmental groups all over the world and we as equipment suppliers will need to
do our part to help the fight. Proponents for lithium and other non-lead acid battery makers will continue to make things difficult for the industry as a whole. We will have to continue to fight public perception that lead is bad and get them to understand how important lead acid batteries are to everyday life. MAC Engineering will continue to look into the future to determine what will be needed five, 10 and 20 years from now. We will continue to hire younger engineers and younger sales people that will help keep our ideas new and fresh in this ever changing market. We look at 2018 as an opportunity to grow and expand, evolve and create. We are ready for the challenge and the future.
Proponents for lithium and other non-lead acid battery makers will continue to make things difficult for the industry as a whole. We will have to continue to fight public perception that lead is bad and get them to understand how important lead acid batteries are to everyday life
Finding roles for lead as well as lithium
Max Ianniello General manager, Sovema Group
ovema Group has been in the business of lead-acid battery manufacturing equipment for almost 50 years and has become one of the leading companies in this industry.
Seven years ago, we decided to open a new business unit in a field adjacent to our core business and created a new brand for this prod-
uct line: Solith is in fact the name of our manufacturing equipment for lithium-ion storage. This puts Sovema Group in a particular position within the leadacid battery manufacturing industry where lithium, with all its chemistries, is not perceived as a threat but rather as a new opportunity. In this bunch there are very few battery manufacturing equipment suppliers but increasing numbers of battery manufacturers, including several of our customers who contacted us for lithium-ion cell making or complete battery pack assembly projects. When we draft our business plans, equal consideration is thus given to both chemistries as the revenue streams associated with lead-acid and lithium-ion battery manufacturing equipment are combined in the make-up of our consolidated turnover. Our outlook on 2018 suggests
that no major growth is expected from the lead-acid side of business, in line with what we gather from reports and forecasts relative to this industry. I believe that the major challenge here is to study and develop new solutions for those applications where lead-acid storage is a well consolidated technology. On the contrary, our hopes are high in the lithium side of our business, where we have witnessed a rapid growth in equipment demand during last year. In this field there are already some very big cell and battery manufacturers, mostly from Asian countries, but I believe there will be need and room for other suppliers in the medium/long term. For instance, in Europe this is currently spurred by major carmakers which are looking into developing and producing their own battery systems to power up electric and hybrid vehicles, poised to have an everincreasing presence on the roads. I am confident that within the next three to five years our “lithium business” will be as important as our “lead-acid business” and Sovema Group is already working to make this transition happen smoothly.
The major challenge here is to study and develop new solutions for those applications where lead-acid storage is a well consolidated technology. www.batteriesinternational.com
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 65
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2018: THE YEAR AHEAD
Lead prices to climb as supply squeeze continues
ne of the big issues driving the outlook for lead prices in 2018 will be the unfolding story of polymetallic miners’ response to the prevailing high lead (and zinc) metal prices and low lead (and zinc) concentrate treatment charges.
Neil Hawkes Senior analyst, CRU
This raises a host of questions that will be at the heart of the debate this year. How much will global lead mine (and smelter) production increase this year? Most crucially, will it be enough to close the gap between lead demand and steadier secondary lead
supplies? Or will it fall short? Assuming lead-acid battery demand has another reasonably good year in terms of growth, then the scale of the rise in primary lead supplies will play a big part in determining where lead prices go this year. Until mine supplies do show some healthy growth, the supply squeeze will continue and lead prices could easily spike to fresh highs in the early part of this year, particularly if the price of sister mining metal zinc continues to climb. Downside price tests seem more likely in the middle part of 2018. So 2018 could be a little like my recent skiing holiday in the French Alps — full of ups and downs and some unexpected twists and turns!
Until mine supplies do show some healthy growth, the supply squeeze will continue and lead prices could easily spike to fresh highs in the early part of this year.
An awesome year for the battery industry
Steve Mate CEO, Co-efficient
018 is going to be a simply awesome year for battery production. There are several technical and market convergences coming our way. There’ll be plenty to write about, that’s for sure …
What I’m looking forward to the most in the coming year is observing and learning from so many amazing people and innovative companies in our industry, which, by the way, has
never been stronger. Nevertheless, the appetite for change has never been bigger. I’ll spare you the lengthy New Year’s resolutions and year-in-review-type stuff. I want to dive right into specifics The lead-acid battery industry is mature but still expanding. Like any mature industry, it’s competitive. There’s an overwhelming drive from management to keep the lines running, make them run faster, add more of them, and eliminate bottlenecks. Production is king. Even though quality improvements can lead to massive financial and performance benefits, it’s still a challenge to get management on board. The mentality is to just make more of what we’re already making. After all, every battery made is being sold! So how can we sell quality-focused projects to decision makers in 2018? My advice: don’t. Forget about selling quality improvements and focus on projects
that benefit production and quality (as a bonus). For example, new instruments for measurement and data collection, software, and automatic adjustment systems don’t directly make the lines run faster. But they do indirectly by reducing scrap, which in turn makes lines easier to run. And that means production levels will increase During a recent customer site visit, I was speaking with an engineer who told me “we’ve never run out of leadoxide so quickly since adding the laser gauge”. Ploughing through their leadoxide supply was never the original intent. But it certainly pleased management (they were happy to boost lead-oxide supply if it meant higher output). Even though it feels compelling to talk about quality benefits like better accuracy and improved performance, it can still be an uphill battle in today’s market. When management’s primary goal is increasing production, every decision will be scrutinized with that lens — even if your quality project offers a sizeable ROI. So rather than trying to sell the quality benefits of an automatic gauging system, promote it as a tool to increase production.
Even though quality improvements can lead to massive financial and performance benefits, it’s still a challenge to get management on board. The mentality is to just make more of what we’re already making. After all, every battery made is being sold! 68 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
2018: THE YEAR AHEAD
Regulatory changes ahead to affect European power landscape Europe needs a regulatory framework that ensures further development of all existing and new battery technologies without jeopardizing or even banning them. Rene Schroder Executive director, EUROBAT
ith batteries high on the European political agenda, 2018 promises to be an important year for our industry from a regulatory and policy-making perspective.
This past November, the European Commission presented its legislative proposal for the next CO2 emission reduction targets for road transport. Throughout 2018, this proposal will now be debated by EU member states and the European Parliament. The European Commission sug-
gests reducing average CO2 emissions by 30% until 2030 (compared to 2021) for new passenger vehicles and vans. What needs to be kept in mind is that a variety of battery technologies exists today — lead, lithium, nickel and sodium-based batteries — and they will all deliver CO2 savings in vehicles with different powertrains, which will coexist for the foreseeable future. For this reason, we are highlighting to the EU institutions that continuous efforts on the development of all battery technologies will be a fundamental cornerstone of the transition to a decarbonized economy. Next year, the European Commission will also continue the evaluation
of the EU Battery Directive in view of a legislative proposal which will come out beginning in 2020. We are using this opportunity to underline to EU policy-makers that the legislative overlaps that exist between the Battery Directive, End-ofLife Vehicles Directive and REACH regulations needs to be addressed. Europe needs a regulatory framework that ensures further development of all existing and new battery technologies without jeopardizing or even banning them. More coherence between different EU initiatives related to batteries is absolutely needed to ensure the development and production of all existing and new battery technologies in Europe.
2018 and the rise of long duration storage The UK energy market continues to evolve rapidly and while this is largely for the better, it also creates risk for renewable asset owners, as the longevity of their investment return comes under scrutiny.
Stuart McGregor CEO, RedT
017 has been an incredibly important year for energy storage. As a business, we fully support the important policy advancements the UK government announced this year, such as the long awaited definition of storage as its own class of generation and the subsequent removal of so-called double charging. We firmly believe these will help propel the UK energy storage industry.
I began the year by saying that energy storage was not yet economic www.batteriesinternational.com
here in the UK, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been proved wrong. The UK market for our long duration flow machines is very much open for business and we are thrilled to be involved in a number of innovative projects, which demonstrate the attractive business case and environmental benefits of our systems. This was further underlined by recent moves to de-rate short duration batteries in the capacity market, in favour of long duration energy storage machines. The UK energy market continues to evolve rapidly and while this is largely for the better, it also creates risk for renewable asset owners, as the longevity of their investment return comes under scrutiny. However, this has created opportunities for us, as the market needs a flexible platform asset, which we can offer. A machine (not a battery!)
that can adapt to a fast changing energy market, hedging risk for the asset owner who can perform multiple services and take advantage of opportunities in the form of new grid services, as and when they arise. 2018 will see the rise of long duration storage in front of the meter and behind it. Companies like Centrica are already ahead of the curve in creating the new distributed energy system of the future, which will fundamentally change the way we consume energy from the grid. One example of this are the innovative peer-to-peer energy trading schemes which Centrica is trialling. In short, 2017 was a big year for the energy storage industry, but I have even higher hopes for next year where we will see real, widespread adoption of energy storage to help support the new energy system of the future. Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 69
TRENDS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
Electricity storage is the essential component of a smarter grid Customers for storage are not just the traditional members of the power industry. Investment funds want to own infrastructure assets, electricity supply companies want to maintain their market share and new participants are appearing in the market. Georgina Penfold
CEO, Electricity Storage Network
Chairman, Electricity Storage Network
017 seemed to be the year that everything was going well for electricity storage. Battery costs continued to fall, the first projects with contracts for National Grid’s EFR service were just coming on line, battery projects were gaining ground in the Capacity Market, and the government announced its smart systems plan. But as 2017 draws to a close, some fear there are tough times ahead for storage developers as expected revenues for frequency response drop and storage is not so highly favoured in the Capacity Market — yet this is in stark contrast to many optimistic project developers who still see many opportunities ahead. So what do we expect for electricity storage in 2018? The Electricity Storage Network, our group for promoting storage in the UK, will continue to lobby government to deliver on its
promises to support the development of storage. Those with a responsibility to set regulations and legislation in the electricity industry have a tough job to keep ahead of both technical developments and new commercial and business models. Hybrid systems, which combine the elements of long duration and short duration storage illustrate some of the possibilities. Dieter Helm’s review of energy prices has already drawn out the role of storage as a major disruptor in the power industry. This gives us the biggest clues as to the shape of the electricity storage industry in 2018. First, it’s not just about batteries. It’s easy enough for politicians to grab headlines, and batteries — especially lithium ion types in smart-looking electric cars — make great headlines, but there are many other ways of storing energy. Second, the market for storage has shifted — project developers seized the
opportunity to sell frequency response services but are now seeking out other parts of the value stack to cushion the drop in frequency response prices. Third, customers for storage are not just the traditional members of the power industry. Investment funds want to own infrastructure assets, electricity supply companies want to maintain their market share by offering customers improved services that aid customer retention and new participants are appearing in the market. The change of distribution network operators into distribution system operators will create many opportunities for sellers of storage systems and project developers, especially for systems embedded in the lower voltage areas. We expect to see more interest in longer duration energy storage, more installations behind the meter — some domestic, but many in the smaller and mid-size commercial and industrial sector — and most importantly, acceptance that electricity storage in all its forms is the essential component of a smarter grid.
Acceleration — 2017 was
his was a big year for energy storage, and as an industry we should expect continued growth and further market acceptance in 2018. We saw more energy storage deployments in 2017 that solved problems such as transmission and
Troy Miller Director, grid solutions, S&C Electric Company
70 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
distribution deferral and capacity constraints that historically were resolved by ‘adding more copper’. Energy storage, when used as a component of a larger distribution system, can create pockets of improved reliability and resiliency on the distribu-
Next year, we should see energy storage solving additional reliability and capacity problems facing the grid. We also should expect to see energy storage accepted and deployed in even more regions and countries www.batteriesinternational.com
TRENDS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
Global demand for lead acid batteries has been increasing across all application segments
Scott Fink President Sorfin Yoshimura
ach year we hear more and more buzz about the future of energy storage without the ‘antiquated’ lead acid battery. However, each year global demand for lead acid batteries has been increasing across all application segments. The global lead acid battery industry is making more batteries than ever before while improving production efficiencies and overall product quality in parallel. Clearly, significant challenges lie ahead, but the industry is galvanized and great strides have been made in the
last several years; Sorfin Yoshimura is optimistic as we head into 2018. The international markets are very exciting and the major population centres in the developing world continue to drive battery industry growth. Sorfin Yoshimura believes that China, India, Brazil and south-east Asia will continue to drive growth in capital equipment and raw material. Consolidation will continue to be a common feature among the battery makers, but we have yet to see this same type of consolidation among the suppliers serving the industry. We believe this is essential for industry balance. The ability for the lead acid battery to optimize performance in line with the needs of each application will be critical in the days ahead. The industry has some challenges here which must be addressed as we have too long of a timeline to test new materials for potential use in batteries. Faster screening methods and better test protocols must be developed and more laboratory resources need to be put in place to identify products which can meet performance goals that the battery makers are seeking. Inadequacies exist for all storage devices but the lead acid battery remains the best solution in 2018 and for the foreseeable future. We expect continued advancement
from other chemistries to fit specific application requirements. Alternative chemistries will have their slice of the pie; but the global pie continues to get larger and larger which is to everyone’s advantage. Sorfin Yoshimura remains excited about the future of the lead acid battery as a major player within the energy storage arena and we continue to invest in technical and logistics infrastructure around the world to serve the industry for many years to come.
