Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes Recycled In Next-Generation Energy Storage Devices

on November 29, 2019

Scientists in China have devised a way to reuse graphite anodes from spent lithium-ion batteries in sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries.

Producing new lithium-ion batteries is becoming more challenging due to the cost and limited supply of raw materials. Current recycling strategies only generate recycled compounds rather than functional materials, and most of those strategies deal with cathodes rather than anodes.

The new strategy proposed by Xing-Long Wu’s team at Northeast Normal University is not only a simple way to recycle graphite from lithium-ion battery anodes – the researchers also use the resulting graphite in sodium-ion and potassium-ion batteries. Producing these next-generation batteries has its advantages, as sodium and potassium are more readily available than lithium, and the batteries don’t need to contain unethically sourced cobalt.

Central to the new recycling strategy is a simple thermal decomposition process. The researchers scrape graphite anode powder off the exhausted anodes, stir in ethanol, centrifuge, and dry into a powder. They then calcine the resulting compound at 700°C, 1000°C, 1300°C and 1600°C for four hours under an argon atmosphere to obtain recycled graphite, which they use in new anodes.

Although scientists have explored reusing lithium-ion battery materials in new lithium-ion batteries before, Wu reasons that their proposed method is a more advanced concept. ‘This idea can simultaneously promote the development of next-generation batteries while solving the issues derived from extensively used lithium-ion batteries,’ explains Wu.

Nuria Tapia Ruiz, who researches the fundamental chemistry of lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery technologies at Lancaster University, UK, describes the work as thought-provoking. ‘The increasing demand on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and electronic devices has posed an additional problem to the initial and exclusive thought of finding good-performing and long-lasting batteries. Recycling materials is an emergent area of research, which may undoubtedly contribute to a sustainable future with reduced waste,’ she says.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLithium-Ion Battery Anodes Recycled In Next-Generation Energy Storage Devices

The Reality Behind Green Hydrogen’s Soaring Hype

on November 29, 2019

Green hydrogen produced using renewable energy is increasingly seen as a key asset for grid and transport decarbonization.

Interest in the technology is surging. Shell believes the hydrogen sector deserves the same levels of support that went to solar energy over the years.

But at least in the medium term, the decarbonization potential of hydrogen is limited. In some areas, it’s “just not economical, and it won’t be,” said Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Ben Gallagher.

Green hydrogen remains inefficient and expensive today, with an end-to-end efficiency of only around 30 percent, said Gallagher.

As a result, it’s hard to see it being used for electricity generation in markets such as the U.S., where natural gas prices are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.

Similar challenges could hamper attempts to make hydrogen a viable alternative to electrification in the automotive sector.

“On the mobility side, you not only have the electrolyzer, you have a large distribution network that you need to build out,” said Gallagher. “Compared to either EVs or gasoline, I don’t understand how it’s going to be cost-competitive in any way, anytime soon.”

Not much “green” today
Gallagher’s views echo the findings of a major report on green hydrogen published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) in September, which warned that the fuel “should not be considered a panacea.”

“A hydrogen-based energy transition will not happen overnight,” Irena’s report states. “Hydrogen will likely trail other strategies such as electrification of end-use sectors, and its use will target specific applications. The need for a dedicated new supply infrastructure may limit hydrogen use.”

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Reality Behind Green Hydrogen’s Soaring Hype

Total Opens New Caledonia’s Largest Solar Power Plant With Battery Storage

on November 29, 2019

French oil and gas major Total has this week inaugurated the Hélio Boulouparis 2 solar project in New Caledonia, the largest solar power plant in any French overseas territory.

The Hélio Boulouparis 2 project consists of over 58,000 solar panels with a cumulative peak capacity of 16 MW – enough to cover the energy needs of over 21,000 residents of New Caledonia.

The plant will also feature a lithium-ion battery storage system with a capacity of nearly 10MW (The hours of storage were not released)..

“With nearly 60% of the total photovoltaic capacity installed in New Caledonia, Total Quadran is positioned as the first player in the New Caledonian solar market,” said Thierry Muller, General Manager of Total Quadran, Total’s French renewables subsidiary.

