Panasonic To Suspend Battery Production at Tesla Joint Venture in Nevada Due to Coronavirus

on March 23, 2020

TOKYO, March 21 (Reuters) – Panasonic Corp 6752.T said on Saturday it will temporarily suspend production at its battery joint venture with U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Inc TSLA.O in Nevada because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Japanese electronics company, which supplies battery cells for Tesla’s electric vehicles, will scale down operations at so-called Gigafactory 1 early next week before closing it for 14 days, Panasonic said in an emailed statement.

A Panasonic spokeswoman declined to comment on how the suspension would affect Tesla, which produces battery packs using Panasonic cells at the Nevada plant.

Tesla on Thursday said its operations at the Nevada battery plant would continue, while it would suspend production at its San Francisco Bay Area vehicle factory on March 24.

Panasonic said Nevada plant employees affected by the shutdown will receive full pay and benefits for the entire period. During the closure, the facility will undergo intensive cleaning, it said in the statement.

TechCrunch, which first reported the planned suspension, said Panasonic has about 3,500 employees at the Nevada plant.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPanasonic To Suspend Battery Production at Tesla Joint Venture in Nevada Due to Coronavirus

Lithium Ion Batteries to Top Energy Storage Tech: Study

on March 11, 2020

Lithium ion batteries will be the fastest growing energy storage technology, with annual growth expected to reach more than 28 GW by 2028. The technology is expected to account for 85% of newly installed energy storage capacity, according to analysis by Navigant Research.

A new report from Navigant Research provides a database of global energy storage projects along with a regional analysis of technology choice, capacity, and market share for deployed projects and projects in the pipeline.

Regulatory policy, government incentives, deployment mandates, grid modernization programs, and declining technology costs created market conditions in which hundreds of energy storage projects were deployed around the world between 2018 and 2019. In this growing market, Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have maintained a prominent place in the transformation of the power grid.

“Although pumped hydro storage (PHS) still accounts for 96% of installed energy storage capacity worldwide, Li-ion is the choice technology among project developers and system integrators,” says Ricardo F. Rodriguez, research analyst with Navigant Research. “The technology is expected to account for 85% of newly installed energy capacity.”

In addition to the growth of Li-ion, three types of storage projects typified deployments across the globe in 4Q 2019. According to the report, these include commercial and industrial applications located behind-the-meter (BTM), utility-scale battery storage projects that replace gas peaker plants, and utility-scale storage projects co-located at large solar PV or wind generation facilities.

The report, Energy Storage Tracker 4Q19, provides a comprehensive resource of global energy storage projects. The Tracker includes a database of 2,169 projects (encompassing at least 64,664 individual systems) and tracks the country, region, market segment, capacity, status, technology vendor, systems integrator, applications, funding, investment, and key milestones of each project.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLithium Ion Batteries to Top Energy Storage Tech: Study

Lithium Recycling Goes Commercial To Meet ‘Unprecedented Phase of the Market’

on February 3, 2020

A new lithium battery recycling facility, established by operator Li-Cycle on a commercial basis at the well-known Eastman Business Park in New York State, answers both a growing need and an opportunity in an “unprecedented phase” of deployment, the company has said.

The Canadian company has previously penned a technical feature article for and PV Tech Power on the science and technology underpinning its two-step process for recycling, claiming that 80% to 100% of battery recycling is possible through mechanical size reduction (shredding packs and cells) and then recovering materials through a hydrometallurgical process. Li-Cycle announced its first commercial shipment of recycled lithium battery materials to a customer at the beginning of this year.

Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York, is also host to a number of other battery industry operations, including Kodak’s battery production centre. Li-Cycle representatives said via email that the announced facility will be a “spoke” of the companies operations (as opposed to a “hub”), with capacity to process 5,000 tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries per year.

“The ‘Spoke’ technology transforms lithium-ion batteries into an inert, non-hazardous intermediate product consisting of the electrode material, while separating plastics and other metals contained in the battery for further downstream recycling by third parties,” the company’s representatives said in an exclusive commentary sent to this week.