Sorfin Yoshimura believes that China, India, Brazil and south-east Asia will continue to drive growth in capital equipment and raw material. Consolidation will continue to be a common feature among the battery makers, but we have yet to see this same type of consolidation among the suppliers serving the industry. We believe this is essential for industry balance.
good, but 2018 will be better tion network. Microgrids, consisting of energy storage and typically renewable generation, are becoming more and more prevalent in our grid networks. By using energy storage, we are proving these complex systems can perform admirably as an alternate energy source while potentially solving other problems simultaneously in the same location. I’d expect the trends we are seeing this year to accelerate in 2018. Next year, we should see energy storage
solving additional reliability and capacity problems facing the grid. We should also expect to see energy storage accepted and deployed in even more regions and countries. The industry leaders in the US, Europe, and Australia are ready to take on more. This past year, we saw the destructive forces that storms and hurricanes can have on our grid. We also heard a lot of hypothesizing on how additional energy storage and microgrids could have helped improve electrical reliability and resiliency during those
storms. This conversation will continue into 2018, and the catastrophic hurricanes of 2017 will be a catalyst for more energy storage and microgrid deployments. Last, the profound impact of energy storage, combined with continued advancements in distribution automation, will improve grid reliability and resiliency around the world in the years to come. S&C is continuing to lead the charge in this space and looks forward to increased momentum both in the US and around the world.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 71
BACK TO BASICS Isidor Buchmann, chairman of Cadex Electronics and founder of the Battery University explains the basics of the six staple lithium chemistries used.
The basics of the six staple lithium chemistries Lithium-ion is named for its active materials; the words are either written in full or shortened by their chemical symbols. A series of letters and numbers strung together can be hard to remember and even harder to pronounce, and battery chemistries are also identified in abbreviated letters. For example, lithium cobalt oxide, one of the most common Li-ions, has the chemical symbols LiCoO2 and the abbreviation LCO. For reasons of simplicity, the short form Li-cobalt can also be used for this battery. Cobalt is the main active material that gives this battery character. Other Li-ion chemistries are given similar short-form names. This section lists six of the most common Li-ions. All readings are average estimates at time of writing.
Lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) Its high specific energy makes Li-cobalt the popular choice for mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras. The battery consists of a cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite carbon anode. The cathode has a layered structure and during discharge, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode. The flow reverses on charge. The drawback of Li-cobalt is a relatively short life span, low thermal stability and limited load capabilities (specific power). Figure 1 illustrates the structure.
Figure 1: Li-cobalt structure The cathode has a layered structure. During discharge the lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode; on charge the flow is from cathode to anode.
72 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
The drawback of Li-cobalt is a relatively short life span, low thermal stability and limited load capabilities (specific power). Like other cobalt-blended Li-ion, Li-cobalt has a graphite anode that limits the cycle life by a changing solid electrolyte interface (SEI), thickening on the anode and lithium plating while fast charging and charging at low temperature. Newer systems include nickel, manganese and/or aluminum to improve longevity, loading capabilities and cost. Li-cobalt should not be charged and discharged at a current higher than its C-rating. This means that an 18650 cell with 2,400mAh can only be charged and discharged at 2,400mA. Forcing a fast charge or applying a load higher than 2,400mA causes overheating and undue stress. For optimal fast charge, the manufacturer recommends a C-rate of 0.8C
or about 2,000mA. The mandatory battery protection circuit limits the charge and discharge rate to a safe level of about 1C for the Energy Cell. Specific energy Cost
Life span Performance
Figure 2: Snapshot of an average Licobalt battery Li-cobalt excels on high specific energy but offers only moderate performance specific power, safety and life span.
Lithium cobalt oxide: LiCoO2 cathode (~60% Co), graphite anode Short form: LCO or Li-cobalt. Since 1991 Voltages
3.60V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell
Specific energy (capacity)
150–200Wh/kg. Specialty cells provide up to 240Wh/kg.
0.7–1C, charges to 4.20V (most cells); 3h charge typical. Charge current above 1C shortens battery life.
1C; 2.50V cut off. Discharge current above 1C shortens battery life.
500–1000, related to depth of discharge, load, temperature
150°C (302°F). Full charge promotes thermal runaway
Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras
Very high specific energy, limited specific power. Cobalt is expensive. Serves as Energy Cell. Market share has stabilized.
All you need for your Battery www.froetek.com
BACK TO BASICS The hexagonal spider graphic (Figure 2) summarizes the performance of Li-cobalt in terms of specific energy or capacity that relates to runtime; specific power or the ability to deliver high current; safety; performance at hot and cold temperatures; life span reflecting cycle life and longevity; and cost. Other characteristics of interest not shown in the spider webs are toxicity, fast-charge capabilities, selfdischarge and shelf life. Li-cobalt is losing favor to Li-manganese, but especially NMC and NCA because of the high cost of cobalt and improved performance by blending with other active cathode materials.
Lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) Li-ion with manganese spinel was first published in the Materials Research Bulletin in 1983. In 1996, Moli Energy commercialized a Li-ion cell with lithium manganese oxide as cathode material. The architecture forms a three-dimensional spinel structure that improves ion flow on the electrode, which results in lower internal resistance and improved current handling. A further advantage of spinel is high thermal stability and enhanced safety, but the cycle and calendar life are limited. Low internal cell resistance enables fast charging and high-current discharging. In an 18650 package, Limanganese can be discharged at currents of 20–30A with moderate heat buildup. It is also possible to apply one-second load pulses of up to 50A. A continuous high load at this current would cause heat buildup and the cell temperature cannot exceed 80°C (176°F). Li-manganese is used for power tools, medical instruments, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.
Figure 3: Li-manganese structure. The cathode crystalline formation of lithium manganese oxide has a three-dimensional framework structure that appears after initial formation. Spinel provides low resistance but has a more moderate specific energy than cobalt.
74 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
Specific energy Cost
Life span Performance
Figure 4: Snapshot of a pure Limanganese battery. Although moderate in overall performance, newer designs of Li-manganese offer improvements in specific power, safety and life span.
Figure 3 illustrates the formation of a three-dimensional crystalline framework on the cathode of a Li-manganese battery. This spinel structure, which is usually composed of diamond shapes connected into a lattice, appears after initial formation. Li-manganese has a capacity that is roughly one-third lower than Licobalt. Design flexibility allows engineers to maximize the battery for either optimal longevity (life span), maximum load current (specific power) or high capacity (specific energy). For example, the long-life version in the 18650 cell has a moderate capacity of only 1,100mAh; the high-capacity version is 1,500mAh. Figure 4 shows the spider web of a typical Li-manganese battery. The
characteristics appear marginal but newer designs have improved in terms of specific power, safety and life span. Pure Li-manganese batteries are no longer common today; they may only be used for special applications. Most Li-manganese batteries blend with lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) to improve the specific energy and prolong the life span. This combination brings out the best in each system, and the LMO (NMC) is chosen for most electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and BMW i3. The LMO part of the battery, which can be about 30%, provides high current boost on acceleration; the NMC part gives the long driving range. Li-ion research gravitates heavily towards combining Li-manganese with cobalt, nickel, manganese and/ or aluminum as active cathode material. In some architecture, a small amount of silicon is added to the anode. This provides a 25% capacity boost; however, the gain is commonly connected with a shorter cycle life as silicon grows and shrinks with charge and discharge, causing mechanical stress. These three active metals, as well as the silicon enhancement can conveniently be chosen to enhance the specific energy (capacity), specific power (load capability) or longevity. While consumer batteries go for high capacity, industrial applications require battery systems that have good loading capabilities, deliver a long life and provide safe and dependable service.
Lithium manganese oxide: LiMn2O4 cathode. graphite anode Short form: LMO or Li-manganese (spinel structure) Since 1996 Voltages
3.70V (3.80V) nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell
Specific energy (capacity)
0.7–1C typical, 3C maximum, charges to 4.20V (most cells)
1C; 10C possible with some cells, 30C pulse (5s), 2.50V cut-off
300–700 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)
250°C (482°F) typical. High charge promotes thermal runaway
Power tools, medical devices, electric powertrains
High power but less capacity; safer than Li-cobalt; commonly mixed with NMC to improve performance.
BACK TO BASICS Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LiNiMnCoO2 or NMC)
Specific energy Cost
One of the most successful Li-ion systems is a cathode combination of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC). Similar to Li-manganese, these systems can be tailored to serve as Energy Cells or Power Cells. For example, NMC in an 18650 cell for moderate load condition has a capacity of about 2,800mAh and can deliver 4A to 5A; NMC in the same cell optimized for specific power has a capacity of only about 2,000mAh but delivers a continuous discharge current of 20A. A silicon-based anode will go to 4,000mAh and higher but at reduced loading capability and shorter cycle life. Silicon added to graphite has the drawback that the anode grows and shrinks with charge and discharge, making the cell mechanically unstable. The secret of NMC lies in combining nickel and manganese. An analogy of this is table salt in which the main ingredients, sodium and chloride, are toxic on their own but mixing them serves as seasoning salt and food preserver. Nickel is known for its high specific energy but poor stability; manganese has the benefit of forming a spinel structure to achieve low internal resistance but offers a low specific energy. Combining the metals enhances each other strengths.
Life span Performance
Figure 5: Snapshot of NMC NMC has good overall performance and excels on specific energy. This battery is the preferred candidate for the electric vehicle and has the lowest self-heating rate.
NMC is the battery of choice for power tools, e-bikes and other electric powertrains. The cathode combination is typically one-third nickel, onethird manganese and one-third cobalt, also known as 1-1-1. This offers a unique blend that also lowers the raw material cost due to reduced cobalt content. Another successful combination is NCM with 5 parts nickel, 3 parts cobalt and 2 parts manganese (5-3-2). Other combinations using various amounts of cathode materials are possible. Battery manufacturers move away from cobalt systems toward nickel
Lithium nickel manganese Cobalt Oxide: LiNiMnCoO2. cathode, graphite anode. Short form: NMC (NCM, CMN, CNM, MNC, MCN similar with different metal combinations) Since 2008 Voltages
3.60V, 3.70V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell, or higher
Specific energy (capacity)
0.7–1C, charges to 4.20V, some go to 4.30V; 3h charge typical. Charge current above 1C shortens battery life.
1C; 2C possible on some cells; 2.50V cut-off
1000–2000 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)
210°C (410°F) typical. High charge promotes thermal runaway
E-bikes, medical devices, EVs, industrial
Provides high capacity and high power. Serves as Hybrid Cell. Favorite chemistry for many uses; market share is increasing.
cathodes because of the high cost of cobalt. Nickel-based systems have higher energy density, lower cost, and longer cycle life than the cobalt-based cells but they have a slightly lower voltage. New electrolytes and additives enable charging to 4.4V/cell and higher to boost capacity. Figure 5 demonstrates the characteristics of the NMC. There is a move towards NMCblended Li-ion as the system can be built economically and it achieves a good performance. The three active materials of nickel, manganese and cobalt can easily be blended to suit a wide range of applications for automotive and energy storage systems (EES) that need frequent cycling. The NMC family is growing in its diversity.
Lithium iron phosphate(LiFePO4) In 1996, the University of Texas (and other contributors) discovered phosphate as cathode material for rechargeable lithium batteries. Liphosphate offers good electrochemical performance with low resistance. This is made possible with nano-scale phosphate cathode material. The key benefits are high current rating and long cycle life, besides good thermal stability, enhanced safety and tolerance if abused. Li-phosphate is more tolerant to full charge conditions and is less stressed than other lithium-ion systems if kept at high voltage for a prolonged time. As a trade-off, its lower nominal voltage of 3.2V/cell reduces the specific energy below that of cobalt-blended lithium-ion. With most batteries, cold temperature reduces performance and elevated storage temperature shortens the service life, and Li-phosphate is no exception. Li-phosphate has a higher selfdischarge than other Li-ion batteries, which can cause balancing issues with aging. This can be mitigated by buying high quality cells and/or using sophisticated control electronics, both of which increase the cost of the pack. Cleanliness in manufacturing is of importance for longevity. There is no tolerance for moisture, lest the battery will only deliver 50 cycles. Figure 6 summarizes the attributes of Li-phosphate. Li-phosphate is often used to replace the lead acid starter battery. Four cells in series produce 12.80V, a similar voltage to six 2V lead acid cells in series. Vehicles charge lead acid to 14.40V (2.40V/cell) and maintain a topping
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 75
BACK TO BASICS Specific energy Cost
Lithium iron phosphate: LiFePO4 cathode, graphite anode Short form: LFP or Li-phosphate. Since 1996 Specific power
3.20, 3.30V nominal; typical operating range 2.5–3.65V/cell
Specific energy (capacity)
1C typical, charges to 3.65V; 3h charge time typical
1C, 25C on some cells; 40A pulse (2s); 2.50V cut-off (lower that 2V causes damage)
1000–2000 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)
270°C (518°F) Very safe battery even if fully charged
Portable and stationary needing high load currents and endurance
Very flat voltage discharge curve but low capacity. One of safest Li-ions. Used for special markets. Elevated self-discharge.
Life span Performance
Figure 6: Snapshot of a typical Liphosphate battery. Li-phosphate has excellent safety and long life span but moderate specific energy and elevated self-discharge.
charge. Topping charge is applied to maintain full charge level and prevent sulfation on lead acid batteries. With four Li-phosphate cells in series, each cell tops at 3.60V, which is the correct full-charge voltage. At this point, the charge should be disconnected but the topping charge continues while driving. Li-phosphate is tolerant to some overcharge; however, keeping the voltage at 14.40V for a prolonged time, as most vehicles do on a long road trip, could stress Liphosphate. Time will tell how durable Li-Phosphate will be as a lead acid replacement with a regular vehicle charging system. Cold temperature also reduces performance of Li-ion and this could affect the cranking ability in extreme cases.