“As a historical player in the territory, Total is proud to be able to contribute to a less carbon-intensive energy mix of the region, while promoting the integration of renewables into the electricity grid through appropriate storage facilities.”

Total Quadran – which develops, builds, and operates renewable facilities in France and its overseas territories – now boasts over 300 renewable power projects with a cumulative capacity of nearly 900 MW, generating 1,675 GWh of renewable electricity each year.

Total Quadran now manages 7 solar power plants in New Caledonia with a cumulative capacity of 50MW. This latest New Caledonia solar project is the second Boulouparis project, joining a 11 MW project commissioned in 2017.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTotal Opens New Caledonia’s Largest Solar Power Plant With Battery Storage

Energy Storage Contracts Down 34% in Q3 2019

on November 28, 2019

The proportion of contracts by category tracked by the research frim in the quarter was as follows:

  1. Supply & Erection: 11 contracts and a 47.8% share
  2. Power Purchase Agreement: five contracts and a 21.7% share
  3. Project Implementation: four contracts and a 17.4% share
  4. Consulting & Similar Services: two contracts and an 8.7% share
  5. Repair, Maintenance, Upgrade & Others: one contract and a 4.3% share.

North America leads in energy storage activity in Q3 2019

Comparing contracts activity in energy storage segment in different regions of the globe, North America held the top position with 12 contracts and a share of 52.2% during Q3 2019, followed by Asia-Pacific with four contracts and a 17.4% share and Europe with four contracts and a 17.4% share.

Solar is leading technology for energy storage contracts in Q3 2019

Among the technologies, solar accounted for 13 contracts with a 72.2% share, followed by wind with three contracts and a 16.7% share and thermal with two contracts and an 11.1% share.

Energy storage contracts in Q3 2019: Top companies by capacity

The top issuers of energy storage contracts for the quarter in terms of power capacity involved were:

  1. City of San Jose (United States): 110MW from one contract
  2. New York Power Authority (United States): 20MW from one contract
  3. East Bay Community Energy (United States): 7.5MW capacity from two contracts.
read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Contracts Down 34% in Q3 2019

Report: Utility-Scale Energy Storage Expected to Grow 35% by 2028

on November 28, 2019

Global new capacity additions of utility-scale energy storage (USES) are expected to reach 1,557.0 MW. This number is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.8% to reach 22,909.2 MW of new capacity deployed in 2028.

That’s according to a new report from Navigant Research that examines the market drivers, challenges, key trends, and growth projections for the global USES industry, with forecasts for power capacity (MW), energy capacity (MWh), and deployment revenue, through 2028.

As the global USES industry continues its pattern of rapid growth, inflection points are arising around the world. The technology is becoming competitive with conventional power grid systems and, while the industry remains diverse, repeating trends are surfacing in the early adopter markets that have grown and become more mature.

The emergence of solar plus storage projects has been the most important trend seen in the global USES industry in the past 2 years, according to the report. These combined projects account for a large percentage of newly announced energy storage capacity, including some of the largest projects being built. Standardization among these new solar plus storage projects has been key to driving their growth, both in terms of technical designs and contract structures through combined power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The report, “Utility-Scale Energy Storage Overview,” provides an update on the market drivers, challenges, key trends, and growth projections for the global USES industry. Additional insight is provided on the leading technologies in the market and the leading players across various elements of the USES value chain.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsReport: Utility-Scale Energy Storage Expected to Grow 35% by 2028

Researchers Say Nanomaterials Are Key To Energy Storage

on November 28, 2019

A report published in Science magazine by a team of scientists claims nanomaterials are the key to widespread, affordable energy storage. “Most of the biggest problems facing the push for sustainability can all be tied back to the need for better energy storage,” says Professor Yury Gogotsi of Drexel University and lead author of the paper.

“Whether it’s a wider use of renewable energy sources, stabilizing the electric grid, managing the energy demands of our ubiquitous smart and connected technology or transitioning our transportation toward electricity — the question we face is how to improve the technology of storing and disbursing energy. After decades of research and development, the answer to that question may be offered by nanomaterials.”

