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Issue 97

DeLight Breidegam Jr Celebrating the memory of a life well lived, a company well founded, an industry well served

Autumn 2015

The stars cross the firmament: Ray Kubis moves to start-up Latin America: the next treasure trove for battery growth Ones to watch: the up-and-coming heroes of grid storage Spread the word — the ABC message on the lithium menace

Bringing the industry together










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• Transition time for current to ramp from 10% to 90% of full scale now decreased from approximately 15ms to less than 4ms!


are operating units of

Power Electronics.



DeLight Breidegam Jr, the co-founder of East Penn Manufacturing, died on September 9, aged 88. He was as widely respected for his creation of a battery manufacturing giant in the US as his ethical business creed to employees, suppliers and customers.



Race against time as lithium threat to lead steps up a gear



Kubis retires from Eco-Bat, moves to bipolar lead acid start-up Gridtential • ALABC restructuring approved by members • Former GM battery head becomes LG

There are rising fears that lithium is starting to overtake lead

Chem Power’s chief exec • New changes at the top for Exide • Bob Nelson honoured with International Lead Award at ABC opening ceremony • Eisenhart joins A123


Systems as COO • Whitacre wins Lemelson-MIT prize • Enersys’ John Craig to retire • Cadex appoints product sales director • JCI appoints chief human resources chief • Microporous increases team readies new production levels



Johnson Controls expands global production of start-stop batteries to meet expected rising demand • Saft claims ‘breakthrough’ into China’s robotics sector with lithium order for STEP • Electric Corporation Electrovaya offers TESS to Con Edison for grid support • Aqua Metals anticipates commercial operations to begin in Q2 2016 • ABB to

Surprise as Kubis retires from Eco-Bat, joins Gridtential 16

install microgrid in South Africa integrating multiple energy sources • Smart PowerFlow project to demonstrate how batteries can cost-efficiently reinforce low voltage grids • Redflow slashes ZBM battery cost in drop below grid price • Johnson Controls announces global workforce reductions • Sparton to finance commissioning of Chinese vanadium flow battery • Flow batteries lead the way as funding spikes in Q2 • GE signs largest ESS deal to date with 30MW battery • Commercial storage in US posed for growth as Ideal Power targets microgrids • 3M-LG Chem deal should accelerate nickel, cobalt, manganese usage • Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo could trigger ‘next-generation’ battery buying spree


The CEO interview: a look behind the scenes at Younicos48


Younicos is claiming a stake in the new frontiers of energy storage

LATIN AMERICA Economic troubles, turbulence to impede growth in energy storage but business prospects still strong

55 Latin America: no gain without pain as growth chances rise


Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 1



Playing the long game — some energy storage winners in the years ahead

BACK TO BASICS The ones to watch: the rising stars of energy storage68


Plug on, plug in and power away— battery charging basics for EVs



A state of health assessment of operational lead acid cells as a function of conductance



16 Asian Battery Conference, Bangkok • 4th Second Lead Conference, Bangkok • The Battery Show, Detroit

EVENTS Ann-Marie Sastry and the search for the solid electrolyte118


Our comprehensive listing of the must-attend conferences of 2015 and beyond





Ann-Marie Sastry — fortune favours the brave and the determined



Big Red wins China’s Friendship Award • Solar Challenge blazes a new desert trail • Further honours for Galyen as China grants new award 126

Welcome to the world of lithium gentlemen • Duty, Duty, Duty, That’s Conferences for you • BCI, tales of entrapment in San Antonio

Publisher Karen Hampton,, +44 (0) 7792 852 337

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Disclaimer: Although we believe in the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this magazine, Mustard Seed Publishing makes no warranties or representation about this. Nor should anything contained within it should be construed as constituting an offer to buy or sell securities, or constitute advice in relation to the buying or selling of investments.

2 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

EDITORIAL Mike Halls •

Race against time as lithium threat to lead steps up a gear “It’s time to stop being gentlemanly towards that lithium lot.” That was the exact phrase a senior lead industry figure told Batteries International this September. But it held a variety of truths far beyond a mere sound bite. The first of which is that the balance of ownership — something akin to market share — between the lead battery business and its lithium counterpart is sliding in terms of lithium’s favour. Market share for lead batteries continues to grow as the need for energy storage grows — but lithium is outpacing lead. And while it’s hard to see lithium making huge inroads into the automotive market, lead is clearly losing out in the huge and rapidly expanding market for grid level storage. And just to add a touch of scaremonging for the lead community. This slippage could be irreversible. The reaon for this market change is a simple one. A huge amount of R&D money continues to be poured into lithium ion batteries. In 2015 alone we’ve seen probably the equivalent of 20 years of lead acid research budgets being pumped into lithium ion development. And the research — and this huge swell of money behind it — is clearly showing signs that it’s paying off. Just five years ago the cost of a lithium ion EV battery was reckoned at being around $1000/kWh. But now the cost is around a half of that. And, according to the vaunting promises of Elon Musk and his lithium gigafactories of the future we could soon be looking at prices as low as $100/kWh. Tesla apparently pays Panasonic $180/kWh for its batteries. The earlier price that lead offered — and it seemed unassailable five years ago — of around $150/kWh is under threat in ways that it never has been before. In one market sector — golf trolleys — lithium is now the dominant chemistry. In the UK three years ago lithium accounted for power for just 10% of the sector. In 2015 lithium sales were just over 50%, And this despite the fact that ithium batteries cost £100 ($150) more. What we’ve been arguing for at least the past four years in these columns is that it will eventually become a race against time between the two chemistries. 4 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Clichés such as horses for courses won’t apply in a world where lead can’t scale down to the laptop while lithium can scale up to the electric car and grid storage. We have no interest in picking winners or losers — as a magazine is that we are determinedly agnostic about the strengths or weakness of either chemistry — but a new consensus of senior figures in both industries talk about a dash to the final line. “The lead acid battery industry has existed for years on an understanding — more a misunderstanding — that innovation is useful for product development but not essential,” one commentator told us. “The lithium world has never had that. “For the lead guys, their worse fears could start coming true. But at the same time, their lithium counterparts, despite all their hype, don’t yet have the products to wage a fuller war.” The two profoundest difficulties about lithium ion batteries — cost and safety — appear to be on their way to being solved. They clearly aren’t solved yet but every year brings further improvements. And the improvements are such, there is now even talk about the next generations of battery chemistries that will supplant lithium. Most of this we, as a magazine, believe are ventures into la-la land. Moving technology from the lab to the manufacturing line is fraught with uncertainties, dangers and, normally, at least a decade between concept to execution and a similar length of time from deployment to mass acceptance. But the fact that the conversations are out there signals that a life-after-lead landscape is a possible one. From the lead side there are firms that are fighting back and coming up with ever yet smarter lead products. There’s exciting research coming from firms such as Hammond, RSR and Trojan to name a few. (And not forgetting the ALABC.) But this is just a drop in the ocean compared to the tidal wave of money pouring into the lithium ion sector. And unlike lead research which is almost entirely private sector funded, there are huge grants still being made into new avenues of lithium battery research and trial projects. The next generation of lead researchers are missing as a consequence. Which is the sexier of investigative fields for a bright young engineer seeking a doctorate? The

EDITORIAL Mike Halls •

we’ll-change-the-world-by-going-green image of lithium or looking at a 150 year old invention where most of lead’s capabilities are well known? The second point behind the sound bite about gentlemanly behaviour is deservedly more vindictive. The lead industry has been over dismissive and over-complacent for too long. Rather than go on the attack about lithium the industry hasn’t made any form of capital from lithium excesses. The deserved ridicule of, for example, the crazy valuations of the early lithium firms — A123 being worth half a billion dollars without having made a cent of profit — was left to the dinner party discussion rather than the public announcement. “Knocking copy” the journalistic term for discrediting another product or organization hasn’t happened despite the genuine fears that should have been raised by, for example, the persistent danger of laptop fires in aircraft or say, the burnt out Fisker Karma hybrid cars — that exploded in flame when engulfed in water! — after Hurricane Sandy. This complacency by the lead industry gave firms that had little hope of surviving without government aid the chance to push R&D out to new levels — and perhaps more importantly generate an image of the chemistry that is more attuned to the glitz of Hollywood than the simpler world of providing energy in the form of a battery. For lead to survive in this race to get ahead, it needs to change its branding — but also to attack that of lithium. When iconic organizations such as Apple or Google commit themselves to a future without burning fossil fuel gases — and at the same time say they’ll use lithium batteries for energy storage — they’re projecting a powerful image for the future. Lead continues to remain in the public mind as toxic and environmentally unfriendly, as a direct legacy of removing lead from petrol, paint and children’s toys. Meanwhile lithium is hip and cool. The International Lead Association working with BCI and EUROBAT are now fighting back. (See our ABC conference review.) Andy Bush, head of ILA, is now signalling a change of direction — the need for the whole industry to go on the attack. In an important speech at the ABC meetings in September, he said that the message of lead needed to be broadcast to the whole supply chain of lead battery suppliers and then out to the

world. He urged to focus on the weak points in current arguments. Perhaps the most conspicuous is the mess in Europe where legislation — the steadily becoming infamous End of Life Directive — which penalizes lead acid batteries for the introduction of a dangerous chemical which must be disposed of while the disposal of lithium batteries is unchallenged. And potentially disastrous for the groundwater table. The fact of the matter is that lead has a positive story to tell — yes that deathly boring figure of the most recycled metal on the planet is dull to us in the industry. But it shouldn’t be to an entire generation brought up with the idea that lead in petrol is the next thing we can have to an apocalypse. For at least 10 years the lead acid battery industry has — more or less, anyway — refused to dignify the challenges that lithium ion brings to their market. Now that situation has got to change — at the moment, the good message of lead is faltering and blurred. And that for lithium glamourous and environmentally sexy. It’s time to go on the offensive. The only form of defence is attack. Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 5

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A celebration of a life well lived

Looking back on the history of East Penn it’s clear that his personality — that strange mix of determination, ability and generosity that characterizes the best of corporate America — has been stamped on the success of the firm.

8 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

DELIGHT BREIDEGAM JR (1928-2015) DeLight Breidegam Jr, the co-founder of East Penn Manufacturing, died on September 9, aged 88. He was as widely respected for his creation of a battery manufacturing giant in the US as his ethical business creed to employees, suppliers and customers.


hat a legacy, what a man and what a life. That was the consensus of an astonishing outpouring of tributes to DeLight Breidegam Jr, the founder of East Penn Manufacturing, who died this September. Accolades have ranged from speeches from the floor of the US House of Congress to floods of sympathy on the internet to his family. “I don’t know of anyone in the battery industry who was respected as much as DeLight,” says John O Wirtz, head of Wirtz Manufacturing. “He developed a team that included his employees and suppliers who strived for excellence in every area which proved to be an unbeatable combination. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him and he always had time for everyone as a friend.” “He was one of a kind,” says Mike Tole, chairman of MAC Engineering who knew DeLight for some 40 years. “I’ve never met someone who could simultaneously do what was needed for the business as well as for his employees. He has been and will continue to be an inspiration to the business community.” But DeLight was much more than a generous and ethical businessman. Dan Langdon, president of East Penn, who joined in the mid-1980s says part of the genius of the firm was the work culture DeLight created. Employees see themselves as part of a family united in a business rather than having a traditional boss-work relationship, he says. “He’s always had the long-term interests of employees in mind,” says Langdon. “And has been ready to support them through the bad times as well as the good. His management approach was not a confrontational one — in the 37 years I’ve known him, we’ve not once had a disagreement.” He was also a highly generous donor to the community. “DeLight provided infrastructure and scholarships at Moravian College that transformed the face of the campus and the futures and lives of hundreds of our current students and graduates alike,” says Bryon Grigsby college president. “It is difficult to find a programme

or place at Moravian that has not been touched and renewed by DeLight’s involvement and generosity.” DeLight was on the Board of Trustees for 37 years. The donations were also scattered around the local health care facilities where substantial contributions came from DeLight and his wife of 67 years Helen. As a man he was gregarious, generous and amusing. But also quick-witted. “One of my favourite stories highlighting this aspect of his personality happened on VE-Day,” says Langdon. “There was so many young USAF men leaving the airbase and trying to hitchhike into town and to celebrate meant they couldn’t all get a lift. DeLight told his buddies to cross the road and hitch in the opposite direction! “‘Why?’ they asked. “‘You’ll see! They hitched a mile up the road, crossed over and almost immediately got a ride, past the airbase and back into town.”

The birth of East Penn

DeLight’s story and where it coincides with that of East Penn is normally at-

tributed to the firm’s foundation in 1946. But it began before that. In a characteristically modest remark DeLight once explained how East Penn started because “my father sent me out back to fix the battery in the tractor.” DeLight E Breidegam Jr was born on October 3, 1926 in Fleetwood a small semi-rural Pennsylvania town dominated by farming and the industrial sized car body workshop that was bought by General Motors in 1925. With the oddity of coincidence the next major industry in the region would be his. And just minutes down the road from where he had been born. As a child, the youngest of three and the only boy, his father — perhaps the man he most admired — taught him the value of honesty and hard work. The sheer grit and determination of the father, who had been brought low by the Depression and lost his home after the Crash was a deep and abiding influence on the young DeLight. DeLight was to work with his father until DeLight Sr died in 1992. When only just a teenager DeLight Jr was industrious and in the holidays

Before DeLight joined the Army Aviation Corp in 1943 he had worked shifts as an official volunteer spotter looking for suspicious aircraft flying in Pennsylvanian airspace

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 9

DELIGHT BREIDEGAM JR (1928-2015) would earn 50 cents a day helping work at a neighbour’s farm. Later he earned more as a picker in the fields. And even by the age of 16 when he was able to buy his first car — a 1935 Chevy for $150 — he was helping his father build hand-made batteries. He also gained practical knowledge of this by working at a nearby firm called Price Battery, where his father was plant manager. The critical period for the emergence of the future of East Penn as a business happened between December 1943 — when DeLight left senior high school and enlisted in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program, aged 17 — and his release in October 1946. While waiting for his discharge from the USAF he had been sketching out plans for some of his father’s fanciful proposals for life after the forces. He decided he would capitalize on his father’s knowledge of working in lead acid battery manufacturing and his own ability not just to help in making them but also distributing and selling them. He also kept in contact, as much as he could, to his high school sweetheart, Helen Merkel. DeLight was discharged from the US Air Force on October 3, 1946. That morning he drove the three hour trip from Fort Meade, Maryland to the family home. It proved to be a busy day — both his 20th birthday and the day he and his father co-founded East Penn.

The business proposition — based like many that rode the tricky boom years after the second world war — was essentially a simple one predicating on making do with very little. In this instance, the war had made materials for new batteries scarce, but there was a great demand for rebuilt batteries to allow the returning soldiers to restart mothballed cars and trucks. The two DeLights collected old batteries and rebuilt them. The early days of East Penn were very much the stuff of the American dream itself where sheer effort, and enterprise overcomes hardship.

Wedding day: February 28, 1948

The two rented an old creamery for $10 a month and set up their small business repairing and then making lead acid batteries. They used a payphone at the hotel across the road for the office phone. In the beginning DeLight Jr handbuilt the batteries himself with guidance from his father who continued to work fulltime at the Bowers Battery plant. DeLight Jr would then tour the region selling the handmade batteries to local garages. It was the beginning of the distribution network that helped build the success of East Penn in later years. The following year the Breidegams took on a partner, Karl Gasche, a MIT engineering graduate who they had known from working at the nearby Bowers Battery. He became vice-president of the company, which was incorporated as East Penn Manufacturing Company. Raw materials were now becoming available and with Gasche’s expertise the company began to make new automobile batteries. Gasche proved to be brilliant engineer — in the end he would hold 21 battery-related patents. Their product line was named Deka — being the first letters of DeLight and Karl. Manufacturing batteries in quantity involved the need to smelt lead for the new batteries, and so the fledgling firm built a small smelter on 11 acres outside of nearby Lyons, Pennsylvania

DeLight testing batteries, late 1940s. The early days of East Penn were very much the stuff of the American dream itself where sheer effort, good ideas and enterprise overcomes hardship.

10 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

DELIGHT BREIDEGAM JR (1928-2015) which they used at night while devoting their days to rebuilding old batteries and manufacturing new ones. This was also the first building of what would one day become two million square feet of operations on nearly 500 acres. In 1948 the entire family was invested in the new company — DeLight Jr married Helen that February in the local Lutheran church. Helen had just finished a three year nursing course and her interest in caring for the sick was to be a recurrent theme of the family’s later charitable giving. Early that year too DeLight Sr quit his job at Bowers to work full time for the company. Their first child Daniel was born in 1953. Timothy (1957) and Sally (1962) were to follow. But although the business had settled down and the firm was now financially stable enough to move their offices to the Lyons facility, it wasn’t immediately apparent they were on to a winner. In 1950 they had just six staff though the Deka brand was already being recognized for its quality and price. That said, in one sense from then on, the company didn’t look back. By the middle of the 1960s, the firm had established a small but expanding network of warehouses across the midto east coast. In the future, developing an expanded distribution model when you have something like 90 warehouses would be as vital a part of the business as the product itself. In the 1960s the company rapidly expanded its product range moving into related parts of the battery business such as plastic parts from injection moulding when suppliers were unable to fill orders. In 1967 thanks to a steady supply agreement with Sears Roebuck & Co the firm moved into plastic clamps, wire and cable products. By the end of the decade East Penn had powered into industrial batteries providing power for forklifts, diesel locomotives, personnel movers and aircraft tow vehicles. By the mid-1970s the company had doubled in size leaping from around 350 employees in 1971 to 700 five years later. DeLight later said that even in those years growth was sustained by ploughing every penny of profits in the family business back into the company. To make deliveries of Deka batteries and its new range Lynx accessories, East Penn added to its truck fleet and in 1974 built a garage in which to keep the vehicles serviced. Other plant expansion projects in the 1970s included the opening of an oxide facility and a

Above: East Penn HQ 1946. The two Delights rented an old creamery for $10 a month and set up their small business repairing and making lead acid batteries. They used a payphone at the hotel across the road for the office phone.

Above: Aerial view of the East Penn site in 1954 and below nowadays

new battery plant and laboratory, and the addition of a continuous automatic plate-making system. In the late 1970s East Penn introduced its Kare-Free line of calcium  maintenance-free batteries; the line had so much potential that the company began making plans to build a second automotive plant for its production. To handle the wastewater created by battery manufacturing, East

Penn also opened a treatment plant in 1977, able to process 100,000 gallons of wastewater each day. East Penn produced more than a million batteries in a year for the first time in 1976. It far exceeded the expectation of DeLight Sr’s ambition to be able to build a 100 batteries a day. Nowadays East Penn makes over 125,000 a day. Through this period DeLight Jr’s role was pivotal in helping the firm grow

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 11


With Karl Gasche’s expertise the company began to make new automobile batteries. Gasche proved to be brilliant engineer — in the end he would hold 21 battery-related patents. Their product line was named Deka — being the first letters of DeLight and Karl.

and his gradual assumption of larger and lifelong duties within an industry he was to love, help and nurture. Personally it was not always so easy. His youngest son Timothy — already showing great promise for the future — died in a college kayaking trip in January 1978. He was just 21. The pointlessness of Timothy’s early death was to be directed in charitable giving to a host of local medical health initiatives.

Industry endeavours

In 1969 he became a director at Battery Council International, the leading lead acid battery trade body. He stood down as director three decades later in 2002. He also took over the presidency of BCI in 1978 and 1979. (He is also one of the few individuals to receive its honorary title of life member.) As part of this sense of duty he has also been on the board of directors for the Lead Industries Association and is a former member of the now-defunct Independent Battery Manufacturers Association. If the 1970s were exciting times for East Penn, the 1980s were even more so. Groundbreaking new battery technology led to expansive growth throughout the decade and into the next, quadrupling the company’s size. New manufacturing facilities were swiftly added to accommodate the growing business. Smart acquisitions delivered needed warehouse space and allowed the company to span new horizons. East Penn expanded on a number of fronts in the 1980s. Battery design became the province of CAD (computer aided design), making the drafting tables obsolete. Engineers also turned their attention to new battery technol-

ogy in the 1980s, such as absorbed-mat and gelled-electrolyte, non-spillable batteries, ideal for applications such as telecommunications. In 1988, East Penn began distributing in Canada, and within two years had secured a substantial segment of that market. The company also made history in environmental protection. Here DeLight early on had seen the way the battery industry needed to go. “People thought that waste was normal,” he said in a later interview. “Then in the 1960s, the environmental stuff started to come. Some people threw their hands up and said, ‘There’s no way.’ And I always said, ‘Well ... heck, we’re going to try.” Today it recycles some 30,000 batteries a day including reclaiming the acid and the plastic. And he did. And his efforts through organizations such as BCI, have helped achieve the now accepted understanding that environmental stewardship needs to built into the economic model. It would be cost-ineffective to build a battery without recycling. In 1992, the annual battery total passed the five million mark. East Penn was now a state-of-the-art industry model, fully prepared for the 21st century. Every stage of the manufacturing process was computer-aided and the most tedious jobs were now fully automated. Each division — SLI (starting, lighting, and ignition), motive power, reserve power (specialty), and cable & wire — was playing a major role in the company’s growth. The SLI line alone consisted of more than 150 battery types for everything from golf cars to farm tractors. The motive power division was man-

The business proposition — based like many that rode the tricky boom years after the second world war — was essentially a simple one predicating on making do with very little 12 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

ufacturing, distributing, and servicing nationwide an amazing range of battery sizes and types, some weighing more than 20,000 pounds (10 tons). In the early 1990s East Penn acquired 13 warehouses when it bought up mid-west firm Electro Battery Company and Power Battery Sales, in Ontario Canada. In 1993 it launched a line of reserve power batteries for standby power applications such as telecommunications and UPS and was able to capitalize on the remarkable growth of businesses such as data centres. Later in the 1990s stationary batteries were developed for the cable TV market. Since then East Penn’s growth has been steady with only the bursting of the telecoms bubble in 2001 — the telecoms business which has a heavy reliance on batteries, had been growing at around 7% a year worldwide till then — causing a hiccup. That year the firm — which had a policy of trying to keep workers for life — had to temporarily lay off 100 workers. East Penn has regularly been acknowledged as one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania. The company has a long history too of recruiting and retaining staff with many employees now into their third and fourth decades of employment with the firm.

Distribution, distribution

Although East Penn had expanded northwards into Canada and exported its batteries, it made a determined push into improving its European business in 2002. That year it set up a joint venture with Austrian company Banner Batterien, a battery manufacturer of similar philosophy and standing in the European market. The primary purpose of the joint venture company, located in Linz in Austria, is to broaden East Penn’s customer service in Europe and Banner’s customer service in North America in the areas of marketing, distribution, product development, engineering and manufacturing technology. In 2005 East Penn acquired the automotive-battery division of Douglas Battery Manufacturing Co, adding a substantial North Carolina distribution centre to its US operations. The firm’s persistent interest in new technology has propelled it to the front in lead acid battery manufacturing. In 2008, East Penn entered into an exclusive agreement with Furukawa Battery, a Japanese battery manufacturing company, and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial


East Penn helped lead the way in environmental protection. “People thought that waste was normal,” DeLight said. “Then in the 1960s, the environmental stuff started to come. Some people threw their hands up and said, ‘There’s no way.’ And I always said, ‘Well ... heck, we’re going to try’” Research Organization), the Australian national science agency, to release the revolutionary UltraBattery technology in North America that would be manufactured by East Penn. The UltraBattery is a completely new class of an advanced lead-acid technology that combines the added benefit of an asymmetric supercapacitor. This provides an optimal balance of energy storage with quick charge acceptance, power discharge and longer life spans than existing technology in the marketplace The UltraBattery has the capability of challenging the advances of lithium ion batteries in that it can operate in a partial state of charge at a far more competitive price. Thanks in large part to the enthusiasm and cordial relations of DeLight’s daughter Sally Miksiewicz, Ecoult was acquired in 2010. East Penn holds the exclusive license to develop, test, and release the UltraBattery technology for reserve power applications through its subsidiary, Ecoult. And as an aside, perhaps the saddest part of DeLight’s final year was the death of Sally in June 2014.

A business model

Breidegam would never credit himself as being the sole instigator of the huge success that the company he cofounded has enjoyed. “We probably wouldn’t be a model for the Harvard Business School,” he once quipped.

But looking back on the history of East Penn it’s clear that his personality — that strange mix of determination, ability and generosity that characterizes the best of corporate America — has been stamped on the success of the firm. His generosity of spirit and commitment to hard work often meant that he reaped what he had sowed. A midwinter storm in 1996 ended with a fire at the plant that took days to stop. Rather than kick a competitor when down, East Penn’s rivals appreciated his commitment for the entire industry and helped him fulfill his orders. DeLight was a practising Christian, and a regular attendee at his local Lutheran church all his life. The firm’s success was also down to the deep level of knowledge he possessed about both the industry and technical aspects of manufacturing. “You couldn’t go for lunch with him without coming away having learnt something new,” one customer

told Batteries International. He also was able to create an environment open to incorporating new ideas. He had a profound interest in moving ahead with new technology and East Penn has long had a reputation at being ahead of its competitors in machinery and manufacturing processes. “He used to say that those who said “wait and see” before introducing new technology or methods had decided to go out of business — they just haven’t decided the date yet,” says Dan Langdon. “And for the last decade or so he’s prepared the company for the transition to the time when he will no longer be around — the company is in great shape but clearly it’s a sadder place without DeLight.” Perhaps the last word about his life and the corporate philosophy he fostered should come from him. “I get a big kick out of seeing young people come here and being able to grow,” he once said. “I take a lot of pride that we have thousands of people here. “I grew up so humbly, I never had anything. Now, I live in a nice home, I drive a good car compared to what I used to. That’s about it. But I like to go in the plant and see what they’re doing and pat a guy on the back and tell him I think he’s doing a hell of a good job for us. And if he makes me some money, I’ll share it with him.” DeLight E Breidegam, battery manufacturer, philanthropist: October 3, 1926 – September 9, 2015.

DeLight is predeceased by his father and mother; DeLight Sr died in 1992 and Helen in 1988. His daughter Sally died last year. He lost his son Timothy in 1978. He is survived by his wife, Helen; his son, Daniel and grandchildren Timothy, Daniel, Katelyn, and Matthew, Mortimer, Gemma and great-grandchildren Anna, Reilly, and Logan.

“His legacy not only resides in the remarkable organization he founded and built but also in the countless lives he touched, encouraged, and inspired to become the very best they could be. His vision, dreams, and accomplishments will still live on in the people who follow in his footsteps as they grow the company and support the community and country he loved and served” Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 13

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Kubis retires from Eco-Bat, moves to bipolar lead acid start-up Gridtential Ray Kubis — one of the most high profile names in the battery business — stepped down as president and managing director at Eco-Bat Technologies on October 30. Kubis, citing family priorities and some other private interests to adjust to less global travel, chose to join the board of Gridtential, a start-up firm with a new bipolar lead acid battery. He will continue as a non-executive board member for Eco-Bat and will also remain as an advisor. Howard Meyers, chairman of Eco-Bat and other senior management will act in an interim capacity. “When I was approached by Gridtential I was intrigued by the firm,” Kubis told Batteries International. “Throughout my career I’ve always been interested in new products and positioning of products, and though many of these start-ups don’t stand the test of time, some do. And Gridtential looked as if it had both a great product, a good operations process strategy, as well as great people to work with. “Bipolar batteries have always struck me as where the greatest potential for lead acid can be found, but also the most difficult to execute — and Gridtential have come up with a product that has overcome these difficulties.” At its simplest, Gridtential’s battery — known as the Silicon Joule technology — replaces the metal grid in leadacid batteries with a silicon substrate. The substrate is a spin-off from the mature production of silicon cells for the solar industry, yielding cost and quality advantages. (See picture of the battery interior.) The firm’s chief executive, Christiaan Beekhuis, says the battery has more than two times the available energy for the same weight, double the cycle life at 80% depth of discharge and twice the discharge speed but with the same efficiency. “Gridtential is able to target a $100/ kWh installed price for its drop-in lead-based battery replacement.” Perhaps most interesting for lead acid battery manufacturers is the fact that making the new batteries requires only minor modifications to the existing production line — the early processes of paste mixing and curing are

16 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

“Bipolar batteries have always struck me as where the greatest potential for lead acid can be found, but also the most difficult to execute — and Gridtential have come up with a product that has overcome these difficulties.” unchanged as is the high investment charging or formation equipment. “The process changes for battery makers occur in the substrate manufacturing and plate assembly, that makes the product a manageable suitable transition for a range of battery makers” says Kubis. “With respect to the plate making and assembly I expect some of the high-end battery machine manufacturers to step up here to produce highspec, high speed lines. “To date two battery firms are serious players that are well down the road in their evaluation of our product and four others are in the process of starting to evaluate the product.” Gridtential’s business model is based on licensing the technology to customers which makes its initial capital requirements comparatively light. “Initially we’re focusing on licensing firms involved in the diverse industrial and specialty markets,” he says. “These are the ones that are easiest to

bring in as adopters, and some of the markets most challenged by lithium batteries. “But the eventual aim is to tap into the huge automotive sector. However, given the long testing times that they demand — often up to five years — this won’t be an immediate target for the firm.” One interesting perspective of the licensing model and the fact that the Gridtential technology can be fitted into existing battery manufacturing lines in the world is that it creates the possibility of the industry as a whole providing an almost immediate counter-balance to the so-called “gigafactory” of Tesla. Lead battery gigafactories could be just a couple of years away. Kubis’ main responsibilities on the board will be two-fold — providing the technical and commercial expertise from a lifetime of experience in the industry as well as acting as an ambassador for Gridtential. The fact that such a well known battery figure as Ray Kubis is joining the firm is a huge endorsement to Gridtential’s credentials. Kubis will work with the CEO — Christiaan Beekhuis, co-founders Peter Borden and Michele Klein, and other board members. Beekhuis, joined the company in 2011. In 2003 Beekhuis was chief technology officer and founder of Fat Spaniel Technologies a provider of renewable energy performance monitoring services. In 2010, Fat Spaniel Technologies was sold to Power-One, a California-based power management company. Borden advises on renewable energy product strategies, and is on the energy advisory board of two venture capital funds. Previously, with the company Applied Materials, he developed both silicon and thin film technologies in the Solar Business Group. He was involved in the design production of equipment now being implemented for silicon solar cell manufacturing. The firm is a spin-off from research funded by the California Energy Commission where Borden helped develop the battery. From 2006-2010, Klein was senior director of Applied Ventures, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials,

PEOPLE NEWS where she was responsible for renewable energy and energy storage. She has invested in nine new companies and has sat on the boards of seven companies, including Enphase Energy and Infinite Power Solutions. Added to the mix is Ed Schummer as chief licensing officer who joined in August. Schummer was one of Dolby Laboratories’ licensing pioneers and was instrumental in shaping Dolby’s first-in-kind licensing model, widely credited for parlaying a once obscure, but novel, noise reduction technology into a global quality mark. Gridtential is also supported by an advisory board. Gridtential says the licensed technology will take some time to mature through the existing battery companies. Yet, some products may mature as soon as late 2016 but probably more likely later than that. Kubis says this timeline shouldn’t deflect attention from what he believes is the next big trend in the lead acid industry. “Perhaps it’s best to put this into context,” he says. “In the past 30 years we’ve seen two major technology platforms that have had an enormous impact on the lead based battery business. “The first has been in the huge advances in way the electrode has been developed, the casting and punching ever thinner and better components in continuous processes. The second has been the impact of the VRLA or semisealed products across all markets in the industry.” Kubis says he sees the two fertile areas in the coming years as being: “the increasing use of additives and doping in bringing out the potential of lead acid batteries for greater power, greater cycling at partial state of charge and more. “The second is the maturation of bipolar technology which can deliver lighter and higher performing batteries. We’re going to see a lot of further changes here.” Kubis warns, however, that the lead acid battery business is in danger of becoming irrelevant in the face of the rapid advances made in lithium. “In one sense,” he says, “I’m cheering for everything that is positive to do with enabling better and more effective energy storage — it’s so important to contribute so many goals around energy efficiency and sustainability for the future for us and our children — so that extends to progress being made with lithium too.


The single cell is the building block. There is uniform current density flow from cell to cell

“However, it would be a shame to see the lead battery business disappear under the onslaught from lithium. In the past year the amount of money going into lithium research is probably the equivalent of the past 20 years of research into lead. We need to correct this.” Kubis also confesses himself wor-

ried about the continuing emphasis that governments are placing restrictions on life — in particular in Europe the End of Life Directive which is restrictive to lead, which is more than adequately recycled — while leaving lithium unscathed, regardless its challenges around safety and recycling at end of life of use of those batteries.