Li-phosphate is more tolerant to full charge conditions and is less stressed than other lithium-ion systems if kept at high voltage for a prolonged time
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide: LiNiCoAlO2 cathode (~9% Co), graphite anode. Short form: NCA or Li-aluminum. Since 1999 Voltages
3.60V nominal; typical operating range 3.0–4.2V/cell
Specific energy (capacity)
200-260Wh/kg; 300Wh/kg predictable
0.7C, charges to 4.20V (most cells), 3h charge typical, fast charge possible with some cells
1C typical; 3.00V cut-off; high discharge rate shortens battery life
500 (related to depth of discharge, temperature)
150°C (302°F) typical, High charge promotes thermal runaway
Medical devices, industrial, electric powertrain (Tesla)
Shares similarities with Li-cobalt. Serves as Energy Cell.
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Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide battery, or NCA, has been around since 1999 for special applications. It shares similarities with NMC by offering high specific energy, reasonably good specific power and a long life span. Less flattering are safety and cost. Figure 7 summarizes the six key characteristics. NCA is a further development of lithium nickel oxide; adding aluminum gives the chemistry greater stability.
Specific energy Cost
Life span Performance
Figure 7: Snapshot of NCA. High energy and power densities, as well as good life span, make NCA a candidate for EV powertrains. High cost and marginal safety are negatives.
BACK TO BASICS Lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12 ) Batteries with lithium titanate anodes have been known since the 1980s. Lititanate replaces the graphite in the anode of a typical lithium-ion battery and the material forms into a spinel structure. The cathode can be lithium manganese oxide or NMC. Li-titanate
has a nominal cell voltage of 2.40V, can be fast charged and delivers a high discharge current of 10C, or 10 times the rated capacity. The cycle count is said to be higher than that of a regular Li-ion. Li-titanate is safe, has excellent low-temperature discharge characteristics and obtains a capacity of 80% at –30°C (–22°F).
Lithium titanate: Can be lithium manganese oxide or NMC; Li4Ti5O12 (titanate) anode. Short form: LTO or Li-titanate. Commercially available since about 2008 Voltages
2.40V nominal; typical operating range 1.8–2.85V/cell
Specific energy (capacity)
1C typical; 5C maximum, charges to 2.85V
10C possible, 30C 5s pulse; 1.80V cut-off on LCO/LTO
One of safest Li-ion batteries
UPS, electric powertrain (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Honda Fit EV), solar-powered street lighting
LTO (commonly Li4Ti5O12) has advantages over the conventional cobaltblended Li-ion with graphite anode by attaining zero-strain property, no SEI film formation and no lithium plating when fast charging and charging at low temperature. Thermal stability under high temperature is also better than other Li-ion systems; however, the battery is expensive. At only 65Wh/kg, the specific energy is low, rivalling that of NiCd. Li-titanate charges to 2.80V/ cell, and the end of discharge is 1.80V/ cell. Figure 8 illustrates the characteristics of the Li-titanate battery. Typical uses are electric powertrains, UPS and solar-powered street lighting.
Life span Performance
Figure 8: Snapshot of Li-titanate. Lititanate excels in safety, low-temperature performance and life span. Efforts are being made to improve the specific energy and lower cost.
Long life, fast charge, wide temperature range but low specific energy and expensive. Among safest Li-ion batteries.
Overall comparisons Figure 9 compares the specific energy of lead-, nickel- and lithium-based systems. While Li-aluminium (NCA) is the clear winner by storing more capacity than other systems, this only applies to specific energy. In terms of specific power and thermal stability, Li-manganese (LMO) and Li-phosphate (LFP) are superior. Li-titanate (LTO) may have low capacity but this chemistry outlives most other batteries in terms of life span and also has the best cold temperature performance. Moving towards the electric powertrain, safety and cycle life will gain dominance over capacity. (LCO stands for Licobalt, the original Li-ion.)
Wh/kg 280 240 200 160 120 80 40 0 Lead Acid NiCd
Figure 9 Typical specific energy of lead-, nickel- and lithium-based batteries. NCA enjoys the highest specific energy; however, manganese and phosphate are superior in terms of specific power and thermal stability. Li-titanate has the best life span.
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 77
FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: REDT
Batteries International spoke to RedT’s Scott McGregor about why he believes his firm is poised to capitalize on a the new tipping point for the price of renewable energy. Debbie Mason reports.
Vanadium redox to flourish in deep energy storage 2017 could well have marked the beginning of the end of the stand-off between lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries as grid-scale energy storage options. But not because either has proven more successful than the other: more because there’s a new player in town. The not-so-new kids on the block, vanadium redox flow batteries, are being promoted and researched in more and more countries around the globe. Most notably in China, Rongke Power, for example, is in the process of installing what could be the world’s largest battery. This is a massive 800MWh storage unit covering an area equivalent to 20 football pitches, which will balance grid supply and demand in Dalian, the capital city of northeastern Liaoning Province. By the end of 2017, 100MW of storage is set to be installed, the remainder in 2018. The technology behind vanadium redox has taken time for it to mature — see table — but since the first commercial installation in the mid-1990s the technology has moved forward though adoption rates have been slow. So why a promised boom now? One of the main drivers has been the plummeting cost of renewable energy — particularly solar power. Scott McGregor, CEO of the UKbased RedT Energy, says he knew 17 years ago that vanadium flow ‘machines’, as he insists on calling his energy storage systems, would become commercially viable one day. He just didn’t know when. “We’ve been waiting around for various macro factors to fall into place,” he says. “Solar prices had to come down to make it economically viable. And they’ve come down — in fact they’ve only started to come down as there’s still a way for them to fall. Then power prices had to go up, which they have. In Australia, where we have cracked the market wide open, they are extremely expensive.
80 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
“And there had to be an ability to earn money off the grid. That’s now possible — there’s now a trading advantage, a platform where people can actually trade their energy to make money. “Even three years ago it would not have made economic sense, but now all of these factors are in place. It was no use bringing this on to the market until customers could make money and numbers had changed, and now they have. It’s a pricing tipping point, and we have reached it. And now the UK and Australian governments are among those who are supporting it.” The price of solar power, at 6¢ per kilowatt hour, he says, has now fallen below gas, at 6.5¢, and coal, at 12¢. Another factor is perception, he says. “There’s a misconception of energy storage as a whole. People think of generating energy as quite simple —
it’s either solar or it’s wind. People will judge whether it’s high quality or low quality, but they will see it as the same thing. Generating power. “People have the same idea with storage — that it’s just storage. But they need to compare the technologies, because they’re not all right for every application.” So while other technologies are tapping this potential and also providing storage options, they can’t compete with the cost, life cycle or performance, RedT’s market communications official Joe Worthington says. “We look at the price over 25 years,” he says. “If you factor in everything — inflation, depreciation, operation, maintenance, replacement — we are significantly cheaper than lead and lithium. That’s how project developers are looking at things now, the kilowatt hour cost.” At the moment, the go-to technology for storage appears to be lithium-ion batteries, but as McGregor says, they only provide 15-30 minutes of power in the event of a black-out. His machines can store much more than this. One such project is the Olde House, in the southwestern English county of Cornwall, where 1MW of the RedT machines have been installed at a 600acre farm-cum-holiday apartment complex though the utility Centrica. The battery is the first to participate in Centrica’s local energy market trial, which will provide a trading platform where the farmer is able to trade any excess power with other consumers, thus making money and ultimately
If 2017 marked a price tipping point, when customers began to realize the benefits and economics of energy-saving technology, 2018 will be dedicated to delivering all the orders the company has received. 2019, he says, will be the year of the mega projects — Scott McGregor, RedT www.batteriesinternational.com
FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: REDT paying back the cost of the machines. In this way, businesses will be able to save money by generating energy and storing it for use when the cost of grid energy is high (in the evening), or make money by trading it with other consumers, McGregor says. In McGregor’s native Australia, where the use of solar power is, in his words, a no-brainer, the university of Monash in Melbourne has agreed to install a 1.2MWh vanadium flow machine, along with a smaller lithium battery. The two will work in tandem to store energy generated by solar panels at a biomedical research facility at the campus, saving energy costs but also with plans to trade the energy in the future. McGregor says the vanadium flow battery will be the big ‘boring’ workhorse offering storage hours’ worth of electricity, while the lithium battery will supply short-term bursts of energy as required. “Their energy needs are quite complex, it’s quite a big university and they’ve got labs and a variety of needs,” says Worthington. “They have quite a high baseload, which is almost 24/7, and at random times of the day they get a big spike. It’s being installed with a view to going off grid eventually.” Monash is also RedT’s first official foray into Australia. “We were going to wait to go into Australia, but we couldn’t not go there because the price of the power there is so high,” says McGregor. “It’s a perfect storm of three aspects: solar prices coming down; the incredibly high price of power in Australia; and a ropey grid system. As well as RedT’s orders in the UK and Australia, the company has made agreements with distributors in central and eastern Europe and southeast Asia, details of which are under wraps apart from the company confirming an initial commitment of 12 units. Flow batteries come into their own in the remoter regions of the world, where no grids break down since there simply are no grids, and where the installation of a microgrid would provide invaluable energy storage to replace the commonly used polluting and expensive diesel generators. South African power utility Eskom has confirmed it will test a vanadium flow battery developed by the South African firm Bushveld, and another by Uni Energy Technologies, over the next 18 months with a view to
A SHORT HISTORY OF VANADIUM REDOX BATTERIES Vanadium flow batteries were first explored in the 1930s by Pierre Pissoort, then in the 1970s by various researchers. Up until the 1970s no one had previously used vanadium redox couples in a working flow battery. A reason for this was the low solubility of pentavalent vanadium compounds in acidic solutions that would limit the practical energy density of such a system. The fact that vanadium exists in several oxidation states however, made it an excellent candidate for a single element flow battery that might overcome the problem of cross contamination observed with the Fe/Cr battery by NASA researchers in the 1970s and 80s. Steps to commercialize it,
admittedly with some teething difficulties, were advanced by Maria Skyllas-Kazacos at the University of New South Wales in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the first semi commercial installation appeared in 1995 with a full installation for Sumitomo Electric the following year. Problems with uptake have generally focused on the expense of the electrolyte feed stock, and the long pay-back time. Mechanical problems with the pumping mechanisms have also affected promises of a full 20+ year cycle life. Full patents for all-vanadium batteries were filed in Australia and the US but expired in 2006 generating renewed interest in the technology.
Maria Skyllas-Kazacos: arguably the dominant figure in advancing flow battery technology to the fore. Here an early team photo shows postgraduate student Maria, Franz Grossmith, Michael Kazacos and Miron Rychcik
History of vanadium flow batteries 1996
First commercial vanadium redox battery installation (Japan)
Sumitomo Electric Industries,
Invention of the vanadium redox flow battery
Patent on redox batteries
Alberto Pellegri and Placido Spaziante
Development of practical redox batteries
Modern redox flow battery patent
Suggestion of vanadium couples for use in flow batteries
Development of the redox fuel cell
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 81
FLOW BATTERY PROFILE: REDT investigating all of the applications RedT says the machines are ideal for: smoothing wind and solar power loads, providing black start capabilities and load shifting. The local Engineering News reported that Eskom estimates the country’s national grid would need around 2,000MW of additional, daily storage. RedT’s machines are already in Africa. The Thaba Eco Hotel in Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, just outside Johannesburg, has a solar array of 100kWp. It backed this up with diesel generators when the sun is not shining or when the grid cut out — neither of the two being uncommon. The hotel has a 15kW, 75kWh RedT flow battery at the centre of a solar mini grid, replacing the diesel generators and allowing a section of the hotel to operate entirely off the grid. This is just the start of RedT’s potential in the continent. “Sub-Saharan Africa is a third market for us,” says McGregor. “In Australia, you have mining operations that are essentially off-grid. But in Africa in a number of places there’s no such thing as the grid. Mining and resources are situated in such remote places that you have to airlift diesel in and so on. If you’ve got the space to have a mine you’ve got the space to have a whole bunch of storage machines. “There are a lot of development projects, and rural projects for electrification — health clinics, for example.
SOME OF THE OTHER PLAYERS Numerous companies are involved in funding and developing vanadium redox batteries some such as Imergy (formerly Deeya) are now defunct but others include, Vionx (formerly Premium Power), StorEn Technologies incubated at CEBIP-Stony Brook University, UniEnergy Technologies and Ashlawn Energy in the US; Renewable Energy Dynamics Technology in Ireland; Gildemeister (formerly Cellstrom in Austria) in Germany; Cellennium in Thailand Rongke Power; Prudent Energy in China; Sumitomo in Japan; H2, in South Korea; redT in Britain and Australian Vanadium in Australia.
This November’s delivery of a RedT flow battery at the University of Chester in the UK
“We can also monitor them remotely,” he says. “So if it’s halfway up a mountain in Botswana, you don’t have to fly someone there — you can see what the issue is remotely.” Not that there should be many issues to worry about. Another of the batteries’ advantages over the other chemistries available is their low
As well as RedT’s orders in the UK and Australia, the company has made agreements with distributors in central and eastern Europe and southeast Asia
RedT delivery at Thaba eco-resort (left). The Gen2 15-75kWh battery ahead of delivery (right)
82 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
maintenance requirements and less need for replacement parts. “It’s accepted that these systems will last at least 20 years,” he says. “You might need to change the odd fuse but this is why we call them machines — you wouldn’t need to change the whole thing. With a lithium battery, if the battery breaks down you have to replace the whole thing.” Many of RedT’s machines are made by Jabil, the US-based global manufacturer that has plants all over the world, so the machines can be delivered anywhere. And when it comes to vanadium supply, the fact that the electrolyte itself does not need to be replaced means its shouldn’t necessarily be an issue. In fact, it would even be possible for firms to rent the electrolyte off RedT and give it back to them if the machines were no longer needed. Vanadium itself, which was named after the goddess of beauty and fertility, is the 18th most abundant on Earth, coming ahead of copper, nickel or zinc. “Because the electrolyte never degrades, it doesn’t have to be replaced,” says McGregor. “It can be in one system for 20 years then we can take it out and put it in another one.” The exact cocktail ingredients for the electrolyte are proprietary, but in rough terms it is 70% water topped up with vanadium and sulfuric acid. If 2017 marked a price tipping point, when customers began to realize the benefits and economics of energy-saving technology, McGregor believes 2018 will be dedicated to delivering all the orders the company has received. 2019, he says, will be the year of the mega projects. “Lithium is great for cars, computers, mobile phones and so on, but in terms of national grid storage it can only play around the fringes,” says McGregor. “The only reason we haven’t yet had battery storage en masse is the price.” And that reason, McGregor believes, is no longer valid. The boom years await.