“The better we become at harvesting and storing energy, the more we’ll be able to use renewable energy sources that are intermittent in nature,” Gogotsi says. “Batteries are like the farmer’s silo — if it’s not large enough and constructed in a way that will preserve the crops, then it might be difficult to get through a long winter. In the energy industry right now, you might say we’re still trying to build the right silo for our harvest — and that’s where nanomaterials can help.”

Nanomaterials — More Surfaces For Electrons
According to Drexel University, the main thrust of battery research is finding better energy materials and combining them to store more electrons. Using a process called nanostructuring, researchers introduce particles, tubes, flakes, and stacks of nanoscale materials into the components of batteries, capacitors, and supercapacitors. Their shape and atomic structure can speed the flow of electrons — the heartbeat of electrical energy. Their enhanced surface area provides more resting places for the charged particles.

The effectiveness of nanomaterials allows scientists to rethink the basic design of batteries. Nanomaterials can permit future batteries that are lighter in weight and and smaller in size by eliminating metal foil current collectors that are necessary in conventional batteries.

“It is a very exciting time to work in the area of nanoscale energy storage materials,” says Ekaterina Pomerantseva, an associate professor in the Drexel College of Engineering and co-author of the study.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsResearchers Say Nanomaterials Are Key To Energy Storage

Total Inaugurates New Caledonia’s Solar Power Plant With Energy Storage

on November 27, 2019

Total Quadran, a wholly owned Total subsidiary involved in the production of renewable electricity in France and its overseas territories, has initiated Helio Boulouparis 2, a solar power plant with energy storage in overseas France. The plant is the second tranche of the solar park. The first tranche, Helio Boulouparis 1, was put on stream in 2017.

Equipped with more than 58 000 solar panels, the plant has an installed capacity of nearly 16 MWp. The plant will feature a lithium-ion energy storage system (ESS) with a capacity of nearly 10 MW. The combination of a large photovoltaic system with an ESS helps to improve the quality and reliability of the electricity grid for the benefit of the local population.

“The territorial aspect of these projects is crucial. They can only be carried out if local institutions are on board and with a strong support from all local stakeholders,” explained Stefan Sontheimer, Director of Total Quadran’s Pacific agency. “In all, 200 people from companies in New Caledonia worked on the project. They were involved at each stage, from site selection, design, permits and financing on through to construction and now operation and maintenance.”

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTotal Inaugurates New Caledonia’s Solar Power Plant With Energy Storage

Lockheed Martin Locked Onto 2020 Flow Battery Launch

on November 27, 2019

Defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin wants to be the first disruptive company of the flow battery era, with the expectation that its first devices will go into series production before the end of this year. met earlier this year with company VP for business development Dan Norton, who said that Lockheed Martin’s own coordination chemistry flow battery (CCFB) had neared the end of its development and test programme, which had gone “swimmingly and as planned”. The product has been some time in development, originally teased as expected to hit the market before the end of 2018, although this target was always understood to be flexible.

“We begin serial production on our unit number 1 towards the end of the year and we’ll go for full launch in the market some time next year,” Norton said, in an interview taped at this year’s Solar Power International in late September but only cleared for publication approval later.

That in itself is an indication of Lockheed Martin’s focus. The flow batteries are being developed within Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control division, and Norton said that as an energy security asset, the technology and market is “the next logical progression” for the company.

While Lockheed has already launched GridStar lithium and seen successful deployments of over 100 units in North America, as the market moves from shorter to longer duration energy storage, Norton said, it identified a further opportunity.

“So we invested in (Sun Catalyx), a technology that’s a spinout of MIT, to create a co-ordinated compound chemistry flow battery, that is human- and environmentally-safe, that is balance-of-plant cost-effective and that is deployable worldwide,” Dan Norton said.

Projects could be ‘multiple megawatts to hundreds of megawatts’
Long-duration flow batteries offer a potential to decouple energy and power, meaning that while they tend to cost more upfront than lithium-ion batteries, they can effectively scale up fairly easily, simply by increasing the capacity of the tanks the electrolyte is pumped through. While the small handful of flow battery companies already out there in the market tend to favour either vanadium or zinc bromine, Lockheed is keeping tight-lipped still on the makeup of the proprietary electrolyte its GridStar Flow products will use.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLockheed Martin Locked Onto 2020 Flow Battery Launch

Australian Town at Times Reaches 90% Renewables with Chevron-backed Microgrid

on November 27, 2019

Horizon Power’s poster child for the shift to a distributed renewable grid, the Western Australia (WA) Pilbara town of Onslow, says its solar and battery microgrid is already helping to deliver more reliable and cleaner power — at levels of up to 90% renewables.