Perhaps most interesting for lead acid battery manufacturers is the fact that making the new batteries requires only modifications to the existing production line FURTHER RESEARCH WITH SANDIA Gridtential has secured grants from the California Energy Commission and the US Department of Energy’s battery lab for further research and testing. In July Gridtential was selected as one of a handful of companies to pursue validation analysis at Sandia’s Energy Storage Analysis Laboratory. The grant is designed to further the DOE’s research into grid storage and coincides with Gridtential’s completion of 140 alpha units based on its Silicon Joule technology. Gridtential says: “Flying in the face of Tesla’s recent declaration that lead acid is dead, recent independent tests have confirmed that Gridtential’s silicon-based approach to advance traditional lead acid significantly improves

performance, while utilizing 40% less lead. At Sandia, the test plan is designed to address two use case scenarios. Peak shaving cycling. In compliance with Sandia’s standard test protocols, Gridtential’s batteries will run through a standard peak shaving application. Gridtential says it expects each to reach nearly 100% SOC after each charge cycle and 80-100% depth of discharge. Partial state of charge (PSoC) cycling. To gain a view of Gridtential’s long-term performance in a PSoC environment, Sandia will charge the battery to 100% SOC and then begin cycling it at a medium rate which is designed to bring sulphation issues to light very quickly.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 17


Microporous fills four senior technical and managerial positions, production ramped up for busy start to 2016 Microporous, the developer and manufacturer of separators for lead-acid batteries, has made four new additions to its engineering and manufacturing teams. The appointments — Roger Calloway as site manager of the Piney Flats, facility in Tennessee; Matt Smith and Doug Lopez as process engineers; and John Daugherty as maintenance manager — reinvigorate a team that had been depleted during Microporous’ period of ownership by Polypore International. Microporous has filled more than 20 technical positions since the firm became independent of Polypore and, for the moment, completes the senior line-up, Jean-Luc Koch chief executive of the company told Batteries International. Microporous, following a divestiture order from the US Federal Trade Commission, was bought from Polypore by Seven Mile Capital Partners in December 2013 and returned to become a fully independent company. Microporous had been acquired by

Daramic (part of Polypore) in 2008. The appointments come at an important time in the development of Microporous which is poised to try and become the third dominant player in the lead acid battery separator market. The present market is dominated by Daramic — which recently became part of South Korean firm Asahi Kasei when its parent Polypore was acquired — and Entek International. “We are finalizing the installation of our third production line in Feistritz, Austria,” says Koch. “It should be finished by the end of the year at which point, our global annual capacity will reach 25 million m2 of industrial separators and 60 million m2 of automotive separators. This is a third greater than where we started at the end of 2013 and a major requirement by our customer base.” One customer requirement for Microporous is the ability to deliver its separators in large volumes. The extra production line suggests that greater sales will become easier to make. “We

are delighted to continue growing with our long-term partners and now will be able to honour additional supply requests that we receive from all parts of the world,” says Koch. Koch also says that its research facility at its Tennessee headquarters is also poised to showcase further advances enabling deeper cycling for batteries at partial state of charge. “We’re thrilled to welcome Roger, Doug, Matt and John aboard during this exciting period of growth for our company,” says Koch. “They are each recognized as best in their field. Their combined 75 years of experience in PE separator manufacturing is a very rare asset in our industry.” Microporous vice president of operations Peter Gaugl says that “Producing the highest quality products requires constant improvement and strengthening of highly complex manufacturing processes, which, when combined with demanding productivity requirements, necessitates deep expertise and constant focus of the entire operations group.”

From left to right: Roger Calloway, Matt Smith, Doug Lopez, John Daugherty

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 19


EnerSys’ John Craig to retire in the spring, Shaffer to take over EnerSys has confirmed that John Craig, chief executive officer will retire on March 31, 2016. David Shaffer has been named president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer effective the day after. Shaffer will become a member of the board of directors that day. The retirement and promotion of Shaffer had been widely expected. Craig joined the company’s predecessor in 1994 and became chairman, president and chief executive in 2000 when he led the management buyout of the company forming EnerSys. Since that time the company’s revenue has grown from $400 million to $2.5 billion while completing 33 acquisitions. Craig will continue as non-executive chairman of the board of directors of EnerSys following his retirement. Shaffer joined EnerSys in 2005 and since November 2014 has worked as president and chief operating officer. Before that he worked as president of the company’s Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) business and as president of Asia before that. He has held positions with increasing responsibility in the battery industry since 1989. Meanwhile, Richard Zuidema, executive vice president of the company, will retire at the end of the year.

Todd Sechrist, president EMEA, will take over from him. Zuidema joined the company’s predecessor in 1998 and was a member of the group that completed the 2000 management buyout. Sechrist joined EnerSys’ predecessor company in 1993 and has held several positions with increasing responsibilities with the company. Holger Aschke, vice president Reserve Power sales and marketing for EMEA, takes over from Sechrist as president EMEA. Aschke joined a predecessor company in 1996 and has held a wide range of operational and sales roles in the company’s EMEA business. From the beginning of the year Michael Schmidtlein becomes executive vice president finance and chief financial officer. Schmidtlein has worked as senior vice president finance and chief financial officer since 2010, having previously been vice president finance and chief financial officer.

Davis replaces Davis as JCI human resources chief

Johnson Controls appointed Simon Davis  as vice president, chief human resources officer in September. Davis was elected as a company officer and named vice president and assistant human resources officer in May 2014.

He succeeds Susan Davis who will continue as a company officer and member of the executive team. Simon Davis joined Johnson in 1997.

SunLink names Schwarz new CFO

Ken Schwarz has joined Californiabased SunLink as chief financial officer. For the past two years, Schwarz has worked as CFO at Sungevity, heading up corporate finance, accounting and financial partnerships including managing alliances with Sunrun and Mosaic.

Cadex appoints product sales director

Cadex Electronics has appointed David Oliver as director of product sales and marketing. Olive has had extensive international experience business and channel development, marketing and project management. He has previously worked at KNX Association, CEDOM, Schneider Electric and Eaton Corporation.

Orrick promotes energy partners

International law firm Orrick has appointed Matthew Williams, John Deacon and Edward Humphries as partners for its global energy and projects team in London. Williams will work as co-head of Orrick’s European energy practice, working with Orrick partner Carlo Montella in its Milan office.

Scenes from a conference: Kevin Campbell, Digatron’s chief executive (left) congratulates Sunil Bhambhani at ABC in Bangkok on his recent appointment as chief operating officer at Ador Digatron’s operations in Pune, India. Looking on is Somnath Singha, managing director at the Pune plant.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 21


ALABC restructuring approved by members A re-organization plan approved by senior committees at the International Lead Association and the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium was approved by ALABC members on September 8. The ALABC is a consortium of more than 70 lead producers, battery manufacturers, research institutes and component suppliers. The restructuring, which has been in the pipeline for over a year has finally moved out of the steering committee stages — the boards of the ILA and the ALABC had earlier endorsed the proposals and approved sending them to their members — and will now be implemented. The only bar to their adoption had been the discussion and approval by their members. “We also wanted to make the process as open and transparent as possible,” says Tim Ellis, chairman of ALABC. The changes will come into effect in 2016. In this jumble of acronyms, the ALABC, which is a stand-alone entity that has been run by ILZRO (the International Lead Zinc Research Organization) but administered by the ILA, from then on will be run by the ILA. Andy Bush, managing director of the ILA, says: “From next year ALABC’s management and programme support services will be provided by the ILA. They will form part of ILA’s core budget and will be funded by lead producers through their subscriptions to ILA.” Effectively, this means that the whole lead industry that are represented by the ILA will support the ALABC’s work. In practice as a lead producer it is no longer possible to be an ALABC member and not an ILA member — and vice versa. The exact formula for calculating how ILA members will support ALABC through a new fee structure is still being calculated. ILA expenditure for ALABC will include the provision of: a full-time research programme manager, communications support, administrative support and senior management support. Of the total support anticipated, approximately 25% will be dedicated to communications. ILA services do not include any research project costs, including consulting support (technical or otherwise) or

specialist advocacy support. As part of the reorganization two ILA subsidiaries — the ILMC (the International Lead Management Center) and ILZRO will cease to be stand-alone entities but become units within the ILA. “The changes are as much ideological as they are functional,” says Andy Bush, managing director of the ILA. “For the last year we’ve been looking for a way to deliver a consolidated message for the entire lead industry and we felt that a piecemeal approach with us operating as four separate units wasn’t helping that.” Bush points out that the ILA’s mandate to promote the lead industry has changed over time — batteries now account for around 80% of all lead used and need to be the major focus of attention.

Updated for a purpose

The existing structures also needed to be updated to reflect a commitment to benefiting the battery industry, he says. This, in itself is not new, the ILA itself has gone through a couple of name changes reflecting the change of its mandate. (It used to be the Lead Development Association before becoming the Lead Development Association International before becoming the ILA in the early 2000s. So what does this mean to ALABC members? Financially this will take two forms. In the past lead producing members of ALABC paid their membership dues and had the choice of joining ILA. Now, ALABC membership has to be through the ILA — the whole industry is paying for the research work that it undertakes. By the same token the whole industry has the right to propose

what forms of research have to be undertaken (see diagram). Second, the ILA is revising the membership tiers of ALABC as a result of which there will be changes of fees for some contributors. The core activities of what was previously ILZRO and ILMC will continue in 2016 although under the ILA’s banner. For ALABC its core mandate to provide pre-competitive research open to its members remains the same. In the official proposal, “ALABC will maintain the three-year funding cycle that has been followed previously. Also, as with previous programmes, technical input and review of the prospectus has been solicited from all funders of ALABC. The prospectus proposes a re-alignment of the ALABC technical programme towards basic battery research.” ALABC’s Ellis said after the meeting; “I really hope that after all this ALABC members stay committed to our mission. They need to get actively involved in assuring that the programmes of the ALABC fit their needs.”

New committee structure ILA lead producing members

Non-lead producers (battery manufacturers and material suppliers etc.)

ALABC General Assembly (All members represented)

ALABC Executive Committee (Elected by GA)

Technical Committee (All members represented)

ILA/ALABC converting research into battery market opportunities RESEARCH AREAS





Improved Performance at PSoC

Automotive HEV applications

Improved Lifetime

Energy Storage applications

Performance of negative plates

Performance of positive plates

Battery Cell Design

High and low temperature Performance

Gassing and water loss

Corrosion resistance


Formation and charge strategy

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 23



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Former GM battery head becomes LG Chem Power’s chief exec Denise Gray — a well known industry figure for her pioneering work at General Motors on the Chevrolet Volt — became chief executive of LG Chem Power on October 1. She succeeds Prabhakar Patil, chief executive for the past 10 years, who has retired. Gray most recently worked as vice president of electrification powertrain engineering at AVL List, where she was responsible for AVL’s Electrification Business Unit. Before that she was a vice president at Atieva, a Californian startup developing an electric vehicle.

But she is best known as director of Global Battery Systems Engineering at General Motors, where her team — growing from 25 to 200 — successfully developed and launched the lithium-ion battery system used in the Chevrolet Volt, working closely with the LG Chem team. She left GM in February 2010. She had joined General Motors as an engineer in 1981 working on electro mechanical systems moving up in 1992 to work on power train software until 2000. For the next six years she worked as a director of related products, first for

Denise Gray, who found fame for the Chevrolet Volt battery system, is the new chief executive of LG Chem Power

powertrain software engineering, then global engine and transmission electronic

controls and then as global transmission controls engineering.

New changes at the top for Exide Exide Technologies announced the appointment of three new members of its senior management team in mid-September. The three, who have started, are: Tony Genito, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Leslie Joyce, executive vice president and chief people officer, and vice president human resources — Americas; and Ted Becker, senior vice president, sales and marketing for the Americas. Tony Genito, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Exide Technologies, most recently chief financial officer at Spectrum Brands Holding, a NYSE listed company, will head up Exide’s global finance and internal audit functions. Genito has more than 36 years of international financial and executive experience to Exide. Before now he held roles of increasing responsibility in Spectrum’s financial organization and held various financial management positions at Schering-Plough Corporation. He

Genito: CFO

Joyce: Human Resources

began his career with the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. Leslie Joyce, executive vice president and chief people officer, and vice president of human resources for the Americas of Exide Technologies, will oversee human resources activities across Exide’s worldwide operations, including talent management, leadership and organizational development, compensation and benefits and labour and employee relations. Joyce has more than 30 years of human resources experience. Before joining the company, she worked at Novelis, most recently

as the senior vice president, chief people officer. Before that she was vice president and chief learning officer for The Home Depot. Earlier in her career, she also held positions of increasing responsibility with GlaxoSmithKline, and worked in senior positions in both public and private sector companies. Ted Becker, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Exide Americas, will be responsible for all of Exide Americas’ divisional sales and marketing teams and functions, including original-equipment and aftermarket customer segments, as well as related strategic and product plan-

ning activities. Becker joins Exide from Michelin Groupe, a global retailer of tires for all types of vehicles and other applications, where he most recently was director of its Channel, Passenger Car and Light Truck Tire Business Unit. Before that, Becker was vice president of marketing for the Michelin Commercial Tire Business Unit where he led strategic and operational marketing functions for aftermarket and OE customers. “We have attracted considerable talent and proven experience to these critical management roles, and the individual and collective contributions of these new leaders will be a driving force behind Exide’s renewed market presence and growth strategy,” said Vic Koelsch, president and chief executive officer of Exide Technologies. Exide Technologies came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and related restructuring this April.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 25


Bob Nelson honoured with International Lead Award at ABC opening ceremony One of the founding figures of ALABC respected for a lifetime in the lead business It’s odd to think some of the heaviest smogs over Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s were behind the recent award of the International Lead Award by Bob Nelson, the veteran electrochemist and battery expert. But the connection is valid. And for that we’ve also got to credit the Californians too. In 1990 the California Air Resources Board introduced landmark legislation requiring that 10% of all cars sold in the state by 2013 had to be zero emission vehicles. With almost 25 years to clean up their act the Big Three automobile firms in the US put their heads together. And when two or more of the Big Three are gathered together federal purses open like magic. So in early 1991 the US Department of Energy announced a three year, $262 million programme. The result was the US Advanced Battery Consortium. Its mandate was to research battery technologies for electric vehicles. And their remit had very deep pockets indeed. The USABC had one particular quirk — it decided that these socalled “advanced batteries” that were to drive the EVs of the future would be any chemistry but lead. “Lead, it’s a dinosaur technology,” said one DoE official at the time. It was a wake-up call for the lead acid battery business. The fight back came a few months later. ILZRO (the International Lead Zinc Research Organization) grasped the implications for the industry at once and two key people emerged — Bob Nelson and Jerry Cole — who took it on themselves to retaliate with the creation of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, better known to the world as ALABC. Their mission was to get lead acid battery manufacturers, their suppliers, smelters, research institutes and pretty anyone else interested in the party to join together — and fund — a programme dedicated to the exploration of the untapped potential of lead as a source of motive power.

26 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Bob Nelson: Much more than a consortium builder for ALABC

While Jerry did much of the work in trying to tap funding at a governmental level, Bob had the harder task of trying to get battery manufacturers who wouldn’t even sit in the same room as their competitors, agree a common purpose for the industry. And then put their hands in their pockets to fund it. The result was that for the next three years Bob and Jerry crossedand-recrossed the world trying to put the consortium together. (And then keep it together.) Bob reckoned that on average between 1991 and 1994 he flew about 250,000 miles a year. And this is not to forget Dave Prengaman who equally tirelessly notched up a similar mileage in a combination of business travel and ALABC work. The result of Bob’s efforts can be seen in the hall of the recent ABC conference in Bangkok. “The birth of any organization is fraught but the fact that so many people are here in the conference today — and attended yesterday’s ALABC meetings, is in large part a tribute to the success of Bob’s drive and commitment two decades ago,” one delegate told Batteries International at the time.

But it was more than just a recruitment campaign. When Bob joined in July 1991 IZLRO’s plan of action was little more than a few pages on a flipboard chart. The need was for a master plan to underpin any recruitment. “It was agreed early on that while the focus would be on optimizing VRLA batteries for electric vehicle use,” Bob said later on, “so roughly half of the programme would be fundamental research that would benefit all lead acid application areas.” This in turn was refined to research in three areas: active materials and cycle life; grids/alloys/top lead and materials; and, charging, battery management and electric vehicle battery testing. And that general approach has — broadly speaking — remained in place to this very day. Perhaps the key policy decision taken early on was that ALABC would be an open consortium with free sharing of all research among its members (although steps were taken to protect proprietary product information) — again a defining characteristic of the present ALABC. Bob says: “The high point of my association with the ALABC was to see technical representatives from different lead acid companies from different countries and continents sitting around the same table expressing an interest in joining an international effort to improve lead acid batteries. “This may not sound like such as big deal now but in those days most companies jealously guarded their secrets and were loathe to interact with other manufacturers on serious technical matters.”

Early days

But to go back to the beginning. If you ask Bob Nelson when he first started coming to grips with the lead acid battery business he pauses for a while. Born in 1940 he obtained his first degree in Chemistry in 1963 and followed that up with a Phd in in Analytical Chemistry/Electrochemistry at the University of Kansas in 1966. But that wasn’t even a prelude to the industry, he reckons. He followed that up with a further 11 years’ teaching about the subject — four years in CalState and seven more in the University of Georgia.

PEOPLE NEWS But again that wasn’t even a prelude to the industry — “teaching about it and doing it are two separate things” he says. And understanding VRLA batteries is a third, he’ll frankly admit. But for Bob his special moment came in 1977 when he was offered a position with Gates Energy Products, a now legendary firm that only a decade or so before had been famous for its tyre and autoparts distribution business. Gates, largely through the research efforts of John Devitt, perhaps the key man in the development of VRLA batteries but who had then parted company with the firm, was sitting on a gold mine but wasn’t aware of it. “When I joined they had patents that they didn’t even understand and had entered into the manufacturing of the batteries way too early” says Bob. “And partly because of that they were losing money.” In a showdown with his manager just before Christmas 1979 — and which Bob was uncomfortably aware might cost him his job — he was unexpectedly offered his boss’s job. Despite his protestations that he had no management experience (he was told that there wasn’t time to give it then and one day, he’d be given it …) he started on the job. Bob became a key figure in a turnaround of Gates Energy Products, as he looked at improving the manufacturing processes working first with Hollingsworth & Vose on AGM separators. Gates worked on flat plate design in Denver and then later shipped the manufacturing to UK firm, Varley with disastrous results. Bob was reassigned to work in London to sort out the problems. It was a period that with his wife Elizabeth he describes as one of the best in his life both professionally and otherwise — “it was fun to be the only Yank in a firm of 300 Brits!” he says. His wife he recalls used to visit every play in London at the time and he spent his holidays in Wales, reconnecting with his roots — his father was Swedish and his mother half-Welsh. The UK firm, which toughened by the rigour of conforming to exacting military contracts, was eager to get into flat plate manufacturing as well as working out separator systems using glues and dyes for AGM batteries. “It was one of the first mature VRLA techniques to emerge,” Bob says. “I was particularly proud of

28 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

the way we started to work with thin plate technology. Gates had the patent for the infamous ‘861’ glass separator more accurately known as patent US 3862 861 courtesy of John Devitt and Don McClelland, People at the time scorned it saying that the plates would always be more prone to corrode being thinner, we proved the opposite.” Gates shipped him back to Denver and then Warrensburg, Missouri which he reckoned was “a payback for a wonderful time in London”. He was ill during this period and is still grateful for the support that Gates gave him with costly health care. But other work was beckoning and Dodd Carr at ILZRO reckoned that Bob’s experience would be ideal for the trade body. Bob left Gates in 1999 joining Portable Energy Products in Santa Cruz before switching to ILZRO when the position of “Manager, Electrochemistry” finally became free. The rest is history for most of us — but only of course part of Bob’s long career. He confesses that he left ILZRO/ ALABC in 1994 with a feeling of being burnt out. He moved to thin-plate lead acid firm Boulder Technologies for the next three years. In his late 50s Bob moved into consultancy work and though he believes that there are still new worlds to explore in refining VRLA technology, has played key roles in looking at different ways of inventing the lead acid battery. “In the past 15 years we’ve moved away from trying to make better lead acid batteries using just better materials or improved manufacturing techniques,” he says. “Now the future is in combining this with accurate and better plate design and processes.”

Advanced lead

In recent years Bob has worked with firms as diverse as Advanced Battery Concepts — which is now successfully building a bipolar lead acid battery, to other firms still on their way such as Axion Power and Firefly Energy. He continues his work for China’s Chaowei, the third largest battery manufacturer in the world. Perhaps one of the nicest tributes came from John Devitt, one of key figures in the development of the VRLA battery. “Bob is a fine friend of mine and one of the top electrochemists we have. He is as good as it gets

for present-day lead battery consulting. I’m pleased for him that his great contribution to this industry is being recognized.” At the presentation ceremony David Rand, one of the original group that talked about setting up ALABC in 1991, introduced Bob to the audience who was then presented the medal by ALABC’s chairman David Wilson and ABC chair Mark Stevenson.

INTERNATIONAL LEAD AWARD The International Lead Award was conceived with unanimous support from the lead and leadacid battery industry in 2002 and presented for the first time in 2003. Its role is to recognise individuals who have made major contributions throughout their working life to the lead and/or lead-acid battery industries. “A prestigious award for exceptional service to the lead industry as related to the production, processing and/or use of the metal in areas such as n Promoting increased use or awareness of lead n Improving lead’s image n Encouraging individuals to excel n The award should honour/ recognize above-average personal achievement.”

PREVIOUS AWARD WINNERS Alternating between the ELBC and ABC conferences 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

John Manders Jerome F Cole Lan Lam David Prengaman John Devitt Allan Cooper L Pugazhenthy Detchko Pavlov Robert Flicker Norbert Malschitz Brian Wilson Richard Amistadi

Source: ABC


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Eisenhart joins A123 Systems as COO Chris Eisenhart joined A123 Systems in October as its chief operations officer. He takes over from Ed Kopkowski who left the company in May to become COO of Dexter Alex Company, Eisenhart will head A123’s manufacturing, quality and supply chain organizations globally and, in particular, oversee the company’s plan to more than double manufacturing capacity within the next two years. Earlier this year, A123 an-

nounced a series of business expansion initiatives totalling more than $300 million in capital investments between its facilities in the US and China. The company say it is accelerating plans to reach 1.5 GWh of global manufacturing capacity. Eisenhart started at Ford Motor Company before moving to the component supplier Spartanburg Steel Products. More recently he headed operations in a

unit of Johnson Controls. He has also held a senior operations position at Lear Corporation. “Eisenhart will be sharply focused on execution of our massive expansion both in terms of facilities and the organizational development to run them at world-class efficiency,” said Jason Forcier, A123 chief executive. A123 says it will increase its total battery capacity produced annually to 1.5 gigawatt hours at its plants in

Michigan; Hangzhou, China; and Changzhou, China, over the next three years

Whitacre wins Lemelson-MIT prize

Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, is the recipient of the 2015 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Lemelson-MIT Prize honours outstanding mid-career inventors improving the world through technological invention and demonstrating a commitment to mentorship in science, technology,

Calstart appoints two directors Calstart, the not for profit organization looking to advance clean transportation in the US states of California and Colorado announced in October that two industry figures: Pasquale Romano, president and CEO at ChargePoint, and Frank De Rosa, principal for advanced solutions at SunEdison have joined the organization as directors. “ChargePoint operates the world’s largest and most open electric vehicle charging network, and develops the technology that powers it. De Rosa oversees vehicle grid integration at SunEdison, as part of the company’s advanced storage and firming initiative. SunEdison is the largest global renewable energy development company, operating in 22 different countries,” said a Calstart statement.

engineering and mathematics (STEM). Whitacre is the inventor of the aqueous hybrid ion energy storage system. This battery, often used in combination with solar and wind energy systems, stores significant amounts of energy at a low cost per joule and allows for around-the-clock consumption. Whitacre founded Aquion Energy in 2008 with finance from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with the goal of bringing to market a new class of aqueous sodium ion functional battery. This has now been commercialized and installed in locations including Australia, California, Germany, Hawaii, Malaysia and the Philippines. Whitacre says he plans to contribute a portion of the

30 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

money from the LemelsonMIT Prize to create a fellowship to support graduate students and nurture interest in innovative energy solutions. Whitacre holds 30 patents or pending patents, and has had more than 60 peer-reviewed papers published or in press. His additional areas of focus have concentrated on a broad range of subjects that include thin-film solid

state batteries, ultra-low temperature carbon-fluorine electrode materials and implantable neuro-prosthetic devices. He is in the process of forming a cross-disciplinary centre at Carnegie Mellon University that focuses on electrode materials and structures with a variety of applications including water purification and biomedical devices.

Jay Whitacre: recipient of the 2015 $500,000 prize

Joshua London wins 2015 NY Energy Award In a sign of a new battery market about to blossom Joshua London, a vice president of Glenwood, a New Yorkbased residential luxury property management company was awarded the 2015 Energy New York Award in October and presented by the New York Energy Consumers Council. London has been

recognized for his leadership and innovation as well as forward thinking initiatives that help Glenwood achieve its mission to provide greener and more sustainable living to residents.  London began his involvement in energy storage in 2009. Developing a deep interest for this new technology,

London began working with Demand Energy, a firm in the energy storage field, to install battery systems within the Glenwood portfolio. Installation is underway on the first megawatt of distributed energy storage systems. This installation positioned Glenwood as a frontrunner in New York City.


Johnson Controls expands global production of start-stop batteries to meet expected rising demand Johnson Controls released a new version of its start-stop battery — a 12V lithium ion version — at a German trade show in September while announcing that it was: expanding production of its Absorbent Glass Mat batteries in Germany and the US; creating a new factory in China and forming a joint distribution network in the country; as well as expanding manufacturing levels at its Changxing facility. In the new battery line-up which Johnson calls an “advanced start-stop system” has two batteries. The first is a 12-volt AGM or Enhanced Flooded Battery which will start the engine and supply power to accessories such as lights, navigation systems and radios. The second, a 12-volt lithium-ion battery, which uses a proprietary lithium titanate chemistry, will primarily accept and store regenerative braking energy during vehicle deceleration, enabling greater power and load management capabilities. The advanced start-stop battery will be produced starting as early as 2018. The further push into stop-start batteries has an urgency to it across Europe. According to EU regulations, in 2021 the maximum CO2 emission level for new vehicles will be 95 grams per kilometre which means a fuel consumption of 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres. The tightening up of CO2 emissions has its regulatory counterparts elsewhere in the world. “The advanced start-stop battery technology makes significant CO2 reductions possible,” says Lisa Bahash,

group vice president and general manager Original Equipment, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. This translates into fuel savings of around 5% to 8%. “We are expecting strong growth for start-stop technology, and with good reason. It requires minimal changes to the vehicle and costs significantly less than battery systems in hybrid or electric vehicles,” says Bahash. “Start-stop is the best solution to help automakers meet upcoming environmental regulations.” The market for new vehicle and aftermarket startstop batteries could rise to 56 million worldwide by 2020, compared to 22 million today, according to Johnson estimates. In this time frame, 85% of all new vehicles in Europe and 40% in the US and China are expected to be powered with start-stop batteries. With $555 million in investment planned between 2011 and 2020, the company is implementing plans to expand AGM production capacity in Germany, the US and China. In Europe, Johnson Controls has invested more than $112 million in its facility in Hanover, Germany to increase production of fuel-efficient AGM batteries by 65% since 2011. Two years ago, the company also expanded its Zwickau plant in Germany with an investment of more than $112 million, making it the world’s largest production site for AGM batteries. In August, the firm announced additional capacity at its US plant in Toledo, Ohio, bringing the overall investment to $130 million since the start of AGM pro-

duction at this site in 2012. Also in August Johnson Controls signed an investment agreement for a $200 million plant in the Tiexi district of  Shenyang, the capital city of  Liaoning Province. It will have the capacity to produce 6 million automotive batteries — both SLI and AGM — a year with the industry’s leading sustainability and environmental standards. “We have a long-term commitment to China, and the new plant will play a strategic role in our plans to meet the increasing expectations of quality products and services from customers and consumers in the country, which is one of our most important markets in the world,” Joe Walicki, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions said at the time. Construction of the new plant should begin early next year with production starting in 2018. Johnson Controls entered the Chinese automotive battery supply market in 2005 and has set up two battery manufacturing plants in  Chongqing  in western  China  and in its Changxing facility in Zhejiang Province  in eastern  China. It also has a research and development centre for automotive batteries in Shanghai. Production at its Changxing facility is to be increased from 1.5 million units to 3.4 million a year. The expansion project started this October and should be complete in 2017, In September Johnson Controls signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Hainachuan Automotive Parts, an auto parts

subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Industry Group, to set up automotive battery sales and manufacturing joint ventures in the world’s largest vehicle market. Under the MOU Johnson Controls and BHAP will partner to offer a range of batteries to automakers and service networks under BAIC Group, one of China’s largest automobile manufacturers. “This MOU positions Johnson Controls and BAIC to take advantage of what will be the world’s largest automotive battery market by 2020,” said Walicki. “By understanding market dynamics, consumer demands and technology needs, Johnson Controls’ complete portfolio of batteries can best meet customers’ short and long-term energy storage needs.” Founded in 1958, BAIC Group covers a wide range of businesses from vehicle manufacturing, research and development, auto parts manufacturing, automobile service and trade, to general aviation investment and financing. It has automotive manufacturing joint ventures with Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, and a number of selfowned brands such as BAIC Motor, Senova, Changhe Auto and Foton. Approximately 22 million new vehicles are produced in China every year, making it the world’s largest automotive market. About 5% of new vehicles in China have start-stop systems. Johnson predicts this number to rise to about 40% by 2020 as automakers have been challenged to meet aggressive fuel economy targets set by the government.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 31


Saft claims ‘breakthrough’ into China’s robotics sector with lithium order for STEP Electric Corporation Saft, a manufacturer of advanced technology batteries, claimed in mid-September it had made a “strategic breakthrough” into China’s fast growing industrial robot sector with its first order for STEP Electric Corporation, a public National HighTech Enterprise specializing in industrial automation. STEP Electric Corporation is installing Saft’s primary lithium batteries in its new generation robots to back up the memory in their on-board positioning systems when they are powered down.

The Saft batteries enable the robots to remember what position they were in when the power was interrupted, allowing them to recommence operations when the power supply is restored. A 2015 report by the National Robot Development Forum showed that in 2000 China had only 380 sets of robots — all imported. By 2013, China had 37,000 robots and had become the world’s fastest growing user of industrial robots. In 2014, this figure had risen to about 56,000 sets,

of which more than 10,000 sets were made locally in China. With more than 40 robot industrial parks across China and over 500 robot enterprises, the country is now the world’s largest producer of industrial robots. STEP Electric Corporation has selected Saft’s primary lithium LS14500 cells to provide over three years of back-up power for the robot positioning systems — well in excess of the anticipated 24,000 hours service life of the robots. The LS14500 cell design

is optimized for base currents of a few µA with periodic pulses in the 5–150 mA range. “This order for STEP Electric Corporation is a key strategic development for Saft that provides an entry into China’s robotics sector,” said Thomas Alcide, general manager of Saft’s Specialty Battery Group. “It is particularly significant since China will be the major player in the global robot sector that is anticipated to form a trillion dollar market by 2025.”

Electrovaya offers TESS to Con Edison for grid support

to an unspecified German company in the non-automotive space. About €2.8 million of the contract will be delivered in 2015. “As part of our business development activities, we are finding tremendous interest for our lithium ion battery products in Germany and Europe across all business segments including e-mobility and energy storage. This contract is a strong start to the very large demand for our products across these multiple sectors,” says Maxime Vidricaire, head of business development at Litarion.