MICROGRIDS The wide-ranging benefits of microgrids are becoming more compelling. John Murray, principal analyst at Delta Energy & Environment, looks at the factors that seem set to drive forward mainstream deployment.
Microgrids nudge into the mainstream Five years ago, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the potential of microgrids became abundantly clear when wide-spread disruption caused power outages across several US States. Against a backdrop of blackouts, buildings with their own microgrid systems stood out like beacons on the Manhattan skyline. Now, in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, attentions are again turning to microgrids and their ability to ‘island’ when the wider power grid goes down. Texas utilities reported that more than 300,000 customers were without power due to the Hurricane Harvey. However, for many customers of Texas-based microgrid company Enchanted Rock, it was a different story as it had already installed microgrids on the sites of H-E-B grocery stores. As such, the stores could remain open despite black-outs on the wider electricity grid.
Climbing the global agenda
Beyond North America, microgrids are electrifying remote villages in Kenya and providing a cost-effective alternative to upgrading transmission lines in Australia. They’re also offering solutions to the rising levels of intermittent renewable generation in western Europe. As a result, microgrids are rising quickly up the energy industry’s collective agenda. In a poll carried out by Delta-ee, only 13% of utilities, manufacturers and network operators claimed to be fully active in the microgrid sector. However, 28% were “actively engaged” and a further 39% were at “an early stage of exploring microgrids as an opportunity”. This surge in interest is down to several factors. First, solar PV module costs have fallen by more than 75% in less than 10 years and now energy storage solutions are following a similar trajectory. Also, distributed energy resource
deployment is growing exponentially. With an increasing number of DER assets deployed on the ground, it becomes a smaller leap of faith to deploy a microgrid solution by using existing resources. Another factor is the greater demand for electric grid resiliency. In several global markets, there is growing need to provide grid support due to the closure of fossil-fuelled power plants, increasing rates of electrification, and rising deployment of intermittent renewables. Microgrids are well placed to provide this support — often as a costeffective alternative to upgrading electricity transmission lines.
From demos to mass market
Despite the many opportunities, there remain some major challenges. The microgrid sector is — to a large extent — still at the ‘demonstration’ stage. Demo projects include the industrial manufacturer Siemens’ microgrid implementation in Germany, which uses distributed, renewable energy assets such as solar PV and biogas plants. This highlighted the local low-voltage network’s ability to decouple from the wider power grid in the case of a fault, such as a black-out. It maintains the power supply to local residents and then re-connects to the wider grid once normal grid conditions return. It is a great illustration of the benefits but this project remains a demonstration: a glimpse into the future rather than the announcement of a paradigm shift within the European power sector. Other examples include microgrids that are replacing diesel, often in remote regions or on islands. These mi-
crogrids can use solar PV as the primary source of electricity and just use diesel for back-up and peaking power. As a result, it’s possible to offset diesel fuel consumption. With today’s solar PV prices, the diesel-replacement model is increasingly attractive. Australia is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to microgrids outside of North America. Southern and Western Australia have experienced fossil-fuel power plant closures and are seeing increasing volumes of intermittent renewable generation coming online. There are also many dispersed, remote communities with growing electricity demands. All of this has led to the emergence of microgrids as a cost-effective alternative to more conventional solutions. However, these drivers are fairly specific to Australia and don’t necessarily apply in other countries. In regions that rely on diesel for electricity generation, microgrids with solar PV are an effective way to make a good return-on-investment. But these cases are the exception rather than the rule. Where the electricity grid is largely stable, the economic proposition associated with microgrids tends to be more of a challenge. The UK, for example, has only a few microgrid developments, which are largely limited to the surrounding islands which have no access to the mainland grid.
Defining the future of microgrids
Declining costs will continue to be a major theme. Solar PV costs may not have much further to fall but there is
To succeed in the microgrid sector, companies must target the right customer segments and markets and then develop business models that can derive the greatest value. Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 83
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MICROGRIDS Solar PV costs may not have much further to fall but there is plenty of scope to reduce costs associated with energy storage and microgrid design and control systems. plenty of scope to reduce costs associated with energy storage and microgrid design and control systems. There will also be new players entering the market as it becomes a more competitive space. End-users will have more choice, new business models will emerge and competition will reduce costs. The industry will also see regulatory frameworks catch-up, but slowly. Today, electricity grid regulations are among the biggest challenges facing the microgrid sector. Many existing regulations pre-date today’s advancements of decentralized power generation and they’re not designed to facilitate microgrids. In many cases they can prevent microgrids being developed — even when they offer the most compelling solution. As the benefits of microgrids become better understood and more data
emerges to demonstrate their value, electricity grid regulations will inevitably evolve but this could take years or even decades. To succeed in the microgrid sector, companies must target the right customer segments and markets and then develop business models that can derive the greatest value. While these are obvious aims, the challenge comes in doing them well — especially across diverse and complex global markets. The key will be defining which countries to target, which customer segments hold the greatest potential and which innovations are in the pipeline. Companies that grasp the complexities of each will be in the best position to capitalize on future opportunities. As early adopters rollout out implementations and prove their success, they will pave the way for wider, mainstream deployments.
John Murray is a principal analyst at Delta Energy & Environment, heading its distributed power and microgrids research. Before his 10 years at Delta EE, he worked at German power company E.ON.
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Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 85
30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE
The 30-year history of the World Solar Challenge — a now worldfamous competition to test how the combination of solar power and battery storage works in an electric vehicle journey across Australia — paints a fascinating history of the development of the battery storage market. David Rand, honorary research fellow CSIRO Energy and WSC chief energy scientist relates these voyages of discovery.
Pushing out the boundaries of energy storage and EV technology Project Sunrise sparked it all off. The question the Lockheed Corporation tried to solve in the early 1970s was whether a plane powered only by solar panels could fly. By November 1974 the first plane Sunrise took off successfully. Or at least till it crashed. But it was not until 1981 when
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American aerodynamicist Paul MacCready designed a solar-powered plane that flew from Paris to London in 5-1/2 hours. News of this prompted Hans Tholstrup, a Danish-Australian adventurer, to consider building a car that could cross the Australian continent on solar
power alone. Calling his car the Solar Trek, Tholstrup set out from Perth on December 18, 1982. He arrived in Sydney 20 days later after covering 4,052km on solar power alone at an average speed of 22.53 km/h. The four-wheel, bicycle-based, lead-acid battery equipped
30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE In 2005, for example, the winner covered the course at an average speed of 102.7km/h. Consequently, the WSC Science Faculty decided to encourage the technology to go the extra kilometre through successive tightening of the regulations for each succeeding event.
vehicle was promoted by BP as the Quiet Achiever. Twelve months later, an eight-page story in National Geographic reached a huge global audience. Deciding to institutionalize the feat, with Pentax as the major sponsor, Tholstrup created the World Solar Challenge, a competition that would start in Darwin, a steamy tropical city on Australia’s north coast and proceed 3,020km south to finish in Adelaide. The event was planned for 1987 to correspond with the final sealing of the Stuart Highway — a ribbon of civilization in a hostile environment — along which the solar cars would travel. A difficult landscape to traverse, a breakdown could be fatal, one could perish from the lack of water in a matter of hours.
In the intervening 30 years, 499 teams from 40 countries had participated in a competition that pushes the boundaries of solar power to the sun-soaked limit along one of the most dangerous roads in the Southern Hemisphere. On November 1, 1987, 25 solar cars set out on the first WSC. Some were sponsored by individuals, others by universities and schools, as well as by corporations such as Gener-
al Motors, Ford of Australia, Nippon and Mitsubishi. As the regulations posted by Tholstrup said nothing about the shape of the vehicle — only that it had to fit into an imaginary box 6m by 2m and have no more than 8m2 of solar cells — it was not surprising that almost every kind of sun-capturing configuration showed up at Darwin. The design of the GM Sunraycer was revolutionary. This was not surprising given that the production of the car was placed in the hands of AeroVironment, Paul MacCready’s company. It was decided not to go for the obvious solution — a flat-panel solar array as used in rooftop installations and that could be tilted directly toward the sun for maximum power — but rather one sculpted to the aerodynamic contours of the car. Although such a design would sacrifice as much as 15% of available solar power, it would gain more in aerodynamic efficiency. The latter was an important consideration given the 65km/h crosswinds expected during the event, not to mention the air blast from one of the 40m long, 110 tonne, 62 wheel, three-trailer road trains that one encountered at 210km/h closing speeds on the Stuart Highway.
When it was realized that the winner of the inaugural WSC had crossed a continent at a speed compatible with city traffic and on just two horsepower with no consumption of fossil fuel, world interest reached huge proportions. Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 87
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE The event was planned for 1987 to correspond with the final sealing of the Stuart Highway — a ribbon of civilization in a hostile environment — along which the solar cars would travel. Strings of solar cells tend to generate energy at the rate of the lowest producing cell. Consequently, the entire solar array was broken into 20 smaller panels and a peak-power tracker allowed those facing the sun most directly to put out maximum power without be-
ing compromised by panels on which radiation was less intense by virtue of the vehicle shape. For power, the Sunraycer relied on 100 crystalline silicon cells operating at 16% efficiency and 8,000 galliumarsenide cells at 21% efficiency. To-
gether, they produced a maximum of 1550W at noon (approximately 2hp, the same as a small lawn-mower engine). The Sunraycer battery pack consisted of 68 1.5V, 26-Ah silver-zinc cells with a rated specific energy of 125Wh/kg. They were considered to be good for only 20 discharges and were expensive, but weighed only onefourth as much as a lead-acid battery. The two battery chemistries were the popular choices of the 22 participating teams, with 11 to 10 in favour of silver-zinc. One entrant used nickelcadmium (74Wh/kg).
THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE LEGACY
From hybrid EVs to the Prius, Tesla Over the years, the WSC has given birth to remarkable advances in aerodynamic efficiency, energymanagement systems, lightweight structural materials, motor design, photovoltaics, power electronics, and tyres. The lessons learnt from the WSC have found their way into development of hybrid electric and pure-battery cars – Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota have all competed. For example, in 1993, a team from Honda led by Takahiro Iwata eclipsed the field setting a new average speed record and improved on that with another win in 1996. Iwata-san went on to participate in Honda’s early development of experimental electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles in the 1990s. The Honda Insight was first shown at the 1997 Tokyo motor show and became the first hybrid to be sold in the US and Australia. The WSC quite probably encouraged Toyota to support solar cars teams and, in turn, this led to the appearance of the Prius on the Japanese market in late 1997. In 1992, Alan Cocconi – a key contributor to the design of the Sunraycer and the original GM Impact – in partnership with Wally Rippel formed a business called AC Propulsion. They began by
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mounting home-built AC electric power-trains in converted Honda Civic vehicles. Their 120hp Honda CR-X set a distance record of 235km on a single charge, far better than the GM EV1 could achieve years later. A customer convinced them to build a small electric sports car and the tzero was born, a highperformance battery-powered sports car capable of 0 to 97 km/h in 4.9 seconds. The vehicle was launched in 1997 and plans for commercial production were dropped in mid-2003. Meanwhile, rather than returning to defend its title in the 1990 WSC, GM decided to sponsor the Sunrayce USA, a biennial event for North American universities. Successive groups of student engineers at Stanford University produced solar cars to participate in the biennial competition. While travelling home from the 2001 meeting, now renamed as the American Solar Challenge, the Stanford team stayed with Jeffrey ‘JB’ Straubel who, during his time at the university (he enrolled in 1994), had helped build the vehicles and had stayed in contact with incoming students. During Straubel’s visit, it was noted that lithium-ion batteries had improved markedly in performance, particularly in terms of specific energy. As indeed had been
demonstrated by the WSC — from 106Wh/kg in 1996 to 168Wh/kg in 2001. The Stanford students agreed to join Straubel in constructing a proof-of-concept vehicle to showcase the power of lithium-ion batteries. In late 2003, Straubel met Elon Musk and they discussed the prospects of electric cars. Their chance acquaintance resulted in trip to see the tzero at Cocconi’s AC Propulsion facility which Straubel had visited on many occasions. This convinced Musk that lithium electrochemistry could shift the perception of electric cars from boring and slow-moving to something aspirational. The rest – the evolution of the Tesla Roadster, Model S, Model 3 – is history. But these landmarks are only part of the WSC legacy — a whole generation of university academics, researchers and students have been inspired to take the ideas further. And, while solar cars test the ultimate boundaries of energy efficiency, they also provide incredible insights into the capabilities of everyday vehicle technology. In essence, then, the WSC is not only a speed competition, but also a test of performance and endurance spiced with a strong element of adventure. The World Solar Challenge has
30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE MacCready produced a strategy manual to deal with road gradient, roughness, acceleration, sun angle and elevation, cloudy skies, dust storms, varying winds, rain, shattered solar panels, and dead batteries. Depending on conditions, a cruise control devised by Alan Cocconi could be set for constant speed, current or torque. The basic idea was to start the day with a full battery, draw on it until the sun was sufficiently high to proceed on solar power alone, finish the day’s travel with at least 20% of a full battery, which would then be replenished by the setting sun during the evening
and beyond also played a valuable role in encouraging the development and uptake of lithium battery technology for the stationary storage of renewable energy. Cruisers competing in the WSC are now allowed unlimited charging recharging from external sources. In essence, therefore, the vehicles are more akin to battery vehicles using fossil fuels, rather than solar vehicles that operate on renewable energy. The WSC has never been about pushing one particular technology to the fore, rather it’s been about expanding the boundaries of energy storage. Lead acid batteries, the initial choice of EVs in the first years of the race, would find a new role as the preferred option for the installation of solar and wind farms across the Stuart Highway. Lead batteries — being more robust and less expensive than other chemistries — would form the backbone to provide electricity to remote communities but also energize WSC solar cars as they proceed sustainably southwards to Adelaide. And with a new generation of lead batteries coming to the fore — think bipolar batteries or the UltraBattery, for example — it may be a long time before anyone can come up with the basic workhorse of the last two centuries.
charge period and the rising sun in the morning.
