Archive for the ‘– energy storage’ Category

Batteries bring a revolutionary change – people can control their own electricity source

July 31, 2015

In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.

If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production

The battery revolution that will let us all be power brokers, New Scientist 22 July 15 
Companies are racing to find better ways to store electricity – and so provide us with cheaper energy when and where we want it “……..
. Although they are still dwarfed in most respects by the bulky lead-acid batteries found in almost every car on the road today, in 2015, lithium-ion batteries will account for around a third of the money spent on rechargeable batteries globally (see “Turn it on”), and just under a sixth of the total energy stored, according to French research firm Avicenne.

At the same time, their performance has improved immensely: design tweaks have tripled the energy stored in a given volume since the technology was commercialised in 1991. Success has bred success, and lithium-ion batteries have found new and bigger applications, such as electric vehicles (see “Powered by Lithium”). For example, the Model S electric car designed by Tesla Motors, a company owned by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is powered by thousands of small lithium-ion batteries arrayed between the car’s axles. It can go from zero to 95 kilometres an hour in 3.1 seconds, and can travel about 430 kilometres on a single charge, although charging it can take many hours.
Tesla has no plans to stop there. Lithium-ion batteries are so important to the company that it has taken manufacturing into its own hands, building a “Gigafactory” just outside Reno, Nevada. By 2020, the company plans to produce as many lithium-ion batteries annually as the entire world produced in 2013 – enough for a fleet of 500,000 electric cars – and with a 30 per cent reduction in production cost per battery………

“Now that lithium-ion is a $15 billion business, big companies are taking notice.”

And it’s not just big companies…………

In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.

If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production, says energy researcher Philipp Grünewald of the University of Oxford. “Batteries would be a really helpful thing to give you a sense that you’ve got something you can trade,” he says. He foresees a system where electricity providers put a small battery in customers houses for free, offering them cheaper rates in exchange for being able to manage that slice of energy storage for the good of the grid at large. That, however, would require buy-in from companies and consumers alike.

Chamberlain says it’s hard to predict what changes the world will undergo if the battery revolution comes off – just as the consequences of the information revolution would have been hard to predict a decade or so ago. But he expects a similar empowerment as individuals gain the ability to produce, store and use electricity at will. “Batteries are a linchpin that would enable democratisation of electricity,” he says………..

Mass production of wall mounted solar inverter and battery

July 14, 2013

SMA’s New Solar Inverter Incorporates Battery Energy Storage  24 June 13  SMA’s latest inverter that incorporates a lithium ion battery has won an award at Intersolar Europe 2013 in Munich.

Sunny Boy Smart Energy is the first wall mounted solar inverter with an integrated battery to be mass produced.

SMA says it can increase the self-consumption of solar power by a household by up to half. The 2 kW capacity stored by the Sunny Boy Smart Energy’s battery is sufficient to supply a four-person household with about three hours of power of an evening, or at other times during adverse weather conditions.

SMA states the Sunny Boy Smart Energy is as easy to install as a standard inverter, with no extra planning required.

The LG Chem produced integrated lithium-ion battery is designed for a service life of 10 years and a depth of discharge of 90%.

The companion to the Sunny Boy Smart Energy inverter is the Sunny Home Manager, which offers an overview of all energy production and consumption, controls loads automatically and integrates the Sunny Boy Smart Energy battery as an intermediate storage unit.

Acknowledged at the Intersolar Awards as the best product in the Photovoltaics category, this is the third occasion SMA has received Intersolar recognition.

“With this award, SMA again demonstrates its technological leadership and emphasizes the significance of intelligent system technology in the decentralized, renewable energy supply of the future,” says part a statement from the company.

The Sunny Boy Smart Energy will be available in Germany in October 2013. At this point in time, we’re unclear when it will be available in Australia.

As we’ve mentioned in the past; if Big Energy is concerned about the impact of solar on profits now, it’s going to be a lot worse if solar households sick of being treated as second class citizens by energy companies start cutting ties with the mains grid altogether in droves as residential battery storage systems evolve and become more affordable.

But it doesn’t have to be an “us vs. them” scenario – there are opportunities for Big Energy to work more closely with solar households; to their benefit, the benefit of all electricity users and Australia’s clean energy future.

National grids can make use of solar energy storage method

May 23, 2013

VIDEO The Lithium-Polysulfide Flow Battery 29 April 13,

U.S. researchers believe a breakthrough in battery technology will see more utility-scale solar and wind energy powering national grids.

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a new low-cost flow battery storage system that could solve issues relating to the peaks and troughs in power generation from renewable energy sources.

Flow batteries pump two types of liquid through a chamber, where two streams of dissolving molecules cause a chemical reaction that store or release energy.

They are currently thought to be the most effective way to maintain grid stability because the tanks, pipes and fittings used in flow battery systems can be scaled-up to store power for large-scale solar and wind facilities where energy generation depends on weather conditions.