Electrovaya, the Canadianheadquartered lithium ion polymer firm, announced in September that it has kicked off a project to design and build an advanced Transportable Energy Storage System (TESS), an adaption of Electrovaya’s standard stationary energy storage system. The client is Consolidated Edison, the New York utility. The system will be designed to meet Con Edison’s requirements and ultimately be utilized for grid support and as an alternative to the standard mobile diesel systems. TESS will operate using lithium ion batteries. The system will store up to 500kW of electricity, and provide up to 800kWh of energy to the grid for the purposes of increased grid efficiency and resiliency during outages. The project received support through the New York State Energy

Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Smart Grid Program as part of state governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), a comprehensive energy strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. Con Edison uses portable diesel generators for dispatchable, temporary on-site energy needs. En-

ergy storage technology provides a much cleaner method of portable energy availability. The TESS is expected to be delivered to Con Edison in Q2 2016. Separately, Electrovaya, announced in September that its wholly owned subsidiary, Litarion, has signed a contract for about €18.5 million ($20 million) to supply battery products

Aqua Metals anticipates commercial operations to begin in Q2 2016 Aqua Metals, a developer of an electrochemical lead recycling technology, broke ground for construction on its new AquaRefinery commercial facility at a ceremony in McCarran, Nevada in late August and says it expects to begin commercial production

32 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

in the second quarter of 2016. It anticipates reaching full operating capacity of 80 tonnes of lead output by fourth quarter 2016. The facility is designed to reduce the inefficiency, costs and toxic waste associated with conventional lead acid battery

recycling. “We believe that AquaRefining will deliver a better product at a higher yield, substantially eliminate toxic waste, reduce permitting and be less expensive to build than a conventional smelting recycling plant,” says a company official. n

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ABB to install microgrid in South Africa integrating multiple energy sources ABB, the power and automation technology group, announced in September that it will install an integrated solar-diesel microgrid at its Longmeadow premises in Johannesburg, South Africa. “This kind of integrated product — it’s almost the UPS equivalent of a hybrid car — is already starting to be seen as the way forward for energy storage in the future,” says one commentator. “Mix and match will be the way forward for energy storage at the grid level.” The 96,000 square meter facility houses the company’s country headquarters as well as medium voltage switchgear manufacturing and protection panel assembly facilities, with around 1,000 employees. This includes a rooftop solar photovoltaic field and a PowerStore grid stabilizer, that will help to maximize the use of solar energy and ensure uninterrupted power supply. A 750 kW rooftop PV plant and a 1 MVA/380

kWh battery-based PowerStore will be added to the existing back-up diesel generators. This will enhance the use of renewable energy and provide continuity of supply when power supply is disrupted and during transitions from grid to island operation. “Power shortages, availability of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, fossil fuel price volatility and environmental concerns are leading to the search for sustainable solutions and there are thousands of facilities across South Africa and the continent that could leverage microgrid technologies to address these challenges,” says ABB. South Africa has the highest electricity consumption in the sub-Saharan region and demand continues to outpace supply. As highlighted in a recent report by McKinsey & Company, subSaharan Africa will consume nearly 1,600 terawatt hours of electricity by 2040 — a

four-fold increase on 2010 consumption. This is based on assumptions such as a fivefold increase in GDP, a doubling of population, electricityaccess levels reaching more than 70% by 2040, and increased urbanization. This would imply that by 2040, sub-Saharan Africa could consume as much electricity as India and Latin America combined did in 2010. “Alongside traditional and renewable generation, microgrids are increasingly being deployed to provide electricity to remote or isolated areas” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”They can also serve as a flexible backup source for industrial and

commercial facilities and help address power disruptions.” ABB says its comprehensive microgrid offering includes a range of technologies for off-grid applications like islands, isolated grids, remote communities as well as commercial and industrial facilities, ensuring utilitygrade power quality and grid stability. “We have a broad range of microgrid solutions including automation and intelligent control and stabilization systems. They enable very high levels of wind and solar power penetration in diesel-powered grids, reducing dependency on fossil fuel supplies and curtailing CO2 emissions,” an official says.

“This kind of integrated product — it’s almost the UPS equivalent of a hybrid car — is already starting to be seen as the way forward for energy storage in the future”

Smart PowerFlow project to demonstrate how batteries can cost-efficiently reinforce low voltage grids for high shares of renewable power A team of four — Younicos, a German US technology company, Bavarian distribution grid operator LEW distribution, the Reiner Lemoine Institute and SMA Solar Technology — are to investigate the potential of using batteries at the low voltage level to alleviate local grids. As part of a project called Smart PowerFlow, the partners unveiled a 200kW/400kWhr vanadium redox flow battery in September. Germany’s energy transformation in the past few years to renewables is felt particularly strongly in

southern Bavaria’s regional power grids. Originally, the networks were set up to distribute centrally produced power. Today they also gather electricity from numerous photovoltaic systems, especially in the region of Bavarian Swabia where the LVN grid area is. “By temporarily storing the excess electricity from renewable energy locally and delivering it back into the local network when required, the battery storage system should help to create an efficient, local balance between generation and consumption,” says a joint statement from the firms. The Smart PowerFlow

project will investigate to what extent a regional network expansion can be avoided through the use of battery storage. The system supports local voltage control, so that future network expansion costs are minimized while at the same time the capacity of the distribution network to integrate renewable energy is maximized. In addition, the project partners want to test various control modes and evaluate associated revenue streams such as voltage control, frequency control, reactive power management and partici-

pation in the frequency regulation market. This is to show that intelligent battery systems at the distribution level are an economic means of efficiently reinforcing grids. The project location — Tussenhausen — was selected from 80 possible locations. Several photovoltaic systems feed into the grid with a maximum output of 560kw. At the same time a correspondingly large local network transformer is present. The battery has been erected on the outskirts of the town near the local power station.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 35


Redflow slashes ZBM battery cost in drop below grid price Redflow, the Australian provider of energy storage flow batteries, has announced that it has decreased its zincbromide battery (ZBM) cost by 50% through technology improvements and a stronger manufacturing relationship with Flextronics. The company says it is able to offer — all prices quoted in US dollars — its naked ZBM product at a cost of 20¢ per kWh throughput, down from $48¢ six months ago. Energy from from Redflow’s ZBM product has dropped below grid price., it claims.

“Our ZBM battery is now the best priced energy storage product in the market and today’s price per kWh is a game changer that should generate substantial amounts of interest among customers,” says Redflow’s chairman, Simon Hackett. Redflow has already outsourced the majority of manufacturing for its key product, the ZBM, to global manufacturing Flextronics in North America. The ZBM electrode, which is still being manufactured in Brisbane, will also be outsourced to Flextronics.

Redflow has started the transition to the use of its latest electrode surface coating, ACN13, in its production batteries. The use of ACN13 in production will be integrated with the outsourcing of electrode manufacturing to Flextronics. In-house testing has shown a substantial improvement in physical operating characteristics and projected lifetime thanks to the new materials. As a result of these improvements, the nominal levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for the delivery of energy from ZBM2 and

Johnson Controls announces global workforce reductions Johnson Controls, announced mid-September it is planning to reduce its global workforce by as many as 3,000 people, or 2.5% of total employees, through comprehensive initiatives designed to ultimately deliver up to $250 million in annual cost savings. These cuts will occur over the next two years.

In its third quarter earnings announcement, the company announced it was initiating a comprehensive cost saving programme to address existing costs. “Productivity improvements continue to be realized through the implementation of the Johnson Controls Operating System which is lowering an-

Revenue stacking at 7MW energy storage facility for utility S&C Electric Company, an energy storage integration firm, announced midSeptember it was awarded a new project by Half Moon Ventures to supply and build a 7MW energy storage facility in Minster in the US state of Ohio. It is being built with the local municipal utility, the Village of Minster. Once complete, the project will be one of the largest energy storage systems in Ohio.

HMV and the Village of Minster will benefit from four unique revenue streams, which will offset the costs of grid improvements while improving the rate of return. HMV will be able to sell into PJM’s frequency regulation market, which helps to provide grid reliability for more than 60 million customers. The Village of Minster will use the energy storage system to defer T&D costs, improve power

36 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

nual operating expenses through standardization, simplification and waste reduction across the company,” said a company statement. “As we continually adapt to our changing business portfolio, there is a significant opportunity across the company for us to reduce costs, simplify processes quality and shave peak demand. “Revenue stacking is one of the quickest ways to create a strong return on investment for energy storage systems,” says Troy Miller, director for grid solutions, S&C Electric Company. “In the case of the Minster project, we are seeing one of the first examples of how a municipal utility can work with a developer to create multiple revenue streams that benefit both parties, and we expect to see more projects like this in the future.” n

ZBM3 batteries has fallen by over 50% to 20¢/kWh using the expected 40,000 kWh electrode stack lifetime. Redflow has improved the manufacturing warranty on its ZBM products to 10 years, or their standard warranted energy throughput, whichever comes first. The electrode energy warranty applies specifically to the electrode stack, with the balance of the ZBM modular component set maintaining a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects. and increase our speed and agility,” said Alex Molinaroli, chairman and CEO. “The steps we are taking now will enable a more competitive, sustainable cost structure for Johnson Controls as we continue to move the company forward.”

EPSRC funding for discovery of new advanced materials A £6.65 million ($10 million) grant for research aimed at accelerating the discovery and application of new advanced materials for the energy sector was announced in September by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The grant was awarded to a team led by Matthew Rosseinsky, a professor at the University of Liverpool, who will head up an expert team at Liverpool and University College London that will work to tackle the challenge of designing and testing new materials at the atomic level and aims to keep the UK ahead in the global materials competition.

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Sparton to finance commissioning of Chinese vanadium flow battery Sparton Resources, through its majority controlled subsidiary, VanSpar Mining, has executed a contract to finance the commissioning of a large vanadium redox flow batteries. This battery is located in Hebei province, China, approximately 60km north of Beijing, where it was recently installed for the PRC State Grid Company. With a capacity of 2MW of power and 8MW/hr of energy, the unit was pretested before installation and features 10 units, each of 200 kilowatts power. It is integrated with large so-

lar and wind power installations at the State Grid’s Zhangbei SGCC1 clean energy demonstration project. “The commissioning programme is the first of a series of transactions being planned by the company, which could result in the company becoming a participant in the manufacturing and sales of large-scale vanadium flow batteries, and, with vertical integration, the mining, processing and marketing of vanadium products,” according to Lee Barker, president of Sparton. “It is planned to integrate the batteries with green energy power instal-

“The commissioning programme is the first of a series of transactions being planned by the company” lations (solar and wind) to provide one-stop-shopping solutions for efficient clean electricity production and distribution. “A convertible debenture financing, of up to $650,000 is being proposed in VanSpar to finance the SGCC1 battery commissioning. A series of payments from the State Grid will be forthcoming once the commissioning is successfully completed and

accepted, and will continue over the next three-year period. “These types of integrated systems can service various industrial and domestic applications including mines, schools and communications terminals. They are cost competitive, long life — over 20 years, and more than 100,000 cycles — they are safe, not prone to overheating and are fully recyclable.”

Flow batteries lead the way as funding spikes in Q2 Battery storage companies attracted significantly higher levels of investment in the second quarter of 2015, compared with the firstquarter, with flow battery companies leading the way, according to a report by Mercom Capital Group. Figures published in Mercom’s Smart Grid Fact Sheet from its Q2 2015

Funding and M&A Report, illustrate the bullish sentiment towards this sector as a growing number of renewable technologies are developed and linked to the grid. Funding secured by battery/storage companies jumped to $126 million in the second quarter of 2015 compared with $69 million

in Q1. Out of this $126 million raised in Q2, flow battery companies received nearly half of the total funding with $60 million. However, total venture capital funding for smart grid companies was down sharply in Q2 of 2015 to $104 million compared to $185 million in the first quarter.

Primus Power raises $25m in series ‘D’ Financing Primus Power, the zincbased flow battery firm, has secured $25 million in financing for its series ‘D’ funding round. I2BF Global Ventures led the round and the RussiaKazakhstan Nanotechnology Fund (RKNF), one of the funds managed by I2BF, participated in the offering. Existing investors Anglo American Platinum, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and DBL Partners also participated. Primus Power has raised $60 million in equity since its founding in 2009. The company has also received

government grants totalling $20 million from the US Department of Energy, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (better known as ARPA-E), the Bonneville Power Administration, the California Energy Commission, and the US Department of Defense through its Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. In May 2015 Primus executed an agreement with Samruk-Energy, the principal electricity provider in the Republic of Kazakhstan. As part of the multi-year agreement,

38 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Samruk-Energy plans to buy Primus systems totalling 25MW to 100MWh. These Primus systems will be assembled inside Kazakhstan. The country has renewable energy goals of 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. Ilya Golubovich founding partner at investment firm I2BF says. “We are convinced that Primus Power has developed the ultimate electron warehouse. The technology is field-proven and the company is at the right stage for I2BF to double down, and for RKNF to take a position.” n

Out of technologies in the Smart Grid category, Data Analytics and Demand Response companies received the majority of funding with $35 million and $33 million, respectively. All of the other technologies combined raised $36 million. “As more renewables penetrate the grid, these technologies will be crucial for grid stability. Additionally, demand charges in highly populated areas of the US increasingly necessitate stand-alone and PVintegrated energy storage for peak demand management,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group. “Companies developing energy storage technologies have gained a lot of visibility recently, due partially to the announcements by Tesla and other automotive companies entering the market. The other factor driving interest in the sector is government policies like the one in California which mandates that utilities add energy storage capacity.”

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BATTERY HEROES: JOHN PIERSON POWER PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE The rest is history. JCI agreed to support the company providing technical “I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work as part support and taking an equity position of a talented, supportive team during my 38 years in this now thriving venture.” with the company and beyond. I’ve also been blessed Retirement (almost) with longstanding relationships established with Since his retirement, Pierson has FENIBAT worked as a consultant in countries friends throughout the battery industry — including in Londrina / BraziL such as Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil aug. 24–25 suppliers, customers, and competitors.” and Mexico, in addition to the US. document over to the English side but it felt like a close shave. The plant visit went well with some perhaps useful suggestions by me but the highlight of the day was meeting Diego’s father the company’s founder for an outdoor lunch at his club.” 16ABC Pierson visited MAC again as a conin Bangkok / ThaiLand sultant to comment on plans for a SepT. 8–11 new battery factory. The majority of (BooTh B30-34) MAC was acquired by JCI in 2014. In the mid-1990s, Pierson was one of three board members — working with chairman Art Nenning (finance) and Jerry O’Karma (legal) — to work on improving a joint venture with the Chinese in Shanghai. Many modifications were made to enhance pro-

ductivity and quality and the overall experience of quarterly meetings was excellent. Pierson recalls the convivial way that business was — and is — conducted on the fringes of the main battery industry events. “I remember we were at the opening reception of 5ELBC at Sitges just south of Barcelona in Spain, I was approached as the sole JCI representative by two principals of Amara Raja Battery Company of India — Ram Galla and his son Jay were interested in obtaining technical and financial support for their business. “So I invited them to Milwaukee which they accepted and he subsequently visited their facilities in India.

He remains an avid fan of the University of Wisconsin Madison basketball and football teams and the Milwaukee Brewers baseball and Green Bay Packer football teams. He also follows the Interstate Battery sponsored NASCAR racing team. His still expanding family consists of three married daughters, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Looking back, Pierson says: “I’m grateful I had the opportunity to work as part of a talented, supportive team during my 38 years with the company and beyond. I’ve also been blessed with longstanding relationships established with friends throughout the battery industry — including suppliers, customers, and competitors.”



GE signs largest ESS deal to date with 30MW battery GE is to build 30MW battery energy storage system for the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California. This is GE’s third lithium ion storage project in recently months. GE anticipates project construction will begin early next year, with commercial operation scheduled for the third quarter of 2016. “This project is a game changer to the energy industry and will be one of the largest battery storage

plants in the western US,” said one commentator. GE will provide Coachella Energy Storage Partners (CESP) with a 30MW battery energy storage system as part of CESP’s supply contract with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). Representing GE’s largest energy storage project to date, the plant will be located in California’s Imperial Valley, approximately 100 miles east of San Diego.

The facility will aid grid flexibility and increase reliability on the IID network by providing solar ramping, frequency regulation, power balancing and black start capability for an adjacent gas turbine. “We chose GE as the energy storage system provider for this project because they supplied the most comprehensive solution at a competitive price,” said Mike Abatti, president of CESP in a statement. “GE

is well positioned to serve the needs of the project and will remain a stable, reliable technology provider as the energy storage industry evolves.” GE will provide CESP with an integrated energy storage solution, configured using GE’s Mark VI plant controls, GE Brilliance MW inverters, GE Prolec transformers, medium-voltage switchgear and lithium ion batteries housed in a GE purpose-built enclosure. The plant will be operated by ZGlobal, an engineering collaborator with CESP, for the first 18 months, after which control will transfer to the IID.

Commercial storage in US poised for growth as Ideal Power targets microgrids The commercial and industrial energy storage market in North America is poised for healthy growth, a dynamic that is attracting investment into this sector, Ryan O’Keefe, senior vice president of business development for Ideal Power, a developer of power conversion technologies told Batteries International. O’Keefe was speaking after Ideal Power signed a deal with Sonnenbatterie, a German developer of lithium-ion-based energy storage systems, which represents a significant partnership for Ideal Power and signals the intent of Sonnenbatterie to target the market in North America. “Sonnenbatterie is a recognized market leader in Germany’s residential distributed energy storage market. Its entry into the North American commercial and industrial energy storage market shows that this segment is attracting credible new investment and is poised for continued growth,” said O’Keefe. Sonnenbatterie has selected Ideal Power’s Power Packet Switching Architec-

ture (PPSA), for integration with its commercial system. Sonnenbatterie also placed initial product orders with Ideal Power for delivery in August. O’Keefe said peak demand management was a growing issue in the US as the cost of energy increases becoming a growing burden to businesses. “Demand charges from utilities make up a significant portion of operating expenditures for commercial and industrial building owners, especially in highly populated US states like California and New York where peak consumption is rapidly approaching total generation capacity,” he said.

“Energy storage, whether standalone or integrated with PV, is a proven way for these businesses to optimize their energy consumption and reduce the high cost of energy during the peak demand periods.” While Ideal Power anticipates strong growth in markets such as these, he also believes the development of microgrids in more remote parts of the world will offer opportunities. “Behind-the-meter energy storage applications have been growing steadily in places like California and New York where the market has shown an increasing need,” he said. “However, microgrids are becoming a sizeable piece

“Demand charges from utilities make up a significant portion of operating expenditures for commercial and industrial building owners … energy storage, whether standalone or integrated with PV, is a proven way for these businesses to optimize their energy consumption and reduce the high cost of energy during the peak demand periods.”

of our pipeline and we’ve begun to ship products for microgrid test installations outside of North America. Our grid resilient products are easily configurable for both 50Hz and 60Hz environments, and ideally suited for all global markets.” O’Keefe said he believed the company’s deal with Sonnenbatterie could also lead to bigger things. “Their selection of Ideal Power’s products to enter this market further validates the fact that Ideal Power offers the best and most competitive solutions on the market. This relationship will both further extend Ideal Power’s market reach in North America and also gives us access to Sonnenbatterie’s global audience. “Sonnenbatterie has placed multiple orders with Ideal Power and we expect to see steady activity going forward. “Again, we anticipate that this partnership with Sonnenbatterie will be beneficial for both companies as we continue to grow, providing opportunity for further growth in the US and beyond.”

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3M-LG Chem deal should accelerate nickel, cobalt, manganese usage A deal between 3M and LG Chem should accelerate the use of nickel, cobalt, manganese (NCM) in lithiumion batteries and ultimately boost the take-up of electric vehicles globally, says Christian Milker, business manager in the Materials Solutions Division of 3M Electronics. Under the agreement, 3M grants LG Chem a licence

to US Patents 6,660,432, 6,964,828, 7,078,128, 8,685,565 and 8,241,791 and all global equivalents including in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China and Europe. “LG Chem is a leader in the electric vehicle battery field, and NMC cathode compositions have shown significant benefit in large format applications, like electric vehicles. This licence

will accelerate the adoption of NMC technology to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles worldwide,” said Milker. 3M is not the only company to have been granted a patent licence for these products. Other companies working on similar developments include: Umicore, Hunan Reshine New Material, EcoPro and L&F Materials.

“NMC cathode compositions offer an outstanding balance of power, energy, thermal stability and low cost,” said Milker. “NMC cathode materials can be tailored through changes in composition and morphology to meet a wide range of customer requirements from high energy handheld consumer electronics to high power electric vehicles.”

Bosch’s acquisition of Seeo could trigger ‘next-generation’ battery buying spree The acquisition by Bosch, one of the world’s biggest automotive suppliers, of Seeo, the solid-state battery developer of energy storage, could mark a major turning point for the battery industry, according to Cosmin Laslau, an analyst with Lux Research. The deal was concluded in late August. Seeo has developed what it calls “next-generation” lithium-ion batteries that could double the range of electric cars. According to a filing with the state of California, Seeo’s battery technology may increase energy density by 50% to 100%, which could significantly increase the operating range of an electric vehicle. Seeo has an exclusive licence to core patents from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that could help Bosch produce lightweight batteries on an industrial scale. Seeo’s lithium polymer cells have an energy density of 350Wh/ kg, roughly twice the level of batteries used in today’s electric vehicles The acquisition, which includes all of Seeo’s IP and research staff, represents the first instance of one of the biggest automotive

players outright acquiring a next-generation battery developer, highlighting the strategic importance of advanced energy storage for the automotive value chain. But the acquisition could be a risky bet for Bosch, Laslau says. He highlights a number of inherent risks in the transaction. The deal comes at a crucial time for what is a fragile startup, he says. Seeo has been trying to pivot from lower-energy LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cathodes towards higher-energy NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) cathodes to keep ahead of the competition. It was also looking to set up joint ventures to help it scale up production of cells capable of 350Wh/kg, a crucial step in proving its new technology. “However, its high appetite for burning through cash, its unproven cost claims, and technical issues like low ionic conductivity (which limit power and require the battery ro be heated to about 80°C) place it mid-pack in our Lux Innovation Grid of interviewed solid-state battery developers,” Laslau says. “Bosch is taking a risk on a mid-pack player, but if the acquisition price was low

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enough (terms were undisclosed) it was a move worth making. Seeo’s technology will require quite a bit more investment and time before it is ready for a commercial debut. Nonetheless, the buy is an almost necessary one for a supplier like Bosch that has ambitions to be a key battery player in a crowded, competitive space.” He says there remain some intriguing companies in this solid-state space that present better targets for partnerships or acquisition than Seeo. He names Imprint Energy, Ilika, and ProLogium on the start-up front, and Hydro-Quebec’s IREQ arm on the industrial laboratory front. “While all of these players have their own associated strengths and weaknesses, it does mean that the next-generation solid-state battery space remains open, despite starting to heat up.” He says that, in addition to Bosch buying Seeo, Apple is rumored to have quietly acquired distressed thin-film battery developer Infinite Power Solutions at the end of 2014 (not to mention GM’s investments into Sakti3 and SolidEnergy, and VW investing into Quantumscape and work-

ing with Oxis Energy, two other so-called ‘beyond-Liion’ players). He believes the acquisition marks the start of a likely buying spree of nextgeneration battery technology over the coming years. The larger trend is unstoppable: plug-in vehicles have found a successful niche, and will grow from that niche in the coming decades. “As these OEMs and their suppliers look to appeal to more buyers, the pressure for longer driving ranges for less money will push Li-ion to the breaking point, necessitating nextgeneration technology. For now, solid-state batteries are the best positioned to take that crown, but other families like lithiumsulphur, high-voltage cathodes, and alternative ions are worth watching, too,” Laslau said. “Despite the growing hype around solid-state batteries, do not expect Li-ion to lose its crown in the next decade. It will be surpassed eventually, and those that prepare now by securing key IP and leading researchers, will be best positioned to prevail in the future of transportation drivetrains.”

NEWS IN BRIEF American Vanadium to install 400kWh flow battery in central New York

American Vanadium, the flow battery company says that in March 2016 it will lift three CellCube Energy Storage Systems to the 25th floor of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Energy Star Certified facility in downtown Manhattan. “The CellCube is now the only battery chemistry other than lead acid to receive a letter of no objection from the New York Fire Department. The NYFD letter is subject to compliance with a number of safety requirements, and additionally, the company’s application to NY’s Department of Buildings for code compliance remains in process,” says the firm. “This ground-breaking energy storage installation at the headquarters of the MTA, one of the largest consumers of electricity in the US for public mass transit, is intended to demonstrate how commercial buildings can save money by shifting energy and, at the same time, improve resiliency in the event of future grid outages,” said Bill Radvak, president of American Vanadium.

WMG leads project to create £14 million UK automotive battery pack research facility WMG, part of the University of Warwick in the UK, will lead a £14 million ($21 million) consortium to create a new automotive battery pack manufacturing research centre. The project will help develop the next generation of traction batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. It will combine what it rates as the best human and automated assembly methods to manufacture battery packs and lay the foundations of a new UK automotive supply chain based around this technology. Innovate UK, a government agency has given £10 million funding to support the project. Called AMPLiFII (Automated Module-to-pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation) it will develop knowledge, skills, technology and facilities to support UK industry seeking to use these new technologies and processes in vehicle battery systems, the agency said. The project is led by WMG and brings together Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Alexander Dennis (ADL), Ariel Motor Company, PAISEU, Vayon Group, Delta Motorsport, Potenza Technology, RDVS, Trackwise,

HORIBA MIRA, Oxford University, and Axion Recycling. The work also supports the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) National Spoke for Electrical Energy Storage. Within the project, the OEMs: Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, ADL, and Ariel will provide battery requirements and coach the supply chain to meet automotive quality, performance, robustness and safety standards. The supply chain partners: Delta Motorsport, Potenza, Vayon Group, RDVS, PAISEU and Trackwise will design and develop the battery systems to meet these requirements. Technology partners: WMG, HORIBA MIRA, and the University of Oxford will support the design, development and manufacturing process while Axion will develop the lifecycle management of the battery system, including its recycling, remanufacturing and/or repurposing at end of life. WMG will also host the pilot manufacturing line as part of its Energy Innovation Centre on the University of Warwick campus.

African acid battery market set to surge The African lead acid battery market is set to surge in the run up to 2021, according to the latest study by Transparency Market Research. Greater car manufacturing, the growing need for uninterruptible power systems and the rising need for energy storage in industry, have spurred the growth of the lead acid battery market across the region.

ESS raises series ‘A’ $3.2m funding ESS has closed a series ‘A’ round of $3.2 million, led by Pangaea Ventures, to commercialize its All-Iron Redox Flow Battery. The IFB is designed for the long-duration energy storage market, where greater than four hours of energy capacity and high numbers of cycles are expected. The financing will enable the company to make investments in tooling that will position ESS for volume production of its low-cost battery components and to support its market development activities. The fund raising complements roughly $4.5 million in development grants ESS has been awarded from ARPA-e, ONAMI, Oregon Best, and others to develop and commercialize

its flow battery. ESS is planning initial customer deployments this year and says it “will ramp production of its flagship 125kW/1MWh IFB system in 2016”. “The progress that ESS has made in bringing a new storage technology to the market, in just a few short years, is almost unheard of in the battery world and is truly a testament to the simple and elegant approach and ingenuity of the team,” said Andrew Haughian, a partner at Pangaea Ventures. “Combined with our confidence in the cost effectiveness of the all iron chemistry to support the low levelllized cost of energy requirements of ESS’ customers, it was an easy decision for us to partner with them in their transition to a commercially focused company.” In addition to Pangaea, Element 8 and other angel investor groups participated in this financing.

Asahi Kasei closes Polypore stake For the record, Asahi Kasei Corp completed its acquisition of Polypore International, the separator company on August 26. This followed a February announcement of a definitive merger agreement to acquire Polypore through a US subsidiary. Further development and growth of the battery separator business will be coordinated with Asahi Kasei Ematerials Corp the company which operates Asahi Kasei’s established battery separator business, headed by Shigeki Takayama, Takayama became CEO of Polypore on the date of the acquisition. Immediately before the acquisition by Asahi Kasei, Polypore divested its Separations Media segment to 3M Company. As acquired by Asahi Kasei, Polypore will continue to operate its Energy Storage segment focused on battery separators. As a result of the completion of this transaction, Polypore’s stock is no longer traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and Polypore will cease to have reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Further development and growth of the battery separator business will be coordinated with Asahi Kasei Ematerials Corp the company which operates Asahi Kasei’s established battery separator business, headed by Shigeki Takayama, Takayama became CEO of Polypore on the date of the acquisition.

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NEWS IN BRIEF Two more pieces in Tesla lithium jigsaw fits together Bacanora and Rare Earth Minerals the owners of the Sonora Lithium Project in northern Mexico finalized at the end of August a conditional long-term lithium hydroxide supply agreement with Tesla Motors. the maker of electric vehicles and energy storage products. In an official statement the firms said: “On the condition that, over the next two years, the Sonora Lithium Project reaches certain performance milestones and successfully passes product specification qualifications, Tesla — or its authorized purchasers – will buy lithium hydroxide to feed the manufacturing of batteries at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada. “One of the key milestones will be the confirmation that the Sonora Lithium Project will be able to supply lithium hydroxide in accordance with volumes and timeframes to be established by Tesla. The supply agreement has an initial five year term commencing from the date of the first order by Tesla, with an option to extend for a further five years. “During the initial five years, and subject to certain terms and conditions in relation to project execution, product quality, pricing and timing of delivery, Tesla will purchase agreed minimum tonnages, with estimated forecasted maximum deliveries to be determined following delivery of future production orders from Tesla. “Tesla will purchase minimum quantities in accordance with an agreed upon pricing formula, below current market pricing, with actual prices and volumes that can only be finalized during the development phase in due course. The forecast tonnages and delivery dates are structured to coincide with Tesla’s forecasted Gigafactory production. This agreement will form a portion of Tesla’s anticipated lithium-based feedstock needs; the remainder of which is expected to come from other lithium peers. Separately Pure Energy Minerals has entered into an agreement with Tesla Motors for the potential supply of lithium hydroxide that Pure Energy plans to produce from the company’s Nevada Lithium Brine Project. Pure Energy will conduct a mining study in the form of a preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study to confirm the technical feasibility and economic viability of the project.

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Provided that Pure Energy meets certain terms and conditions related to project execution, product quality and timing of delivery, the agreement establishes a commitment for an annual purchase volume of product over a period of five years by Tesla or its authorized purchasers. The agreement sets a predetermined price that is below current market rates and is aligned with Tesla’s goal to continuously reduce the cost of its lithium ion batteries. The material will be used in the battery cell manufacturing process of Tesla’s electric vehicle and stationary storage business units, which are located about a three and a half hour. drive from the project.

ity, and identify the presence of any shock waves produced in the battery failures. A navy spokesperson said: “We will be using many batteries packed into enclosed spaces as part of the Multifunction Energy Storage Future Naval Capability. It’s crucial for us to understand what happens when a battery fails to know how it might affect other batteries in the space. “Eventually we can use this data to develop lighter containers that can protect the other cells, while also being able to pack the cells closer together.”

US Navy designs safe battery enclosures for ships

Greensmith, a provider of grid-scale energy storage software and integration, announced in September that it has completed its $12.3 million series ‘C’ round of financing. The round was led with a $5 million dollar strategic investment from American Electric Power, an electric utility in the US, serving nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. The investment will provide AEP with access to Greensmith’s energy storage deployment experience and its advanced GEMS energy storage software platform, helping the utility determine the best options for gridscale energy storage deployment. “AEP’s strategic investment in Greensmith provides our company with a significant competitive advantage in the energy storage market — access to the knowledge base of a forward-thinking utility with almost 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity and a 40,000-mile transmission network,” said John Jung, CEO of Greensmith. “Further, AEP will provide us invaluable insight to guide our strategic decisions on product development and market expansion.”

The US Navy announced in August that its engineers working with nonmilitary engineers were using highspeed video of failing lithium-ion batteries to help design safe battery enclosures on ships. When lithiumion batteries fail, the cells may vent or explode, and if the resulting gas expands fast enough, a shockwave forms as it moves away from the battery. Engineers at Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NAVSSES) teamed with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) where researchers forced batteries to the point of failure in a laboratory environment to create a pressure release explosion. They then used Schlieren imagery, capable of capturing up to 250,000 frames per second, to make precise measurements of gradients in gas density near the failing cell. Schlieren photography is a visual process that is used to photograph the flow of fluids of varying density. Invented by the German physicist August Toepler in 1864 to study supersonic motion, it is widely used in aeronautical engineering to photograph the flow of air around objects. The high-speed imaging will also provide information such as shockwave speed versus position, and engineers can determine the track of any projectiles generated. These data will be compared to dynamic pressure gage measurements and parallel data generated at NAVSSES. The team hopes to quantify the amount of gas released, the gas release veloc-

Greensmith raises $12.3 million led by American Electric

Grid scale battery storage going beyond emerging technology Capex invested in grid scale battery storage technologies will reach $717.2m in 2015, with rapid growth anticipated over the next 10 years, according to a report by research from Visiongain. The report says that “grid scale battery storage market is largely an emerging one, especially when compared with other energy storage systems such as the well established

NEWS IN BRIEF pumped hydro storage. “Grid scale batteries are arriving at commercial viability, having been the subject of numerous demonstration projects. They possess numerous advantages over competing technologies, such as the precision and quality of the service they can provide to grid operators and the lack of geographical constraints experienced by technologies such as CAES and PHS. “Pressed by high and rising amounts of renewable energy capacity brought online each year, an increasing number of governments around the world are considering adopting new regulatory requirements favouring the commissioning of grid scale storage systems, such as capacity payment mechanisms rewarding the best-performing back-up technologies for frequency regulation or mandatory targets for the installation of new storage capacity. In addition to this, production costs are consistently declining due to technological improvements, gained experience and mass production. “Just as decisively, a larger wealth of performance data are becoming available each year as pilot projects are completed all around the world, providing producers, operators and prospective clients with key information on the reliability and safety of each battery technology once applied outside the laboratory.”

