Dr. Ryan Bayliss Talks Energy Storage and Lithium-ion Battery Innovation

on November 30, 2017

Investing-NewsLithium and cobalt are key components of lithium-ion batteries, and are receiving a huge amount of attention as demand for these batteries continues to grow.

Graphite is another key material required for lithium-ion batteries, but it has not gotten as much attention this year. To learn more about its role in these batteries and about the future of energy storage technology, the Investing News Network spoke with Dr. Ryan Bayliss, a senior research fellow in the Department of Materials and a fellow of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.

In the interview below, Bayliss, who is also interim chief of staff of the Faraday Institution, the UK’s new electrochemical energy storage institute, also discusses nickel’s role in lithium-ion batteries, as well as electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Europe. Bayliss spoke to the Investing News Network via phone.

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Investing NewsDr. Ryan Bayliss Talks Energy Storage and Lithium-ion Battery Innovation

Activity descriptors for electrocatalysts in energy storage applications

on November 30, 2017

phys.orgUnder the environmental concerns such as pollution and greenhouse effect, environment-friendly energy storage applications such as fuel cells, ammonia production and lithium-air batteries are proposed to replace fossil resources. However, the high overpotential is one of the most urgent issues for practical applications, and electrocatalysts are applied as a solution. Designing high-activity catalysts for electrochemical conversions is challenging. Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, and Shanghai University, Shanghai, China, reviewed some representative activity descriptors to screen high-activity catalysts in future high-throughput calculations and experiments. This work, titled “Adsorption-Energy-Based Activity Descriptors for Electrocatalysts in Energy Storage Applications,” was published in National Science Review.

The scientists outline a simple strategy to improve  to reduce activation barriers of electrochemical reactions by tuning interfacial electronic coupling between the adsorbate and  surface.

“The electrocatalytic processes usually involve the  of reactants on the surfaces of catalysts, break some reactant bonds to form new chemical bonds between the catalyst and reactants, and result in activated intermediates. Because the catalytic activity is attributed to the interfacial electronic coupling, adsorption energy is a good descriptor to identify catalytic activity for surface reactions.”

Based on the free energy change of electrochemical , the authors divided the whole electrochemical reaction into an intrinsic reaction part and a catalytic effect part. “The catalytic effect is directly reflected in the adsorption energy differences of reactants and products,” they stated. Adsorption energy as a catalytic descriptor in those typical reactions is discussed in on-electron pair reactions, evolution reactions and reduction reactions to present the effect of electronic coupling between catalysts and charged species on catalytic activity.

“The relationship between adsorption energy and catalytic activity is helpful for the initial selection of catalysts and the key of mapping the relationship is to establish the quantitative relationship between the intrinsic electronic properties of materials and catalytic descriptors,” they write. Structural and elementary descriptors such as d-band center, tolerance factor and eg electron number are explained in d-band framework to related to adsorption energy. “Furthermore, because structural and elementary descriptors are experimentally quantified compared with adsorption , structural and elementary descriptors are useful to discover new catalyst materials and ensure a leap forward in electrochemical performance.”

“Charge transfer is also an important part in  and improve the catalytic activity. The principle of charge transfer is to remove charge from stable bonds in reactants and lower the activation barrier of the rate-limiting step,” they added.

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Phys.OrgActivity descriptors for electrocatalysts in energy storage applications

Electric Vehicles Could Displace 8 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day by 2040

on November 30, 2017

bloombergAn energy transition is underway. Solar and wind are being added in ever-greater numbers. Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace. Meanwhile, policy makers are grappling with the right mix of policies to pay for it all.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference on the future of energy in Asia assembled industry executives, policy makers and bankers tackle some of the big questions surrounding energy.

“The past tells us a very clear lesson, and that is that we have underestimated the pace of the energy transition,” BNEF analyst Kobad Bhavnagri said as the conference started in Shanghai.

Here are some of the highlights from Tuesday’s presentations:

EVs are here to stay

Electronic vehicles have become a key element of the energy transition.

BNEF expects 530 million EVs on the road by 2040. Moreover, the researcher expects more electric buses and trucks as that segment of the transportation market becomes more attractive for electrification.

The implications for oil are significant, with the researcher expecting EVs to displace 8 million barrels of daily oil demand by 2040. Meanwhile, China is not only interested in EVs for the domestic market. The world’s most-populous nation is aiming to become a globally competitive automaker by the 2020s — with the latest EV technology.

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BloombergElectric Vehicles Could Displace 8 Million Barrels of Oil Per Day by 2040

4 Leaders in Solar Battery Storage

on November 29, 2017

energy storageSolar energy and energy storage have always been natural partners for homeowners and businesses who want to produce their own energy. But the energy storage side of the equation has never made economic sense, partly because batteries are expensive and partly because residential and commercial solar owners can export electricity to the grid under net metering. 

What’s changing right now is that battery costs are coming down rapidly and net metering is coming under pressure as utilities try to fight off growing residential and commercial solar installations. That creates an opening for solar and battery storage to become a booming market as companies create the technology that allows people to produce and consume more of their energy on-site. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR)SolarEdge(NASDAQ:SEDG), and Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) are the four companies to watch as the industry grows. 