‘First step to addressing mass market global opportunity’
According to Li-Cycle, the Monroe County, Rochester, site location offers several strategic advantages including EBP’s on-site analytical labs, with trade association / technology accelerator NY BEST also hosting some R&D, testing and innovation facilities at the park. Being in New York also gives good access to battery materials from EVs, portable electronics and energy storage from a broad area of the US, from the Midwest through to the Northeast.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLithium Recycling Goes Commercial To Meet ‘Unprecedented Phase of the Market’

Lithium-Ion Startups Attract Lion’s Share Of Energy Storage Venture Capital in 2019

on January 24, 2020

Venture capital firms poured nearly $2 billion into battery storage companies in 2019.

The new report by Mercom Capital keeps tabs on how publicly known VC funding was allocated to energy storage, smart grid and energy efficiency companies. These transactions would include mergers and acquisition activity, as well.

Mercom reported that battery storage attracted $1.7 billion worth of investment last year, compared to $300 million for smart grid companies and $298 million for energy efficiency entities.

The global funding picture include venture capital, private equity and corporate VC investments. The total for the combined storage, smart grid and efficiency sectors was down 22 percent compared with the $3.9 billion moved in 2018, according to Mercom.

Battery storage, however, doubled year over year even though the $1.7 billion was spread out over fewer deals than in 2018. The increased investment was buoyed by Volkswagen’s $1 billion capitalization in Northvolt, a battery startup founded by two former Tesla executives, in the second quarter.

Lithium-ion battery technology companies accounted for 80 percent of the energy storage VC picture. Venture capital also put money in other storage technologies such as flow batteries, fuel cells, solid-state and zinc-air, among others.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLithium-Ion Startups Attract Lion’s Share Of Energy Storage Venture Capital in 2019

Energy Storage Association Commends Move To Lower Tariffs on Lithium-Ion Batteries

on January 20, 2020

The U.S. Trade Representative lowered tariffs on Chinese lithium-ion batteries to 7.5 percent from 15 percent.

The new rate goes into effect on Feb. 14. The change in the tariff will ease the adverse economic effects on grid energy storage deployments in the country.

The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) applauded the move but believes more is necessary.

“This week’s action demonstrates movement in the right direction; however, ESA looks forward to timely and full removal of the tariffs,” ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman said.

ESA has concerns about any tariffs on lithium-ion battery imports. Organization officials say the tariffs are inconsistent with the federal government’s efforts to encourage growth in storage deployment and create jobs.

“ESA and its members continue to call on the U.S. Trade Representative for the full removal of the tariffs on grid energy storage components, due to storage’s critical role in improving electric system resilience, energy security, and job creation. We look forward to working with the Administration to remove impediments to America’s efforts to modernize its electric system,” Speakes-Backman added.

ESA is the national trade association for the energy storage industry. With more than 190 members, ESA represents independent power producers, electric utilities, energy service companies, financiers, insurers, law firms, installers, manufacturers, component suppliers and integrators involved in deploying energy storage systems around the globe.

More information on the impacts of import tariffs on the American energy grid infrastructure can be found on their web site,

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Association Commends Move To Lower Tariffs on Lithium-Ion Batteries

Tesla’s New Lithium-Ion Patent Brings Company Closer to Promised 1 Million-Mile Battery

on January 1, 2020

In an important New Year development, Tesla Motors, in partnership with physicists from Canada’s Dalhousie University, filed a patent on December 26 for a new Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery technology. The patented design claims to significantly outperform the existing Li-Ion batteries widely used in electric vehicles and other energy storage applications today. The new and improved tech is likely connected to an April 2019 announcement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who promised a “1 million-mile battery pack” for Tesla’s vehicles in 2020 and beyond.

The 1 million-mile battery is integral to Musk’s plans for fleets of ‘robotaxis’ and long-haul trucks, both of which would strain the ranges and lifetimes of the current Li-Ion batteries found in Tesla’s passenger vehicles.

Tesla’s best performing models have a maximum single-charge battery range of 370 miles – just short of the distance between Baltimore, MD and Boston, MA. – and a lifespan of 300,000 – 500,000 miles. This is impressive, given that the average lifespan of a car in the US is 150,000 miles, or roughly 11 years using the AAA annual average of 13,500 miles per year.

But while current Li-Ion battery packs may be more than enough for the typical electric vehicle owner (who on average use less than an estimated ¼ of their battery charge per day), their lifespans are inadequate for long-distance freight shipping or continuous taxi services. The average trucker, for instance, drives 2,000 – 3,000 miles per week, totaling 100,000 – 150,000 miles per year.