Younicos to provide a turnkey battery storage system Younicos has entered into an agreement with solar power supplier OCI Solar Power to provide a turnkey battery storage system at one of OCI Solar Power’s projects in Texas. The system will be the first integrated grid-scale solar-plus-storage project to be deployed in the ERCOT market. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market serves about 24 million Texas customers. Younicos will be responsible for the design, engineering, integration and construction of the 1MW system, which should come online in early 2016. It will also be the first use of LG Chem battery technology in ERCOT. Younicos’s own proprietary control software will manage system performance within the ERCOT market in conjunction with operation of the solar farm. The project is the first in a broader Younicos/OCI Solar Power strategic relationship, under which the parties

will look to partner on future projects within the growing global market for innovative energy storage/solar solutions. This is the second Texas project recently announced by Younicos. In June, Duke Energy announced that it had selected Younicos and Samsung SDI to upgrade North America’s largest wind-integrated energy storage system at Duke’s Notrees wind farm in West Texas.

Retriev Technologies fined for dangerous levels of lead, cadmium For the record, in August, two years after agreeing to reduce workers’ exposure to lead and cadmium, a Ohio battery recycling facility continued to expose workers to dangerously high airborne concentrations of the metals — a leading cause of workplace illness—– which can cause long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems, according to US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors. They found Retriev Technologies failed to implement engineering controls and monitor employee exposure to these hazards. OSHA cited the company on August 14 for eight repeated and one serious health violation. Proposed penalties total $74,250. In 2012, the agency cited Retriev for similar hazards at the same facility, then known as Toxco Inc. “Retriev Technologies must protect the long-term health of it workers,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “The company’s compliance programmes lacked information on controlling exposure levels, which harmed employees.” Retriev Technologies has headquarters in Anaheim, California. It has facilities in Canada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Samsung SDI to acquire battery materials business from Samsung Fine Chemicals Samsung SDI completed the acquisition in mid-September of the battery materials business of Samsung Fine Chemicals for W18.7 billion ($16.4 million). The acquisition covers Samsung Fine Chemicals’ battery material R&D facilities, patent rights, human resources and shares of STM, a joint venture founded in May 2011

producing active cathode materials for lithium ion batteries. Samsung said the purpose of this deal is to strengthen the competitiveness of battery materials, the key factor of battery performance in the growing global electric vehicle market. Samsung SDI will sell 29.2% of Samsung BP Chemicals’ shares it owns to Samsung Fine Chemicals for W81.9 billion ($71 million).

Saft receives US grant to develop lithium stop-start batteries Saft America has received a competitively bid, $6.13 million award from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) in collaboration with the US energy department for 12-volt stop-start battery technology development. The contract includes a 50% cost-share by Saft. The 30-month contract, announced at the end of August, will focus on the development and delivery of lithiumion 12-volt modules for vehicle stopstart battery applications consistent with USABC goals based on Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery technologies along with battery management electronics. The new Saft contract follows research previously conducted with USABC for 12-volt stop-start battery technology development and an earlier contract to develop lithium-ion battery systems for hybrid electric vehicle applications.

Lead to benefit from distributed energy boom, says research The global lead acid battery market for energy storage systems should grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 5% from 2015-2019, according to a September report by research house Technavio. It says demand for lead-acid batteries in grid energy storage has increased significantly in response to rising fluctuations in the supply and demand for electricity. “Lead-acid batteries have inherent advantages including low impedance, resistance to overcharging, ability to deliver high initial current, low maintenance, and reduced self-discharge, thereby making them an ideal choice for grid energy storage,” says Faisal Ghaus, vice president of Technavio. Technavio says the growth of energy generation from decentralized plants will propel the demand for ESS, and the demand for lead-acid batteries.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 45


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NEWS IN BRIEF Manz wins €12m order from new US customer Manz, announced in September that it had received a major order from an unnamed new customer in the US for a production line for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries with a sales volume of around €12 million ($13 million). The agreement also contains the prospective option for additional production lines for installation in the US and China.

Tabuchi Electric and Geli team up with solar-energy storage package Tabuchi Electric, a solar-plus-storage manufacturer, and Geli, a software provider for battery storage and microgrids, formed a partnership mid-September that will deliver a residential solar-plus-storage product that the firms says will enable faster solar market growth. “The combination of Geli’s software with Tabuchi’s hardware helps utilities manage distributed solar and additional home energy devices to optimize grid performance. By providing utilities with confidence that they can reliably integrate solar into the grid, the partnership is designed to accelerate residential solar growth,” the

firms said. “Together we’re helping utilities forge ahead with the confidence they need to expand solar penetration and meet ambitious renewable energy targets.” Tabuchi’s EneTelus Intelligent Battery System residential solar-plus-storage solution is delivered loaded with Geli’s Energy Operating System software. The combined hardware and software connects with solar installations and smart home devices such as smart thermostats and pool pumps to systematically manage energy flow from the home to the grid. “The partnership will give utilities far deeper insight into distributed generation and enable them to manage entire fleets of inverters across a service area, implement automated demand response programs and improve operations across programmes,” the firms say.

Tadiran to power rechargeable packs at solar station Tadiran Batteries, a subsidiary of the Saft Group and a developer of lithium batteries for industrial use, has won a contract by BrightSource Energy, a US concentrating solar power technology company. Tadiran will provide rechargeable energy packs to power

more than 50,000 controllable mirrors — called heliostats — being deployed at the Ashalim Thermal Solar Power Station, located in the Israeli desert and that will be constructed by Alstom. BrightSource Energy produces electricity the same way as fossil fuel power plants — by creating hightemperature steam to turn a conventional turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels to create the steam, BrightSource uses the sun. Thousands of individually-controlled heliostats track the sun and reflect sunlight onto a boiler that sits on top of a tower. When the concentrated sunlight strikes the solar receiver, it creates superheated steam which turns a turbine and generates electricity. The Ashalim station will have a power generating capacity of 121MW, enough to meet the electricity needs of some 120,000 homes. During the day Tadiran’s rechargeable energy packs will drive the heliostat motors and power device communications. The rechargeable batteries help eliminate expensive cabling and wiring that would otherwise be required to power the heliostat motors and control modules. The rechargeable batteries will enable at least 25 years of continuous operation, says the firm.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 47

THE CEO INTERVIEW: YOUNICOS Younicos is a company that’s hard to pin down. Where does it stand in the new frontiers of energy storage? At its core it’s a software company but it also holds a substantial utility grid storage portfolio. Chief executive James McDougall explains to Sara Verbruggen why that ambiguity is a good thing.

Claiming a stake in the new frontiers of energy storage Since acquiring the assets of bankrupt energy storage player Xtreme Power in April 2014, Younicos is on a roll. The Berlin-headquartered company, which has developed software that lets the electric grid talk to batteries, has wasted no time muscling its way into territory occupied by ABB, Siemens, and other grandees of the global power infrastructure equipment market. James McDougall, the chief executive, credits the approach to something that had already begun by Xtreme Power. Before declaring bankruptcy, Xtreme had supplied the 36MW Notrees energy storage project in Texas, one of North America’s biggest grid battery installations and the largest connected to a wind farm. Xtreme had played a key role in advising the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the deregulated energy market for much of the state, on creating policy framework that lets energy storage provide ancillary grid services. Texas boasts some of the highest amounts of installed wind power in the US and is also building out its solar PV capacity. Increasing amounts of renewables are placing strain on the grid. The Notrees battery plant was built next to Duke’s 153MW Notrees

wind farm, partly financed with US Department of Energy funds. Since its commissioning in January 2013, the storage facility has been participating in ERCOT’s fast responding regulation service (FRRS) market. Younicos has crystallized the approach taken by Xtreme in a consultancy division, which McDougall describes as, “the tip of the spear of our commercial strategy”. The consultancy business, announced earlier in 2015, is headed by Robert Manasse an energy industry veteran who has worked at Enel and Enron. In staffing terms the team is small — about eight to 10 of Younicos’ 150 headcount. They are busy sitting down with heads of grid operators, energy ministers, as well as company executives, with findings, data and analysis from nearly 100MW of operational battery capacity worldwide to assess the feasibility for using energy storage before presenting the best option. “We discuss it in a straightforward way, strip out the jargon so that it becomes easy to understand what energy storage can do and, crucially, show how it can save money,” says McDougall. This is especially important when entering new markets, which McDougall implies is going to be an increas-

“Tesla has generated noise for the whole industry not only itself. Younicos is not going to supply the entire market. We’re definitely open to partnerships with other technology providers.” 48 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

ingly relevant part of Younicos’ strategy. Of the 4GW pipeline of Younicos’ projects, the bulk are in Europe and North America, while in the mid to long term, the company is focused on opportunities in emerging markets also. “In Africa and the Middle East we expect to see projects unfolding in the next one to two years and in southeast Asia and Australasia, in the next two to three years,” says McDougall. “The consultancy is an accelerator, in markets that lack the framework and legislation that recognizes energy storage as an asset class. With the energy-storage-as-service model we offer, the utility or other end-user signs a power purchase agreement as an off-taker, which is a widely used instrument in the power industry, which everyone is familiar with.” The energy-storage-as-service model, which is also being adopted among other companies expanding their presence in the utility grid storage market, including Siemens, means Younicos can move fast. “We do not have to wait for governments to come up with tender programmes, or deal with issues around getting the project financing in place to cover the capex costs with this model. We put solutions in the field.”

A spectrum of size

At one end of the scale the utility grid storage segment is being colonialized by traditional players in the power equipment sector. ABB, for example, has traditionally


“Our approach to battery technologies is how a tradesman uses his tools in his toolbox. Batteries are the buttress that sits under the whole system, so when we are going in to win a bid or an IRR, we have about 20 qualified technologies to select from.” JAMES MCDOUGALL BIO McDougall was appointed CEO of Younicos in April 2014. He has worked for over 20 years in the rechargeable batteries industry, starting his career at International Components Corporation, the battery charger technology firm. At ICC, McDougall held a variety of executive positions including managing director of the company’s power supply division where he was responsible for worldwide sales, marketing and operations. While at Valence Technology, which developed the industry’s first commercially available, safe, largeformat range of lithium iron magnesium phosphate rechargeable batteries, McDougall was director of marketing and licensing, where he marketed lithiumpolymer battery solutions to OEMs and licensed related technology to top-tier battery manufacturers. More recently McDougall was a consultant to Dow Chemical for the spin out and formation of Aveso Displays, a pioneer in printed electronic displays and subsequently led the business development efforts of the company. At Solicore, a producer of thin, flexible, lithium polymer batteries featuring a proprietary solid polymer electrolyte, McDougall established the Flexion battery line and strategic positioning in the powered card market. In his last assignment, as executive vice president of sales and business development, he secured several global distribution and purchase contracts to enable the battery’s commercialization. At ReVolt, McDougall acted as chief executive officer and worked at commercializing a zinc air battery. McDougall is also a non-executive director at European ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 49

THE CEO INTERVIEW: YOUNICOS ternational Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. There are plans to set up a regional headquarters in Singapore, to consolidate work there. “It’s a progressive place in terms of having a robust technology sector and we have been active in the region working with utilities and setting out different solutions that our energy storage platform can offer.”

Battery talk

Amber Rudd (centre), UK secretary of state for energy at the opening of the 6MW/10MWh energy storage project in Leighton Buzzard in the UK. Over the project’s 10 year time-frame the system will perform multiple grid services to maximize revenues. The project’s lead developer S&C Electric brought Younicos on-board because the system required additional control modes that S&C did not have in-house

done energy storage on a project-byproject basis. Then, when renewables — solar PV in particular — really took off in 2009 and some stimulus funding became available in the Europe and the US for financing energy storage pilots, the company decided to formalize its energy storage activities. It has also made a number of strategic acquisitions and deals, in areas concerning microgrid integration, mass transport electrification, fastcharging and energy storage, including behind-the-meter and in-front-ofmeter applications.

A firm for all sizes

If ABB had been a smaller company it would be spreading itself thin. However, as an incumbent player it has to respond to changing dynamics — brought about by renewables — and provide utilities with alternatives, to smooth the transition. What incumbents have in terms of size and scale can also mean that they may lack the flexibility required to react quickly to new opportunities that a new market, like energy storage, throws up. At the other end there are start-ups, heavy on software smarts but light on real-world installations. McDougall believes that Younicos benefits from combining the best of both. The company is funded by private equity. “And our shareholders want to remain private, so we’re not the

50 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

traditionally VC-backed firm in that respect either. But as we have grown they have continued to invest to support this growth.” It’s a software-driven business, for sure, but with one of the biggest energy storage asset fleets in operation, with 150MW-200MW expected to enter operation in the next six months. About half of the company’s 4GW pipeline is energy-storage-asservice, where customers have opted not to make costly capital investments in battery assets. But is the energy-storage-as-service model an intermediate step, something that’s needed to unlock investment until the technology becomes well understood enough for utilities or other organizations to invest in owning such assets themselves? “It could be a bridge, but it’s important that the model is a flexible one, reflecting the different needs of various markets and different end-users. Storage is only just becoming an asset class. Some utilities for instance may already operate these assets, but will want to extend their life, so may buy this ability to do so as a service, for example,” says McDougall. To support such a business model, Younicos is able to tap into debt and equity finance through its links with banks and insurers. In south-east Asia, the company has established relationships with regional development banks and institutions such as the In-

Working with utilities in developing markets has also led Younicos to adapt its platform. “The plan is to come up with a more standardized offering. We can determine the size of the box of batteries for projects based on the power versus energy regime of the application, place our software over it, with four to five control modes designed to run simultaneously.” In fact, Younicos has developed 22 different control modes in total, though the maximum number deployed in one single installation tends to be no more than seven at present. With a career spanning 20 years in the rechargeable batteries industries – from consumer batteries up to megawatt modules — McDougall wholeheartedly endorses the company’s technology-agnostic ethos. “I see a place for hybridization of different batteries or storage technologies, to increase penetration of renewables in the grid, such as we are seeing happening with flow batteries and I also see potential for second generation sodium sulphur.” However, he believes lithium ion and next generation lithium batteries will continue to capture the lion’s share of the market. ‘Lithium batteries have good round-trip efficiencies and are very reactive, which lends itself to many types of energy storage projects,” he says. Long term the future is less clear. “There are some interesting technologies in development,” he says. “But how they will play out, it will be difficult to determine. Software with lithium batteries is a powerful combination. But what we’ve been able to demonstrate is that in something like a microgrid, our software platform is able to control every single generation source in that grid, be it solar PV, wind, batteries, diesel gen-sets.” A technophile at heart McDougall is also hard-headed, gathered from various roles giving him inside-out knowledge of the industry. “I’ve run factory operations as well as corporate teams,


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The Azorean isle of Graciosa in the mid-Atlantic: The 2.8MW battery park will be a core component in the island’s grid, integrated into the energy management system developed by Younicos. Graciosa will be a reference project with the view to working with Leclanché again on similar installations in future. The collaboration between the two suggests how advanced energy storage systems are as much about the software and controls — the intelligence — as much as they are about batteries; the hardware

YOUNICOS TO DOUBLE HEADCOUNT Younicos has just announced plans to double in size, adding 150 jobs by 2017 to deploy energy storage projects in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company has more than 120MW of projects under negotiation, which, when complete, will more than double the nearly 100MW of battery storage systems installed to date. The company also has more than 4GW of qualified orders over the next four years. The bulk of the new hires will be at its US and European headquarters, in Austin, Texas and Berlin, in Germany. Up to 50 people will be hired by the end of the year, with the remaining 100 hired in 2016. The bulk of the new hires will be involved in software and systems development and engineering. Younicos is also moving to a renovated facility in Austin which will offer more than twice the space of its current location.

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I’ve worked at start-ups, dropped in to take companies from development to commercial phase.” He’s also had stints consulting to VC firms such as Kleiner Perkins and to hedge funds. “I feel very much aligned with Younicos’ half mercenary-half missionary approach,” he says. Younicos’ association with top-tier battery producers is well publicized. Samsung’s lithium ion batteries are used in a number of the company’s installations in Europe and in the US, and Younicos spent several years finetuning its energy management system and software controls to coax the best performance from Samsung’s batteries in grid storage applications. “Samsung is a key partner, they have a broader battery storage offering than any other partner and they are extremely proactive in terms of taking on board and responding to the needs of this industry. But there are others too that are expanding in this market, such as LG Chem, which also has a good offering and is proactive and the Japanese companies are ramping up.” In April Younicos announced a new partner, Leclanché. The Swiss battery maker has been developing advanced lithium chemistries and developing battery energy

storage system technology. “We had been intrigued for some time about what the company was doing, though the technology was still in the development stage so we could not use it. When Anil [Srivastava] joined Leclanché as chief executive he helped persuade us and so we took a closer look at it and wanted to try it.” Leclanché is to supply its first MWscale battery energy storage system to a project on Graciosa being developed by Younicos. The 2.8MW battery park will be a core component in the island’s grid, integrated into the energy management system developed by Younicos. “Graciosa will be a reference project with the view to working with Leclanché again on similar installations in future.” The collaboration between the two suggests how advanced energy storage systems are as much about the software and controls — the ‘intelligence’ — as much as they are about batteries; the hardware. Leclanché’s software platform will be able to manage the two different profiles of solar PV and wind resources connected to the system, while Younicos is providing the intelligence for the entire microgrid system on Graciosa of which the batteries, the

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Robert Manasse, head of Younicos’ consultancy arm. McDougall describes the consultancy as a accelerator in markets that lack the framework and legislation that recognizes energy storage as an asset class.

thermal generators, inverters, as well as wind and solar resources, all have to be managed at the same time. “Leclanché is providing the best technical solution for this type of project and it’s now at the point where it is commercially ready.” The system will incorporate 4.5MW of wind and 1MW of solar, as well as intelligent inverters to boost the island’s annual share of renewable energy generation, from 15% to 65%. “Our approach to battery technologies is how a tradesman uses his tools in his toolbox. Batteries are the buttress that sits under the whole system, so when we are going in to win a bid or an IRR, we have about 20 qualified technologies to select from.” The Graciosa project should be delivered by the end of 2015. Another project with specific challenges is the Notrees energy storage installation. Younicos has been awarded

the contract to retrofit the plant with lithium ion batteries supplied by Samsung SDI. The first phase of the repowered facility should go online in early 2016. “Because it is two-phase, not all the lead-acid batteries are being swapped out, so we needed to come up with a hybrid storage control platform to work with both the new lithium ion batteries as well as the old advanced lead acid batteries remaining in the system.” The repowering will be the first use of lithium-ion technology in ERCOT’s new FRRS (Fast-Responding Regulation Service) market. The lithium ion batteries will enable the system to expand service delivery in the FRRS market and will also give the plant the capability to provide additional fast-responding services that ERCOT is still developing as part of its ancillary service market redesign.

YOUNICOS SETS SIGHTS ON COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL WORK Younicos is also entering the commercial and industrial market. In the US, for instance, this segment has been one of the fastest growing for energy storage, as customers seek to avoid high peak demand charges. But it is also growing in some parts of Europe, such as Germany, where commercial and industrial electricity customers have to pay high rates. In the US a variety of energy storage or solar-and-storage leasing models are being taken

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up as businesses, manufacturers and institutions try to control their expenditure on electricity as well as buy themselves energy security should the main grid go down. “The whole notion of energystorage-as-service depends on being able to meet the unique needs of the customer. We want to retain that flexibility to be able to go in and deploy energy storage against these different opportunities that arise,” says McDougall.

As Younicos has been able to show, by its participation in a 6MW/10MWh energy storage project in Leighton Buzzard in the UK, expensive batteries for the grid will achieve the best returns if they are designed to provide a number of services and functions. Through the year the system’s workload changes, providing more peak shaving in the winter months, for example. But over the project’s 10 year time-frame the system will also be expected to perform multiple grid services to maximize revenue streams. A main reason why the project’s lead developer S&C Electric brought Younicos on-board was because the system required additional control modes that S&C did not have in-house. McDougall acknowledges the opportunity afforded by S&C. “The company has recognized energy storage as an enabler and not a threat to its traditional business model.”

One to watch

Whether traditional power equipment providers or even battery manufacturers like to admit it, by focusing on software, from algorithms that interpret grid signals to those that preserve the life of the battery under various operating states demanded of it, Younicos has emerged in recent years as one of the industry’s most exciting integrators to watch. Through acquiring Xtreme, which had a widely commercialized controls system designed to marry different types of hardware together, and had accumulated experience of integrating many megawatts of batteries on the grid and supply chain partnerships in place, the company is an a strong position now that competition is heating up. Acknowledging the hype around Tesla as well as the fanfare preceding Alevo, he is welcoming. “We see these as exciting developments. Tesla has generated noise for the whole industry not only itself. Younicos is not going to supply the entire market. We’re definitely open to partnerships with other technology providers.” Without doubt, Tesla’s announcement has dialled up the attention on energy storage. But increasingly the focus will turn to the value proposition of energy storage. With its software platform backed up by operating installations, including 77MW of storage built by Xtreme Power, and knowledge gained in pulling together all of the various hardware and software components, Younicos may well have the edge.

LATIN AMERICA: BRAZIL Recessions and battery sales follow a one-to-one relationship. Who buys cars when the economy is in trouble? With Latin America facing difficult times an unexpected source of business looks set to provide a new avenue of demand.

Economic troubles, turbulence to impede growth in energy storage Brazil, once one of the fabled five known as BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa — expected to lead economic growth among developing countries around the world, has fallen on hard times. Flat

growth, soaring interest rates in the face of high inflation, with a national currency at an all-time low against the dollar — South America’s biggest economy has been going through its worst recession since the late 1980s.

What Brazil does next, will eventually trickle down to other countries in the region. It is Latin America’s powerhouse and its innovator.

But Brazil’s economy and future industrial growth faces another looming threat. Energy, or rather the lack of it. Without enough energy, electricity in particular, economies cannot function let alone expand. Water, the basis of Brazil’s largest electricity source — hydropower — is drying up. In the West the talk for some time has been about the importance of having a balanced energy mix; some fossil fuels — low carbon gas, pref-

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 55


Under its governing Workers’ Party, known as PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores), currently led by beleaguered president Dilma Rouseff (above), the country has built the majority of its wind capacity via government auctions. Today Brazil has the largest installed wind power capacity of any Latin American country erably, than dirty coal, some nuclear, and some wind and solar of course. Spread the risk, curb emissions, while enhancing energy security. These are all big motivators for achieving a balanced energy portfolio for any country. If the Fukushima reactor failure in Japan showed what over-reliance on nuclear can do to a country, the same lesson is beginning to be writ large in the world’s eighth largest economy.

Natural resources

Hydropower, which at one time accounted for over 90% of Brazil’s electricity supply, cannot sustain the country as it did before. Drops in reservoir levels, in the most populous regions of Brazil, due to softer rainy seasons, have led to measures to prioritize water for human consumption rather than power generation. While coal, natural gas and biomass have been able to plug

56 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

the gap, they lead to higher losses and costs, compared with hydropower. Fortunately for Brazil it has other natural resources in abundance. Under its governing Workers’ Party, known as PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores), led by president Dilma Rouseff, the country has built the majority of its wind capacity via government auctions. Today Brazil has the largest installed wind power capacity of any Latin American country. In recent power capacity auctions held in August, wind farms will account for the bulk of the new supply — just over half a gigawatt — expected to be added to the national

grid in 2018. Solar has lagged, but projects are increasing, particularly in the central and southern regions, while wind plants continue to be built in the north-west. The government is also exploring offshore renewables, including wind and tidal, which can be exploited along its coastline. While the lead acid industry’s bread and butter market is conventional automotive stop, lighting and ignition (SLI) batteries, demand for industrial batteries, for sectors such as telecoms, have been growing. But, manufacturers are pinning their hopes on renewables. To meet rising energy demand, Brazil is expected to have to install as much as 60GW of new capacity by 2020, much of it coming from wind, which is almost competitive with hydropower on cost, and solar power which has also been coming down in price. As more variable renewables are integrated into electricity grids, energy storage is required to help balance generation with demand. Because of its main business activity, acting as a trading house serving lead acid battery makers with raw materials, consumables and production machinery, US-Japanese firm Sorfin Yoshimura sees trends before they translate into actual demand. The New York-headquartered company counts most of Brazil’s lead acid battery manufacturers, many of which have their own labs, as clients and customers. “We’ve seen an uptick in interest and orders — for experimental battery development work — for materials that yield deep cycle batteries, the kind you need for storing surplus renewables,” says Scott Fink, president of the company. Newpower/Fulgaris, one of Brazil’s domestic lead acid battery makers, has developed products for storing surplus solar and wind power. The national company benefits from its government links across departments, from military to telecoms. One of the company’s plants is dedicated to making batteries for the 4G network. Brazil has more than 280 million of mobile lines, which equates to more than one line per person. The company is also supplying bat-

“The current economic and political turbulence is having a negative impact on the normal progress of existing projects and investments” — Edson Borges, Exide Technologies/GNB Industrial Power

LATIN AMERICA: BRAZIL teries — albeit in much smaller quantities — for renewables energy projects, again through contracts from the government. The projects consist of installing solar panels and batteries in remote communities, mainly in the Amazon. “Where we don’t have a power grid structure, solar energy is a great solution for those regions, and is cheap to install in remote areas,” says Danilo Vac, who is in charge of sales and business development for industrial batteries, at Newpower. These regions tend to have abundant sun but aggressive climate conditions for lead acid battery life given the high temperatures and humidity. Newpower has developed a flooded battery, with special lead alloys designed to perform under such tough conditions. To reduce the impact on temperature the battery is installed underground. For a huge country — Brazil’s land mass is a just a little less than that of the US — with rising energy demand, and a need for investment in the transmission and distribution infrastructure, the combination of solar or wind and batteries could provide a cost-effective way of helping Brazil meet its goal diversifying its electricity supply, while keeping it clean. That’s the theory, anyway. But, as Fink points out, Brazil has a habit of defying the conventional. An example is the country’s role as Olympic Games host in 2016. Usually, countries tasked with putting on global sports competitions — and Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014 — see an uptick in their economy, as new construction, mass transportation and other large infrastructure projects have to be built in order to accommodate these major events, often stimulating a bounce in market confidence and more consumer spending.

Worsening economy

The PT has carried out little fiscal reform, nor attempted to roll back the state’s historical heavy involvement


Latin America’s next major lead acid battery conference will be held in September 25-26, 2017 in Londrina (pictured above) to the north of the Brazilian state of Parana. This year’s meetings in August — the second since the event started in December 2013 — attracted some 105 national and international exhibitors. “Londrina is at the very heart of the battery industry in Brazil,” says Jayme Gusmão, one of the event’s organizers. “We would say that close to two-thirds of the Brazilian automotive batteries production is in a radius of 600km around Londrina.” Londrina itself is home to two important manufacturers in industrial policy. Many observers think that if the much talked about impeachment of the president does occur, then Brazil’s stock will start to rise again. For many battery makers, the uptick in demand for industrial batteries ahead of the Olympic Games 2016 has not materialized to the extent they would like. Part of the Olympic infrastructure was inherited by the works done for the 2014 football World Cup, and “additional demand from datacentres, subways and telecoms is less than expected,” according to Marcos Soares, who runs the Brazil subsidiary of French advanced battery mak-

“We’ve seen an uptick in interest and orders — for experimental battery development work — for materials that yield deep cycle batteries, the kind you need for storing surplus renewables. Progress in Brazil is not linear, but we are confident in the long term viability of the market” — Scott Fink, Sorfin Yoshimura

Rondopar with its MaxLife brand name and GNB with its Reifor and Herbo brands. rest of the cast is a virtual who’s who of Brazil’s battery industry. In Apucarana area, less than 60km away, can be found Eletran, Ranger (brand ExtRanger) and Bat’s. Some 200km to 300km distant are Jupiter in Cianorte, Baterax in Umuarama, Tudor, Cral, and Ajax. And yet further out, some 400km to 600km away can be found battery giant Moura (brand Moura and Zetta) in Itapetininga, JCI (brand Heliar, Prestolite, Durex, Power) in Sorocaba and Pioneiro in Treze Tilias. er Saft. With latest revisions anticipating the country’s GDP to shrink by 15% in 2015, companies in Brazil’s battery market do not expect to see demand pick up before 2017. For foreign entrants looking at the market all this makes playing the long-game in Brazil a necessity, sometimes partnering with local businesses. Exide Technologies’ GNB Industrial Power division has had a strategic partnership with Comab since 2013, initial for motive industrial batteries for the forklift truck market in Brazil. But, the company also has its sights on telecoms as the largest market for stationary batteries, as well as renewables and other energy markets. Companies that want to supply batteries into Brazil’s telecoms market have to obtain certification from the National Agency for Telecoms (ANATEL). First the batteries need to be approved for testing, in accredited third party laboratories, which can last for one to two years, depending on the product line.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 57

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LATIN AMERICA: BRAZIL “The local lead acid battery manufacturers have advantages in price. Also the telecom operators, following government rules, need to expand their number of sites, including BTS and small cells, with a fixed budget. These factors result in more installations at low cost. At this moment the focus is quantity and not quality” — Marcos Soares, Saft To make matters more complicated ANATEL is in the process of changing the technical rules of certification tests. Similarly, batteries for renewables need to obtain certification, by Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO). After having a representative office for a number of years, Adelco Sistemas de Energia in São Paulo, which mainly sold nickel cadmium batteries into the country’s railways, Saft opened a local subsidiary in the city in 2010. Saft do Brasil provides sales and technical support for customers in telecoms, utilities, renewable energy and oil and gas as well as rail. Five years on, sectors which have seen the most activity are oil and gas, utilities and rail. Saft’s growth in Brazil is constant at a two digit rate, says Soares. “In the region this growth is based on the replacement business from existing nickel cadmium installations or conversion from lead acid to nickel cadmium. “The big projects in oil and gas, for example, are usually decided and purchased in the US or Europe. However, our penetration rate is bigger and bigger every year despite the economic slowdown of the whole South American region,” says Soares. Brazil is South America’s largest telecom market and by 2017 revenues are forecast to reach $100 billion. A deciding factor leading to Saft opening its Brazil subsidiary, was to meet the growth in demand for high-tech battery solutions to support the roll out of new telecoms infrastructure, with lithium ion technology in mind. The company has won some orders from telecom customers, but nothing yet significant. Soares attributes this factor to a highly cost-conscious market. Sites where access is difficult and reliability is crucial will favour lithium ion batteries. Then, as telecoms op-

60 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

erators start looking to reduce operational costs, with more reliable batteries, then lithium ion is favourable, but the demand is not there yet.

Local lead advantages

“The local lead acid battery manufacturers have advantages in price. Also the telecom operators, following government rules, need to expand their number of sites, including BTS and small cells, with a fixed budget. These factors result in more installations at low cost. At this moment the focus is quantity and not quality,” he says. Like many other international battery makers, Saft imports its batteries. But current challenges are making these more expensive. Compared with the other BRICS markets, for Saft Brazil’s market is not performing as expected. “Since Saft do Brasil was set up, we have experienced constant growth, albeit below the real potential of the country. Meanwhile Brazil entered into a recession towards the end of 2014. Constant corruption scandals, linked to Petrobrás, are affecting confidence in the economy. New projects are put on hold, industries are reducing production, private and public investments are postponed and government is increasing tax and duties to reduce deficits.” The Brazilian real has fallen 47% against the euro since January. This makes it more difficult for foreign firms to compete with local lead acid manufacturers, as it costs 47% more to buy nickel cadmium or lithium ion batteries,” says Soares. Saft is banking on things improving but not before 2017. However, lead acid battery makers are also feeling the pressure. Edson Borges, commercial manager for stationary batteries in the Brazil office of Exide Technologies/GNB Industrial Power, says: “The current economic and political turbulence is having a negative impact on the normal progress of existing projects and

investments.” Scott Fink at Sorfin Yoshimura describes a similar sentiment among his company’s clients in the market. Sorfin Yoshimura, which has been established for over 30 years, has been active in Brazil for almost as long, though through its New York office. In 2013 the company opened a Brazilian subsidiary, staffed by five covering sales, sales support, warehousing, procurement and logistics, supplying materials and consumables to the country’s lead acid battery makers and brands, which include 38 companies — more than the rest of Latin America’s put together. The industry itself is dominated on the automotive side by Brazil’s Moura and Johnson Controls. Beneath these top tier manufacturers, there are several producers, which make in the region of 2 million batteries each annually, then the rest of the players, consisting of numerous smaller firms which produce a million or less a year. Some big players in automotive, such as Moura, also have an established presence in the industrial battery side, alongside other Brazilian players such as Newpower.