The rest is history
Sunraycer finished day one 519km down the track, 116km ahead of second-placed Spirit of Biel (Switzerland) with the Ford Model S a further 17km back. Sunraycer reached Adelaide more than two days ahead of the Ford team. Nicknamed the ‘Flying Cockroach’ by Australian journalists, the GM car had covered the distance in 44 hours and 54 minutes at an average speed of 66.9 km/h. This early arrival enabled Sunraycer to participate in the Adelaide Grand Prix preliminaries including a demonstration lap around the Grand Prix circuit. Flushed with the success of its solar car and mindful that it had to do something to counter pending cleanair legislation, GM commissioned AeroVironment to build an experimental electric sports car designated the Impact. Although the Impact had only been meant as a high-efficiency, electrically powered demonstration car, GM was encouraged to announce in April 1990
that it would manufacture an electric car. Ironically, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued a new rule in August 1990 that by 1998 2% of an automotive company’s sales in California had to be ‘zero emission’ (electrically powered) vehicles. It took GM another six years to bring the car — now called the EV1 — to market; its lead-acid batteries weighed 1,175kg and cost around $40,000. Although it was only a two-passenger car, heavier than expected and with the rear wheels closer together than the ones in front, it performed much the same as any sporty production vehicle — with one major exception. The range on a single battery charge was only 120km, not the 195km that GM had promised. A second-generation EV1 with improved batteries gave 100km per charge around town and 210km on the freeway. Between 1996 and 1999, 1,171 EV1s were manufactured: 660 Generation I in the 1997 model year (1996-97) and 457 Generation II in the 1999 model year (1998-99). After a series of inverter fires and much discussion over so-called ‘range anxiety’, production was stopped.
MacCready produced a strategy manual to deal with road gradient, roughness, acceleration, sun angle and elevation, cloudy skies, dust storms, varying winds, rain, shattered solar panels, and dead batteries.
David Rand, author of this article, and Hans Tholstrup, creator of the WSC
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE In January 2001, in testimony before the CARB, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represented GM and 12 other automakers, collectively declared that the pure electric car was “an idea whose time has come and gone”. Remarkably, MacCready also held
the opinion that the future wasn’t pure electric. Rather, he believed that hybrid electric vehicles would prove to be more practical alternatives to vehicles using traditional internal-combustion engines! Meanwhile, when it was realized that the winner of the inaugural WSC
had crossed a continent at a speed compatible with city traffic and on just two horsepower with no consumption of fossil fuel, world interest reached huge proportions. Consequently, the WSC became established as the premier event for solar cars — a position that it has
THE ARRIVAL OF LITHIUM TO EV TECHNOLOGIES Lithium-ion technology was first introduced to the World Solar Challenge in 1996 by a team from Tokyo Salesian Polytechnic which had constructed a battery pack of 28 parallel-connected strings of 28 Sony cells (106Wh/kg) to provide a system voltage of 100V and a total energy of 3.81kWh. The vehicle finished a creditable 10th out of a field of 46 without any battery mishaps — an achievement that according to Michael Mayer and David Rand in their article Solar cars sprint across the outback printed in the January 1997 issue of The Battery Man, ‘must surely provide encouragement to those companies — Duracell, Japan Storage Battery Company, SAFT, Sony, Varta — who are believed to be actively interested in the scaling up of lithium-ion batteries for electric-vehicle use’. A prophetic statement given that 20 years later lithium-ion is just starting to be scaled up in size for the automotive industry. By 1999, lithium batteries had become less expensive than silver zinc and were demonstrating greater specific energy (140Wh/kg). Longer cycle-life was a further benefit in that the power pack could still be useful at the end of an event. Remarkably, one WSC team subsequently competed successfully with the same lithium-ion pack in Japan and the US. The 2001 WSC witnessed the arrival of a variant of standard lithiumion technology, in which the liquid organic electrolyte is immobilized in a polymer matrix — a so-called ‘gelionic’ electrolyte. These cells are marketed as lithium-polymer types. This terminology is, however, misleading as the gel electrolyte is not a genuine polymer. A more accurate description is lithiumpolymer. The designs of such polymer cells could provide up to 190Wh/ kg, giving a performance superior
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A sample Li-ion battery pack at this year’s event
to that of standard lithium-ion. This advantage was sustained and plastic cells became the preferred choice of energy storage. The technology powered the winning car in 2003, 2005 and 2009. During the ensuing years, the steady improvement in the specific energy of both variants of lithium battery technology necessitated repeated reductions in the permitted weight of the battery pack. For example, the maximum pack weight for lithium-ion was 20kg in 2013 compared with 40kg in 1996. Before the 2009 event, four teams declared their intention to use a further form of lithium chemistry, namely, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells. The LiFePO4 positive electrode offers lower cost, a practical cyclelife, and greater safety on account of its superior thermal and chemical stability. In the event of mishandling, unlike lithium-ion, phosphate-based material will not burn or release oxygen at full charge even at an elevated temperature, and is not prone to thermal runaway. The battery, however, has a moderate operating voltage (typically, 3.2V versus 3.7V for lithium-ion).
Moreover, due to the low bulk electronic conductivity of LiFePO4, the capacity is not sufficiently high to compensate for the low cell voltage so that the specific energy (90Wh/ kg to 120Wh/kg) is inferior to that of either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer. Clearly, given the moderate price of the technology, the above four competitors set aside this energy disadvantage in 2009. Such batteries have continued to feature in the WSC, but still at a limited extent. In both the 2013 and 2015 WSC events, lithium-ion became overwhelmingly the popular choice of battery. During this period, however, the nominal specific energy of the best cells had shown only a 3% improvement to 256Wh/kg from 249Wh/kg. It was thought that lithium-polymer had fallen out of favour following the 2011 WSC in which two teams using this technology had succumbed to battery fires. Indeed, yet another lithium-polymer fire caused a team to withdraw before the start of the 2015 event. It should also be noted that, with nominal specific energy of 255Wh/ kg, lithium-polymer had also lost its long-held advantage over lithium-ion.
The steady improvement in the specific energy of both variants of lithium battery technology necessitated repeated reductions in the permitted weight of the battery pack. www.batteriesinternational.com
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE But WSC is even more important than this — it serves as a valuable live laboratory for moving the automobile industry towards more efficient road vehicles that will place lesser demands on the environment. maintained over the ensuing 30 years despite the emergence of a plethora of competitions in Europe, Japan, Africa and North America. Every two years, teams from leading international universities and technical institutes, together with private entrepreneurs, come together Down Under to test and promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion and innovation. But WSC is even more important than this — it serves as a valuable live laboratory for moving the automobile industry towards more efficient road vehicles that will place lesser demands on the environment.
Updating the design rules
Due to the steady evolution of appreciable increases in both the efficiency of photovoltaic cells and the energy storage per unit weight of batteries (the specific energy), coupled with advances in electric motors, electronics and aerodynamics, solar cars progressively displayed marked improvements in performance during the early years of the WSC. In 2005, for example, the winner covered the course at an average speed of 102.7km/h. Consequently, the WSC Science Faculty — a select body of distinguished Australian scientists — decided to encourage the technology to go the extra kilometre through successive tightening of the regulations for each succeeding event. In particular, the permitted area of the array and the maximum amount of energy storage (as represented by battery weight) continued to be reduced. Moreover, since aerodynamics dictated that the fastest cars would have three wheels — two in the front and one behind — in 2013, it was decided to mandate four wheels, both to lower speeds in the interests of safety and to move designs closer to those of conventional automobiles. These vehicles would compete in the ‘Challenger Class’. Up to and including the 2005 meeting, the regulations restricted the projected area of the array for single-seater and two-seater cars to no more than 8m2 and 12m2. Whereas, low-budget teams were re-
stricted to the use of silicon cells, by 2003 high-budget competitors were employing more efficient, but more expensive, tandem cells. These combine two or three semiconductor layers (sub-cells) that absorb light energy in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Naturally, each layer has to be sufficiently thick to absorb its own component of the solar spectrum, but at the same time has to transmit the other components to the underlying cells. The different layers are grown on top of each other, rather than being manufactured individually and then mounted. The conversion efficiencies of such cells were superior to those of the best silicon counterparts. In the 2005 WSC, several cars used a triple-junction design that had a gal-
lium-indium phosphide top, a gallium arsenide middle and a germanium bottom layer that, respectively, absorbed blue, green and red light. In good sunlight, the cells of this design provided cars with over 2kW of power — 0.5 kW more than that available to the Sunraycer. With such a facility and in fine weather, there was virtually no need for extra power from the battery. Furthermore, the cars were travelling at exceptionally high speeds during the first half of the course in the Northern Territory where there was no speed restriction. For example, the eventual winner reached a top speed of 147km/h with very little drain on the battery. Given that it was no longer necessary to prove that solar cars could go very fast, the allowable area of solar panels for vehicles wishing to participate in the 2007 competition was reduced by 25% to 6m2. Nonetheless, the results in 2007 and 2009 demonstrated that use of triplejunction solar cells remained the key determinant of success. In fact, the net effect of the decrease in cell coverage
Good battery management involves running at the highest average speed without consuming too much ampere-hour capacity, because recharging soaks up precious sunlight that can be collected only on the approved size of solar array.
Drivers beware! One of many hazards of the 3,000km journey
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE
THE 2017 BRIDGESTONE WSC — HAS LITHIUM REACHED At 8:30 on October 8, 2017, 39 helmeted drivers from 18 countries peered out through the polycarbonate bubbles of their solar cars as they set off on the 14th running of the WSC. The 2017 field consisted of 24 entrants in the Challenger Class, 13 in the Cruiser Class and two in the Adventure Class. (The Adventure Class is for solar cars designed to participate in previous events but not eligible for Challenger or Cruiser Class; it is non-competitive.) Again lithium-ion was by far the most popular choice of battery. Remarkably, the lithium-ion technology chosen by 32 teams featured 13 different model numbers of cell — nine from one manufacturer, two from another, and one each from a further two manufacturers. The nominal specific energy of these cells ranged from 218Wh/ kg to 271Wh/kg, with most models reporting between 242Wh/ kg and 258Wh/kg. It should be noted, however, that there was some concern over cell weight and cell voltage given conflicting information that was supplied for some models. It is reasonable to conclude that there has been no significant improvement in the upper limit for the specific energy of lithium-ion. Five of the competitors had chosen to use lithium-polymer cells that were all of same model and obtained from the same supplier.
The specific energy was 261Wh/ kg which is within the upper range of lithium-ion. The remaining two teams had opted for LiFePO4 — one version rated at 99Wh/kg, the other at 107Wh/kg. The WSC Regulations also allowed the use of lithium-sulfur technology. The battery weight limit was set at 15kg, which assumes a specific energy of 333Wh/kg. Although some teams investigated this system, such cells were not commercially available. As demonstrated by the above experiences and outcomes of the WSC, solar cars are playing a valuable role in charting the progress of rechargeable battery systems, and in providing both a showcase and a test bed for the state-of-the art.
Challenger class winner — Nuon Solar’s Nuna 9
As in 2013 and 2015, the Nuon Solar team took the chequered flag in the 2017 Challenger Class. Their car Nuna 9 gained an early lead and never looked back. The journey was covered at an average speed of 81.2 km/h which, due to nerve-wracking weather conditions with wind gusts of up to 60km/h, was markedly less than the 91.7km/h Nuna 8 recorded in 2015. Novum from University of Michigan arrived in second place 1 hour 58min later at 77.1km/h with Punch Powertrain from Belgium
The ‘dunnies’ at Katherine also reached their limits!
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29 min and 38 seconds behind in third place at 76.2 km/h. Only 12 of competitors in the Challenger Class completed the course. Punch Powertrain received the CSIRO Technical Innovation Award for its ground-breaking steering system designed to capitalize on the wind forces acting on the car. The system uses cables, a custom Geneva mechanism and an electric motor added to the rear wheel steering to align the body of the car with the wind while still travelling in the forward direction. In this so-called ‘crabbing’ action, the rear wheels will turn slightly while the driver aligns the front wheels parallel with the rear wheels. The relative angle of the body and the wind causes the car to sail and thereby decreases the side forces on the car with a resultant gain in efficiency. Thus the innovation combines the ancient technique of sailing and the abundant energy of the sun into one car and its installation proved to be serendipitous given the windy conditions experienced during the 2017 WSC.