Tesla’s Powerwall is probably the most well-known battery for residential solar systems, making the company a leader in the market. The Powerwall combines an inverter with a 13.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and controls for your energy system. It will connect to a solar system as well as Tesla vehicles, charging when you want it to and providing backup power for the home. 

Also, don’t forget about Tesla’s scalable Powerpack battery system. It’s one of the leading products in commercial and utility scale energy storage. The company just completed a 129 megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system in South Australia, the biggest lithium-ion battery storage system in the world. 

What Tesla can do is sell energy storage systems through SolarCity and through other installers. That makes it a solar battery storage powerhouse with a number of ways to grow in energy long-term. 

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The Motley Fool4 Leaders in Solar Battery Storage

Lyon confirms sell-off for 800MWh energy storage, 545MW of PV across three Australia projects

on November 29, 2017

Energy Storage NewsAustralian large-scale renewables investor Lyon Group has confirmed it is selling three projects under development, totalling 800MWh of energy storage and 545MW of PV generation capacity, in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The group said on Friday in a statement sent to Energy-Storage.News that the Cape York, Nowingi and Riverland projects are expected to be sold by the end of this year. Lyon already has a shortlist of bidders, but refused to reveal names at this stage.

The sales will help support Lyon Group’s ongoing strategy to develop more than 2,000MW of solar PV and over 1,000MW of battery energy storage within the next three years. The company was behind the development of Australia’s first utility-scale solar-plus-storage facility, Lakeland in Queensland, which pairs 22MW of solar with 1.4MW of energy storage.

Lyon Group launched a ‘Battery storage market services tender’ for 640MWh of energy storage across the three projects in June, open to electricity retailers and generators, heavy electricity users, and other sector participants.

The Riverland project in South Australia features what is thought will be the world’s largest lithium battery installation to date when completed, pairing 240MW of solar PV with 100MW / 400MWh of energy storage, although the solar portion could be scaled up to 330MW in future. It will take the ‘world’s largest’ crown from Tesla’s just-completed 129MWh project, also in South Australia.

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Energy Storage NewsLyon confirms sell-off for 800MWh energy storage, 545MW of PV across three Australia projects

Why the future of clean energy storage lies in hydrogen

on November 29, 2017

Science-DailyAs renewable sources of energy like wind and solar gain traction, scientists and engineers are eyeing new ways to store that energy in a cost-efficient manner — laying the groundwork for a future in which renewables rival fossil fuels in powering our homes and vehicles.

Paul Mutolo, a chemist and director of External Partnerships for the Energy Materials Center at Cornell University, has worked in the energy sector for over 16 years. He says the sector is entering a pivotal new phase and that hydrogen will be an essential component in developing energy storage technologies that take hold.

Mutolo says, “Electrical energy storage (EES) is going to change the way we use energy — it already is. Tomorrow’s grid will be more efficient, less expensive, and greener because of it. This is about to get really interesting: in the next few years, we will introduce EES systems at the neighborhood, or distributed, scale. It will be like a neighborhood sized backup power generator, and a lot more.

“It’s great that we have started with batteries. They are easy to make and connect, but they are not suited to deliver the fast-responding, very versatile duty cycles that we’re used to from fossil fuels. On the grid and in our cars, the differences are clear. Batteries don’t work like fossil fuels. Lithium ions act like a caravan of super camels, efficiently carrying electricity — in when charging, out when using. Even super camels (and lithium ions), can only carry so much, so fast. Today’s electric vehicles with short range and long recharge times, are the result.

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Science DailyWhy the future of clean energy storage lies in hydrogen

Pilot Mode: Sunverge Picks Up Utility Trials for Solar, Energy Storage and Software

on November 28, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaOver the last decade, Sunverge has become a preferred provider of home solar-battery systems to utilities. It rivals Tesla in scope and scale of its deployments, if not in its marketing hype. 

But just like Tesla, the startup has seen its share of struggles, albeit of a different scope.

While Tesla is seeking mass-market acceptance for its Powerwalls (and achieving decidedly mixed results in terms of keeping production on track with its sales) Sunverge has shifted from making its own battery units to providing software to utilities, in hopes of finding a niche as a trusted virtual power plant (VPP) platform provider. 

On Tuesday, the company announced three more utility customers, including two with some advanced interest in solving the solar-storage grid challenge. 

The first, Arizona Public Service, plans a neighborhood-scale installation of Sunverge One battery-inverter units, along with home energy controllers, to help balance the rising neighborhood-level swells and sags in customer-generated solar power throughout the day. 

This pilot is the latest in the utility’s long-running study ofstorage power electronics and communications to manage its rising tide of customer-generated solar power. The first round, a joint effort with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), has been testing megawatt-scale grid batteries, as well as more than 1,600 advanced inverters. This next phase, known as the Solar Innovation Study, involves distributed energy resources at the residential scale, including rooftop solar, load controllers, HVAC systems and battery storage. 