Supporting lead acid in tough times

Sorfin Yoshimura’s value is in its ability to provide materials and consumables to Brazil’s numerous lead acid battery businesses. With the shortfall in demand caused by the country’s economy contracting, the company offers valuable services for Brazilian battery makers, by providing materials and consumables in smaller lots, as a cash-and-carry business from its warehouse. This means that battery makers are not burdened financially by high freight costs or storing inventories on their shelves for longer periods of time. “We put boots on the ground in

LATIN AMERICA: BRAZIL Brazil, not only because we worked there long term and were really familiar with the market,” says Fink. “We wanted to provide enhanced services and support this vital battery market as best as possible. We have a long term vision, which is critical for this market, as we are dealing with really volatile conditions at present. “Progress in Brazil is not linear, but we are confident in the long term viability of the market and our presence in this market and others like it around the world are critical to our long term survival,” says Fink. The approach itself is one that company had previously introduced in China and is also expanding into other developing markets, including Pune, in India, and Bangkok, in Thailand. Sorfin Yoshimura is mainly focused outside of the US, selling to overseas lead acid battery markets, though it does do a lot of US equipment sales into these markets, with US-made materials and consumables sold in addition to the capital equipment. Latin America accounts for about a third of the company’s overall turnover, with Brazil accounting for the majority of this. Brazil, though further behind the curve than many other major economies, is dynamic in terms of the pace of renewables development, which presents the lead acid battery industry with new challenges. Indigenous manufacturers keep track of developments and progress in lead acid technological advances in the US and in Asia with the aim of assimilating these into products. What Brazil does next, will eventually trickle down to other countries in the region. It is Latin America’s powerhouse and its innovator, believes Fink.

“Progress in Brazil is not linear, but we are confident in the long term viability of the market and our presence in this market and others like it around the world are critical to our long term survival” — Scott Fink, Sorfin Yoshimura electricity for people in the Pando department, bordering Brazil and Peru. The project is interesting because it has enabled the department to generate electricity for the local population, where there is no centralized grid connection. In terms of more energy storage integrated with renewables in Brazil, these will only happen if the government creates a regulation for storage or policy framework that recognizes the role and the value of storage in Brazil’s wholesale energy market, believes Soares. New wind farms and PV generation must be connected to the grid and storage is not mandatory. This may change once storage studies are being done by ANEEL, the Brazilian regulatory agency are completed. This May UK vehicle engineering and testing consultancy Mira, which is now part of Horiba, announced it was collaborating with Fundação Parque Tecnológico Itaipu (FPTI) to

open a new energy storage centre in Brazil. The battery development centre combines Mira’s expertise in the international automotive market with FPTI’s knowledge of energy production and storage for large stationary applications. Mira, which was originally established in the UK over 70 years ago as a government-supported motor industry research organization, has had a subsidiary in Brazil for three and a half years. The first project the centre is working on is R&D for a flexible lithium battery architecture for stationary power as well as transportation applications. The initiative will enable FPTI to develop a leading position in energy storage technologies. Applications in mind include storage of electricity from wind and solar, while in transportation motorcycles, trucks and buses will be the primary focus.


Advanced batteries yet to score

Though Saft provides lithium ion batteries into global markets, such as those for energy storage, in Brazil the technology is still considered an innovation with customers doing R&D projects using these batteries. “The potential demand is large but the current demand isn’t significant. In the rest of the region lithium ion is still seen as a non-mature and expensive technology for industrial applications,” says Soares. Saft has supplied a microgrid project in Bolivia, using batteries integrated with solar PV, to provide

Huge events usually see an uptick in their country’s economy, as new construction, mass transportation and other large infrastructure projects have to be built in order to accommodate these major events, often stimulating a bounce in market confidence and more consumer spending After the World Cup Brazil’s

economy began to do the opposite and the situation has worsened. Inflation is running at 10%, and consumer spending is low. While Rouseff and her party can be credited with increasing the minimum wage, left-of-centre political parties and business mix about as well as oil and water.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 61

LATIN AMERICA: CHILE With the pace of battery technology accelerating and PV systems steadily becoming more robust, there are questions over how long firstmover advantage can last.

Chile: the early adopter

By early 2016 a 16MWh (8MW interconnection) battery bank, installed by AES, will come online in the Dominican Republic, the island’s first energy storage system. It is in Chile where advanced batteries as a grid resource have been deployed most extensively on the continent. According to Marcos Soares, who runs the Brazil subsidiary of French advanced battery maker Saft, the firm is seeing more demand for renewables storage projects occurring in Chile where the company is working to specify lithium ion based energy storage systems for such projects. Independent power producer AES Corporation, which has been active in Latin America since the late 1990s, has installed and operates 32MW of advanced battery storage (Norgener, Los Andes 12MW and Eléctrica Angamos 20MW) in Chile. A further 20MW — Cochrane — is planned to come online in the second half of 2016. All three facilities — including the one under construction — use lithium ion batteries. AES Corporation has qualified a few different lithium ion suppliers to provide the batteries that the company uses in its Advancion

64 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

energy storage system. Hardware, including batteries, are tested and approved at AES’ battery integration centre, based at Indianapolis Power & Light, which opened in March 2014. LG Chem, on the batteries side, and Parker Hannifin, on the power conversion systems (PCS) side, were the first manufacturers AES qualified as suppliers for its Advancion energy storage platform. In Chile, Parker Hannifin has supplied PCS equipment to connect the 12MW storage array at Los Andes to the grid, and is also supplying Cochrane. The equipment also includes climate control, important for projects based in areas where temperatures can get very high, such as Chile. Brian Perusse, vice president of international market development, at the IPP’s subsidiary AES Energy Storage, says interest in the company’s energy storage activities peaked this June, when AES organized and hosted an energy storage seminar in Mexico.

Over 140 competitors, industry leaders, government officials and other stakeholders, from Mexico and central America, attended, to hear about different energy storage projects and initiatives, such as the PJM Interconnection. In Brazil, the country’s need to diversify its energy sources, by using more renewables as well as other sources, is a major driver. “Renewables adds a resource, but not flexibility. You need storage for that,” says Perusse. In developing markets, not only across South America but also other economies, energy storage allows these countries to do things differently. Rather than build a gas peaker plant, with extensive and costly infrastructure works this entails, like new fuel pipes, battery storage projects are more straightforward to implement. AES has been able to refine its approach to constructing energy storage facilities from experience gained of building these plants in Chile and in other regions. “The part that affects the development time of energy storage projects the most is the grid connection and building the transformer infrastructure. But if all these things are in place, a typical project for several megawatts of energy storage can take six months,” says Perusse. In a new market, working with new regulators and stakeholders can also have an impact. By early 2016 a 16MWh (8MW interconnection) battery bank, installed by AES, will come online in the Dominican Republic, the island’s first energy storage system. “The grid on the island will benefit from enhanced reliability,” says Perusse. However, the smart money is on South America’s second largest economy Mexico. An early adopter of renewables on the continent that continues to integrate more wind and solar, whilst pushing ahead with sweeping reforms to its energy and electricity markets, the outlook for grid storage is positive, in a market without many of the economic and political problems that have led many investors to put their plans for Brazil on ice, for now.

LATIN AMERICA: MEXICO There are good reasons why investors in renewables and — by extension — energy storage are excited by Latin America’s second largest economy. Sara Verbruggen presents the bigger picture.

Mexico: the giant awakes

Mexico, which accounts for a fifth of all energy use in Latin America, with demand rising fast, is in the final stages of liberalizing its energy markets, part of far-reaching reforms across several sectors, including telecoms and finance. Analysts don’t believe the spill-over into energy storage will be rapid — the overall liberalization has to become accepted first a the new business climate — but already the first storage projects are emerging. Lead acid based products, because of cost reasons, are likely to predominate at first, they say. Over the past 18 months the government passed several acts, including the Hydrocarbons Law, the Electricity Industry Law, the PEMEX Act and the CFE Act, reforms that mark a significant turning point in the country’s economic history. During his tenure as president, from 1934 to 1940, Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the country’s energy industry. Even after the Mexican revolution at the start of the 20th century, foreign capital continued to enter the country, mainly from the US, Canada and Germany. By the 1930s, most of the country’s generating capacity was owned by Mexican Light and Power, a Canadian company. Cárdenas’ actions involved expropriating assets from foreign-owned companies running various industries, including oil and gas and railways, and creating monopolies like Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), in the process, after a first short-lived attempt at placing these newly nationalized industries under the control of their respective workers’ unions. Nearly 80 years later, Mexico has once again opened up its energy sector, to foreign players as well as new domestic enterprises, with the hope that competition will drive down pric-

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 65

LATIN AMERICA: MEXICO es and help the sector progress. Renewables too will benefit, particularly solar energy, which has seen significant cost reductions in recent years. Mexico also has over 2.5GW of wind power. Two years ago, the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Jalisco and Chiapas began commissioning wind capacity, joining the states of Oaxaca and Baja California, where the first wind farms were built. Some of the various new and reformed laws, passed in late 2013 and last year, also attempt to unpick Mexico’s electricity market. A key bill has been one designed to end the generation and trading monopoly of Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The utility owns and operates Mexico’s grid, which serves about 95% of the population. CFE’s gradual monopolization of the country’s electricity generation, distribution and transmission unfolded over several decades, from the mid-1930s up to the late 1980s. CFE controls the majority of Mexico’s generation capacity, which is about 55MW in total, followed by IPPs, such as US player AES Corporation, generating around 20%. The rest is supplied by self-suppliers and cogenerators. However, CFE has virtual total control over distribution, with IPPs having to sell their output to the utility. Reforms include the setting up of the new grid operator Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE), in 2014, to ensure fair access to the grid as well as a functioning wholesale electricity market. Under the reforms renewable energy plant owners and IPPs will be able to sell electricity to commercial and industrial customers, as opposed to only the CFE. The government has a goal of increasing clean energy generation to 35% by 2024, which includes renewables, but also other technologies such as cogeneration (heat and power) plants. In 2010 about 4% of electricity was generated by various renewable resources and this is expect to rise to 10% by 2030, though there is sufficient resources to increase the share to 21% by then. Solar is gaining ground and there are plans to more than treble the country’s installed wind capacity. Spanish utility Iberdrola, which has seen its domestic wind power market collapse due to severe cuts to subsidies for renewables, and a slowdown in new onshore wind demand across Europe, is banking on markets in South America for its new renewables

66 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

AES is Latin America’s largest operator of grid batteries, having completed two projects in Chile, including the 20MW Angamos facility (pictured), with a third to be completed in 2016. The company is also investigating prospects in Mexico and Brazil business and is committed to spending several million dollars on building new wind farms in Mexico. Electricity market reforms also bodes well for energy storage says Brian Perusse, vice president of international market development at AES Energy Storage, as it will help energy storage to compete with other forms of generation and also increase relevance of pay-for-performance type models for energy storage. Under the Electricity Industry Law, some low carbon objectives are imposed on the power sector, in the form of renewable energy quota obligations for retail suppliers and qualified users to acquire clean energy certificates, which can include renewables, or other types of generation defined as such, like combined heat and power or storage. “Our approach in Mexico and the region is no different to how we deploy storage in the rest of the world. It should be classified in terms of the service that it is providing. We’re not waiting for a regulation change or policy to create a new asset class for storage, because you can be waiting for two or three years for such specific policy to come into effect,” says Perusse. In comparison to actual capacity installed to meet energy demand in a particular market, battery capacity is not required in huge quantities. In Mexico electricity generation capacity is around 55GW. Energy storage capacity, equivalent to about 1% of this amount, is all that

is needed to provide adequate fast response, frequency regulation services in the wholesale electricity market. Deployed for peak shaving and similar, then up to about 10% of Mexico’s installed generation capacity would need to be energy storage. For AES Corporation, which has been active in Mexico for nearly two decades, operating combined cycle gas thermal plants, the reforms suggest exciting new opportunities for the company, which is able to point to operational battery assets in the US, Europe and South America, as viable gas peaker replacements and providers of grid services. “The positive response and interest that we had from organizing our seminar in Mexico earlier this year was palpable. People are interested in the potential of energy storage, especially since we can refer to cases where the technology is operating, and is proving its worth,” says Perusse. AES is able to install its fully containerized lithium ion battery system in its own generation facilities or by selling its battery-based Advancion peaker plant alternative in the region. As a first mover, which has established prequalified battery suppliers including LG Chem and Parker Hannifin, on the inverter side, with a presence across the region and a strong presence in developing economies around the world, AES is in a good position to forge a bright future for batteries for grid storage, in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and beyond.

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Ones to watch:

Batteries, hardware, software, and integration. That’s energy storage in a nutshell. But it’s about something else, harder to define — going the extra mile, thinking a few steps ahead or seeing a gap in the supply chain. Batteries International picks a few firms that are shaping the energy storage industry as it goes mainstream.

68 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015


Playing the long game — the winners in the years ahead


hen Elon Musk unveiled the PowerWall in May, Tesla’s Apple-esque battery storage offering, the energy storage industry had reached a point of no return. The stakes suddenly became higher, the rewards bigger. So too, is the pressure to get it right. So who are that companies that are helping to define the new industry landscape? And where will they go to next? The range of these next-generation leaders is diverse. Some have a made a business based on software, providing the market with future-proof systems, able to switch on new functionality and control modes as the demand for these arise. But algorithms only get you so far. Being able to draw on megawatts in size may show that energy storage is reliable and robust. But it also shows the power in partnering up. The energy storage supply chain is a complex one, with no one single entity capable of providing the entire solution. Battery makers have discovered the hard way that they are not best placed to act as an integrator. Meanwhile the new breed of integrator — companies that have developed advanced software, designed to communicate with the grid and

decide how best to deploy the batteries to meet these commands — does not underestimate the importance of strong supply chain partnerships. In different ways, these businesses are driving down the cost of energy storage and are making it a more widely accessible resource, whether among consumers, commercial enterprises or utilities and power producers. The future is still uncharted. It may be through the introduction of energy-storage-asservice models that utilities and other end-users will be able to access to services without paying outright for a containerload of expensive batteries. Or it may be by developing new software that pushes batteries to work harder and longer, or through expertise in integrating different components. Or yet again it could be a final push to re-engineer battery technology to yield high performance at low cost. But whatever may happen — there’s one certainty that will underpin the days ahead. The journey may be long. It may be tortuous and chaotic. But the world will never go back to an energy system that doesn’t use renewables in a meaningful way.

The journey may be long. It may be tortuous and chaotic. But the world will never go back to an energy system that doesn’t use renewables in a meaningful way.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 69

ONES TO WATCH Greensmith, a provider of software, systems and services for the energy storage industry has never been shackled with ideological hang-ups on one particular hardware. The agnosticism is paying off.

Greensmith, match-maker extraordinaire Since its founding in 2008, Greensmith Energy, based in the US state of Maryland, has pursued an agnostic approach to energy storage hardware, sourcing best-in-class batteries and inverters and integrating these with its advanced energy storage management software platform. The company has qualified more than 10 different batteries, including a variety of different lithium batteries, from Samsung SDI, LG Chem and others, as well as flow and aqueous ion chemistries. The company also works with some of the biggest names in inverters and power control systems, including ABB. Greensmith has built and delivered

over 40 systems to 20 customers, many of them North American utilities, including Duke Energy as well as several in California. The company’s founder and chief executive, John Jung estimates that between 2013 and the end of 2015, Greensmith’s software controls will be operating well in excess of 50MW of installed batteries and possibly closer to 100MW, depending on project timeframes. This is all the more impressive as the company has developed these projects off its own steam, without acquiring a big chunk of legacy installations or gaining a mega-order from a customer-investor. In 2014, over a third of energy stor-

age installations that came online in North America were run on the company’s GEMS IV platform. In addition to utilities Greensmith’s customers also include some of North America’s biggest independent power producers and renewable energy plant developers, as well as engineering, procurement and construction firms, many of which are expanding their portfolios or services to include energy storage. “Unlike utilities, which have to operate assets within more heavily regulated frameworks, IPPs and these other types of companies pursue a more commercial model, and if the business case for energy storage works then they will do it,” says Jung. The company’s other growing group of customers are a mix of businesses, but ones that are quickly cottoning on to how energy storage can improve the services that they provide. Greensmith recently signed a deal with a buildings energy efficiency management services firm. The first two projects with the company include two 1MW storage installations, one in the US state of Ohio and the other in Puerto Rico. Greensmith is also work-


“But, as well as being a single neck to choke, we’re a turnkey provider that also does à la carte integration if that is what the customer wants. We are also an advanced software company, able to do data analytics, fleet management and more.” — John Jung, Greensmith Energy 70 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Inc magazine recently rated Greensmith, 107th in its annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. 107 may not sound so impressive but the Inc list includes 5000 names. Putting the ranking in context, Greensmith’s three-year sales growth of 3,209% enabled it to secure: • The No. 1 spot among energy storage-focused companies • A No. 7 ranking among energy companies • The No. 1 ranking among Maryland-based companies John Jung, CEO of Greensmith said. “After delivering over a third of all energy storage installed in the United States in 2014, all of which featured our GEMS software platform, this latest honour represents the commercial traction and growth we are having as a business.”

ONES TO WATCH ing with an aerospace and defence firm moving into microgrid construction. As well as building turnkey energy storage systems — spanning design, modelling, procurement of components, building, testing and deployment — Greensmith also licenses out its software controls. “We have developed the core platform to operate on both sides of the meter and have built multiple applications. This coupled with our diversified customer base puts us in a good position to go wherever the market is heading,” says Jung. Greensmith began licensing its software as a response to customers that had operational energy storage assets but were failing to optimize the functionality — and thus revenue streams — of these costly investments. “The batteries and the inverters are not the problem, but in some cases the system needs more advanced software controls to be retrofitted to get the best out of it.” In some projects the company will work with utilities or IPPs, which opt to do the system themselves. “They design the system and we procure the battery and inverter,” says Jung. “One of the reasons for our success is that we don’t have a bias for a piece of hardware.” Before signing a deal with a major US power producer, Jung refers to the palpable relief of executives at this approach. “They told us we were the first company that did not show up with a plastic model of a battery! Evidently they’d had a bad experience in the past, where the investment decision was based upon only one battery solution on offer.” Greensmith recently launched an energy storage audit service, which Jung says is again, in response to repeated issues the company was coming across. “Independent, knowledgeable advice on how to extract the most from energy storage investments is something the market is in need of,” he says. “It could be where a utility or company wants to ensure that they are deploying their asset properly, so we assess the possibility of adding another revenue stream on top, such as frequency regulation. “We have software diagnostic tools that can measure performance of the system’s various components. We can identify, in a variety of ways, where the system might be operating below par. Many failures are preventable and caused by sub-optimal system design.” Such an approach by an integrator

can only be done based upon extensive knowledge and experience of working with different components. “We are an integrator in one sense but we are also offering something more. We can do turnkey work and have been able to reduce the timeframe for executing multi-MW projects down to just a few months. “But, as well as being a single neck to choke, we’re a turnkey provider that also does à la carte integration if that is what the customer wants. We are also an advanced software company, able to do data analytics, fleet management and more. “The market sees us as more of a technology provider and partner. We discuss the issues and the need for storage and embark on a process that entails a tremendous amount of modelling, before we even get to the stage of system design.” The grid uses software extensively and companies such as Greensmith are as much about ensuring that energy storage systems integrate smoothly into existing operation and control rooms. “You have to offer something substantially more than a few guys in a Palo Alto with a fridge full of Red Bull. Every market has fear and greed and at the moment there is not enough fear. The wind and solar industries went through their teething issues to get to the point they are at today. “Energy storage is much earlier on

the curve and these systems are often connected to vulnerable points on the grid. If you get the software right, you can achieve a great return on investment. But if you get the software wrong, even with good batteries and inverters, it will be a very bad day.” Seven years after the firm’s creation and Greensmith’s hardware-agnostic approach still resonates across the industry. “We’ve gone up against big battery and inverter companies to compete for contracts and when we’ve won a project, we’ll often go back to them and use their products and their expertise. Likewise, they will refer us on the software side.” In the next 12 months, Greensmith Energy is going to become more widely known across the Atlantic, with Jung recently meeting renewables producers in western Europe interested in how energy storage can benefit them. But, like any successful softwarebased business in any industry, integrators like Greensmith live and die by their software. And in the energy storage industry software that optimizes battery performance and improves operational lifetime of the batteries is always going to be prized. “One area that we are working on is developing and testing algorithms that coax the same performance on less battery capacity. We’re very excited about that,” says Jung.

GREENSMITH’S PARTNERS Lithium technologies account for the majority of batteries that Greensmith has qualified to work with its energy storage platform, with key vendors including Samsung SDI and also LG Chem. “Lithium is such a sensitive technology, that even from the same vendor we use multiple cell types,” says Jung. “No single battery technology is going to address all applications.”

The company has also qualified other battery technologies, including flow technology. ViZn is the vendor and aqueous ion cells provided by Aquion. For inverters, Greensmith uses hardware from vendors that include ABB and Parker Hannifin. In all, the company has experience of integrating over a dozen different battery and power control system/ inverter combinations.

“You have to offer something substantially more than a few guys in a Palo Alto with a fridge full of Red Bull. Every market has fear and greed and at the moment there is not enough fear … If you get the software right, you can achieve a great return on investment. But if you get it wrong, even with good batteries and inverters, it will be a very bad day.” John Jung — Greensmith Energy Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 71

ONES TO WATCH In a market where lithium ion storage is being evangelistically touted as the new standard it’s good to remember that blanket rules rarely hold true. Clearly flow batteries will play a role in the energy storage arsenals of the future.

Imergy proves there’s room for flow batteries in energy storage Flow battery chemistry until recently has never quite hit its commercial stride. That is changing as several companies, including Gildemeister, ViZn and Redflow, have been developing the technology for stationary energy storage applications. Leading the charge is Imergy, with its claim of a secret technique that drives down the cost of the flow batteries by turning waste vanadium into high performance cells. In just over a year and half the company has developed its core technology to address commercial and utility-scale markets, in addition to small-scale telecoms back-up. The change in strategy occurred when Bill Watkins took over in late 2013. He and his executive team have come from a high-tech background in fields such as semiconductors and data storage.

“Rechargeable batteries have traditionally been treated as disposable items. However, we’ve approached the challenge in terms of the battery generating energy, not just storing it. You can charge and discharge our battery and it will never run out. We’re changing the cost parameters because we can compete on kWh because our battery will last for 40 years,” says Bill Watkins, chief executive at Imergy. “That means we can compete in the telecom market or at the grid-level, for storing solar or wind power at night.” SunEdison, one of the world’s largest solar developers, sees Imergy as a vital partner for microgrids, with India a key market. Under an agreement between the two companies, announced in February, SunEdison agreed to buy one thousand of Imergy’s vanadium flow batteries, over 100MWh, in total. In India there is demand for bat-

“Lead acid batteries are not designed to be cycled hard. Our flow battery likes being cycled and used every day.” — Bill Watkins, Imergy 72 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

teries that can provide long duration storage and that can perform well in extremely high temperatures. The size of the deal — the largest single order for any flow battery technology — comes at a time when the lithium ion market is getting ever more crowded with new entrants, which risks, or so some say, over-heating the entire energy storage market to dangerous levels. SunEdison’s confidence in Imergy’s technology helps dispel the idea that energy storage and lithium battery technology are one and the same. The turnkey 30kW/120kWh storage systems will be used to store PV-generated electricity for SunEdison’s rural electrification and solar powered minigrid projects in India, a market where SunEdison is investing heavily, thanks to an ambitious solar programme by the government. The first two systems in the rollout have been installed. One of these is part of a microgrid at the Global Academy of Technology College in Bangalore. In the US SunEdison is using a 30kW/120/kWh vanadium flow battery from Imergy as part of a behindthe-meter solar-storage system at a performing arts centre. Imergy is also supplying its battery for other similar projects — including installations at several colleges — in the US, mainly in California. Imergy is a key partner of SunEdison as it continues to go after microgrid opportunities in the US market, as well as in India. But it is telecoms — a traditional domain of lead-acid batteries — where Imergy is also seeing more traction. Some of Imergy’s first projects using its batteries have been for telecoms masts in India, which have been important for showing how well the

ONES TO WATCH company’s batteries work, even in hot temperatures. When Watkins took over as chief executive the decision was made to target alternative stationary storage markets, such as renewables integration, in addition to telecoms back-up. However, the telecoms market in South Africa is warming to Imergy’s flow batteries, with plans to ship several dozen of its 5kW cabinets, its smallest off-the-shelf battery, in the next several months. Though cheap, the operational expenditure of changing lead acid batteries, over say 10 years, eats into savings made by reducing diesel fuel or grid electricity usage for telecom base stations. “Lead acid batteries are not designed to be cycled hard. Our flow battery likes being cycled and used every day,” says Watkins. South Africa could also provide further opportunities for the company for its latest product; a 250kW/1MWh container designed for renewables integration and utility scale applications. A few years ago South Africa launched a renewables programme, and has been holding bidding rounds for multiple megawatts for new wind and solar PV capacity. These have been successful in driving down the cost of renewables, however the country’s grid infrastructure is under-equipped and delays to projects coming online have often been down to lack of a transmission connection. “Five years ago South Africa was generating more electricity than it was using. Now the situation is the opposite,” says Watkins. “Supply cannot keep up, because the investment in infrastructure has failed to keep pace with growth in electricity demand. “Energy storage — especially long duration — lets you capture surplus renewables, like wind, for instance, at night time and feed it into the grid when the demand is there.” Watkins says launching three turnkey products — for small-scale, commercial/microgrid and utility markets, allows the company to scale up or down for a host of markets for energy storage that are opening up worldwide. He was recently in China discussing potential projects and partnerships there. “We’re also seeing demand for our 250kW system in Europe too, for applications such as renewables integration.” Meeting demand should not be an issue. “We have the ability to ramp up by increasing our contract with Fox-

semicon, and there are plans in place to do so to meet anticipated demand,” says Watkins. The company is also working on a next generation product that it says will incorporate more energy management controls and enduse applications. the

The company also expects to reach agreements with strategic partners to support its expansion. To accommodate its growth the company is moving to larger headquarters in Fremont, California at the end of this year.


As part of an agreement with SunEdison to supply 1000 of its battery systems for rural electrification and microgrid projects in India earlier this year one of Imergy’s batteries was installed at the Global Academy of Technology College in Bangalore. The 30kW/120kWh four hour duration battery, commissioned in May, is connected to SunEdison’s 50kW PV array, will reduce the college’s use of diesel generators when there are power outages at night. Last year, the college got through nearly 3000 litres of diesel fuel to keep the lights on. But the battery’s performance, in the context of rural solar-based microgrids, will also be studied by engineering students within a facility at the Bangalore campus that has been set up to study solar water pumps, storage, hybrid systems,

solar power plant monitoring and mounting structures. Unlike many other battery technologies, Imergy’s system will be able to handle Bangalore’s extreme temperatures without any impact on its performance. Installed outside, the college the storage system can operate in temperatures ranging from -20-55°C. The company has been able to prove this level of performance thanks to installations of its batteries in the field, in telecom sites in India and also Africa. However, the faculty and students of the Global Academy of Technology College will study how rural microgrids can use energy storage to optimize PV solar power system production, and how a PV-vanadium flow battery system performs under grid outage conditions.

“Five years ago South Africa was generating more electricity than it was using. Now the situation is the opposite and supply cannot keep up, because the investment in infrastructure has failed to keep pace with growth in electricity demand. Energy storage — especially long duration — lets you capture surplus renewables at night time and feed it into the grid when the demand is there.” Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 73







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ONES TO WATCH Sonnenbatterie has taken the cost of energy storage down further for residential users with its latest Eco battery /storage system. It is now in the middle of a concerted push into North America and has plans to be in active in Australia soon.

Sonnenbatterie sets sights on global markets

For those recently switched on to energy storage, due to the hype generated by Tesla’s latest product launch, you might be forgiven for thinking Sonnen-who? But Sonnenbatterie, the market leader in Germany is taking its smart storage technology global, starting with the US.

Sonnenbatterie has developed its technology from the ground up, as opposed to repurposing batteries and management systems originally designed for electric cars. The lithium battery used by Sonnenbatterie is supplied by Sony, a first mover in the technology, which devel-

INVERTER PARTNERSHIPS FOR SONNENBATTERIE’S ECO • Steca supplies the inverter for the German/European market • Outback Power supplies the inverter for the US residential product • Ideal Power suppliers the inverter for the US commercial product

oped its Fortelion range, using lithium ion phosphate cells, specifically for stationary applications. In its domestic market, Sonnenbatterie has sold in the region of 8000 residential energy storage systems, equivalent to 80MWh, and is shipping about 500 units a month. It started providing them in 2010. The company has continued to adapt and improve its core technology. The Sonnenbatterie Eco product, launched this April, is capable of 10,000 charge cycles (100% depth of discharge), reducing the cost per stored kWh, which is about €0.24kWh and reduces to €0.17/kWh, as the Eco’s battery capacity is increased. But the real advantage of the Eco, with its beefed up battery, is the system’s ability to do more than simply store power generated by rooftop PV systems for self-consumption. “While self-consumption of solar has been the primary driver for residential storage in Germany, the US market is more complex, with a variety of use cases beginning to emerge, depending on location and utilities and other factors,” says Boris von Bormann, chief executive of Sonnenbatterie Inc, the company’s North American division. “These include self-consumption with zero export to the utility grid, back-up power, time-of-use rate arbitrage, off-grid power and grid services, like demand response and frequency regulation. “As net metering models gradually phase out, self-consumption will make more sense in the US. Then, it could also follow in places such as Puerto Rico and Hawaii, for provision of grid services. To do this a battery with a high cycling lifetime is the perfect fit,” he says. The Eco may be expected to cycle as much as four times a day, hence requiring a high cycling battery. Back-up, in particular, is an important selling point of behind-the-meter energy storage systems in the US market. For both markets the residential system has a 4kWh base system that can be expanded to 16kWh in 2kWh increments. The difference is that the base cabinet without the expansion

The Eco is equipped to connect to different sources of microgeneration, including micro combined heat and power plants and heat pumps, for customers looking to minimize their reliance on utilities for heating as well as electricity.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 75


“As net metering models gradually phase out, selfconsumption will make more sense in the US. Then, it could also follow in places such as Puerto Rico and Hawaii, for provision of grid services. To do this a battery with a high cycling lifetime is the perfect fit” — Boris von Bormann, chief executive of Sonnenbatterie Inc cabinet goes up to 8kWh in the US, as opposed to 6kWh to accommodate capacity needed for outages. The US product also has a more powerful inverter. In May, Sonnenbatterie announced a partnership with Sungevity, the third largest solar installer in the US. Volume shipping of the residential system started in September. In addition, Sonnenbatterie has also developed a larger energy storage system, for the commercial and industrial segment, which is available in Germany and the US, with shipping to start in December. By the end of this year the company says it expects to ship an additional 400-500 units a month, based on expanding demand in its domestic market, as well as US demand, and anticipates shipping between 5,000 and 8,000 systems in 2016. The company’s factory in Germany has the potential to triple production volumes,

76 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

by additional shifts. “In the US we are contract manufacturing in California, providing us basically with unlimited capacity,” says von Bormann. Next year the company has its sights set on Australia, once it has a partnership in place. The country is primed for storage, in the residential/small commercial sector, because some states have high charges during peak demand, which solar and storage can help customers avoid. “The partnership will be similar to other markets by partnering up with the larger installation companies in the market. These companies are close to the customer and can provide the level of service and quality installation that we require and desire from Sonnenbatterie. “There is also an off-grid and backup power market in Australia that we would like to provide a product for,” says von Bormann. In Germany because of the changes that increasing amounts of solar PV have made to the grid, not to mention demand among consumers to generate and use their own energy, futureproof intelligent energy storage systems such as Sonnenbatterie’s look set to win out, say some commentators. The Eco is equipped to connect to different sources of microgeneration, including micro combined heat and power plants and heat pumps, for customers looking to minimize their reliance on utilities for heating as well as electricity. Sonnenbatterie’s individual system installations can also be aggregated into one large virtual power plant. This allows customers to trade surplus electricity with each other as part of a community, a model that is heavily dependent on advanced software that can enable each individual storage system to carry out multiple functions. These are of providing storage for the individual household, to trade storage with others in the network and also provide grid services, when called upon by the utility. Lichtblick — see Analysis section — has developed the Schwarmdirigent IT platform, which links decentralized producers and energy storage systems and connects them to the energy markets. The company operates a digital power plant in Germany with over a thousand decentralized units linked together. Both Sonnenbatterie and Varta energy storage systems have been early

participants in the cluster, while Tesla’s Powerwall system is the latest smart energy storage system to participate. Other companies that have recently introduced home energy storage systems, including Daimler Group, are also interested in joining it.

The company’s factory in Germany has the potential to triple production volumes. It is already making systems under contract in California.

MORE THAN JUST A BOX WITH A BATTERY Sonnenbatterie says it provides: • Self learning algorithms that can predict generation and usage based on date and weather data • Smart home integration to drive different appliances in the home for back-up power and for optimizing self-consumption  • Demand charge and peak shaving algorithms to optimize peak shaving applications and cost savings in commercial environments • Self-consumption control optimized based on market parameters, which can range from 60% feed-in, to grid zero, and so on  • Virtual power plant and aggregated storage interface to control a swarm network of batteries on the grid

batterie füllungs systeme gmbh ing. klaus oschmann

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ONES TO WATCH The turbulent and rapidly changing energy storage picture is throwing up various commercial models. Younicos has helped develop a powerful position pioneering an energy-storage-as-service model which quite probably will be the template for the industry in years to come.