Cruiser class winner — Eindhoven’s Stella Vie
Success in the Cruiser Class depends on being fast and also on how many passengers are conveyed under solar power and for how many kilometres — socalled person-kilometres. Cruiser teams that complete the route and arrive in Adelaide before or within
Challenger class winner — Nuon Solar’s Nuna 9
30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE
ITS LIMIT IN PACKING ENERGY? the target time window have their energy efficiency calculated as: Energy efficiency = personkilometre distance / nominal external energy use. Cruiser class solar cars may recharge from external sources at any time except during control stop time. The recharge energy contributes to the energy efficiency score. The Eindhoven Stella Vie (The Netherlands) was found to have carried an average of 3.4 people over the 3021km, using 45.7kWh of external energy. This was a phenomenal achievement given that, by comparison, a Tesla Model S85 (85kWh battery) has a practical range of about 400km. The Bochum Thyssenkrupp Blue.Cruiser (Germany) and the Clenergy TeamArrow (Australia) took second and third places by carrying an average of 2.6 people (88kWh) and 1.2 people (91kWh), respectively. In addition, after finishing its journey, the market potential of each car is evaluated in terms of design and practicality criteria which include, in no particular
order: innovation, consumer appeal, ease of access, cabin space, comfort, luggage space, road registration, and navigation and entertainment features. Some of the innovations pushed out the boundaries of the technology. The Eindhoven Stella Vie was fitted with an app that even recommends sunny parking areas suitable for charging the car or for feeding power to a home at night. Bochum highlighted the environmental sustainability of the materials used in constructing the car that included recycled material from their previous cars, and their four-wheel-drive feature (a first for a solar car). Clenergy TeamArrow emphasized its intent to commercialize the vehicle with a design suited to future road registration. On combining the efficiency and the practicality scores, Eindhoven proved to be the outright winner of the 2017 Cruiser Class and thus continued its dominance of the event with a third victory in a row ahead of Bochum and Clenergy TeamArrow.
In both the 2013 and 2015 WSC events, lithiumion became overwhelmingly the popular choice of battery. During this period, however, the nominal specific energy of the best cells had shown only a 3% improvement to 256Wh/kg from 249Wh/kg.
was to reduce the solar energy to the cars by only a mere 4%, thanks to further technological advances. Consequently, the average speed of the winner continued to be healthy, namely, 90.8km/h (2007) and 100.5km/h (2009). Moreover, even at the reduced size, the arrays were still expensive. Therefore, in a further attempt to intensify competition by lessening the supremacy of affluent entrants, the regulations were again revised for the 201l event. The allowable array area was set at 6m2 for silicon cells, which were less costly, but only 3m2 for any other PV technology. The new specifications prompted most of the elite teams to move en masse to silicon. The ‘Cruiser Class’ was introduced in 2013 alongside that of the Challenger Class. This competition is for solar cars with two or more seats and is designed to bridge the gap between high-end technology and everyday driving practicality. The cruisers were allowed to conduct mains charging at three specified localities along the course. Both these classes could use 6m2 of silicon or 3m2 of gallium-arsenide solar cells (triple-junction not permitted), or a mix of the two. In 2017, the Challenger solar collector was reduced to 4m2 for silicon, — half of that allowed in the first WSC in 1987, 3.56m2 for thin-film gallium-arsenide, and 2.64m2 for multi-junction cells. For cruisers, the corresponding allowable total areas of these three categories of PV technology were set at 5m2 (to make it easier to fit a solar collector on a practical car), 4.44m2 and 3.3m2, respectively. Furthermore, recharging from external sources was now permitted at any time except during control stops.
Advances in rechargeable batteries
Cruiser class winner Eindhoven’s Stella Vie
The car that started it all: The Quiet Achiever
Solar cars store energy in electrochemical cells/batteries to provide supplementary power to climb hills, accelerate, and keep moving in adverse weather conditions. The cells/batteries must be rechargeable and the vehicle must travel along the entire course with the same make and number as were fitted at the start. For practical reasons, the cars start the event with battery packs that have been charged from the mains. For the 1987-2011 events, replacement of the whole or part of the battery pack was only permitted in the
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE case of a malfunction or an accident. This carried a stiff time penalty because, otherwise, teams would gain a strategic advantage through the introduction of fresh fully charged cells/ batteries, for example, during overcast skies, headwinds, hill climbs, or the final stages of a day’s travel. Such action would, in effect, boost vehicle performance through the injection of fossil fuel, and not solar energy. Clearly, this would be contrary to the aim of the competition. Good battery management involves running at the highest average speed
without consuming too much amperehour capacity, because recharging soaks up precious sunlight that can be collected only on the approved size of solar array. The greater the reserve in the batteries, the greater the power that can be summoned during unfavourable weather or difficult road conditions. Put simply, success depends on conducting well orchestrated shifts from solar power, to battery power, to solarand-battery combinations. For the first WSC, there was no restriction on battery size. As a conse-
Battery m onitor
quence, teams opted for anywhere between 2kWh and 11kWh of storage. Remarkably, however, the victorious Sunraycer was equipped with only 2.9kWh of silver-zinc cells. For the 1990 and 1993 competitions, the rule was changed to limit battery packs to 5kWh, which is equivalent to the energy that a solar panel can produce from about half-a-day’s sunlight, or 300km to 400km of solar driving by premier solar cars — effectively 10% of the estimated energy to complete the course. During pre-event scrutineering in
tery Uni and their bat ey dn y S rn te es W
Punch (3 ing the pudrd placed challenge r dles at Gl endambo ) avoid-
r nner up Challenge Michigan the ru Nuon undertakin g evening mainten check ance
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30 YEARS OF THE WORLD SOLAR CHALLENGE 1993, a dispute arose between two competitors. Both teams had chosen to use silver-zinc cells of the same nominal capacity, but one cell design was 56% heavier than the other. On-thespot testing by CSIRO showed that the heavier cell was not in fact underrated, but merely strengthened physically (hence the extra weight) to withstand the rigours of deep-discharge cycling (the bad weather conditions of the previous 1990 WSC had severely stressed silver-zinc packs). To prevent the occurrence of any similar conflict in future meetings,
Nuon on the road ar Coobner Pedy
CSIRO devised a range of weight limits for different battery technologies, as determined by their respective specific energies, so that a maximum of about 5kWh was available to each competitor regardless of the battery type selected. For example, a weight limit of 40 kg was set for silver-zinc given the manufacturer’s rating of 125Wh/kg. With the steady improvement in battery technology, the forecasting of battery weights — the responsibility of the WSC chief energy scientist — is challenging, especially as all the technical regulations have to be set well in advance to allow sufficient time for the teams to build their cars. Nevertheless, the aim has always been to keep the upper energy limit at 5kWh, so that the performance of the cars in successive competitions will provide a true indication of energysaving advances — not only in batteries, but in all other components of the vehicle. The success of this good intention is subject, of course, to any major variation in the weather conditions from event to event. At the time of the 1987 WSC, only five types of rechargeable battery were available, namely: lead-acid, silverzinc, nickel-cadmium, nickel-zinc, and nickel-iron. It was not surprising that the high-budget teams selected the silver-zinc system on account of its superior specific energy. Indeed, this preference continued up until 1999, and the winners of the first five competitions
had employed the technology. Little interest was shown in nickelcadmium and none at all for nickel iron. Nickel zinc proved to be particularly popular in 1993, presumably because of the large number of Japanese entrants and the fact that the Yuasa Yuni-Z range had recently appeared on the market. Clearly, low-cost lead-acid technology was the only option for low-budget entries drawn from high schools and private individuals. Despite the poor specific energy (~35Wh/kg), however, cars powered by lead-acid were among the top six place-getters in the first four events. Such success didn’t last after the entry into the market of two new rechargeable batteries — NiMH (nickel metal hydride) and lithium-ion systems. Although the car that came a close second in the 1999 WSC stored its energy in NiMH cells, interest in this technology soon waned. Large-capacity, prismatic designs required careful thermal management and therefore had only a moderate specific energy (65Wh/kg), that is, not much better than that of either nickel-zinc or nickel-cadmium. Whereas smaller-capacity, cylindrical NiMH cells were more energetic (86Wh/kg), as well as easier to manage and price competitive with emerging lithium-ion counterparts, an exceptionally large number was required to form a 5kWh pack. For example, the 1999 runner-up used a complicated arrangement of 1260 cells.
Battery technologies used in the World Solar Challenge (1987−2017) Year
Number of teams Number of cars using given battery type
Pb-acid Ag-Zn Ni-Cd Ni-Zn Ni-MH Li-ion Li-polymera LiFePO4
11 10 1 - - -
17 14 - 4 - -
23 17 - 12 - -
25 13 2 5 - 1
20 5 - 2 4 9
17 - - 1 - 15
7 - - - - 9
1 - - - 2 6
7 - - - 1 7
3 - - - - 7
2 - - - - 15 15
- - - - - 33
2 - - - - 34
2017 39 32 5 a b
These batteries are marketed as lithium-polymer, but a more accurate term is ‘plastic lithium-polymer’. One brave competitor ran without batteries!
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 99
A NEW TREND IS RISING
ACID FORM VERTICAL CONTINUOUS FORMATION
• CENTRALISED ACID MIXING/COOLING
TRUCK / AUTO ON SAME SYSTEM
• INDEPENDENT CIRCUIT CONTROL
120/160 TRUCK BATTERIES 240/320 AUTOMOTIVE
• CONTINUOUS OPERATION • REDUCED FOOT PRINT
150,000 TRUCK x YEAR 400,000 AUTOMOTIVE x YEAR
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
MACHINE, EQUIPMENT & MANUFACTURING KNOW-HOW İmes Sanayi Sitesi A Blok, 101 Sokak No:13 Yukarı Dudullu - Istanbul / Turkey P +90 216 540 05 79 F +90 216 364 51 60 firstname.lastname@example.org
EVENT REVIEW: OCSIAL INDUSTRY SUMMIT Luxembourg • November 15-16
2017 summit unveils breakthroughs in increasing battery energy density For the third year in a row, OCSiAl’s Nanoaugmented Materials Industry Summit gathered together around 400 industry pioneers from 30 countries working with single wall carbon nanotubes. Over the course of the two-day event in Luxembourg, executives, researchers and experts from around the world shared their experience of nanotube applications for enhancing various materials, including batteries. Given that the Li-ion battery market is one of the fastest growing and most competitive markets, manufacturers are on a constant lookout for ways to increase battery energy density and thus give their products a competitive edge. This can now be achieved by replacing conventional conductive additives with single wall carbon nanotubes. OCSiAl is the only manufacturer able to produce this universal additive on an industrial scale but it says it is committed to initiating communication between potential business partners. At this year’s NanoSummit, battery manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world were among the industry stakeholders that shared their experience in applied nanotechnology. The Chinese company Shenzhen BAK Power Battery, which is among the world’s top 10 largest manufacturers, has been testing OCSiAl’s Tuball nanotubes since 2016 and shared its results with the NanoSummit participants. “Single wall carbon nanotubes have great applications in lithiumion batteries,” Jian Lin, vice president of Shenzhen BAK Power Battery told the summit. “We can use single wall carbon nanotubes on both the cathode and the anode to achieve better performance compared with typical carbon black.” Ultra-low loadings of Tuball na-
notubes provide manufacturers with high conductivity and increased energy density as a result of the higher percentage of active material. Imerys Graphite & Carbon shared its results in combining different forms of carbon for better electrical conductivity and increased energy density. “Electrical resistivity achieved with 2% of carbon black can be compared with 0.1% of single wall carbon nanotubes. Some cell applications require us to use multi-component conductive masses though,” said Michael Spahr, technology cluster director of Imerys Graphite & Carbon. “Potential applications could be focused around energy storage and various consumer applications.” A number of chemical companies
in various regional markets are already producing concentrates based on OCSiAl’s technology. For example, Shenyang East Chemical presented its vision of how the Chinese battery market will develop as the wider use of advanced concentrates based on Tuball nanotubes continues to gain momentum. Armor, a coating partner for Tuball Paper and Tuball Foil, is also introducing Tuball nanotubes in its own product range: organic PV films, thermal transfer films, precoated foils, transparent electrodes and high barrier films. Given that health and safety issues are a linchpin in any transformation of leading-edge technology into mainstream engineering and industry, OCSiAl briefed its partners on the latest results received from independent laboratories, including confirmation that no nanotubes are released during utilisation of materials augmented with Tuball. “OCSiAl is planning to invest further in additional H&S and environmental studies because we are committed to taking the lead in raising the transparency of nanotube management and to supporting our clients’ efforts in boosting their applications in a wide range of industries, including consumable products,” said Gunther Van Kerckhove, OCSiAl’s EHS lead manager. NanoSummit 2017 closed on an upbeat note, having taken another step forward in bringing the nanoaugmented materials revolution to an even wider range of industries. NanoSummit 2018 • Shanghai, China • November 2015 (date to be finalized).
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 101
FORTHCOMING EVENTS SHMUEL DE-LEON ENERGY STORAGE SEMINARS, 2018 DATE LOCATION
Energy storage seminar, Madrid, Spain
Battery safety tutorial and supply chain tutorials as part of AABC Europe in Mainz, Germany
Cambridge EnerT ech
Energy storage seminar, Vimercate, Italy
Energy storage seminar, Appenzell, Switzerland
Full day battery safety tutorial as part of NAATBatt meetings, San Antonio, Texas, US
Tutorial as part of Florida Battery Seminar, Fort-Lauderdale, Florida, US
Battery safety tutorial, Karlstein am Main, Germany
Battery safety seminar as part of AABC USA 2018 Conference San Diego, California, USA
Tutorial as part of EES Europe 2018 Conference Messe-Munich, Germany
TBD. EES Europe
Energy Storage 2018
Advanced Automotive Battery Conference Europe (AABC)
ures to focus on the future of energy in the UK; covering practical examples of storage that are currently being deployed 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.