The Sunverge One, the company’s basic 6.4-kilowatt, 11.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and inverter unit, has a decidedly low-key feel, suggesting more of an outdoor air conditioning unit than Tesla’s futuristic turtle-shell wall mounting. That’s partly because it’s meant to be installed outdoors, and is rated to withstand the typical utility ranges of heat, cold and rain, and partly because Sunverge seeks to involve the customers as little as possible in the unit’s overall operation, beyond informing them how much it’s earned them over the course of time. 

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GreenTech MediaPilot Mode: Sunverge Picks Up Utility Trials for Solar, Energy Storage and Software

BYD Ramping Up The Energy Storage Business Worldwide

on November 28, 2017

Seeking AlphaBYD Co Ltd (OTCPK:OTCPK:BYDDF) is looking to seize energy storage business opportunities around the world. Recent contract wins in both residential and commercial emphasize the company’s worldwide reach and competitive position. Many other companies, including Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), are optimistic about the business as well. BYD may have the competitive advantage, though. Its founder and chairman has very ambitious targets for future growth.

North America

Energy storage systems are benefiting everywhere from a combination of rapidly falling costs, improved capability and greater industry expertise. Many Governments are looking to subsidize the business short-term. Consumer interest is showing strong levels. The World Bank has predicted that 378.1GW of solar and wind generating capacity will come on-stream between 2017 and 2022. They see the main barrier as up-front cost. However costs are falling across the board. Thus payback times are shortening. The affluent USA did lead in such early applications, but may now fall behind the rest of the world.

Energy storage systems are still increasing in the USA. It is estimated that 260 MW was installed last year. This has been encouraged by a decline in net metering. This makes it now more viable for the consumer to store energy. Commercially the market will be hampered by the lack of clear direction and policy initiatives from the Federal Government. Individual States very much have individual policies.

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Seeking AlphaBYD Ramping Up The Energy Storage Business Worldwide

SUSI Energy Storage Fund Agrees to $95 million Financing Line with Canada’s NRStor

on November 28, 2017

renewable energy magazineAnnette Verschuren, Chair and CEO at NRStor Inc., said, “This facility is a major milestone in the development and expansion of the Canadian energy storage market. The facility allows NRStor C&I to accelerate its deployment of BTM commercial, industrial, and institutional energy storage solutions. Incorporating long term flexible and sustainable solutions is our mission and we are delighted to be working with SUSI Partners in growing this sector.”

The SUSI Energy Storage Infrastructure Fund finances storage projects in the areas of spectrum regulation, load management and off-grid solutions with a focus on the OECD area.

Asif Rafique, Managing Director of Energy Storage at SUSI Partners, states: “Our agreement with NRStor C&I represents another important step for the SESF and the wider energy storage market. We are delighted to complete this deal with NRStor’s market-leading team and are looking forward to realizing further investments in the near term.”

Otto von Troschke, CIO and co-founder of SUSI Partners, pointed out his company “has a solid track record of energy efficiency projects with commercial and industrial customers and is now pleased to tap into this customer segment in the energy storage sector as well. “

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Renewable Energy MagazineSUSI Energy Storage Fund Agrees to $95 million Financing Line with Canada’s NRStor

BNEF Predicts Explosive Energy Storage Growth On Both Sides Of The Meter

on November 27, 2017

energy storage cleantechnicaThe latest “Energy storage forecast 2016–2030” from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts explosive growth in energy storage over the next 12 years. BNEF says storage will grow in much the same way that solar power grew between 2010 and 2015. Solar power expanded 700% during that time. It sees a six fold increase in energy storage to 305 gigawatt-hours between now and the year 2030. Making that happen will require an investment in excess of $100 billion.

The United States is expected to be responsible for a quarter of the new storage capacity, with the remainder spread among nations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. China, Japan, India, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and the UK will play a major role in the expansion, according to BNEF. “Energy storage, both utility-scale and behind-the-meter, will be a crucial source of flexibility throughout this period and will be essential to integrating increasing levels of renewable energy,” reads a statement from the BNEF staff.

The International Renewable Energy Agency says battery storage worldwide totaled only 1 gigawatt-hour at the beginning of 2017. Its prediction is that there will be 250 gigawatt-hours of storage installed by 2030. Either way, the increase in energy storage should be nothing short of meteoric in the coming decade or so.

One aspect of the latest advisory from BNEF that has gone under-reported is this — BNEF expects fully 50% of that increase in energy storage to take place “behind the meter.” In other words, storage by large commercial actors such as Walmart, Google, Amazon, and other large businesses, combined with residential solutions, will account for more of the new storage capacity as grid-scale storage for utilities.

BNEF says, “Utility-scale storage will be built to provide system-level services in the near term, but aggregating behind-the-meter energy storage becomes a viable alternative as the market for customer-sited storage grows. By 2030, behind-the-meter systems will represent over half of total capacity. These systems can also provide services such as frequency regulation and peaking capacity, on top of the savings they generate for customers.” It expects $30 billion will be invested in residential storage during this expansion phase.

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CleanTechnicaBNEF Predicts Explosive Energy Storage Growth On Both Sides Of The Meter