Younicos reduces barriers to energy storage Taking a leaf out of the US solar industry’s book, companies like Stem and Greencharge Networks have known a market for energy storage in the commercial and industrial segment can be carved out more rapidly by offering services provided by batteries rather than trying to sell units outright. Earlier this year Younicos — a Berlin-based software business focused on energy storage — launched its own energy-storage-as-service model, but aimed at utilities and power producers. Since acquiring the assets of bankrupt Xtreme Power in April 2014, Younicos now controls one of the biggest portfolios of grid-scale energy storage assets in the industry, close to 100MW and has a 4GW pipeline, much of it in North America and Europe, with a few hundred megawatts in emerging markets. Company chief executive James McDougall estimates that about half of the company’s pipeline will be built under energy-storage-as-service agreements, where the customer, such as a utility, signs up to a long-term power purchase agreement with his company. In the long-term Younicos is positioning itself to dominate a large share of emerging market opportunities for grid-scale energy storage. From its discussions with grid operators and utilities in regions such as south-east Asia the company sees a more productbased and standardized turnkey type of offering being more appropriate. In recent years, governments in a growing number of developing countries across sun-belt regions in southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East and Latin America have been introducing renewable energy programmes. Many are looking to reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports while meeting growing electricity demand. One advantage of renewable energy technology such as solar PV enables new megawatts of capacity to be built in a matter of months, unlike traditional power plants, which take years to build

78 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

GRACIOSA: A STORAGE BLUEPRINT A ground-breaking energy storage project taking place on Graciosa, an island in the Azores could prove to be a cost-effective template for remote communities and similar projects have already been kick-started for other islands in the Atlantic as well as in the Mediterranean. The project, being delivered by Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché and Younicos, will provide a complete Battery Energy Storage Solution (BESS) using lithium-ion batteries combined with Younicos Energy Management software. It is being financed by an affiliate of Recharge, one of Leclanché’s largest shareholders, which has provided €3.5 million in convertible debt financing to the project’s operating company Graciolica, a wholly owned subsidiary of Younicos.

Described by the companies as the world’s first megawatt-scale renewable energy plus storage system, the system will stabilise the grid without the rotating mass of a conventional thermal engine, allowing it to be fully powered by wind and solar energy. The centrepiece of the system is a fully automated, intelligently managed 2.8MW battery park integrated into the intelligent energy management system developed by Younicos. In addition, the system will incorporate wind (4.5MW) and solar (1MW) power resources, and intelligent inverters. The renewable energy-powered grid will boost the island’s annual share of renewable energies, from a previous 15% to up to 65% and thus allow the island to reduce its dependence on fuel imports

Renewable energy technology such as solar PV enables new megawatts of capacity to be built in a matter of months, unlike traditional power plants, which take years to build and have an environmental impact. But the downside is that many grids in developing countries cannot tolerate high levels of unpredictable or intermittent renewables. Energy storage can be deployed to stabilize the grid as more renewables are added. Systems do not have to be built to execute a stack of revenue streams, just a handful of control modes in an off-the-shelf containerized product will suffice. “With the energy-storage-as-service model, we do not have to wait for governments to come up with tender programmes, or deal with issues around getting the project financing in place to

cover the capex costs with this model,” says McDougall. The company has developed a number of microgrid projects showing how energy storage, can increase the share of renewables in a small or remote utility grid’s by more than half. The company has also developed software controls to manage and operate the entire grid and all of its components, not just batteries and converters, but renewable and fossil fuel generation plants. Such an approach could help to serve Younicos equally well as it takes its energy-storage-as-service model full circle, setting its sights on the C&I market in the months ahead.

ONES TO WATCH Lithium ion batteries have been the sexy side to energy storage for almost decade. Unfortunately this has been to the industry’s detriment when advanced lead acid batteries could provide the commercial scope that lithium still often lacks.

Ecoult breathes new life for lead acid with UltraBattery 2.0 Only a few companies have spent recent years developing advanced lead acid batteries that are equipped for the rigours of grid work. One of the most promised — and most advanced in its development — is Ecoult, which has had several pilot projects underway in North America and in Australia to demonstrate the high-power and fast-cycling ability of its technology for grid services. The company is gearing up to commercialize its energy storage systems using its advanced lead acid chemistry. “One of our most interesting largescale projects that is being implemented is a dual-purposing MW-scale plant in the US, which puts storage into the grid to be used by the own as a standby power source and as a frequency regulation revenue source,” says John Wood, Ecoult’s chief executive. The company is also developing projects in Europe, where its battery is being used as part of a smart grid project, and is opening up in-roads into India and south-east Asia. East Penn Manufacturing, the US battery giant that bought Ecoult, produces the UltraBattery at a factory that has an annual lead acid battery production capacity that is a little larger than Tesla’s giga-factory and the company is near the end of building a new factory at Lyon Station in Pennsylvania, which will expand its manufacturing floor space and production capacity. In addition, advanced production processes that supplement standard lead acid processes at East Penn should allow the company to rapidly ramp to meet demand. The company is also exploring licensing opportunities for other regions including China, South America, Europe and Africa. “We’ve made progress toward reducing $/kW by increasing peak Crate and in $/kWh by increasing available range of charge used for cycling. We’ve roughly doubled the power rat-

ing for our newest UltraBattery models applied to variability applications like regulation services,” says Wood. Ecoult recently launched the 12UB700 12V monoblock UltraBattery and implementing this product into a regulation services facility operating at 1.4C, which means providing the same service using roughly half the amount of lead.

Next up — what might be called the second generation of the UltraBattery — is a system that combines the high rate capability with ride-through for power continuity, enabling it to provide grid services as well as reserve power for behind the meter. In early 2016 a further enhanced 2V UltraBattery 2UB700 will be released that has been designed for higher peak power ratings and, in particular, for use in very large systems. Ecoult has been growing rapidly in 2015, hiring several engineers in areas such as application, hardware and software design as well as product management. It is also expanding its team in the US.

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

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 79

THREE MORE TO WATCH An integrator, an inverter maker and a battery firm are clearly firms to keep close tabs on from 2016 onwards.

Blue skies ahead WIN INERTIA While it may not have the experience of integrating or supplying multiple megawatts of grid storage capacity, yet, Win Inertia is making rapid progress since it was set up by Eugenio Domínguez in 2007. His plan was to commercialize a storage hardwareagnostic smart grid platform, based on R&D originating within Spain’s Seville University. In mid-2015 the company completed construction of an 8.8MW advanced grid lab to demonstrate its core hardware- and software-based platform that integrates different storage technologies. Most grid events are below 10kWh. Win Inertia is showing how ultracapacitors — still relatively under-used

in the grid storage market — can adequately handle the majority of these events while preserving the life and performance of other storage hardware. The company’s Hybrid Storage Solution Platform (SHAD) is based on the combination of high power ultracapacitors and Win Inertia’s own power electronics and energy management algorithms. The SHAD platform is flexible so that it also integrates with various other storage technologies, under a unique DC bus developed by Win Inertia, to provide an extensive portfolio of energy services. “The platform can carry out various types of grid services, maximizing revenues, reducing capex costs by avoiding oversizing, and reducing opex costs by only directing the bat-

teries in the system at energy events, and minimizing the high power demand on them and their degradation,” says Domínguez. The company is building a similar advanced grid lab for a utility on the US east coast, for solar smoothing as well as other applications. There are also plans to develop a second demonstration platform on the west coast by 2016. The company’s close partner is Maxwell Ultracapacitors. Using Maxwell’s devices Win Inertia has developed a proprietary ultracapacitor management system, which it will license to Maxwell, which is focusing on securing more projects in the stationary storage market, building on both companies’ earlier collaborations in the area of wayside storage for electric rail in the US and Spain. Domínguez has big ambitions for his company. While most of Win Inertia’s 15,000 sq ft facility close to Seville airport is filled with cabinets and racks of various storage and power conversion hardware, all connected up by thousands of metres of cabling, a substantial room, behind a floor to ceiling wall of glass is being equipped for the company’s expanding team of software engineers. “It’s a Google-like approach that we are taking. You need to have to have software, based on analytics and algorithms, able to address a multitude of grid tasks and services and also that can best leverage the different storage components that are configured to work within the platform.”


“The platform can carry out various types of grid services, maximizing revenues, reducing capex costs by avoiding oversizing, and reducing opex costs by only directing the batteries in the system at energy events, and minimizing the high power demand on them and their degradation.” Eugenio Domínguez — Win Inertia 80 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

German company Freqcon, has entered the energy storage market by adapting its power converter technology originally developed for wind turbines and wind farms. The company’s energy storage product offering has been developed to work with a range of battery and storage technologies, including various lithium chemistries, sodium nickel as well as ultracapacitors.


The company’s partners include Maxwell for ultracapacitors as well as Samsung SDI, for batteries. According to Frank Baumann, Samsung SDI Europe’s sales director for energy storage, while large customers, such as Siemens and Younicos, are important sales channels for the company, Freqcon and other smaller players are beneficial to work with because they offer greater flexibility. Earlier in 2015, Freqcon deployed an energy storage system for the Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed in Ireland that uses Maxwell ultracapacitors and lithium ion batteries to support grid stability in both residential and industrial settings. The company is targeting Ireland’s wind market, where increasing amounts of the intermittent and unpredictable renewable energy are creating problems for the grid and threaten to hinder the country from reaching its target of 40% of renewable generation by 2020. Freqcon’s expertise in power conversion technology and its ability to integrate different types of storage technology within its core Microgrid Stabilizer product, have great potential and the company has projects underway, which includes a wind integration/smoothing project in southwest Ireland.

ENERGY POWER SYSTEMS Energy Power Systems, in the US state of Michigan, is run by an executive team with expertise across other types of advanced batteries, albeit none in lead acid chemistry, its core product! It’s a deliberate approach that has allowed it to rip up the rulebook when

it comes to rejuvenating the technology for the 21st century. Calculated on a cost/kWh, per number of cycles, per life expectancy, EPS’ batteries come in at about $0.05/kWh, per cycle. “When you do the same math for Tesla’s Powerwall, the cost is at least twice that,” says Subhash Dhar, EPS’ chief executive. The company’s strategy includes targeting existing markets that are familiar with lead acid batteries, including automotive start-stop/idle hybrid applications and for stationary storage, such as telecoms, where the grid is poor — regions such as Africa and India — but where lithium ion technology is too costly. “Ours is a familiar technology — the same chemistry in fact — but with three or four times the performance characteristics of lead acid. In doing so our batteries also benefit from the existing recycling infrastructure that has been in place for lead acid, where over 99% of the material is recycled back into batteries. No other chemistry can claim that,” Dhar says. In the telecoms industry, deficiencies in traditional lead acid technology have meant that operators have become increasingly receptive to alternatives. “Compared with automotive, the pain point is much higher,” he says. The telecoms industry is losing out here. Simultaneously EPS is also targeting grid storage and behind the meter applications, which requires setting up partnerships. “We do batteries, battery management systems, racks and rack management. We do not go beyond that so we are looking for partnerships with systems integrators.” The company is in the process of

“Ours is a familiar technology — the same chemistry in fact — but with three or four times the performance characteristics of lead acid. In doing so our batteries will also benefit from the existing recycling infrastructure that has been in place for lead acid, where over 99% of the material is recycled back into batteries. No other chemistry can claim that.” Subhash Dhar — Energy Power Systems completing third party accreditation, which takes about six to nine months. “The process takes longer when you have a longer cycling technology.” Next year is critical for EPS as the company transfers its pilot production activities to a full-scale production line. About 75% of the process is identical to traditional lead acid. “The remaining 25% that we’ve introduced is used in other industries, so it’s not like we are inventing it, but it deploys automation found in these other industries. “We want to incorporate new processing ideas into our assembly line. The automation we are introducing also lets us be flexible so we can handle different model productions as we scale up,” says Dhar.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 81

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING The future success of electric and hybrid vehicles is dependent not just on the battery’s life and cycling characteristics but also on the charging profile of the battery. Isidor Buchmann, president of the Battery University and chairman of Cadex International explains.

Plug on, plug in and power away If you own an EV, you want to pamper the battery and charge the car at home and at the office. The power requirements to charge a mid-sized EV is similar to that of an electric stove connected to a 40A, 240VAC circuit developing up to 9.6kW. Most midsized EVs carry a 6.6kW on-board charger for a four to five hour charge. (6.6kW is derived by multiplying 220V by 30A.) On-board chargers are limited by

cost, size and thermal issues. With three-phase AC power available with most residences in Europe, on-board chargers can be made smaller than with a two-phase system and Renault is offering compact on-board chargers that range from 3 to 43kW. The hook-up to charge an EV is called the Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) and the charging station must be installed by an electrician. There are three levels of charging.

Level 1

Cordset connects to a regular household outlet of 120VAC, 15A (230VAC, ~6A in Europe). This singe-phase hook-up produces about 1.5kW, and the charge time is 7 to 30 hours depending on battery size. Level 1 meets overnight charging requirements for e-bikes, scooters, electric wheelchairs and PHEVs not exceeding 12kWh.

Level 2

Wall-mount; 240VAC, 30A twophase, charges a mid-sized EV in 4 to 5 hours. This is the most common home and public changing station. It produces about 7kW to feed the 6.6kW on-board chargers installed in most EVs.

Level 3

Tesla is throwing a ton of money to build superchargers and offer free charging; other EV makers compete by also making charging free — at least for now

DC Fast Charger; 400–600VDC, up to 300A; serves as ultra-fast charging by feeding the power directly to the batteries, bypassing onboard charger. Level 3 chargers deliver up to 120kW to fill a Li-ion battery to 80% in about 30 minutes. In the 1990s and 2000s, EV makers made all efforts to develop a

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 83

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING universal charging port for EVs and the result was the SAE J1772, a fivepin connector carrying AC and data. The drawback is a charge time that takes several hours when drivers are accustomed to the short time it takes to fill the tank of an internal combustion engine. EV makers have agreed that the future of the EV lies in fast charging. While Level 2 only gains about 40km (25 miles) per hour charge, DC Fast Charging fills the battery to 80% in 30 minutes. EV makers realized that an infrastructure with DC Fast Charging would change the EV from a commuter car into a touring vehicle and marketing started to push the concept. Japan was first to introduce DC Fast Charging by developing the CHAdeMO connector for the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi MiEV. JEVS (Japan Electric Vehicle Standard) specified the connector that includes two large DC pins with communications pins for the CAN-BUS. The CHAdeMO standard was formed in 2008 by TEPCO (The Tokyo Electric Power Company), Nissan, Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries (manufacturer Subaru vehicles) and Toyota. It charges a battery with 500VDC and 125A to develop a power of up to 62.5kW. CHAdeMO stands for “CHArge de Move;” Figure 1 illustrates the plug. While the CHAdeMO connector shows good viability in the field, the West lobbied against it, saying that it had technical issues. The reason for this may be the not-invented-inmy-backyard” syndrome as well as a standard favouring certain car brands. The SAE rejected CHAdeMO in favour of its own version. After much delay, the SAE International J1772 Committee released the SAE DC Fast Charging standard in 2012, a system that is also known as the Combo Charging System (CCS). The delay caused a setback in building the CHAdeMO infrastructure and some argue that the postponement was deliberate. CCS is based on the existing J1772 connector with the addition of two DC pins. This keeps compatibility with Level 2. AC charging uses the circular connector with communications

These charging stations are demanding and a Tesla Supercharger requires the power of five households. Charging too many Teslas at one time could dim a city pins to govern voltage, charge rate and end-of-charge; DC Fast Charging includes the DC pins. Figure 2 illustrates the Combo Charging vehicle inlet with the respective AC and DC Fast Charge charging connectors. The SAE Combo or CCS is the de facto global standard for Level 2 and 3 charging and Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen jointly announced their support in 2011. The Chevy Spark was the first EV to feature the SAE Combo in 2013. There is now talk to discontinue the CHAdeMO. To maintain compatibility with EVs featuring CHAdeMO, newer Nissan Leafs include a SAE J1772 port to allow Level 2 charging. Some charger manufacturers, including ABB, offer both charging plugs at their pumps. Tesla Motors does not follow standards easily and they came up with their own system. Its Supercharger fills a depleted battery to 80% in 40 minutes to give a driving range of 270km. (Charging from 80%–100% takes doubles the time.) While Tesla was criticized for introducing its Superchargers, a proprietary charging standard, others say that they are ahead of the game and did not want to wait for the world to get their standards right. Tesla is in discussions with Nissan and BMW in offering their Supercharger as standard. Charging the Tesla S-85 on a Supercharger begins at a voltage of about 375V and 240A, consuming 90kW. As the battery fills, the voltage rises to about 390VDC and the current drops to roughly 120A. The initial 90kW into the 85kWh battery is a charge rate that is only slightly higher than 1C. After a brief moment, the C-rate falls to a comfortable 0.8C, and then goes down further, avoiding harmful stresses on the battery. Battling three incompatible charging

EV manufacturers calculate the driving range under the best conditions ... but the distances in the realworld can be 30%–37% less than advertised

84 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Figure 1: Japanese CHAdeMO DC Fast Charge plug developed in 2008 Nissan and Mitsubishi were leading in DC fast charging and developed CHAdeMO. SAE and Tesla Motors developed their own standards. DC fast charging at 500VDC, 125A, at up to 62.5kW

Figure 2: SAE J1772 Combo Charging System (CCS) CCS allows Level 2 charging by connecting to the upper circular receptacle only, and Level 3 charging with a plug that includes the DC terminals. SAE J1772 divides charging into four levers: • AC level 1: 120VAC, 12–16A, up to 1.92kW • AC level 2: 240VAC, 80A 19.2kW • DC level 1: 200-500VDC, up to 80A (40kW) • DC level 2: 200-500VDC, up to 200A (100kW)

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING systems was not the plan but occurred in part by not accepting available technologies and delaying standards. Tesla is throwing a ton of money to build superchargers and offer free charging; other EV makers compete by also making charging free — at least for now. There are similarities with the 1800s railroads when each railway company ran their trains on different track gauges. Charging sdfBMW with its SAE Combo Charging system chose 24kW rather than the more common 50kW as their DC Fast Charger. They reckon that 24 kW is cheaper, lighter and easier to install than a 50kW system. While 50kW would charge faster, the benefit is for a brief moment only before degradation occurs. The scaling is especially apparent with the smaller i3 battery, as well as packs that cannot take the ultra-fast charge due to anomalies. Tests show that the 50 kW charger charges a battery to 80% in about 20 minutes; the 24 kW chargers does it in roughly 30 minutes. Doubling the power does not cut the charge time in half and moving up in in the pyramid has diminishing returns. But the main reason may be battery size. The BMW i3 carries a 22kW battery compared to the monster 85kW in the Tesla S 85. Both charging systems keep the charge C-rate at about 1C during DC fast charging to keep the battery stress levels low. DC fast charging is more complex in that it must evaluate the condition of the battery and only apply a charge level that the battery can safely absorb. A cold battery should charge at a lower current than when charged at room temperature. Charge current should also be reduced when some cells have developed high internal resistance or when they the balancing circuit can no longer compensate for cell mismatch. DC Fast Charging is not designed to fill the battery fully but to reach the next charging station while in transit. Using Level 2 is the preferred routine for everyday charging. Table 1 summarizes the charge levels and times with different Level 1, 2 and 3. The charge times may not full agree with advertised rates as the calculations are based on charging an empty battery fully; some EV makers consider the battery charged when it reaches 80%. Higher charge levels


On the surface, driving on electricity is cheaper than burning fossil fuel; however, low fuel prices, uncertainty about battery longevity, unfamiliarity with abuse tolerances and high replacement costs are factors that reduce buyer incentives to switch from a proven propulsion system to the electric drivetrain. The EV will always have shorter driving ranges than vehicles with ICE because oversizing batteries have a diminishing return. Technology roadmaps as part of International Energy Agency (IEA) compare the energy consumption and cost of gasoline versus electric propulsion. These show that an EV requires between 150Wh and 200Wh per kilometre depending on speed and terrain. At an assumed consumption of 200Wh/km and electricity price of $0.20 per kWh, the energy cost to drive an EV translates to $0.04 per km. This compares to $0.06 per km for a similar-size gasoline-powered car and $0.05 per km for diesel. Price estimations exclude equipment costs, service and the eventual replacement of the battery. Battery endurance and cost will govern the success of the EV. If the economics can be met, a consumer market will likely develop for a light EV with a battery providing 160km (100 miles) driving range or less. This will be a subcompact commuter car owned by a driver who adheres to a tightly regimented

driving routine and follows a disciplined recharging regime. According to research, 90% of commuting involves less than 30km. The EV market will also include highend models for the ecology-minded wealthy who realize cost savings while reducing greenhouse gases and lowering street noise. Charging with renewable resources optimizes the environmental benefit of driving an EV. Burning coal and fossil fuel to generate electricity, as it is done in many countries, does not reduce greenhouse gases. In the US, 50% of electricity is generated by burning coal, 20% by natural gas and 20% by nuclear energy. Renewable energy by hydro is eight% and solar/wind is only two%. Going electric also begs the question, “who will pay for the roads in the absence of fuel tax?” Governments spend billions on road maintenance and expansions; EV, and in part also PHEV, use the infrastructure for free. This poses a disadvantage for folks using public transport as they pay double: first income tax to support the roads and second the bus and train fares. The high cost of the EV against the lure of cheap and readily available fossil fuel will slow the transition to clean driving. Government subsidies may be needed to make “green” cars affordable to the masses but many argue that such hand-outs should be directed towards better public transportation systems.

Fast-charging at a cold temperature would promote dendrite growth in Li-ion that can compromise battery safety

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 85

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING may only be utilized when the battery capacity shows fading. The cost to install a Level 2 EVSE is about $750 in material plus labour. With a limited 100A household circuit, it is best to charge the EV after cooking and clothes-drying is done as not to exceed the household power. Some EVSE are Wi-Fi enabled. While this is a modern feature, a timer to charge at night may be a better option. Level 3 is reserved for public places to serve motorists in transit. These stations are demanding and a Tesla Supercharger requires the power of five

households. Charging too many Teslas at one time could dim a city.

Realizing electrochemical limitations

As part of this, a wider perspective on how the industry is moving. The EV culture is developing distinctive philosophies, each satisfying a unique user group. This is visible with vehicle sizes and their associated batteries. The subcompact EV gets a battery in the size of 12kWh–18kWh, the mid-sized family sedan is fitted with a 22kWh –32kWh

pack, and the luxury models by Tesla stand alone with an “oversized’ battery boasting 60 kWh –85kWh to provide extended driving range and high performance. Table 2 lists the most common EVs. Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and other EV makers use the proven lithium-manganese battery with an NMC blend, packaged in a prismatic cell. Tesla chose NCA (lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide) in the 18650 cell that delivers an exceptionally high specific energy of 3.4Wh per cell or 248Wh/kg.

Table 1: Estimated charging times on electric vehicle service equipment Level 1 Cordset 1.5kW 120VAC, 15A

Level 2 Wall-mount 6.6kWh* 240VAC, 30A**

Level 3 DC Fast-charge 20–120kW 400-600VDC, up to 300A

Driving range

8km (5 mi) per 1h charge

36km (22 mi) per 1h charge

120kW: 270km (168mi) per 30min charge

4.4kWh Toyota Prius




16kWh Chevy Volt




22kWh BMW i3



24kW: To 80% in 30 min

24kWh Nissan Leaf



50kW: To 80% in 20 min

85kWh Tesla S 85



120kW: To 80% in 40 min

EVs carry the charging circuit onboard and the most common is the 6.6kW system, Tesla has 10kW charger * Tesla EVs come with 10kW and 20kW chargers; Renault uses 3–43kW 3-phase on-board chargers ** A 30-amp EVSE needs a 40A circuit breaker; some EVs come with lager on-board chargers SAE J1772 divides charging into four levers:

Table 2: Electric vehicles with battery type, range and charge time Model


Charge times

Toyota Prius PHEV

4.4kWh Li-ion, 18km (11 miles) all-electric range

3h at 115VAC 15A; 1.5h at 230VAC 15A

Chevy Volt PHEV

16kWh, Li-manganese/NMC, liquid cooled, 181kg (400lb), all electric range 64km (40 miles)

10h at 115VAC, 15A; 4h at 230VAC, 15A

Mitsubishi iMiEV

16kWh; 88 cells, 4-cell modules; Li-ion; 109Wh/kg; 330V, range 128km (80 miles)

13h at 115VAC 15A; 7h at 230VAC 15A

Smart Fortwo ED

16.5kWh; 18650 Li-ion, driving range 136km (85 miles)

8h at 115VAC, 15A 3.5h at 230VAC, 15A

BMW i3 Curb 1, 200kg (2,645 lb.)

22kWh (18.8kWh usable), LMO/NMC, large 60A prismatic cells, battery weighs 204kg (450 lb.) driving range of 130–160km (80–100 miles)

~4h at 230VAC, 30A; 50kW Supercharger; 80% in 30 min

Nissan LEAF

24kWh; Li-manganese, 192 cells; air cooled; 272kg (600lb), driving range 160km (100 miles)

8h at 230VAC, 15A; 4h at 230VAC, 30A

Tesla S Curb 2,100kg (4,630 lb.)

60 and 85kWh, 18650 NCA cells of 3.4Ah; liquid cooled; 85kWh pack has 7,616; battery weighs 540kg (1,200lb); S-85 has 424km range (265 mi)

9h with 10kW charger; 120kW Supercharger, 80% charge in 30 min.

86 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING To protect the delicate Li-ion from over-loading at highway speed, Tesla over-sizes the pack by a magnitude of three to four compared to other EVs. The large 85kWh battery of the Tesla S Model provides an unparalleled driving range of 424km (265 miles), but the battery weights 540kg (1,200 lb.) and this increases the energy consumption to 238Wh/km (380Wh/ mile), one of the highest in EVs. In comparison, the BMW i3 is one of the lightest EVs that also has the lowest consumption; it only draws 160 Wh/km (260Wh/mile). The car uses LMO/NMC offering a moderate specific energy of 120Wh/kg. The 22kWh pack provides a driving range of 130km–160km (80–100 miles). To compensate for the shorter range, the i3 offers REX, an optional gasoline engine that is fitted on the back. Table 3 compares the battery size and energy consumption of common EVs. The cost of an EV battery has come down to about $350/kWh, but Tesla managed to lower the price to $250/kWh using the 18650, a popular cell of which 2.5 billion where made in 2013. The 18650 format for the Tesla Roadster and the current S Models is an unlikely choice as the cell was designed for portable devices such as laptops. Around since the early 1990s, the 18650 cell is optimized for high specific energy, is readily available and has a low cost. Cylindrical cell-design further offers superior stability over the prismatic and pouch cell, but the advantage may not hold as prismatic

and pouch cells are improving. Large cell-formats are relatively new and have the potential for higher capacities and lower cost. The use of fewer cells will also decrease the price. All EV makers must provide an eight-year warranty or mileage limit. Tesla believes in their battery and of-

fers unlimited mileage. Figure 3 illustrates the battery that forms the chassis o the Tesla S Model. The Model S 85 contains 7,616 18650 cells in parallel and serial configuration. The smaller S-60 has 5,376 cells. EV manufacturers calculate the driving range under the best condi-

Figure 3: Battery in a Tesla S Model chassis. The 85kWh battery has 7,616 18650 cells in parallel/serial configuration. At $250 per kWh, the cost is lower than other Li-ion designs.

New battery

Mid point

End-of-life 0









Battery capacity in %

Figure 4: Driving range as a function of battery performance A new EV battery charges to about 80% and discharges to 30%. As the battery ages, more of the usable battery bandwidth is demanded.

Table 3: Estimated energy consumption and cost per km/mile of common EVs EV Make


Range km (mi)

Wh/km (mi)

Energy cost/km (mi)

BMW i3


135km (85)

165 (260)

$0.033 ($0.052)

GM Spark


120km (75)

175 (280)

$0.035 ($0.056

Fiat 500e


135km (85)

180 (290)

$0.036 ($0.058)

Honda Fit


112km (70)

180 (290)

$0.036 ($0.058)

Nissan Leaf


130km (80)

190 (300)

$0.038 ($0.06)

Mitsubishi MiEV


85km (55)

190 (300)

$0.038 ($0.06)

Ford Focus


110km (75)

200 (320)

$0.04 ($0.066)

Smart ED


90km (55)

200 (320)

$0.04 ($0.066)

Mercedes B

28kWh (31.5)*

136km (85)

205 (330)

$0.04 ($0.066)

Tesla S 60


275km (170)

220 (350)

$0.044 ($0.07)

Tesla S85


360km (225)

240 (380)

$0.048 ($0.076)

Energy cost only includes the consumed electricity at $0.20/kWh; service items are excluded. * Driving range limited to 28kWh; manual switch to 31.5kWh gives extra 16km (10 mile) spare

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 87

BACK TO BASICS: EV BATTERY CHARGING tions but the distances in the realworld can be 30%–37% less than advertised. This may be due to extra electrical loads such as headlights, windshield wipers, as well as cabin heating and cooling. Aggressive driving in a hilly countryside lowers the driving range further. Cold temperature also reduces the driving range. What battery users may also overlook is the difficulty of charging when cold. Most Li-ion cannot be charged below freezing. To protect EV batteries against cold temperature, some packs include a heating blanket to warm the battery during cold-charging.


BMS accuracy

A BMS may also administer a lower charge current when the battery is cold. Fast-charging at a cold temperature would promote dendrite growth in Li-ion that can compromise battery safety. EV owners want ultra-fast charging and technologies are available to do so but this should be used sparingly as fast-charging stresses the battery. If at all possible, do not exceed a charge rate of 1C. Avoid full charges that take less than 90 minutes. Ultra-fast charging is ideal for EV drivers on the run and this is fine for occasional use. Some EVs keep a record of stressful battery events that could work against a warranty claim. Estimating SoC has always been a challenge with the electric powertrain and the achieved accuracy is not at the level attainable with liquid dispensing systems. EV engineers at a recent SAE meeting in Detroit were surprised to learn that the SoC on some new BMS were off by 15%. Discrepancies in accuracy are normally not known and the spare capacity makes up for imprecision. EV makers must further account for capacity fade in a way that does not alarm the motorist. This is elegantly solved by oversizing the battery and only showing the driving range. A new battery is typically charged to 80% and discharged to 30%. As the battery fades, the bandwidth expands to keep the same driving range. Eventually the full capacity range will be utilized to retain the driving range. The resulting full cycles will increase stress of an aging battery and this will hasten aging. Figure 4 illustrates three SoC ranges of an EV fuel gauge.

88 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Safety is one of the most important issues when choosing a battery for the EV. A single incident blown out of proportion by the media could turn the public against such a vehicle. Similar concerns occurred 100 years ago when steam engines exploded and gasoline tanks caught fire. There is always a worry of an unexpected thermal runaway of the battery that can propagate. Carefully designed safety circuits should eliminate such mishaps. A battery must also be safe when misused and kept beyond the designated age. Life span reflects cycle count and longevity. Most EV batteries are guaranteed for eight years or 160,000km (100,000 miles). Capacity loss will occur and this is hastened in hot climates. Insufficient information exists as to how batteries age under different usage patterns and climates. To compensate for capacity loss, EV manufacturers increase the size of the batteries to allow for degradation and still meet the driving range. Performance reflects the condition of the battery when driving the EV in blistering summer heat and freezing temperatures. Unlike an ICE that works over a

wide temperature range, batteries are sensitive to heat and cold and require climate control. Heat reduces the life and cold lowers the performance temporarily. The battery also delivers energy to keep the cabin at an agreeable temperature. Specific energy demonstrates how much energy a battery can hold per weight. It is sobering to realize that in terms of energy per weight, a battery generates only 1% of what fossil fuel produces. One kilogram (1.4 litre, 0.37 gallons) of gasoline produces roughly 12kWh of energy, whereas a 1kg battery delivers about 120Wh. However, the electric motor is 90% efficient while a modern ICE comes in at about 30%. Specific power demonstrates acceleration and most EV batteries respond well. An electric motor with the same horsepower has a better torque ratio than an ICE. Cost presents a major drawback with large batteries. The mandated protection circuits for safety, BMS, cooling, heating and the eight year warranty add to cost. The EV battery alone buys a small car with an ICE; the battery represents half the price of a car.

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Welcome to a special section of our magazine, called Conference in Print. Our aim is a simple one. We want to offer you the readers a section where you can highlight your products, technology and skills to our broader audience — rather like going to a conference or an exhibition without the inconvenience of all the travel! We’re putting no restrictions on what you’d like to showcase — this is your section not ours — but hope that this will prove an invaluable and cost-effective way to reach our audience of subscribers and readers.