Mainz, Germany • January 29-February 1
January 31-February 1 Cologne, Germany The conference will bring together key industry stakeholders to address the current challenges of the energy storage market and discuss the latest developments. The two day event will provide insights into state of the art technologies available for energy storage, policy and regulations updates required for continuous growth, alternative energy storage systems, available options for battery recycling, revenue options for
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
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energy storage and methods available to increase operational flexibility. Contact Sarah Jaferani Tel: +91 20 6527 2801 Email email@example.com www.wplgroup.com/aci/event/energy-storage-conference
Energy Storage & Connected Systems London, UK February 6-7 “Energy Storage & Connected Systems will bring together key industry fig-
4th Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum Washington DC USA February 14 Featuring nationally recognized policymakers and energy thought-leaders, the ESA Annual Policy Forum convenes a select audience of stakeholders from across the energy ecosystem — including state and federal regulators, policymakers, storage industry members, and utility decision makers. The 2018 Policy Forum promises to build on exciting developments to help guide one of the most interesting and important conversations in the electric sector today. The Energy Storage Policy Forum continues to provide value by hosting interactive workshops that empower participants to develop actionable roadmaps and policy solutions to challenges facing the electric sector. Contact Energy Storage Association (ESA) www.pf.energystorage-events.org
FORTHCOMING EVENTS Making Solar Bankable 2018
Amsterdam, Netherlands February 15-16
Tokyo, Japan February 28-March 2
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 insights 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.
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.
SAE 2018 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium San Diego, California, USA February 20-22 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
San Diego hosts SAE 2018 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium
India Smart Grid Week will be in New Delhi, March 5-9
Energy Storage Summit London, UKS February 27-28 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.storage.solarenergyevents.com
India Smart Grid Week New Delhi, India March 5-9 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
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
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.
EUEC 2018 San Diego, California, USA March 5-7
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 103
FORTHCOMING EVENTS Energy Storage Europe Dusseldorf, Germany • March 13-15 Those who would like to get to know the entire world of energy storage, its leading technologies and key-figures, for those there is only one destination: Energy Storage Europe in Düsseldorf. Energy Storage Europe offers a unique forum to the leading research institutes and companies of the storage industry. Only here are you able to experience live all of the presently existing storage technologies. Contact Messe Düsseldorf GmbH www.energy-storage-online.com
Battery Tech Expo UK Telford, UK March 15 The battery industry is on the cusp of a power revolution with big technology companies investing heavily in the next generation of battery development and energy storage. Telford in the West Midlands is a major UK hub of the high tech industrial sector and will bring together professionals from across the advanced battery technology industry. The event will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the latest products, technologies and services covering the Battery Management Systems, EV Battery, Battery Storage, Battery Development/ Discovery, Commercial and Mobile Power Device sectors. Operated by 10four Media, the Battery Tech Expo will provide a unique and additional opportunity for companies within this industry to network with a high quality audience and do business. Running alongside this event is Power Electronics Expo UK. Contact Tel: +44 1283 3 37291 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.batterytechexpo.co.uk
NAATBatt International Annual Conference San Antonio, Texas • March 19–22
Energy Storage China Beijing, China March 26-28 Energy storage is profoundly changing the world of energy across the world. The World of Energy Storage by Messe Düsseldorf, in partnership with leading partner organizations, has been growing since 2010 with the launch of Energy Storage Europe in Germany. Messe Düsseldorf offers five different events in every relevant region of the world: China, Europe, America, India and Japan. Products and sectors covered: Energy storage, Renewable energies, Marketfeasible applications, Transformation of the energy system, Overall context of the energy supply industry, Industrial energy storage solutions, European grid integration, Electro-chemical storage, Mechanical storage technologies, Thermal storage technologies, Future energy storage
NAATBatt 2018, the 9th annual meeting and conference of NAATBatt International, will be held on March 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency Hill County Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting will feature early looks at disruptive new technologies in the battery business, member update presentations, and the best networking and deal making in the industry. Also, in honor of the Texas venue, the meeting will feature the first Advanced Battery Shooting Competition.
Contact NAATBatt International www.naatbatt.org/nattbatt-2018
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Discover The Advantages Of Presenting At Battcon. Call For Papers/Presentations Is Now Open!
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center 2800 Opryland Dr. Nashville, TN 37214
April 22-25, 2018
Exhibit at Battcon, limited space available. Learn more about Battcon, visit www.battcon.com
Make Plans To Attend Battcon is the industry’s leading stationary battery conference and trade show. Designed for the end user, Battcon attracts data center, telecom and utility industry professionals. • Challenge yourself to a three day, intensive educational and networking experience. • Learn from and network with industry experts. • Gain insight into technologies and discover new products.
Registration is open: www.battcon.com
FORTHCOMING EVENTS 35th Annual International Battery Seminar & Exhibit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA • March 26-29
As the longest-running annual battery event in the world, this conference continues to be the preferred venue to announce significant new developments in advanced battery technology. This meeting provides not only broad perspectives, but also informed insights into significant advances in materials, product development and novel applications for all battery systems and enabling technologies. Make plans now to participate in the 2018 International Battery Seminar & Exhibit which will return to Fort Lauderdale from March 2629. Nearly 850 attendees from more
than 500 organizations representing 26 countries participated in the 2017 event. The entire advanced battery ecosystem was well-represented in Florida, including leading OEMs, top battery manufacturers, developers of advanced materials and components, plus national labs and universities from around the world. Attendance grew by more than 30% for the second year in a row, and has more than doubled since joining Cambridge EnerTech in 2015. Contact www.internationalbatteryseminar.com
Solar Pakistan: The 7th International Renewable Energy Exhibition & Conference Lahore, Pakistan • March 29-31
Energy Storage Innovations Berlin, Germany April 11=12 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. Contact www.idtechex.com/energy-storage-europe/ show/en/ Organizer: IDTechEx
Critical Power & Decentralised Energy Coventry, United Kingdom April 18-19 CPDe is the largest and most reputable, independently run, stand-alone Independent Power and Electrical trade exhibition in Europe. CPDe will be a two-day event incorporating an informative business conference focusing on aspects of independent power, gensets, CHP/district heating, battery and UPS system results and many more aspects of modern energy needs. Exhibitors that already have taken provisional and confirmed reservations including Teksan, Cummins, FG Wilson, Edina, Deepsea and Aksa to name a few. CPDe provides the ideal platform for visitors to attend this leading event which is expected to showcase leading regional and international companies. Contact Tel: +44 1403 220 7750 Email: email@example.com https://cpde.co.uk
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
106 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
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
Coventry was recently named ‘City of Culture’ for 2021. And will host Critical Power & Decentralised Energy in April 2018
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FORTHCOMING EVENTS Battcon
Midwest Solar Expo & Smart Energy Symposium
Florida, USA • April 22-25
Minneapolis, USA April 30-May 2 The 2018 Midwest Solar Expo returns to Minneapolis for its 5th annual conference, exhibition and Smart Energy Symposium. Join us as we continue to drive the conversation on the Midwest solar market — gain insights from industry experts, receive hands-on product training, enjoy the ‘happy hour’ and entertainment while networking with 400+ solar professionals from across the value chain. Once again, the 2018 Midwest Solar Expo will be co-located with the Smart Energy Symposium, a one-day speaker series dedicated to the smart, connected grid ecosystem, exploring how emerging smart energy technologies will interact with city infrastructure as it relates to communications, transportation, emergency resiliency and beyond. Contact www.midwestsolarexpo.com
All Energy 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
Energy Storage Association 28th Annual Conference and Expo Boston, USA April 18-20 As the national trade association in the US, the Energy Storage Association is the leading voice for companies that develop and deploy the multitude of energy storage technologies that we rely on every day. Our member companies research, manufacture, distribute, finance, and build energy storage projects domestically and abroad. Our collective efforts help to create
108 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
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 new, competitive markets and a fair regulatory environment that reflects the value provided by energy storage to millions of residential, commercial and industrial customers. The Energy Storage Association’s Annual Conference and Expo is the premier gathering of those decision makers, leaders, and others stakeholders from around the industry who understand that energy storage is integral to all systems planning and deployment. Contact Energy Storage Association (ESA) www.esacon.energystorage-events.org
Glasgow, UK May 2-3
All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable energy event allows the entire spectrum of the renewables industry to showcase their energy solutions. The free-to-attend annual conference and exhibition brings together the UK’s largest group of buyers from the bioenergy, solar, offshore and onshore wind, hydropower and wave & tidal sectors, as well as those involved in energy storage, heat, low carbon transport and sustainable cities solutions. Since its launch in 2001, All-Energy has provided the industry suppliers, experts and thought-leaders from the renewable energy supply chain the opportunity to connect with new customers, increase their sales opportunities and expand business networks in this fast-changing marketplace. Contact www.all-energy.co.uk Tel: +44 208 439 5560 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Full programme and registration details available in February
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 email@example.com www.ila-lead.org/16elbc
FORTHCOMING EVENTS The Battery Show Europe Hanover, Germany • May 15-17 The Battery Show (Hanover, Germany) is Europe’s largest trade fair for advanced battery and H/ EV technology, displaying the latest solutions from 300+ exhibitors including Bosch, BMZ, Valeo and Continental. Running parallel to the exhibition, the three-track conference provides insight into commercial opportunities and technical challenges from 170+ expert speakers. Contact Smarter Shows Ltd www.thebatteryshow.eu
ICCI — 24th International Energy and Environment Fair & Conference Istanbul, Turkey May 2-4 The ICCI 2018 Fair and Conference will present a general outlook on the global energy sector, worldwide and in Turkey. Accordingly, it will address issues such as energy and geopolitical balances, energy dialogue EU — Turkey, energy strategy of Turkey in today’s conditions, energy policies legislations and practices, as well as technical matters such as energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, developments in the renewable energy market, conventional energy technologies, operation and maintenance of power plants, cogeneration, mini-micro cogeneration and tri-generation systems, environment and recycling systems, new technologies and applications, energy trade, energy software, nuclear power, natural gas and petroleum, financing of energy projects and energy law will be dealt with both in national and international scale. Contact Tel: +90 212 334 69 00 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.icci.com.tr/en
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11th Energy Storage World Forum (Large Scale Applications) + 5th Residential Energy Storage Forum Berlin, Germany May 14-18 The two separate forums will feature brand new researched topics addressed by renowned industry leaders and practitioners from top utilities, EPCs and international regulators representing 22+ countries. We bring together the change makers from around the globe to share their business insights, lessons learnt and data driven analysis to help you discover which technology is best suited to your business model and application, allowing you to achieve the highest return on investment.
tendance, this is your best opportunity to meet, network and develop partnerships with the government, leading utilities, power producers, project developers, investors and more in a single platform. Over 250 sponsors & exhibitors will be showcasing their industry leading products, ideas and innovations. Following unprecedented growth over the last three years, our 2018 exhibition will be our biggest ever, taking place over two floors. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach out to over 8,000 industry players who will be sourcing for the latest products and services at the show. Contact Email email@example.com Tel: +65 6322 2760 www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/power-electricity-world-philippines/index.stm
Contact Dufresne Event Management www.energystorageforum.com
Power & Electricity World Philippines Manila, Philippines May 23-24 As the largest energy show taking place in the Philippines, Power & Electricity World, offers unequalled opportunities to forge business relationships and access new potential partners. There is simply no better place in which to connect with the industry. Helmed by over 100 speakers representing senior–level policy circles, government and regulatory bodies, industry heavyweights and financiers from across the region, our content shares the views that really matter. Across two days and five tracks we conduct deep dives on many of the most challenging questions currently facing the market. With 8,000+ industry players in at-
Manila will host the Power & Electricity World Philippines in May 2018
15 – 17 May 2018 // Hanover, Germany
Discover the future of battery and H/EV technology at Europe’s fastest-growing expert-led conference 170+ speakers from organisations including:
Super early-bird conference passes available – book by Friday 26 January 2018 to save up to €500
View agenda and pre-conference workshops online
New for 2018: Pre-Conference Workshop: ‘Defining the Optimal Testing Strategy for Evaluating Battery Safety’
FORTHCOMING EVENTS 48th Power Sources Conference June 11-14 • Denver, Colorado, USA This year’s technical program reflects continued strong interest in high-energy batteries, fuel cells, and other portable and mobile power sources. We are sure that you will also enjoy the exhibit, hospitality suites, and social functions. This is the best possible conference for obtaining information and meeting with key influencers in the military power sources arena. Get updates on new military and government needs and requirements, and learn about the latest power sources technology from both government and industry spokespeople. Contact www.powersourcesconference.com
ees Europe 2018
ees North America
June 20-22 • Munich, Germany
July 10-12 • San Francisco, USA
Discover future-ready solutions for renewable energy storage and e-mobility at Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems and the industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and users of stationary and mobile electrical energy storage solutions. Key players of the industry present battery innovations along the whole value chain and smart renewable energy solutions like energy storage communities or electric cars on the grid. The exhibition and conference both focus on renewable energy storage, from residential and commercial applications to largescale storage systems for stabilizing the grid. The spotlight is also shined on topics like energy management, electric transportation and intelligent systems integration. Charging the Future!
