Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has contracted Wärtsilä to supply 100MW / 200MWh of energy storage systems on the outskirts of Birmingham to support the city’s network of electric vehicle chargers. Construction at the Sandwell site is due to start in the fourth quarter of this year, and at Coventry in the first quarter of 2022.
Three-quarters of lithium-ion batteries and half of the world’s electric vehicles are made in China, hence the People's Republic has entered a race for cobalt, nickel and lithium. These raw materials largely need to be imported and prices are rising fast as lithium demand is set to surge 510% by 2040.
Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, together with Wärtsilä and Habiat Energy have activated the UK’s first grid-scale battery storage. Combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems, the battery storage is directly grid-connected as part of the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project aimed at decarbonising the city by 2040.
American electric car maker Tesla sticks to its timetable to open its ‘Gigafactory’ near Berlin in July, gradually turning the site into the world’s largest battery cell production. CEO Elon Musk said an annual production capacity of up to 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) was possible, "and then possibly" an increase to 200 or 250 GWh.
Though green hydrogen, produced from variable wind and solar generation, can act as long-term energy storage – it is not economically viable yet. To get from 80,000 tonnes produced today to a required 35 million by 2035, governments will need to "heavily incentivise green hydrogen – and soon," analysts say, similar to past subsidies for renewables.
Carbon Neutral Energy (CNE) is to open offices in the US, two months after its UK launch, seeking to help power grid operators prevent widespread blackouts like the ones in Texas in February. CNE is offering mobile batteries in a range of 1MW to 5MW that can be combined to create Gigawatt storage systems.
California-based Bloom Energy, together with its Korean partner SK Engineering & Construction, has deployed 100 kilowatts of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFC) powered solely by hydrogen for a pilot plant in the city of Ulsan. Bloom entered the hydrogen market in July 2020, which includes a 1 MW hydrogen-fuelled Energy Server with SK E&C due operational in 2022.
Carmakers in Germany cash in on the global shift to e-mobility. Though the production of battery cells is dominated by businesses in South Korea, Japan and China, German companies have caught up and reached a leading position on technologies like cell chemistry, cooling and control systems for car batteries and energy storage.