CONFERENCE IN PRINT Can the conductance of a flooded and VRLA lead-acid cell indicate real state-of-health of new as well as operational cells and if so, could there be a reference value of conductance for the cells of a particular capacity? Manish Singh Bisht, Gauri Negi, Rajesh Kumar from India’s National Institute of Solar Energy report on their research.

State of health assessment of operational lead acid cells as a function of conductance This article looks at a relatively new method of examining operational field batteries, under actual conditions, which is quick, reliable and does not involve any waste of power. This method is based on the assessment of state of health of a battery through its conductance. This paper also proposes reference values of conductance for flooded and VRLA lead acid cells of a particular capacity so that they may be used as a reference to examine batteries of the same capacity. Conductance describes the ability of a battery to conduct current. Various test data have shown that at low frequencies, the conductance of a battery is an indicator of battery state-of-health showing a linear correlation to a battery’s timed-discharge capacity test result and trending this measurement can be used as a reliable predictor of battery end-of-life. The use of conductance measurements to evaluate automotive battery performance was first reported in 1975 by US electrochemist Keith Champlin. It demonstrated a strong positive linear correlation between load tests and measured conductance for automotive batteries. Since then impedance and more recently conductance has been attracting both users and manufacturers to determine battery state-of-health. Initially, the conductance testing was limited to VRLA cells only but later interest expanded to flooded cells and nickel-cadmium cells as well. Now a number of studies have been published on this topic. But this method had not been experimentally tested on operational battery banks having high capacity cells. Even after so many studies, it is not clear that what should be the conductance range of unused lead-acid cells of flooded or VRLA types. All the studies have shown that a linear relation between capacity and conductance of a cell may exist but those studies have been limited to examination of very low numbers of samples. Further, it cannot be deduced that the batteries/cells of the same capacity but different technology, will reflect the same conductance values at the same state of charge. This study is an experimental demonstration of the conductance testing on both types of high capacity lead acid cells and also examines the feasibility of this testing on new/reference as well as operational cells. It provides an idea of the conductance values possessed by cells of a particular type, capacity and manufacturing process. It also

92 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

establishes conductance testing as a tool to identify faulty cells in an operational battery bank. This research work was carried out on two operational battery banks — one flooded, one VRLA — of 240V, 1000Ah each, consisting of 120 cells of 2V, 1000Ah at the National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon in the north Indian state of Haryana. These banks, installed two years before, are connected to two different inverters of 10KVA and 50KVA and are being used to power the loads of the campus. Both are hybrid inverters and operate on the grid as well as solar power. Both the inverters are also connected to the generator so that battery banks are not consumed to higher DOD. These banks are also provided equalizing charge once in a month to ensure proper health. Regular maintenance and topping up with water is also carried out as per schedule.

The conductance value of a battery reflects the integrity of inter-cell connections, ionic conductivity of the electrolyte, specific gravity of the cells and the actual battery state of charge.

A Bitrode LCN battery testing machine

Midtronics conductance tester

CONFERENCE IN PRINT Measurement techniques

health as well as a function of the charge state of a battery. Five new samples of same type and capacity as existing The battery analyzer is powered by a battery source inones were purchased from same manufacturer. These new stalled inside and does not draw any power from the bank. batteries were subjected to capacity test for 10 cycles each The conductance values and corresponding value of voltat C10 rate and room temperature to simulate normal field ages were recorded. operating conditions. The battery analyzer was used to individually examine The capacity test was performed with the help of a life in total 240 cells of both the banks and conductance of the cycle network machine made by the Bitrode Corporation. cells along with the corresponding voltage was noted. The It is a programmable power supply and inbuilt load having battery bank was maintained at full charge during the testautomatic data collection feature. It records voltage, curing and the specific gravity values denoting charged condirent, Ampere-hour, Watt-hour and temperature at preset tions were also recorded. intervals. The conductance values of the cells at a particular volt1. charged conditions these batteries were examined At full age level were sorted to get maximum inputs at same voltwith the help of a battery analyzer from Midtronics. The age and1.conductance. The conductance values of the cells battery analyzer is a digital meter which when attached to of battery banks were compared with those of new ones.

 the sample provides voltage and corresponding conduct-  The cells which showed very low conductance values than

 ance values. Battery conductance is measured by evaluat-   new batteries were tested for capacity on the Bitrode tester.


    ing the voltage response to a small, select frequency AC The capacity test was performed on such cells as per the   


 current signal briefly impressed on the battery. The result-   standards and the data was recorded. In addition, 10 ran 

 ant conductance measurement provides pertinent battery  dom samples from the remaining    batteries which showed     

   information without the need of bringing the battery to relatively good conductance      values were also examined for

     full discharge. capacity from both battery banks.   

 As a battery discharges, its conductance and capacity are

                 reduced with a simultaneous drop in power in a predictaData analysis              

           1. to the depletion of conductive active mateble manner due Figure 1 shows the capacity versus conductance values rials. The value in conductance or any other Ohmic measof new and unused cells or reference cell of flooded type. urement can be more described an flooded increasedcellsEach cell is having capacity greater than its rated capacFig. 1  Capacity vs. directly conductance of as new Fig.avs. 2 Capacity vs.of conductance of healthy Fig. 1 Capacity conductance new flooded cells

 internal resistance or reduced measured conductance of a ity. The graph clearly reflects that the higher the capacity used flooded cells cell results of the expected capacity or disthe higher is conductance. The correlation factor for the

 in a reduction used flooded cells   charge performance of the cell. above values comes out to be 0.988 which denotes a linear     


 Thus conductance is an indication of battery state of relationship between the capacity and conductance.   


       Figure 1 Capacity versus conductance of new flooded cells

Figure 4 Capacity versus conductance of healthy used VRLA cells 













 conductance of new flooded cells  Fig. 2 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy

 Fig. 1 Capacity vs.                           



 used flooded cells 














    of unused VRLA cells Fig. 3 Capacity vs. conductance Fig. 4 Capacity Fig. 3 Capacity vs. conductance of unused VRLA cells  Fig. 4 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy used VRLA cells     

  2 Capacity versus conductance Figure of healthy used flooded cells Figure 5 Capacity versus conductance plot of very weak flooded cells  

   Fig. 1 Capacity vs. conductance of new flooded cells Fig. 2 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy




    used   flooded cells          






                              1 Capacity     Fig. vs. conductance of new flooded cells Fig. 2 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy


  cells used flooded        






   Fig. 3 Capacity  

  VRLA   4 Capacity  

  of healthy   VRLA

 vs. conductance of unused cells Fig. vs.  conductance used cells   Figure

 3 Capacity versus conductance of unused VRLA cells Figure   6 Capacity versus conductance plot of very weak VRLA cells Fig. 5 Capacity vs. e of new flooded cells Fig. 2 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy  



    Fig. 5 Capacity vs. conductance   plot of very weak flooded6 cells Fig.

      Capacity vs. cond


    6  Capacity vs. conductance plot of very weak VRLA cells 



 4.2 Reference Va           






 4.2 Reference Value of Conductance:                 Fig. 3  Capacity vs. conductance of unused VRLA cells Fig. 4 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy used VRLA cells










   Fig.  3 Capacity vs. conductance 

   of unused VRLA cells 













  cells  Fig. 4 Capacity vs. conductance of healthy used VRLA

 Fig. 5 Capacity vs. conductance plot of very weak flooded2015 cells• 93 Fig. Batteries International • Autumn    


    6   Capacity vs. conductance plot of very weak VRLA



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CONFERENCE IN PRINT Similarly figure 2 shows the capacity versus conductance plot for comparatively healthy used flooded cells which were part of the operational battery bank and were being used since past two years. The capacity of these cells had degraded over time and this was reflected by their reduced conductance and capacity values as compared to the new cells. These cells showed good capacity and conductance values as compared to the reference cells. It also supports the claim that the capacity and conductance bear a linear relationship with respect to each other. The same procedure was adopted for analysis of the VRLA battery bank of the same capacity. Figure 3 reflects the capacity versus conductance plot of unused/reference VRLA cells denoting a linear relationship between the two. Figure 4 also confirms the linear relationship between capacity and conductance of used and comparatively healthy VRLA cells. The above data also states that the VRLA cells have higher capacity and conductance values as compared to flooded cells of identical rating and health. During conductance testing it was observed that some of the cells in both types of banks were found to be having very low conductance values as compared with other batteries in the same bank. These cells were identified and capacity tests were performed on these. Figures 5 and 6 represent the capacity versus conductance plots of flooded and VRLA technology. These figures depict that even at very low state-of-charge conductance bears a linear relationship with the capacity. It gives an accurate indication of faulty cells which can be removed from the bank and replaced with healthy ones to ensure a healthy backup system. Data analysis also reflected that though conductance and capacity of a cell are linearly proportional to each other, the individual rate of decrement of both is not the same. It was observed that for this manufacturing technology the rate of decrement in capacity is higher as compared to conductance values.

Experimental findings and discussions

The above data confirms the linear relationship between conductance and the capacity (or state-of-health) for lead acid batteries of both types. Applying this method, evidence of battery state of health can be identified when comparing conductance measurements from similar cells in a battery system. The higher the conductance value (or lower internal resistance), the better is the expected performance potential from the battery. Conductance can also be described as the equivalent measurement of the plate surface available within the battery for chemical reactions and exchange, a known determinant of the limits of power supplied from the battery. During the normal ageing and use process, the battery’s plate surface can sulphate, shed active material and can change chemically; conversions that adversely affect the battery’s ability to perform. This normal process forces the battery conductance to decrease gradually as the cell service life is consumed. The conductance value of a battery reflects the integrity of inter-cell connections, ionic conductivity of the electrolyte, specific gravity of the cells and the actual battery state of charge. The test results are the product of the internal electrical resistance of the cells and reflect the combined influences of the mechanical state of health in the cells and the electrochemical condition or efficiency of the grid/plate structures. 96 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Conductance test measurements become a valuable tool to identify the point at which the battery is approaching its end of service life. As a battery ages, the positive plate deteriorates and change chemically adversely affecting the ability of the battery to perform. For power provisions, this means that conductance can be used to track changes and detect battery defects, shorts, open circuits and prolonged undercharging, which will reduce the ability of the battery to perform. Conductance test measurements become a valuable tool to identify the point at which the battery is approaching its end of service life. Similarly test results reflect that the conductance technology may be a useful tool to examine new or field batteries for their state-of-health. The study also demonstrates that conductance technique has a dependable capability to identify the suspect cells most likely to have lowered capacities. In terms of power provisions, this suggests that conductance can be used to detect cell defects, shorts and open circuits that can reduce the ability of the battery to deliver current. Conductance test measurements can, therefore, become

PUTTING IT TOGETHER Conductance bears a linear relationship with the battery capacity which is a direct indication of battery health. This linear relationship is maintained even for low state-of-health batteries. Using conventional load testing methods to determine battery capacity requires time and power whereas conductance testing method is quick and reliable. Though the exact capacity cannot be predicted but it can provide a first impression of battery health. It could prove useful for examining batteries in large quantities such as tenders or inspections where load testing seems impossible for each sample. This study also confirms the feasibility of conductance technique at both high and low SOC with absolute accuracy. As a part of preventive maintenance schedule, conductance testing can contribute a lot towards better service life of operational batteries and can put a check on use of defected samples in any new installation. Though a specific relation, in terms of the degradation of batteries, between capacity and conductance value of a battery could not be established this method can nevertheless act as a boon for battery testing labs and power service providers. In a country like India, having an ambitious target of off-grid systems for solar inclusion in the country, this method may provide a big relief to system integrators, manufacturers, research labs and service providers.








       4.2 ReferenceValue Conductance: #of"!   & "%!"  

6 Capacity vs. conductance plot of very weak VRLA 





Fig. 5Figure Capacity vs. conductance of very flooded cells 8 Conductance of unusedplot flooded cells weak of 1000Ah

Figure 7 Conductance of unused VRLA cells of 1000Ah




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Fig. 7 Conductance of unused VRLA cells of 1000Ah an equivalent of a battery’s true state-of-health diagnosis. Considering the characteristics offered by conductance Reference&value of conductance technology it can be inferred that conductance can provide Figures 7 and 8 show the conductance values for 2V, significant assistance in preventing catastrophic system 1000Ah VRLA and flooded cells which are above a certain & and unused cells. Considering figure 2 and failures. mark in new Through a regular maintenance programme of conductfigure 4 for used and comparatively healthy cells it is clear & ance testing of battery banks, gross deviations among indithat the conductance values lie in a specific range. Though vidual cells can be easily spotted and corrective measures jbicorp.comthe results are not highly accurate but they do specify a can be taken prior to end of life of whole bank. range in which the conductance values should lie for a speFor example, if a particular cell reflects a conductance cific capacity of batteries. & value of 20,000 Siemens (mho), while the other cells of the same lot measure an average of 31,000 Siemens (considerManish Singh Bisht ing figure 7), it can easily be stated that there is a signifi22325 St. Rt. 51is a research cant loss of capacity in that particular cell. ManishW. Singh Bisht It can be expected that the cell and the whole bank will Genoa, Ohio 43430 USA scientist at India’s National perform to its designed level, providing the required power. Institute of Solar Energy and has Therefore conductance testing as part of regular maintebeen instrumental nance checking of the battery health can enable monitor(419) 855-3389/pin setting up a secondary battery technologies ing of the battery bank without discharge or disruption (419) 855-3226/f in power. Corrective actions can be scheduled under nontesting lab at the institute. emergency conditions, significantly reducing costs.


 #"!   #!" "" !

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Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 97

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EVENT REVIEW: 16TH ASIA BATTERY CONFERENCE 16ABC Bangkok, Thailand • September 9-11

Spread the word An explosion of sound as a specially composed anthem — “Embrace the Sun” — greeted delegates as they entered into the huge hall of the Centara Convention Centre in the heart of downtown Bangkok on September 9. Asia’s most important lead acid battery had started. Taking up the baton from the BCI conference in May, 16ABC— and in a slightly different way the Secondary Lead Conference that preceded it — was probably the most articulate of recent conferences in addressing the single key issue facing the lead acid battery industry at the moment. The challenge of lithium. How the lead acid battery was under a barrage of attacks. These range from the regulatory assault coming out, in particular from Europe, the image of lead as uncool coming from the hippest corporations of the world and even how lead was branded as yesterday’s technology and unsuitable for the huge grid projects of the future. From the moment Mark Stevenson, the conference organizer took to the podium to open the conference the underlying theme of the conference was it was time to fight back. Stevenson, in a morale boosting talk spoke about “taking up the challenge wholeheartedly … just as we’ve dealt with every challenge thrown up over the years.”

Key note speakers such as Imre Gyuk, from the US Department of Energy, spoke about the new energy storage world that we are entering. “Ten years ago,” he said, “I could count the number of energy storage projects for the grid on one hand. Later on it was both hands, then later on my toes too. When I ran out of digits I realised that a database was needed which we then went and set up — now there’s over a 1000 projects listed and we’re still trying to catch up.” His speech was well received as though the challenge of lithium ion at the grid level is a very real one — and a growing one — so too are the opportunities for lead acid batteries. Ecoult’s talk about the development of the UltraBattery — a lead acid battery coupled with a supercap being the simplest description of it — later in the day followed on the theme, if in a more academic fashion. Andy Bush, head of the International Lead Association, gave a memorable paper talking about the needs for defence of the lead battery and also potential avenues of attack. The common theme, that the lead industry must fight back, was clearly reflected in the determination heard from delegates in later discussions. “For years we’ve talked positively about lead — the price and safety as-

pects to lead — but that hasn’t got us anywhere,” one delegate told Batteries International. “Bush’s talk gave us something we can use both in defence of lead and also as an attack on lithium. We’ve all heard countless times that lead is the most recycled element in the world but we need to add the caveat that lithium — at present at least — is practically unrecyclable and is dangerous to boot.” Before the 16ABC the related secondary lead conference — where some delegates attended both — dealt with the image issue head-on in a presentation by Aqua Metals, a Californian start-up. This looked at how the image of lead had been subverted by fashionably hip firms such as Google and Apple — and Elon Musk of course who conveniently forgets that while he says “lead is dead” that he has an additional battery (a lead acid one too) in his electric vehicles. If an implicit theme was “spread the word about lead”, the conference was as usual full of updates on technology, markets, regulation and the price of lead itself. “It was a good mix,” one delegate said. “The venue was great, the exhibition strong and the networking fantastic. In terms of size, there was a record number of delegates — around 800 — and some 100 exhibitors. This was not just a strong conference but an essential one for the industry. Which makes an even stronger case for having it annually. The next ABC meeting will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in September 2017.

Bob Nelson accepting the International Lead Award, tradition Thai dancing entertaining the delegates, the opening reception

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EVENT REVIEW: THE FOURTH SECONDARY LEAD CONFERENCE Fourth International Secondary Lead Conference Centara Grand Convention Centre in Bangkok • September 7-8

Conference hears of mounting regional importance but undeniable concerns over impact of growing vulnerability Andy Bush the managing director of the International Lead Association and conference chair said the rise of the Asian lead acid battery market has also made Asia one of the most significant players in the secondary lead industry. He emphasized how well placed the event was to take stock of where the Asian market is today. But he also looked into the future and evaluate the emerging and new technologies so that every opportunity is taken to develop a global industry that is prosperous, environmentally sound, with the highest standards of occupational health and safety and above all is sustainable.

Change in conference balance

While the technical content of the conference was at the cornerstone of the presentations, he believed there was a definite and significant shift in the balance of the papers. With so many smelters finding margins ever tighter, the fact that so many of the papers were concerned with maximizing efficiency, that is recovery of as much lead as possible from every battery, even from the furnace slag; minimizing energy consumption by reducing furnace fuel consumption by adopting oxygen flame enrichment as presented by Air Liquide, or as Gortex outlined by ensuring design pressure drops in baghouses to maintain low electrical consumption; and the means to ensuring long life from furnace refractories by the choice and care of the correct materials was explained by advanced materials technologies. Delegates were also interested in the increasing number of viable options available to recovery battery components such as the battery electrolyte, which can now be, according to Dross Engineering, reconditioned to a standard that is suitable for sale to the battery manufacturing industry for use in new batteries.

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Other uses

Or even, in the words of Eco Gypsum, this could be converted to gypsum for use in the cement industry or in a certain form, an agricultural soil conditioner or as an ammoniumbased fertilizer if one were to follow the route proposed by Engitec. Delegates were also advised by Dross Engineering that there is also a potential market for certain waste plastic separators as an asphalt binder. There were two interesting hydrometallurgical papers presented by Wirtz Engineering and VerdeEn Chemicals that offered a furnace free and thereby atmospheric emission free recycling options that in their opinion are the way forward for

Brian Wilson: head of ILMC was a moderator at some of the conference events

new secondary lead recycling plants particularly as atmospheric emission standards are getting ever tighter. As an industry proud of its environmental objectives, presentations were heard from the New Yorkbased NGO, the Blacksmith Institute, outlining the remediation projects in Indonesia and the cooperation with the Indonesian government on the development of policies to develop a closed loop system for lead acid batteries. This was together with the commissioning of a new environmentally compliant lead smelter in the Philippines by EcoGlobal and the projects undertaken by the ILA for the environmentally sustainable use of lead and the recycling of used lead acid batteries in China and Africa were most welcome. Market trends and changes in global lead consumption are always of keen interest to delegates, but what was surprising this year was the fact that the Chinese finished lead market is so insular, with less than 1% of the finished lead exported, there is virtually no so-called “China” impact on the lead price, this is governed entirely by demand outside China. The final session of the conference was a most informative and interactive workshop held by representatives from the London Metal Exchange. This workshop was an excellent addition to the secondary lead conference agenda and dealt with the much misunderstood, but absolutely essential subject of hedging. Hedging is so important, especially in such economically volatile times, and when margins are tight. The workshop was closed by the conference chairman and the organizer of the event, Mark Stevenson, who thanked all the contributors and informed the delegates that the Fifth International Secondary Lead Conference will be held, all other factors permitting, in September 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

EVENT REVIEW: THE 6TH BATTERY SHOW The Battery Show September 15-17, Novi, Michigan, USA

Exhibitor list and attendance continue to climb This year’s Battery Show co-located with the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, and the brand new Critical Power Expo did not disappoint. The great and the good of the industry met again — the event is now in its sixth year — at Novi, a suburb of Detroit, between September 15 to 17. There was, once again, a powerful mix of people showcasing their products. The organizers said the number of exhibitors leapt by a third to nearly 500 exhibitors and attendance increased by a quarter to 5,764. “Some of the world’s leading companies participated, exhibiting on the show floor, presenting on the conference and sponsoring the show, including Google, EnerSys, Intel, Voltabox and UL, to name a few,” said Steve Bryan event director for Smarter Shows who put the meetings together. “The three co-located events demonstrated why the second week in September should be permanently marked in the industry’s calendar.” As an indication of the change of climate, or perhaps one should reckon the increasing maturity of the industry,

major corporations such as Siemens, Exide, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Tesla, Chrysler, Audi and Mitsubishi Motors, attended in large delegations. The conference programme was designed to examine the key business and technical issues impacting the industry, The Battery Show and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Conferences provided three parallel tracks, offering commercial, regulatory, safety, technological, stationary energy storage and next-generation battery R&D perspectives. Over 570 delegates attended the three day conference, 360 of which attended the opening keynote session. NAATBatt led the Leaders Debate where chief executives of Xalt, Amperex Technology and East Penn discussed the evolution of the battery industry and the challenges it faces. With 29 sessions taking place over the three days of the conference, delegates heard about issues such as the viability of solid state batteries, developing scalable next generation materials and the key drivers of growth in the stationary energy storage sector.

One of the challenges that continues to face the industry and thus one of the most topical sessions of the conference was on the issue of improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of manufacturing. Led by NREL’s Donald Chung, executives from East Penn, EnerSys and 24M discussed how their companies are optimizing manufacturing techniques and processes. Next year looks to set to be more of the same. Some 300 exhibitors have already confirmed their place in Novi next year. The organizers reckon that the Battery Show, co-located with Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo and Critical Power Expo, should host more than 500 exhibitors in 2016. Unfortunately for some parts of the lead acid battery industry, a clash is looming next year as the also mustattend event of the European Lead Battery Conference — held biannually— will be held in Valetta, Malta around the same dates. The next Battery Show is September 13-15, 2016 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, Michigan, USA

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 103

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2015 European Utility Week Vienna, Austria • November 3-5

9th Developer Forum Battery Technologies Hamburg, Germany November 3-4

European Utility Week will be divided into various themes — see bullets below. • Energy Storage — The role and commercial viability of energy storage in Europe There is no doubt that 2014 was a breakout year for global grid energy storage. In Europe, with the increase of variable renewables on the grid, the need for electricity storage is growing tremendously. The value of grid scale energy storage is often calculated by deferring the cost of grid investment needed or from providing various different additional services to increase smooth grid operation. Prices for lithium-ion batteries keep falling and new technologies are filling the gaps. The industry seems to have moved past the pilot phase and is making a play for full-scale commercialization. With the introduction of Tesla Energy, Tesla is amplifying its efforts to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy future with energy storage enabling homes, businesses and utilities to store sustainable and renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience. Will other firms follow suit? Will Apple and Google or other consumer giants also make a play for the sector? Distributed storage is one of the fastest-growing markets for energy storage. In the coming years the capacity of distributed energy storage worldwide is expected to increase 10-fold. In particular residential and commercial energy storage is expected to be the focus of technological advanced and market activity in the coming years.  The market growth is being fuelled by the development of advanced battery chemistries and at the same time the spread of solar photovolta-

104 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

ics, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging and home energy networks are all creating new applications and new demand for storage. • Grid & Renewables Integration — DSO and TSO changing roles and responsibilities A new energy system, reliant on more distributed and variable energy resources with the consumer at its center is resulting in changing roles and responsibilities for the TSOs and the DSOs. Renewable energy sources are being connected to distribution grids at an extraordinary speed, consumers are installing solar panels on their roofs, new market players are starting to sell flexibility services, and there is an increase in electric vehicles appearing on the roads. The one-size-fits all model no longer works and new business models are needed to integrate higher levels of distributed energy resources, new technologies, environmental goals and the new customer needs. • Grid Optimization, Intelligent Networks and Communication — The power system of tomorrow: innovation in grid optimization • Big Data & Analytics — Utility analytics and the big data revolution: moving forward towards the digital utility of the future • Smart Homes and End User Engagement Business • Smart Metering— Getting the meter economics and incentives right • Smart Cities—The impacts of EU policies on utilities, cooperation with the cities Contact Paddy Young Tel: +31 346 290 807 Email:

For the first time the expert forum with exhibition will open its doors at the Lindner Park-Hotel Hagenbeck in Hamburg. The conference offers a new training seminar around the topic  lithium ion battery technologies  and  charging devices on the first day. On the following day the expert forum and the exhibition will take place as usual. The main themes are: • Battery and charging technology • Power management and safety • Progressive battery manufacturing • E-bikes/EVs/automotive HEVs • Raw materials/energy storage systems Contact

Green Car Korea 2015 Gwangju, South Korea November 5 The conference is being held at Kimdaejung Convention Centre. Contact

International Conference on Innovative Electrochemical Energy Materials and Technologies Nanning, China November 8-11 The EEMT2015 is the first conference organized by the Institute of Physics as Guangxi University. The conference consists of plenary talks, invited keynotes, oral and poster presentations which focuses on the most recent advances in novel electrode and electrolyte materials. The conference provides a forum for international scientists and engineers to communicate their work to the next generation of researchers and industry members, inspiring us to continue with scientific and technological breakthroughs towards a cleaner energy society. Contact Tel: +86 1 837 673 8787 Email:

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2015 4th Workshop Lithium-SulfurBatteries Dresden, Germany November 10-11 Following the success of our previous lithium-sulfur battery workshop in 2014, we will be holding a workshop at the International Congress Centre. We will continue to bring together an international audience of scientists and industrial customers. Experts will present the latest results and new materials in the field of lithium-sulfur batteries. Contact Claudia Zellbeck Tel: +49 351 83391-3332 Fax: +49 351 83391-3300 Email:

Energy Storage Summit Japan 2015 Tokyo, Japan November 11-12 Some 300 participants and about 20 exhibitors will meet in Shibuya, Tokyo for this year’s summit. To reach the goal of low-carbon societies, the production and storage of renewable energies much concerns scientists, politicians, and businesses globally. This will be Messe Düsseldorf Japan’s Second Energy Storage Summit — an international conference and expo. Energy Storage Summit Japan 2015 will bring together leading international company representatives, policymakers and scientists from Europe, the US, India and China with their Japanese counterparts. Energy market deregulation will be discussed and business opportunities for Japan will be explored. Other topics covered will be energy storage applications, such as residential and industrial

Energy storage seminars from Shmuel De-Leon 2015-2017 Schedule


Local Partner


Karlstein am Main, Germany



Copenhagen, Denmark

Lithium Balance


Leuven, Belgium



Oulu, Finland



Greenville, SC, USA



Le Bourget Du Lac, France



Munich, Germany

Ice Seminars


Karlstein on Main, Germany



Oslo, Norway as part of 1st Oil &Gas battery conference

Hans H. Schive


Vimercate, Italy



Wezep, Netherlands

Dr. Ten


Donostia-San Sebastian (Gipuzkoa), Spain



London, UK


batteries, hydrogen storage, thermal storage, integration, smart grid, micro grid, off grid and decentralized energy supply. The cost efficiency and bankability of energy storage solutions will also be discussed. Contact Messe Düsseldorf Japan New Otani Garden Court 7F, 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8578, Japan Tel: +81-3-5210-9951 Email:

NiBS Battery Conference 2015 Oswestry, United Kingdom November 11-12 Every autumn NiBS hosts its annual battery conference which has been running for six years. The conference is open to all. This year’s theme will revisit the basics by looking at the practical applications of batteries. Regular visitors include engineers from the power industry, data centre engineers and managers, telecom specialists, and UPS industry personnel. Everyone can listen to the papers and offer practical experience and suggested solutions to issues raised. Contact Tel: +44 1691 830 089  Email:

11th Annual Knowledge Foundation, Lithium Battery Power & 6th Battery 2015 Safety Baltimore, USA November 17-19 Significant increases in the global demand for lithium-based batteries have created exciting breakthroughs in nextgeneration Li-ion and beyond lithium battery technologies. From micro-medical devices to high-

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 105

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2015 Baltimore aka Charm City

energy/high-power automotive applications, these breakthroughs have paved the way for an emerging market with unlimited potential. The 11th International Conference on Lithium Battery Power  focuses on two distinct tracks on materials & commercialization and addresses critical issues facing the industry, presents innovative advancements in research on lithium batteries, and fosters crossindustry discussions on ways to take viable technologies from research to practical application and manufacturing. One of the greatest challenges to creating higher-performing, lower-cost batteries is moving these emerging technologies from research to market. • Track 1: Commercialization & Manufacturing guides you through device packaging, integration and manufacturing in a full spectrum of lithiumion batteries applications currently on the market. Breakthroughs in novel battery chemistries, novel electrode/electrolyte materials, high-capacity cathodes/ anodes and system integration have delivered a vast array of automotive, portable and stationary applications. • Track 2: Chemistry, Materials & Modeling focuses on significant innovation in research and engineering for energy storage technologies in lithium-ion batteries as well as the significant achievements in safety and reliability. 

juncture in India’s recent assessment of its future energy storage needs. Energy storage technologies are gaining recognition as the key enabler for key priorities for Indian policy makers such as smart cities, renewable integration and energy access. The government of India has announced various initiatives in the past sixmonths that have a direct impact on opportunities for this sector. These include: Enhancing the target for the national solar mission from 20GW to 100GW Accelerating wind energy adoption by 10 GW a year Plans to supply electricity 24/7 to all parts of India in five years’ time Launch of Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana initiative for rural electrification Plan to build 100 smart cities and over 1,000 microgrids Creation of the National Standing Committee on Energy Storage and Hy-

brid systems by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy In addition to the full two day conference a pre-conference workshop programme has been set up for December 7. Last year’s Energy Storage India Conference and Expo, hosted by the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) from December 3-15, 2014, was a successful event that brought together 532 industry professionals and 65 speakers from over 15 countries. This year the estimates are yet higher again, It was the largest such gathering ever held in India, and highlighted the many opportunities available in a fast- growing market. There is every indication to suppose that this will be the case again this year, Contact Sachin Patil Tel: +91 11 4855 0055 Email:

3rd Annual Energy Storage India Conference and Expo New Delhi, India December 8-9 India is poised for rapid adoption of energy storage and microgrid technologies in the coming decade. The importance of creating the right milieu for its advance is becoming vital and this conference and expo will provide both networking and learning opportunities, The meetings come at an important

106 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

25 - 28 January 2016

Congress Centrum Mainz, Mainz, Germany

“Complete overview, from material to system.”

Program Highlights: • • • • • •

Latest Assessment of the xEV & xEV-Battery Market

- Frank Moebius, AG xEV Battery Charging – AC,BMW DC, or Wireless

xEV Battery Technology Updates [Audi, Daimler,

The Latest in Advanced Electrolytes for Lithium-Ion

Beyond Lithium-Ion – Challenges & Opportunities

• • • • • •

EC – Advances Conventional xEVCapacitors Battery Charging – AC,inDC, or Wirelessvs. Hybrid Systems The Latest in Advanced Electrolytes for Lithium-Ion Automotive Batteries in Industrial Applications Beyond Lithium-Ion – Challenges & Opportunities Batteries for Light EVs with Insights from EC Capacitors – Advances in Conventional vs. China & Europe Hybrid Systems

Automotive Batteries in Industrial Applications

Batteries for Light EVs with Insights from China & Europe

Program Highlights: Porsche, Toyota & Volkswagen] • • • • • •

14V Architecture Expansion [PSA & Valeo] Latest Assessment of the xEV & xEV-Battery Market Batteries for 48V Systems [Audi & Hella] xEV Battery Technology Updates [Audi, Daimler, Thermal & Toyota Mechanical Pack Engineering Updates Porsche, & Volkswagen] [Renault, Daimler & Valeo] 14V Architecture Expansion [PSA & Valeo] Battery Safety Testing: Materials, Cells, Batteries for 48V Systems [Audi & Hella] Packs & In-Vehicle Thermal & Mechanical Pack Engineering Updates [Renault, Daimler & Valeo]

Battery Safety Testing: Materials, Cells, Packs & In-Vehicle

Register Early & Save

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2016 EV Japan 7th EV & HEV Drive System Technology Expo January 13-15, 2016 Tokyo, Japan EV JAPAN gathers all kinds of core technologies for EV & HEV; motors, inverters, rechargeable batteries, chargers, etc. automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers visit the exhibition to find the latest products. The exhibition has grown in size every year and has established itself must-attend event for automotive industry professionals. This is the best place to promote your products to the automotive industry. Contact EV JAPAN Show Management Tel: +81-3-3349-8519 Fax: +81-3-3349-8530 E-mail:

Infobatt 2016, Canadian Energy Symposium Toronto, Canada January 17-19 This is the ideal forum for participants to better understand the intricacies of energy. A panel of experienced energy professions will be giving presentations and hosting discussion groups on a myriad of topics within the energy field. Contact Tel: +1 905 305 8204 Email:

Tokyo by night, a unique experience

SAE 2016 Government Industry meeting Washington DC, USA January 20-22, 2016 Understanding how technology, regulations and legislation will affect the design of light and heavy duty vehicles in terms of safety, environment and energy conservation is essential to vehicle development. This forum will provide opportunities for technical authorities from government, industry and academia who are leading advanced automotive technology, regulations and pending legislation to address issues that will influence future decision making for those within the industry. Contact

Shmuel De-Leon Batteries and Fuel Cell Semina

SAE 2016 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium

Leuven, Belgium January 21-22

Anaheim, California, USA February 9-11, 2016

The seminar will take place at the Savoie Technolac in Chambery. The programme focuses on present and future needs of portable and stationary electrochemical energy sources and highlights the latest technological developments designed to satisfy application requirements. The seminar programme reviews typical cycle life aspects of designing and manufacturing energy source solutions: from application energy requirements, power source electrical and mechanical design, cells selection, cells evaluation tests, battery prototype, acceptance tests, design and manufacturing techniques, testing, mass production, safety issues, transportation, use and disposal. Special focus is given to battery design and testing aspects which are vital tools for battery solution. The programme trains attendees on safety issues along the energy source solution cycle life.