Covering the entire value chain of innovative battery and energy storage technologies, Ees North America is the ideal platform for all stakeholders in the rapidly growing energy storage market. It takes place in the epicenter of the U.S. storage market: California. Co-located with Intersolar North America, Ees North America provides the best opportunity to explore energy storage systems in combination with PV and beyond. In 2017, 130 energy storage exhibitors and more than 15,000 visitors participated in the co-located events. Ees North America is part of the Ees global exhibition series. Together with Ees Europe in Munich, Ees South America in São Paulo and Ees India in Mumbai, Ees events are represented on four continents.
112 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
FORTHCOMING EVENTS ITEC 2018
Long Beach, California, USA June 13-15
Brussels, Belgium June 14-15
ITEC is aimed at helping the industry in the transition from conventional vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles. The conference is focused on components, systems, standards, and grid interface technologies, related to efficient power conversion for all types of electrified transportation, including electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs) as well as heavyduty, rail, and off-road vehicles and airplanes and ships.
EUROBAT is the association for the European manufacturers of automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries. EUROBAT has 52 members from across the continent comprising more than 90% of the automotive and industrial battery industry in Europe. The members and staff work with all stakeholders, such as battery users, governmental organisations and media, to develop new battery solutions in areas of hybrid and electro-mobility as well as grid flexibility and renewable energy storage.
Power2Drive Europe Munich, Germany June 19-22
Long Beach, California will host ITEC 2018
Power2Drive showcases charging solutions and technologies for electric vehicles and reflects the interaction between electric vehicles and a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply. It is an industry hotspot for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and start-ups in the emerging field of electric mobility and transportation. Our goal is to help companies to de-
velop and distribute technologies and business in the field of traction batteries, charging infrastructure and electric vehicles and to push forward a sustainable future mobility. Contact www.powertodrive.de/en/home.html
13th European SOFC & SOE Forum Lucerne, Switzerland July 3-6 The 13th European SOFC & SOE Forum 2018 addresses issues of science, engineering, materials, systems, applications and markets for all types of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), solid oxide electrolysers (SOE) and solid oxide membrane reactors (SOMR). The forum is the largest international meeting on solid oxide technologies building the bridge from science to application and a leading international meeting place providing an excellent opportunity to present recent technical progress, establish new contacts by networking, and to exchange technical, industrial and business information. Business opportunities will be identified for manufacturers, industry, operators and investors. About 500 participants and 30 exhibitors are expected. Contact www.efcf.com
International Flow Battery Forum July 10-12 • Lausanne, Switzerland The meeting is aimed at all those interested in the deployment, commercialisation, demonstration, manufacturing, financing, component and material supply, and the sector of academic and industrial research of flow batteries. The IFBF has a unique combination of key note addresses, oral and poster presentations, seminars, and panel discussions to inform and educate delegates of the benefits of flow battery systems and for all to learn and share in the development of this exciting technology. The programme will cover recent progress, scientific, engineering and manufacturing issues, study of financial, marketing and commercial issues and will be relevant to renewable generation developers, smart grid operators, and all companies and businesses active in electricity supply. There will be an educational introductory seminar, which will be held on July 9, immediately before the main conference. This is suitable for those new to the industry. There will also be opportunities to visit the research and demonstration facilities operated by EPFL near to Lausanne . Contact Aud Heyden on +44 1666 840948. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.swanbarton.com
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 113
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Contact Karen Hampton: email@example.com or call +44 7792 852337 114 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
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BATTERY HEROES: GENO PAPAZOV At last year’s LABAT meetings in Bulgaria, the winner of the prestigious Gaston Planté award for their contribution to the lead acid battery science went to Geno Papazov. Battery historian Kevin Desmond traced his path to international respect.
How a life in research provides benefits for an entire industry
A younger Papazov, aged 40 and below accepting the Planté award
Geno Petkov Papazov was born on February 5, 1943 in the small village of Gorsko Slivovo, in the soon to be war-torn north-west of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. His origins may have been humble, his father was an agricultural worker, but he went on to become an internationally respected member of the lead battery community. Between 1963 and 1968 he attended the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Sofia. And this was where he met and wooed English language student, Tsvetanka Petrova. In 1966 in they were married and some 50 years later have two daughter and four granddaughters. Immediately after his graduation, Papazov joined the research team of the Lead-Acid Batteries Department (LABD), set up by Detchko Pavlov, a
Another of Papazov’s major contributions has been his steady presence behind the organization of LABAT, the international conference on lead-acid batteries conceived by Detchko Pavlov and held for the first time in 1989 in Varna, Bulgaria. 116 • Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018
professor and already an outstanding academic, at the newly founded Central Laboratory of Electrochemical Power Sources (CLEPS) of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This was where he was where to work for the next 40 years. Pavlov was not just an outstanding scientist but a mentor to the young Papazov as well as a later friend and colleague. Papazov has often said that Pavlov was the most important figure in his scientific life and development. The first investigations of the then 25-year-old chemist were focused on studying the properties of the anodic layer formed on lead electrodes immersed in sulfuric acid solution. Working with his colleagues, he established that, when a lead electrode is polarized within the lead sulfate potential region, the obtained anodic layer has photoelectrochemical properties under the action of visible and infrared light. At these anodic potentials, lead sulfate forms on the electrode surface which acts as a semi-permeable membrane and hence non-stoichiometric lead oxide forms under the lead sulfate layer. Later, these investigations provided the basis for the semiconducting model for the oxidation of lead in sulfuric acid solution proposed by Pavlov. The papers reporting the results of these investigations, and the model itself, have been widely cited in the specialized international literature ever since. Working with his colleagues Stefan Ruevski, Temelaki Rogatchev and Pavlov, Papazov developed an innovative technology for wet filling of positive tubular plates with suspension of diluted battery paste. In this technology, the phase composition and microstructure of the cured paste is transferred to the filled tubes (gauntlets). The paste filled in the tubular plates employing this technology has a homogeneous structure and density, and optimal phase composition, which
BATTERY HEROES: GENO PAPAZOV guarantees higher capacity and longer cycle life of the tubular plates. This technology has subsequently been set up in two battery plants one in Bulgaria and the other in India. In 1976, Papazov won a scholarship provided by DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) and spent a year of study at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry of Dortmund University, Germany, where he had the chance to gain knowledge and share experience with other research groups and foreign scientists. In 1982, aged 39, he obtained his PhD at the Bulgarian Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems (then CLEPS). The topic of his PhD thesis, supervised by Detchko Pavlov, was “Processes during the formation of lead-acid battery positive plates”. In 1986, he was promoted to senior research scientist, elected to act as member of the Institute’s Scientific Council and from 1989 till 2004 he was the scientific secretary and then vice chairman (till 2010) of the Scientific Council of CLEPS (later IEES). During this period, Papazov was one of the co-authors of 12 patents, as for example Patent No. 4925746, dated May 15, 1990, entitled “A device for recombining hydrogen and oxygen released in lead-acid storage batteries”, with inventors: Detchko Pavlov and team, Assignee: Zentralna Laboratoria Po Elektrochimicheski Iztochnici na Tok (CLEPS). Papazov has participated as leading researcher and supervisor in a number of research projects funded by the European Commission or other international organizations and battery companies, all of them successfully completed. Later in his career, his research efforts were concentrated mainly on studying the technological processes involved in the manufacture of leadacid batteries. He has investigated the properties of positive lead-acid battery pastes as a function of the conditions of their preparation, as for example the influence of the amount of sulfuric acid used for paste preparation as well as the effect of temperature of paste mixing on their phase composition and morphological structure. Among his 43 scientific publications are the monograph “Battery Energy Storage Systems (UNESCO-ROSTE Technical Paper, 1991) and a chapter entitled: “Lead-acid battery negative plate” in the “Encyclopedia of Electrochemical Power Sources”. In the late 1990s, Papazov developed
Working with his colleagues Stefan Ruevski, Temelaki Rogatchev and Pavlov, Papazov developed an innovative technology for wet filling of positive tubular plates with suspension of diluted battery paste. GIVING IT BACK
Beijing, China, 1996: pictured next to Pavlov (centre front)
In 2005 Papazov was appointed guest professor at SCNU, Guangzhou, China
Meeting staff members of Philippines Batteries in Manila, 2008
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BATTERY HEROES: GENO PAPAZOV a four-day course of lectures on leadacid battery technology. The lecture course comprises 16-18 lectures designed to be understandable for technologists, electrochemists, engineers and technicians, of different levels of expertise, at any lead-acid battery plant. The presentations are designed to help them, in their everyday work, as well as, in long-term planning. The topics covered in the presentations are: technological processes, occurring during lead-acid battery production; the relation between battery performance (capacity, cycle life)
and the parameters of the technological processes; optimum technological parameters, that ensure high energy characteristics of the batteries produced; methods for control of the technological processes. Papazov has given these lectures in more than 29 universities and lead acid battery factories all over the world, to mention only some of them: Brazil, USA, China, Japan, The Philippines, South Korea, India, Germany and Israel. During his travels, Papazov has enriched one particular love. “Really,
Pavlov was not just an outstanding scientist but a mentor to the young Papazov as well as friend and colleague. Papazov was later to say that Pavlov was the most important figure in his scientific life and intellectual development. A TRIBUTE TO PAPAZOV FROM DETCHKO PAVLOV
Prior to his death last year academician Detchko Pavlov sent Batteries International this tribute to his friend and colleague. Here in earlier years Papazov pictured with colleagues Kostadinov (left) VIliev and academician Pavlov.
“Geno Papazov started his professional carrier as a chemical engineer at the Department of Lead-Acid Batteries, which I founded and headed for more than 45 years. Thanks to his solid theoretical background, his inherent intelligence, scholarly curiosity, diligence and scientific imagination, he quickly grew into a serious research scientist and in the course of our years-long collaboration proved himself as a leading battery scientist, not only within our research team, but also on a worldwide basis. His ease in writing interesting scientific papers, trustworthy technical reports and even short pieces of literature full of sparkle and keen sense of humor, deserves our sincere admiration. I am happy that we still continue to work together on various scientific projects and on the organization of the LABAT series of conferences.”
I like to taste and drink good beer. I also have a collection of beer labels — more than 820 from all over the world. When I open my files with these labels, I remember with pleasure where, when and with whom I drank that brand of beer!” His colleagues expect him to write a definitive master catalogue of brands and beer types from around the world. In 2005, Papazov delivered a course of lectures at a seminar organized by the South China Normal University (SCNU) for the scientists from SCNU and the technologists from the battery factories in South China region. The seminar was so successful that he was appointed as regular guest professor at the South China Normal University, Guangzhou Province, People’s Republic of China. During 2008, in September, he paid a consultancy visit to HBL NIFE Power Systems in Hyderabad, India. He delivered several lectures on technological subjects of the process of wet filling tubular plates with 3BS or 4BS suspension and manufacture of traction batteries. In November, he was at Trojan Batteries in the US and after presenting the lecture course to the technical staff of the company, he also made a survey on some analysis data of their production. That December he lectured at Philippine Batteries and also took part in discussions on specific technological problems of the company and shared his expert knowledge with the company’s technical staff. As a man and a scientist his colleagues have paid tribute to his warm personality and deep scientific thinking. Mariana Cherneva, a chemical engineer who has worked alongside Papazov for 40 years has this to say: “Geno is a prominent scientist who finds solutions with ease. And that is a rare and very valuable skill. It shows how his in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals of electrochemistry have been transformed into creative intuition. “He is a man devoted to his scientific work and to his wonderful family. He has the gift of finding the cheerful and fun side in everything. He has an unceasing interest in everything new and unexpected ... even in food.” Alongside Geno has been the loyal and hardworking Dina Ivanova “Alongside his being an excellent scientist, Geno is a creator with an inner urge to write. His style of writing is easy to read and amusing. He
Batteries International • Winter 2017/2018 • 119
BATTERY HEROES: GENO PAPAZOV influences people around him with his cheerful mood and optimism!” Another of Papazov’s major contributions has been his behind-thescenes organization of LABAT, the international conference on lead-acid batteries conceived by Detchko Pavlov and held for the first time in 1989 in Varna, Bulgaria. Papazov was appointed to act as scientific secretary of this conference. His tireless efforts were to yield results. LABAT’89 was attended by more than 250 scientists and battery experts from 34 countries all over the world. Encouraged by the success of the event, it was decided to organize LABAT conferences every three years. Up to now, 10 LABAT conferences have been held successfully with ever increasing attendance. The event has won world recognition as the most prestigious scientific forum on leadacid batteries. On the eve of the first LABAT conference, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences established a medal to honour the inventor of the lead-acid battery, the French scientist Gaston Planté. The Gaston Planté medal is presented to prominent battery scientists with outstanding contributions to the development of the lead-acid battery. During the last 10th jubilee edition of LABAT, deservingly, Geno Papazov and Jun Furukawa from Japan were awarded with this much coveted medal. He has published more than 43 technical papers in international scientific
The Lead Acid Battery Department, Sofia, Bulgaria: home for almost two generations of research and study
journals with more than 500 citations in the literature. is the author and coauthor of 12 patents some of which have been adopted in battery plants around the world. Although already retired, at 74 years’ old Papazov is still working
actively in the Lead-Acid Battery Department of IEES and helping his younger colleagues. He still enjoys his early love of volley ball, although nowadays he is equally happy just watching it on the television!
Later in his career, his research efforts were concentrated mainly on studying the technological processes involved in the manufacture of lead-acid batteries.
Papazov’s family with daughters and grandaughters, or as he refers to them “My sweet seven girls!”
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This issue we look at the vexing issue of the many competing claims of returns on investment for lead and lithium batteries in large scale e...
Published on Jan 17, 2018
This issue we look at the vexing issue of the many competing claims of returns on investment for lead and lithium batteries in large scale e...