The lifetime of a battery is measured in discharge cycles (using 100% of a battery’s charge amounts to one full cycle). With a typical 100 kWh lithium-ion battery found in a Tesla Model S providing only 1,000 to 2,000 discharge cycles, current battery tech remains impractical and uneconomical for commercial long-distance drivers.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla’s New Lithium-Ion Patent Brings Company Closer to Promised 1 Million-Mile Battery

Future Lithium-Ion Batteries Could One Day ‘Heal’ Themselves

on January 1, 2020

Engineers at the University of Illinois are working on a new way to build lithium-ion batteries that will make them safer and hopefully extend their working life, New Atlas reports. Professor Christopher Evans led a team that has developed a solid electrolyte formula that would replace the liquid electrolytes used now. Unlike previously suggested alternatives like ceramic and certain polymers, this new polymer and configuration would stay flexible and adaptive inside the battery.

Lithium-ion batteries power much of the world now, but they’re still a sometimes volatile format. Inside a liquid electrolyte lithium-ion battery, the liquid can interact with the lithium, and the lithium itself can form dangerous metallic vines called dendrites that can edge through the battery case and more. A compromised lithium-ion battery, like an aging one prone to swelling, can turn into a fire hazard very quickly. These things happen rarely, but having even a low risk of something like an explosion is too much.

The University of Illinois team led by Evans has developed a way to make flexible polymers by cross-linking the polymer strands in order to build in elasticity. They also made the polymers trade strands so that heating the polymer makes it hold together more firmly instead of melting like some other suggested polymer solutions. Ceramic is more heat tolerant and doesn’t deform at high temperatures, but it’s brittle and doesn’t thwart the threat of growing dendrites.

There’s another major silver lining with their research: the polymer is self healing. In their paper, they detail the portion of the experiment where they demonstrate how the polymer does this. “Damage was made by cutting along the entire width of the electrolyte (15 mm) using a razor blade,” they explain, and then put gentle weight on the damaged area to promote healing.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFuture Lithium-Ion Batteries Could One Day ‘Heal’ Themselves

Gates, Bezos Bet on Flow Battery Technology, a Potential Rival To Big Bets on Lithium-Ion

on December 11, 2019

A UN report on climate change released Nov. 26 amounted to a dire warning for Earth: Unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced, and soon, the planet faces dangerously and irreversibly high temperatures in the near future. The report also criticized the 195 nations that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement for not doing nearly enough to reduce emissions. Two days earlier the World Meteorological Organization reported that greenhouse gases reached a record high in 2018, with no sign of peaking.

The warnings, albeit ominous, may prove timely for some investors.

In the wake of recent catastrophic storms in the Caribbean, along with devastating fires and mandatory power shutoffs in California, billionaire investors and venture capital firms are viewing renewable energy storage systems as a stable bet in an unstable future.

The U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow by a factor of 12 in the next five years — from 430 megawatts deployed in 2019 to more than 5 gigawatts — according to the Wood Mackenzie Energy Storage Service, a division of Wood Mackenzie Energy Research & Consultancy. The firm estimates that the total energy storage market value in the U.S. alone will be $5.3 billion by 2024.

Lithium-ion vs. iron-flow battery tech
Energy storage systems enable commercial enterprises and power-sensitive facilities, such as hospitals, to continue running when traditional power sources and generators fail or are unable to function. In addition, clean energy batteries have proved to be an environmentally safer, lower-cost alternative to carbon-based fuels. They also represent a sustainable way to deal with the intermittency of renewable energy from solar and wind.

In the early-1990s, lithium-ion energy storage systems replaced nickel cadmium batteries to serve the burgeoning cellphone and consumer electronics markets. More recently, they are being used in medical equipment and electric vehicles.

Tesla is building massive “gigafactories” to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and Tesla Energy’s storage solutions business, including its newest Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China. GM just announced a multibillion-dollar investment in a lithium-ion battery plant in Ohio.