SAE 2016 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium addresses critical information on both the technical developments in electronic vehicle technologies as well as the business decisions around technology development and implementation. Additionally, it allows for attendees to meet with those industry experts and technology specialists from the entire supply chain of EV, HEV and EREV to engage in dialogue about the topics of greatest interest.

Contact Tel/fax: +972-77-5010792

108 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

Here, attendees will learn about technology applications of the manufacturers’ hybrid and electric vehicles, powertrain technologies and components, and about supporting technologies — such as advanced energy storage and charging systems. Join the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies industry at this increasingly popular, must-attend event in 2016.

AABC Europe 2016 Mainz, Germany January 25-28 Join AABC at the leading European forum, taking place at the Congress Centrum Mainz, located on the Rhine. Car and energy storage system developers will discuss their recent progress in EC capacitor and advanced battery technology implementation in car, industrial and speciality applications. AABC Europe will feature three technology-focused symposia discussing lithium ion chemistry, lithium ion engineering and EC capacitor developments, and an application-focused symposia with two parallel tracks focusing on high-volume and industrial/ specialty automotive. The programme will also feature three tutorials on the, such as battery stimulation, Beyond lithium iron and battery market. An array of guest speakers will also be at the event. Contact Tel: +1 781 972-5400 Fax: +1 781 972-5425 Email:

Mainz: Host city for AABC Europe 2016

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2016 2016 NAATBatt Annual Meeting & Conference

ARPA Energy Innovative Summit 2016

Indian Wells, California • February 29-March 3, 2016

Washington DC, USA February 29-March 2

The 2016 NAATBatt Annual Meeting & Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, a four star resort in one of the most attractive communities in the Palm Springs, California area. You will not want to miss this program. The 2016 Annual Meeting will build on the great success of the 2015 Annual Meeting recently concluded in Phoenix, Arizona. Like the 2015 Meeting, the 2016 Meeting will include a summit on emerging battery technologies, giving industry participants a first look at new technology coming on to the market.  The meeting will also include talks about emerging trends in the advanced battery business and presentations about emerging applications for battery technology that will create new opportunities for advanced battery manufacturers. The 2016 Annual Meeting will also mark a new direction in NAATBatt’s approach to industry meetings.  NAATBatt has decided that it has no interest in running just another one of many large trade shows in the battery industry.  NAATBatt cannot compete, and has no desire to compete, with the professional conference companies that, directly or indirectly, run major trade shows such as The Battery Show, AABC, ESNA or ESA.  The industry does not need NAATBatt to produce another trade show. What the industry does need is a meeting each year where the real decision makers in the industry get together, talk about emerging trends, get a good look at interesting busi-

ness opportunities for electrochemical energy storage technology, and build high quality personal relationships in the industry that will be the basis for business growth in the year ahead. That is what the NAATBatt Annual Meeting will be, because that is the kind of meeting that the industry needs. Consistent with this new approach to its annual meeting, NAATBatt has decided to limit registration for the 2016 Annual Meeting to 300 persons. Employees of NAATBatt member firms will be given priority.  But our goal is to limit attendee numbers and increase the quality of the attendee experience.  This will not be another trade show.  But those who attend will get real value, as that is NAATBatt’s mission in the industry. Also, don’t forget the Advanced Battery Golf & Tennis Tournament, which will be held on Monday, February 29, at the  Indian Wells Golf Resort next door to the Hyatt Regency.  The Indian Wells Golf Resort, which recently underwent an $80 million renovation, is one of the top golf venues in the United States, playing host, among other things, to the PGA TOUR’s Skins Game.  The Advanced Battery Tournament will, like the 2016 Annual Meeting, aim to help our members build new and better business relationships in the industry in a setting which, in late February in the California desert, should be close to perfect.

The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together specialists from a variety of technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its seventh year, the summit offers a three-day, unique programme designed to relocate transformational energy technologies from the lab and into the market. Those wishing to attend the conference will have the opportunity to: Get first hand-experience of the latest technological advancements across a variety of energy sectors Attend practical seminars about transforming cutting-edge technologies into successful commercial products Network with breakthrough technology companies, federal government leaders, entrepreneurs and researchers who are keen to collaborate Meet influential government leaders, private-sector leaders and researchers, and learn about partnerships and funding opportunities Listen to insightful keynotes from industry leaders and luminaries on the future of energy technology Apply to have your breakthrough technology featured in the highly regarded technology showcase Contact Amy Sites Tel: +1 703 740 1953 Email:

Contact Rayna Handelman Tel.: +1 312 588-0477

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 111

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2016 Energy Storage Europe Dusseldorf, Germany • March 15-17, 2016 The Energy Storage Europe is an expo and conference event which takes place in Düsseldorf in March annually. The goal of Messe Düsseldorf is to further develop this young format of Energy Storage into a worldwide leading platform for the energy storage industry. In order to reach this goal, Messe Düsseldorf does not only invest financial funds but also uses its worldwide distribution network of 134 countries. Good business is done where top decision makers gather at one place — in Düsseldorf! The 2015 Dusseldorf meeting signalled a coming of age for the event which almost doubled in size from

the year before. “The last time I came here this was a fraction of the size, this event seems to be growing exponentially,” one delegate told Batteries International in its review of the event. The conference organizer’s figures said the conference and trade fair attracted some 1,800 specialists from 48 nations. There were over 80 speakers and almost 100 exhibitors. Contact Bastian Mingers, head of renewable energy fairs Tel.: +49 211 4560 273 Fax: +49 211 4560 87273 E-mail:

ICLB 2016: 18th International Conference on Lithium Batteries March 1-2 Miami, Florida, USA The ICLB 2016: 18th International Conference on Lithium Batteries aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects of lithium batteries. It also provides the premier interdisciplinary forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns, practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted in the field of Lithium Batteries. ICLB 2016 has teamed up with the Special Journal Issue on Advances in Lithium Batteries. A number of selected high-impact full text papers will also be considered for the special journal issues. Selected full text papers will be published free of charge. Contact miami/ICLB

Smart Materials Singapore March 4-6, 2016 Further details to be announced shortly. Contact Amy Guo Tel: +86 411 8479 9609 Ext 829 Fax: +86-411 8479 9629 Email:

112 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015


NOV 18–20, 2015 MUMBAI INDIA





FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2016 2nd International Conference on Vehicle Technology and Intelligent Transport Systems Rome, Italy April 23-24, 2016

The Space Power Workshop covers topics of interest to professionals with all levels of expertise. The workshop also provides many industry networking opportunities with both domestic and international attendees.

The purpose of the 2nd International Conference on Vehicle Technology and Intelligent Transport Systems (VEHITS) is to bring together engineers, researchers and practitioners interested in the advances and applications in the field of vehicle technology and intelligent transport systems. This conference focuses on innovative applications, tools and platforms in all technology areas such as signal processing, wireless communications, informatics and electronics, related to different kinds of vehicles, including cars, EVs, off-road vehicles, trains, ships, underwater vehicles, or flying machines, and the intelligent transportation systems that connect and manage large numbers of vehicles, not only in the context of smart cities but in many other application domains. VEHITS 2016 will be held in conjunction with CSEDU 2016,  SMARTGREENS 2016,  WEBIST 2016,  CLOSER 2016 and IoTBD 2016.  Registration to VEHITS allows free access to the CSEDU, SMARTGREENS, WEBIST, CLOSER and IoTBD conferences.


Contact Tel: +351 265 520 184

Space Power Workshop 2016 USA location to be announced April 18-21, 2016

BCI 128th Convention & Power Mart San Antonio, Texas, USA • May 1 May- 3

2016 Energy Harvesting & Storage Berlin, Germany April 27-28, 2016 The seventh annual IDTechEx event provides insight into energy harvesting technologies and their applications. Hear end user insights, see the latest products and learn about the emerging technologies. Attendees to this event will learn: • Who needs energy harvesting, the ROI and sectors close to adoption. • End user and integrators from a diverse range of markets present their needs and experiences. • All the technology options — from energy harvester choices, energy storage options, through to the latest in low power electronics and wireless sensors. • The current state of the technology at the event tradeshow... And all with an analytical, commercial outlook, taking into account market requirements, competitive technologies and development roadmaps. Contact Corinne Jennings +44 (0)1223 812300

EDTA Conference and Exposition 2016+ Act Long Beach, California May 2-5 As the world’s largest display of alternative fuels and clean vehicle technologies, ACT Expo’s show floor provides a one-stop shop for attendees to learn about the wide-range of clean transportation solutions available. This is the perfect environment to have in-depth discussions with the industry’s leading technology, fuel, infrastructure, and funding providers. All alternative fuel types are represented—electric, hybrid, hydrogen, natural gas, propane autogas, and renewable fuels. Contact Tel: +1 888 993 0302 E-mail:

Members of the battery industry will meet at the Battery Council International’s 128th Convention and Power Mart Expo. The convention will take place at Marriot Rivercentre Hotel in San Antonio. Discussion topics include

114 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

the foreground of energy storage today. Contact Tel: +1 312 644 6610 Fax: +1 312 527 6640

FORTHCOMING EVENTS 2016 tery design and testing aspects which are vital tools for battery solution. The programme trains attendees on safety issues along the energy source solution cycle life. The program focuses on electric vehicle and batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells and metal air systems for EVs. • Training on cells selection, design, testing and transportation and disposal aspects of energy sources. • Basic knowledge for new industry members entering the field. • Expands the knowledge of industry members already working in the field. • Training on Energy Sources Database Software.

19th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries June 19-24, 2016 Chicago, Illinois USA

BATTCON 2016 Boca Raton, Florida, USA May 10-12 BATTCON 2016 will be held at the Boca Raton Resort in Florida. The event will feature leading stationary battery experts, papers by users and manufacturers that relate to everyday battery applications, technical advances, and the diverse concerns of the battery industry. Those who attend will learn about manufacturing, maintenance trends, testing issues, and safety. Each group of papers is followed by direct audience interaction with the presenters. Panel discussions at the event will consist of experts discussing specific concerns or areas of interest. After the panel discussion, you will have the opportunity to share relevant knowledge and experiences, offer comments, and ask questions. Throughout the conference you are encouraged to ask questions, exchange ideas, and interact with the authors of the papers, members of top-specialized panels, and other attendees.

This is the premier international conference on the state of lithium battery science and technology, as well as current and future applications in transportation, commercial, aerospace, biomedical, and other promising sectors. Convening in the heart of downtown Chicago, the conference is expected to draw 2,000 experts, researchers, and company representatives involved in the lithium battery field.

229th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society San Diego, California, USA May 29-June 3 2016 Contact

15th European Lead Battery Conference (15ELBC) and Exhibition Valletta, Malta September 13-16 15ELBC will provide an ideal opportunity for those involved with the lead battery industry worldwide to review and discuss the most recent technical advances associated with lead-based batteries, especially for automotive and renewable energy storage applications. Technical presentations will bring delegates fully up-to-date with the latest research and development information from around the globe. An extensive Exhibition – expected to involve over 100 stands - by suppliers to the industry of equipment, materials and technology, will also take place. Since the first meeting in Paris in 1988, the European Lead Battery Conferences have developed a reputation for high quality presentations on the design, manufacture, performance and use of lead-acid batteries. Over 700 delegates and 100 exhibitors attended 14ELBC in Edinburgh 2014 and similar numbers are confidently expected in Malta. Contact International Lead Association Tel: +44 20 7833 8090 Fax: +44 20 7833 1611 Email:

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Shmuel De-Leon Batteries and Fuel Cells Seminar Le Bourget du Lac, France May 17-18 The seminar programme is centred on present and future needs of portable and stationary electrochemical energy sources, and highlights the latest technological developments designed to satisfy application requirements. The programme reviews primary, rechargeable, reserve batteries, fuel cells, ultra-capacitors systems and their accessories. Special focus is given to bat-

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 115


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BATTERY PIONEERS: ANN MARIE SASTRY At the cutting heart of new battery technology stands one formidable individual, Ann Marie Sastry, now one of the key figures in the development of advanced batteries. Kevin Desmond reports.

Fortune favours the brave — and the determined Women in the battery business are still far and few between. And especially so in leadership positions. But Ann Marie Sastry has achieved worldwide respect and prominence for her work in three careers — as a leading academic and research chief, as an adviser to both government and big business, and most recently as a leading the way to commercialization of new understandings of advanced batteries. Ann Marie Sastry was born in Peoria, Illinois. Her father, Tony Sastry, a native of India, was a professor of mathematics at Bradley University, while her mother, Barbara Sastry, of German descent, started as a first grade teacher. Sastry left high school as valedictorian, and went on to achieve top honours in college. She graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware, where she attended school on a Eugene DuPont Fellowship.

It was an auspicious moment in her life. She says: “The luckiest thing that ever happened to me was the DuPont scholarship, because I would not otherwise have gone to Delaware — and it probably would have been a lot longer before I met my husband, Christian Lastoskie, who attended on the same scholarship. “We met in September 1985 and married in July 1989, just after graduating.” Sastry attended Cornell University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship student and earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1994. She then took a position as a senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she wrote code for heterogeneous materials for static and dynamic finite element solvers. And it was here that she first began working on batteries.

After a year at Sandia, Sastry continued her battery research at the University of Michigan, in 1995 as a professor in the Mechanical Engineering department. At Michigan, her laboratory branched into many other areas of endeavour, including biology, mathematics, and engineered materials. Speaking to Batteries International she describes the way she works. “Generally the first thing I do is build a model. I always see systems as potentially tractable, that problems are all solvable if you are careful and succinct in prescribing them and bounding them, if you know what you want and know what you can give up. Although I love mathematics, I’ve always seen it as step one in my engineering work. “Batteries are the root technology for so many critical products and processes, from EVs to consumer electronics, to providing power and light using renewables and rethinking grid power. From a scientific perspective,

The team set a record in 2014, demonstrating an energy density of >1100Wh/l from cells produced by its pilot line in Ann Arbor, about double the value in commercially available cells today. 118 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015


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Valletta I Malta I September 2016

The International Lead Association is pleased to announce that the 15th European Lead Battery Conference (15ELBC) and Exhibition will be held in Valletta, the captial city of Malta on 13-16 September 2016. 15ELBC will provide an ideal opportunity for those involved with the lead battery industry worldwide to review and discuss the most recent technical advances associated with lead-based batteries, especially for automotive and renewable energy storage applications. Technical presentations will bring delegates fully up-to-date with the latest research and development information from around the globe. An extensive Exhibition – expected to involve over 100 stands –

by suppliers to the industry of equipment, materials and technology, will also take place. Since the first meeting in Paris in 1988, the European Lead Battery Conferences have developed a reputation for high quality presentations on the design, manufacture, performance and use of lead-acid batteries. Over 700 delegates and 100 exhibitors attended 14ELBC in Edinburgh 2014 and similar numbers are confidently expected in Malta.

15ELBC Conference Secretariat: Maura McDermott International Lead Association, Bravington House, 2 Bravingtons Walk, London N1 9AF United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0) 20 7833 8090 | Fax : +44 (0) 20 7833 1611 | E-mail:

BATTERY PIONEERS: ANN MARIE SASTRY the field is wonderful, a beautiful admixture of mathematics, kinetics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, optimization, and transport.” As her lab grew in reputation and recognition, Sastry and her students published prolifically, and her students successfully began their own laboratories, with many going on to leadership roles in industry and academia. Sastry was recognized with many of the top honous in her field, including the National Science Foundation Presidential Award (1997), the Frank Kreith Energy Award (2011) and Gustus L Larson Memorial Award (2007) from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the University of Michigan’s Henry Russel Award (1999) and Faculty Recognition Award (2005). In 2004, Sastry was appointed a fellow of ASME and she received the University of Delaware’s Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement. Chia-Wei Wang has collaborated with Sastry for nearly 20 years, first as her graduate student, and later as a colleague and Sakti3 co-founder. “Ann Marie founded two research centres, and one graduate-level programme when she was at the University of Michigan…these centres and programmes involved multi-discipline technologies, and professors and researchers from various departments. They all looked like impossible tasks at that time. However, she was able to pull them all through.” Among this busy life, she was very much involved in her family. Their first child, Katherine Rose Lastoskie, was born in 1997 and their son, Peter Christian Lastoskie, was born four years later. At 16, Katie joined Sakti3 as a materials characterization intern, and at 13, Peter worked on his competition robot in Sakti3’s machine shop. “The circle seemed complete,” says Sastry. Here was my daughter, analyzing materials and operating a scanning electron microscope, and here was my son, drilling holes and building a machine. Katie and Peter want to be engineers, and whether or not they change their minds, I know they’ll aim to make meaningful contributions, which is what my parents hoped for me.” Sastry’s laboratory would produce many future professors, and other successful professionals. As the efforts grew, Sastry began building organizations to support her work. Having written papers for a number

Ann Marie founded two research centres, and one graduate-level programme when she was at the University of Michigan…these centres and programmes involved multi-discipline technologies, and professors and researchers from various departments. They all looked like impossible tasks at that time. However, she was able to pull them all through. of years on percolation theory, she saw this branch of mathematical modelling as a viable means of predicting critical volumes of sensors that would detect rare ionic species in cells, thereby providing a means to rationalize data provided by her colleague and centre co-founder, professor Martin Philbert. Sastry and Philbert would form a collaboration via a $2 million grant from the Keck foundation. The mathematics Sastry and her students developed would have profound implications for their work in battery technology. They explored not only the concentration, but also the shapes and sizes of particles in battery cells that would produce optimal performance. Sastry began to realize a new degree was needed to train students in the emerging fields of energy storage and renewables. The Energy Systems Engineering Graduate Programme at the University of Michigan, the first of its kind, was born, with Sastry as the founding director. Sastry grew the programme to over 150 students in just two years, and created a global network of students specializing in technologies ranging from batteries, to fuel cells, to wind power and even business considerations of the consequences of cleaner energy generation. “The programme started in 2007, when cleantech was really just getting on the engineering radar,” she says. “The enthusiasm, intelligence and motivation of the students were off the charts. And, we were fortunate to find a partner in Jim Queen, the global vice president for engineering at General Motors. GM announced the Volt programme in 2007, and it was clear that there were engineering skills gaps that needed to be filled. “GM, though Jim’s efforts, made ESE their flagship programme, retraining hundreds of engineers to work on EVs,” says Sastry. “We also formed a research centre that I led, the Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains (GM/UM ABCD), with four

From elementary school to graduation: early steps on a road to academic fame and distinction

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 121


The worldwide impact of her work has also been profound. Over 500 organizations worldwide have cited her research (the highest number tracked by citation software), including all major universities in the US as well as universities over the world including US national laboratories and various industries (such as Samsung, General Motors, Ford and BASF).

122 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

BATTERY PIONEERS: ANN MARIE SASTRY different participating universities, several GM and national lab partners, and dozens of bright, capable graduate students. “ Queen believes this is the way ahead. “In the future most transformational technologies will require the intersection of academia, industry, and government. Ann Marie is doing a masterful job of aligning the University of Michigan, the automotive industry, and politicians in the pursuit of an alternative form of energy. She not only has been a visionary, she has been a powerful implementer and actionable leader in this pursuit.” Margaret Wooldridge, critical to the success of ABCD and ESE, worked with Sastry and her other colleagues to create a structure around these efforts: “ Ann Marie touched every programme at the University of Michigan in a positive way, from scientific breakthroughs in materials, to new programmes years ahead of their time on alternative energy, to crushing bias in hiring practices.” The scientific output of Sastry’s laboratories grew prodigious from these collective efforts. She has published over 100 influential articles and chapters in peer-reviewed journals and books, and many have become classic references in their fields. The publications appeared in the top journals in their respective fields, and included the first 3D studies of coupled electrochemical and mechanical phenomena in electrochemical power supplies, enabling design of new materials architectures for advanced batteries (2007), and the first analytic solutions for percolation thresholds (published in Physical Review E and Proceedings of the Royal Society), resulting in a press release by NSF, and covered by Business Week, and other publications (2004). Her work also provided a mathematical framework for sensing intracellular ions, described in an invited “Young Scientist” issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, and covered in an article published in Nature, as a novel nanoscale approach in sensing (2004). And, her mathematical formalisms enabled study of a broad range of rare ion transport phenomena, laid out in a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (2007). The worldwide impact of her work has also been profound. Over 500 organizations worldwide have cited her research (the highest number tracked

This summer Sastry met US president Obama at the White House Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship

by citation software), including all major universities in the US as well as universities over the world including US national laboratories and various industries (such as Samsung, General Motors, Ford and BASF ). In the middle of this, Sastry began work on solid state batteries. “We determined that by selecting constituents of porous materials, we could improve battery cell performance, but we would not revolutionize it. We needed to completely rethink the cell, and consider cost, up front — so that everyone, at some point, would be able to afford an EV,” she says. “This was the key point — this was not an exercise in setting a record or validating a certain hypothesis — this was an effort to enable greater productization and availability of energy storage, across all of these sectors. And so Sakti3 was born. The name Sakti3 hss an interesting origin — it’s made up from the Sanskrit word Sakti for ‘power’ and 3 being the atomic number for lithium.

Realising that this would require significant funding — and a viable business model that would drive development — Sastry approached Khosla Ventures, a well known Silicon Valley investment firm, and Beringea, a global fund based in Michigan. She also gained the investment of Itochu, a Japanese trading company, and General Motors Ventures. “We were an interesting play for these firms — a tiny, mid-Western battery company led by a pointy-headed professor and a few of her former students,” she says. “We saw ourselves much differently, though — we had done the math. As with so many other things, we committed to one thing and one thing only — to learn what was needed to achieve our goals. We had an important mission.” Beginning with new codes written exclusively for Sakti3, the team performed intensive calculations to identify layer thicknesses, material compositions, packaging and production methodologies that would identify the

Beginning with new codes written exclusively for Sakti3, the team performed intensive calculations to identify layer thicknesses, material compositions, packaging and production methodologies that would identify the optimal combinations of energy and power density and low cost. Simultaneously, they began small scale prototyping on low cost tooling. Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 123

wirtz has a sUPEriOr POsitiVE GriD MaKiNG PrOCEss. aND OUr PatENt is thE PrOOf. Wirtz Manufacturing Company has been granted a U.S. patent for the production of positive grids and plates which will increase the life of batteries using continuously manufactured positive grids and plates. The patent is for the method of improving the shape of the grid wires and the surface finish of the grid wires on all grids made by continuous processes including punched grids, expanded grids, and continuously cast grids. The result of our new Wirtz patent is that grids have improved shapes and improved surface finishes similar to gravity cast grids, and therefore have much better paste adhesion providing longer life positive

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Family and her children have always been a core part of her life

optimal combinations of energy and power density and low cost. Simultaneously, they began small scale prototyping on low cost tooling. The Sakti3 team began filing patents right from the very start. Tribute to their work has come from Richard Ogawa, one of the most recognized patent attorneys in the world, has represented four different Nobel Prize winners, been recognized by US president Barrack Obama as the key attorney representing innovative start-up companies, and has built patent portfolios across many different technical areas. “Having worked with a number of Nobel Prize winners, I consider Ann Marie among a very rare and elite group of talented inventors. She also has business, financial, and management skills and I consider her one of the best out of the 400 companies that I’ve represented.” Around this time with the company growing — and the ABCD and ESE progressing well — Wei Lu, a professor at the university, took on greater responsibility for these activities allowing Sastru the gap of a sabbatical leave and a mve to work for the company full time.” According to Wei Lu, “Sastry constructed 11 different, interlocking lines of inquiry within ABCD, from the atomistic to vehicle scales, and compelled us to collaborate. Sastry made sure it was running and then transitioned leadership to me and other colleagues.” As Sastry transitioned to full-time technical and business work as CEO of Sakti3, she continued to be an advocate for clean energy and as a role model to academics and entrepreneurs.

Following her early contributions to her professional societies, including the associate editorships of three different journals (Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology, Journal of the Mechanical Behaviour of Biomedical Materials, Journal of Composite Materials), and serving in committee chairmanships and organization of countless symposia, Sastry continued to mentor others in her field. Sastry continued to grow Sakti3 and her research and service work. But it’s not always been easy going. “When the battery industry in the US contracted in 2011-2012, venture funding for batteries became extremely difficult to secure — companies were going bankrupt or consolidating at an alarming pace,” she says. “I remember walking through the Detroit Metro airport to meet investors, as CNN was running a story on one of the larger battery bankruptcies on the big screens in October 2012 — this was an inauspicious time to raise capital, to say the least. Our investors advised us to downsize and conserve capital — immediately. “So we knew that if we conserved capital, we could make it through the next stage of development without raising additional investment — and purchase the new tooling that we critically needed to improve our process. Our investors stuck with us, and we redoubled our efforts, and secured equipment in record time. “Our smaller, dedicated team managed to not only facilitize, but commission the equipment, and we worked tirelessly to improve our prototype performance using our lockstep simulation and process science approach, learning as we went. We also gathered

a fantastic group of vendors and contractors — Sakti3 was temporarily a small company, but our effective size, considering our partners and suppliers, became huge. And these great business relationships remain critical to our success.” The team set a record in 2014, demonstrating an energy density of >1100Wh/l from cells produced by its pilot line in Ann Arbor, about double the value in commercially available cells today. This achievement attracted the attention of both the science and the business communities, including the international publication Scientific American. As part of this, and very much part of the cleantech ethos that underpins the laboratory, the team has looked at a full lifecycle of their designs. The fundamental question being what would be the environmental consequences of solid state cells versus traditional technology? “We partnered with Christian Lastoskie, whose team produced an award-winning life cycle analysis that showed the environmental impacts of our technology were favourable to the incumbents, and also guided our continued materials selection and processing,” says Sastry. She is aware that Sakti3, as have her other endeavours, will face many challenges ahead, but is enthusiastically optimistic that the new world of energy storage that she is helping to create, is achievable and getting nearer every day. Perhaps the big news for Sakti3 was the $15 million investment by James Dyson into the firm early in the year and his later acquisition of the entire company for some $90 million.

Batteries International • Autumn 2015 • 125

d r o w t s a l e Th

Big Red wins China’s Friendship Award It’s another honour for Bob Galyen — better known across the battery industry as the Big Red. The nickname — historically it applies to the colour of his hair and his height and not his political views — makes a convenient link to receipt of his latest accolade: the Chinese government’s Friendship Award. This is the highest prize granted to foreign experts in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the fields of society, economy, technology, education and culture.

Each year 50 winners are invited to the award ceremony in Beijing and received by the government leaders personally, then attend the National Day Ceremony. Chinese vice-premier Ma Kai conferred the award and premier Li Keqiang, together with other two vice-premiers Zhang Gaoli and Ma Kai, received the foreign experts in person. Bob said: “The awards bestowed by the Chinese are humbling to receive and can never be taken away.”

Bob is sixth to the left of centre in the first row standing. Next to him is his wife Susie.

‘Welcome to the world of lithium gentlemen’ Found transfixed by the luxury poolside at the ABC conference in Bangkok. One bemused delegate remained immobile for a full 20 minutes listening to the eerie sounds of Mozart being piped under the water of the swimming pool. “It’s the ultimate in the US hotel experience,” another on the team explained. “Your mind goes blank, a drowsy intoxication emerges and you finally know the price of contentment is little more than an quiet early afternoon’s brainwashing. “Welcome to the world of lithium gentlemen.” 126 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

A new a nt


ou r t e s y o c m f e Heliacal. h


star rock

That’s the word for it. To those ne’er-do-wells without a full academic certification in dead languages, it means “relating to the sun”. But it’s also the term that’s going to applied to a new anthem about to hit the battery market charts— and already showcased this year at the ABC opening meeting and the Solar Challenge race. The music was composed by Toby Rand, the Ozzie pop star, and whose father is better known as David ‘Pompey football is not dead but sleepeth’ Rand.





Duty, Duty, Duty, That’s Conferences As every one knows the duty of every native born American Batteryman is to play as much golf as is possible between the hours of daylight during a conference. Anything less than a full sun-up to sun-down is not just unmanly but a betrayal of the Constitution, the Flag and the Duty of every citizen to bear arms in homes, offices, supermarkets across the nation. But what happened at

the last BCI meeting in Savannah? “ Our new found golfing correspondent — a Brit — reported that many of the US golfers lacked the True Bulldog Spirit and scurried away from the last but one hole on the course. “Presumably,” he said, “they were too worried that the alligator (actual photo) would get in the way of their putting — I’d run too if it was going to add a penalty stroke for a drop?”

www.batteriesinternational.comBatteries International • Autumn 2015 • 127

d r o w t s a l e Th BCI, tales of entrapment in San Antonio

One hour into the trip.

Now fitted with green lead-acid batteries

Monsters Inc visits Don’t ever say academic endeavour is a waste of time. Why bother with electrical storage when you’ve got a voice? Screams extracted from the population of Britain, as per the Pixar film Monsters Inc could generate enough energy to power the UK, according to the University of Leicester. By multiplying the average person’s daily energy usage in Britain (125 kWh) by the 64 million population you can estimate the energy needed to meet Britain’s requirements. The UK would need everyone to scream 2,800,000,000 times a day at the highest volume humanly possible (129 dB). Lead acid is so yesterday’s power technology,

Solar Challenge blazes a new desert trail The monotonous in pursuit of the unachievable. That was our foolish prejudgment of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge — the 3022 kilometre epic journey across Australia that happens every two years as a squad of solar-powered vehicles drive from Darwin in the barren wastes of the north to the barren wastes of the south — aka Adelaide. Foolish? We mistakenly thought watching some glorified solar panels drifting in a straight line through a

desert would be boring. Far from it. According to Dan Varidd, race commentator: “Within an hour of the start the first casualties had emerged. “The UK’s Durham University’s car — battery mentor international expert Pat Moseley — had broken down. “Meanwhile Malaysia’s entry from the University of Technology was on fire. It was later reconstructed with ever-reliable lead acid batteries replacing the spent lithium-ion pack.”

128 • Batteries International • Autumn 2015

In the interests of balanced reporting, however, it was not just lithium vehicles that faltered, one of the two lead vehicles had to be withdrawn from the race. The winner was the Dutch Nuon 8 which arrived in the desolate Adelaide suburbs having averaged a speed of 92km/hr.

…m y a Ba sterious co t gran ddau teryman uple — a g h into n a Ba ter — d d his ngko i s k hot appear el lif t.

Sherlock a nd Mystery of the the…

When two or three US Batterymen are gathered together we know that they have only one four lettered word on their minds. And it begins with a G and ends in that F letter. So congratulations then to the Master of Entrapment better known as Mark Thorsby who has steadily been building on the recent successes of the BCI meetings each May with a new entrapment ploy. “We’ve picked on San Antonio in Texas for next May’s conference,” says our Mark. “The weather will be fine, there’s stack of things to do down there — and I’m not talking about the 10 types of McDonald’s sliders that are daily fare — but real culture with a capital K. “But best of all the local golf course is one of the most famous in North America, It’s surrounded by cliffs and is formed from a quarry. Once inside it’s impossible to escape. “BCI subscription revenues will be superb this year.”

Sherlock follows. The mystery deepens.

[A full report on the race and the battery technology in place will run in the next issue of Batteries International.]

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Batteries International magazine - issue 97  

As you’ll notice from our cover, this issue is just a little different. We wanted to reflect on the passing of DeLight Breidegam Jr, the fou...

Batteries International magazine - issue 97  

As you’ll notice from our cover, this issue is just a little different. We wanted to reflect on the passing of DeLight Breidegam Jr, the fou...