The WA regional utility said on Tuesday that the newly commissioned 1 MW solar and battery microgrid had notched up some new milestones, including reliability testing, and the first stage of an intelligent control system.

The latter was being tested to ensure that the microgrid integrated effectively with the broader power system, once fully operational.

“We are achieving up to 90% of the power being delivered in Onslow coming from renewable sources with the commissioning of the solar and battery,” a company spokesperson said. “However, this is not constant and depends on how much demand, time of the day, cloud cover, etc. The expected reduction in CO2 emissions is 820 tonnes a year.”

Seeking 100% renewables at certain times
“Before the commissioning of the solar and battery, we had 100% fossil fuel generation in the town and we are aiming to reach 100% of generation from renewable sources in the town, at certain times of the day and year, as an outcome of this pilot,” the spokesperson said. “We expect to achieve the highest levels of renewable energy penetration during the middle of the day in the cooler months.”

As we have reported on One Step, Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Pilot in Onslow — the launching base for the massive Wheatstone LNG project owned by Chevron — combines a new 8 MW gas-fired power plant with distributed and utility-scale solar and battery storage.

Horizon Power built the gas plant in Onslow which was commissioned last year, and this year has delivered the solar farm and battery.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAustralian Town at Times Reaches 90% Renewables with Chevron-backed Microgrid

Convergent Completes Oil Refinery Battery Storage Project For Shell Canada

on November 26, 2019

Developer Convergent Energy & Power’s first projects out of a joint venture (JV) with Shell have come online, while GE Renewable Energy touted the imminent implementation of the country’s ‘first hybrid electric gas turbine’ project.

Business division Shell New Energies said in May this year that it had spotted opportunities in Canada linked to the Province of Ontario’s policies that reward large users of energy that reduce their demand for grid energy at peak times and created the JV with Convergent Energy & Power, offering the latter’s services and products to its C&I customers.

The fossil fuels major announced an initial 21MWh of projects at Shell Canada Products production facilities, one at Brockville, a motor oils and lubricants plants and Sarnia, an oil refinery. A 10MW behind-the-meter (BTM) system deployed as part of that 21MWh is currently tied with another Convergent project as North America’s largest behind-the-meter battery project, the company claimed. has reported on dozens of megawatts of commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities’ energy storage projects in Ontario, with policy drivers including the Global Adjustment Charge (GAC). As early as 2016, we heard from the assembled industry at an event hosted by the Canadian Embassy in London that a long-term policy remit to provide “clean, affordable” electricity was the foundation of the province’s market. A more recent notable example is the 48MW / 144MWh Customer Energy Management (CMEa) programme battery energy storage project awarded to tech provider Fluence by a local electricity distribution company. In that instance, 357 businesses will be able to benefit from shared savings of around C$5 million (US$3.76 million) per year between them using a single, large-scale battery system to reduce peak demand. Convergent sent a reminder with its latest release that Canadian non-profit Fraser Institute found electricity prices in Ontario are 65% higher for large consumers of electricity in the province than elsewhere in Canada. Convergent itself now has 40MW in operation in Ontario, the company said.

Convergent, which was bought up in summer this year by infrastructure investment group Energy Capital Partners (see here to read an exclusive post-takeover interview with Convergent CEO Johannes Ritterhausen) is going to operate the 21MWh of energy storage, reducing the Shell facilities’ draw from the grid, using Convergent Energy & Power’s proprietary PEAK IQ asset management platform.

While the use of low emissions energy storage technology to ease the economic pains of operating a fossil fuels business may be a little hard to accept for some, they are nonetheless an effective showcase that energy consumption at such facilities could be reduced by a third using energy storage technology, as Convergent and Shell claim will be the case here.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsConvergent Completes Oil Refinery Battery Storage Project For Shell Canada