But today’s flow batteries are expensive – the liquids used often require large quantities of rare earth materials to operate and a special membrane that separates the active and inactive ions. According to the SLAC/Stanford team, with solar and wind heading toward 20 percent of generation capacity, there needs to be a simpler and more efficient flow battery system.

“For solar and wind power to be used in a significant way, we need a battery made of economical materials that are easy to scale and still efficient,” said Yi Cui, Stanford associate professor of materials science and engineering.

Cui’s team designed a new membrane-free battery that does away with rare materials, using a chamber with a single molecular stream of lithium and sulphur ions. A reaction with a catalyst produces lithium polysulfides, discharging energy and absorbing lithium. The lithium ions are then reabsorbed into an organic compound to be used again.

“In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles,” Cui said. The researchers say the next step is to develop and field test a utility-scale flow battery based on their design capable of handling megawatts of energy storage.

Another flow battery concept we’ve covered in the past utilising cheap and readily available materials is the Rustbelt Flow Battery; which uses iron.

Energy storage solution – a big boost for renewable energy

December 28, 2012

Energy storage systems signal arrival of ‘baseload’ renewables REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson  21 November 2012 It has been widely thought that the arrival of cost-competitive rooftop solar PV systems would be the biggest game changer in the electricity market. But it may be that the emergence of affordable energy storage systems will have an even more profound impact.

There are predictions that the energy storage market is going to boom. One survey suggested that $30 billion will be spent on energy storage in the next decade in Australia alone. In the US, where $1 trillion is expected to be spent on electricity network infrastructure in the next 10 years, at least one fifth of that – or $200 billion – will be spent on energy storage.

The big question is who is going to benefit most from that investment – the customer, or the utility that delivers or sells the electricity. Or maybe even both. Most people are still trying to figure that out. (more…)

Very fast charging batteries for electric cars

September 2, 2012

New Korean Lithium Ion Battery for EVs Charges in Under 1 Minute By Ovidiu Sandru   August 21, 2012    A new lithium ion battery developed in Korea could make those long waiting times for an electric car to charge become history. A team of researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) claim they can build a battery that can charge in less than a minute, 30 to 120 times faster than a classic Li-Ion battery.

The bigger the battery (in volume), the longer it takes to charge it –
that’s the sad rule of thumb of batteries these days. One solution
would be to split the big battery into smaller piles – which has been
done so far, but it’s still not enough.
What the Korean researchers have done was to dip the cathode material
(lithium manganese oxide – LMO) in a solution containing graphite.
After carbonizing the graphite-soaked LMO, the graphite turned into a
dense network of conductive traces that ran throughout the cathode,
acting like blood vessels and allowing the entire battery to charge at
the same time, thus greatly speeding  up the recharge process, without
the energy density or life cycle being affected.
The new battery needs to be packaged no differently than a normal
lithium ion battery, which makes the new technology easily adaptable
to already existing production lines. That, in turn, shouldn’t make
the new Korean LMO batteries much more expensive, but a hell lot
faster to charge.
It remains to be seen when and if this technology will actually become
mainstream, or at least having some big car manufacturer like Ford or
GM test it on the roads.

Renewable energy storage

June 4, 2012

In-Depth: Germany’s 22 GW Solar Energy Record Clean Technica, MAY 31, 2012 BY THOMAS“…….Millions of Batteries in Buildings — Utopian? …… it is very easy to show that it’s just a matter of time until the combination of energy storage for homes with rooftop solar energy and/or small-wind becomes viable and even profitable.

Today, there are still about 6.4 million oil tanks in homes and buildings all over Germany storing energy in the form heating oil. Installing such a tank costs several thousand Euros today. So, why shouldn’t independent power producers start putting up new forms of energy storage in the same numbers as soon as it makes economic sense?

How would 6 million home storage systems change the energy system? Well, 6 million 10 kW / 25 kWh would mean a distributed storage system with 60 GW maximum output/input and 150 GWh of capacity. That’s already enough storage for 10% of the current daily consumption, more than enough to power all German households through the night. It’s also coming a long way to fill the gap between renewable baseload power (hydro and biomass) and variable sources like wind and solar.

That 10-kW/25-kWh battery is not fiction by the way. It’s quite similar to the battery pack that powers the Nissan Leaf right now, Just one battery that will soon reach production volumes in the hundreds of thousands as factories in Japan, Europe, and the US crank up production by 2013.

It’s true that the $15,000 price tag for the battery is too high right now. But, since all kinds of competitors are investing in this market, economics of scale, innovation and optimization will certainly reduce the cost of such batteries in the coming years. In the case of multi-kWh batteries, this development is a lot more obvious than what happened with the price for solar cells just 7 years ago. The fall of prices surprised many analysts back then. Today, prices for solar cells are 70%-80% cheaper than what they were in 2007, putting the cost of solar systems well below $2 per Watt in Germany…. ..