But lithium-ion batteries have limitations. They lose capacity the more they’re charged and discharged, eventually needing replacement, and on occasion have exploded or caught fire. Iron low-energy storage systems, by contrast, last indefinitely, with no environmental risks. Both systems store energy from solar, wind and water on power grids, pulling it off as needed and re-injecting it when not.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsGates, Bezos Bet on Flow Battery Technology, a Potential Rival To Big Bets on Lithium-Ion

UPDATE: NeoVolta Becomes First Lithium Iron Phosphate Energy Storage System Approved by California Energy Commission

on November 12, 2019

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The NeoVolta NV14 has been approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC) as a certified energy storage system. These systems store energy produced by solar panels and store it for later use. To achieve the certification, the NV14 residential energy storage system had to meet or exceed a series of safety and performance standards.

The CEC added energy storage systems to its Solar Equipment Lists in August 2019. According to the commission’s guidelines, only solar energy systems that use equipment from these lists are eligible for California’s ratepayer-based incentives.

NeoVolta is one of three manufacturers that have received CEC certification as an energy storage system, and the first that uses lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry. Lithium iron phosphate batteries have been proven to be safer, cleaner, and longer lasting than ordinary lithium ion batteries.

The NV14 system has a high storage capacity of 14.4 kilowatt hours and delivers 7.6 kW of continuous power, easily outperforming competitors in its class. It can connect with any residential solar installation—new or existing, AC or DC. With the NV14, homeowners can design a system that is tailored to their needs.

The NeoVolta NV14 is also a sound investment: Homeowners can see significant savings on their monthly utility bill. That’s because the energy generated while the sun is shining can be stored in the NV14’s battery and used during evening “peak demand” hours when utility rates are often twice as high.

And if the power goes out, which is becoming a way of life in California, the NV14 automatically disconnects from the grid and seamlessly continues to power a home’s critical loads. Homeowners who need even more storage capacity can add a second NV14 battery without the expense of installing another entire system (inverter and battery); this option will be available in December 2019.

“Approval from the California Energy Commission is a major milestone for the NV14 advanced energy storage system,” said Brent Willson, CEO of NeoVolta. “With this certification, every homeowner can have confidence in our system’s safety, performance, and reliability, while also qualifying for California solar incentives.”

About NeoVolta – NeoVolta designs, develops and manufactures utility-bill reducing residential energy storage batteries capable of powering your home even when the grid goes down. With a focus on safer Lithium-Iron Phosphate chemistry, the NV14 is equipped with a solar rechargeable 14.4 kWh battery, a 7,680-Watt inverter and a web-based energy management system with 24/7 monitoring. By storing energy instead of sending it back to the grid, consumers can protect themselves against blackouts, avoid expensive peak demand electricity rates charged by utility companies when solar panels aren’t producing, and get one step closer to grid independence.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUPDATE: NeoVolta Becomes First Lithium Iron Phosphate Energy Storage System Approved by California Energy Commission

Samsung SDI First To Meet Stringent New UL Installation Standards

on November 4, 2019

Lithium-ion battery manufacturer Samsung SDI has claimed an industry first, passing UL9540A test certification for the safe installation of stationary energy storage systems (ESS), with particular regard to the fire risk posed by thermal runaway.

The South Korean company is supplier to many system integrators in the energy storage industry, as well as contributing to the manufacture of complete systems for commercial and utility use in a joint venture (JV) with inverter maker Sungrow.

UL published UL 9540A, Test Method for Evaluating Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems in 2018, “to help manufacturers have a means of proving compliance,” to new regulations. These include standards introduced by the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), as well as changes to the International Fire Code currently in place (2018 IFC). Information on the UL test and methodology can be found here.

For instance, meeting the terms of UL9540A can allow ESS racks to be installed in closer proximity to one another than the NFPA’s code 855 states, with UL9540A acting as assurance of safety. Meeting the test criteria also means battery racks “can be installed without needing to add separate fire-fighting system(s),” Samsung SDI said in a release sent today to

UL9540A testing is applied to rack-level safety with an optional battery system safety test. Samsung SDI is the first to meet the rack-level requirements. Samsung SDI said it attained the certification “for its capability of preventing large scale fire in the ESS by applying proprietary designs for safety of cells, modules and racks to prevent battery thermal runaway propagation”.

As reported by over the past few months, investigations into a couple of dozen lithium-ion battery storage system fires across South Korea in 2018 showed that rather than defective battery cells, poor installation, monitoring or management of battery systems was to blame in every case. DNV GL said of its own detailed investigation into one such fire that minor issues should not be allowed to become major fires, as had been the case in that instance.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSamsung SDI First To Meet Stringent New UL Installation Standards