Energy Storage

Investment in solid state batteries is surging with technologies close to mass production and the overall market may well grow to over $8 billion by 2031, IDTechEx forecasts. Replacing liquid electrolytes with solid-state counterparts pushes the energy density beyond 1,000 Watt-hours per litre (Wh/L), while enhancing operational safety and durability.

Britain’s latest ‘Innovation Strategy’ incentivises power generators and distributor to invest into analysing consumers’ demand patterns. If billions of meter level interval data produced daily by UK smart meters remains untapped, it will be hard to integrate electric vehicles, offshore wind and energy storage, Innowatts CTO David Boundy warned.

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.

Highview Power in a joint venture with Enlasa, the largest backup power provider in Chile, is developing the country’s first liquid air energy storage project in the Atacama region. The 50 MW/ 50 MWh can supply emergency power for over 10 hours and will be paired with solar photovolatic.

Finish technology group Wärtsilä has commissioned its first two energy storage projects in Bataan, Philippines. The projects have a capacity of 20 MW / 20 MWh and 40 MW / 40MWh, respectively, and are underpinned by multiple long-term energy storage orders with SMC Global Power Holding.

Infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds is accelerating plans for a wind and hydrogen development west of Shetland. Proposed are 200 floating turbines with 3 GW per hour capacity, out of which 1.5 GW per hour is being used to produce green hydrogen that can be used for energy storage.

The German energy and transport ministries have chosen 62 large hydrogen projects that will be funded under a joint European investment scheme. To reach its 2045 climate target, Germany needs some 60 TWh of hydrogen by 2030 but domestic production can cover just a third of that demand.

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.

Tesla, VW and China’s BYD have started to clean up emission-intensive battery production for electric vehicles. Most scale up assembly lines and run them on renewables. Tesla’s Gigafactory, being built near Berlin, could eventually also produce utility-scale batteries for energy storage.

Cleantech startup Geyser Batteries has developed a water-based electrochemical battery technology and is now taking steps to manufacture its novel battery cells and modules. A pilot production site will be built in Mikkeli, Eastern Finland, due operational before next summer.

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.

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News in Brief

Howden powers methanol plant

July 29 – Howden will deliver a hydrogen compressor to Johnson Matthey to serve the world’s first methanol plant that harnesses energy from the wind, in Patagonia, Chile. The Haru Oni project will deliver around 900,000 litres per year of e-methanol as early as 2022 and will be scaled up to 550 million litres of e-fuels per year by 2026.

Bloom SOFCs to power micro plant in South Korea

July 28 – California-based Bloom Energy, in cooperation with SK ecoplant, will install solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Donghae City, South Korea. The CHP will provide heat and warm water for the nearby Bukpyung sports center. Construction on the project is slated to start this autumn.

Shanghai Electric to digitalise factories

July 27 – Shanghai Electric has entered a partnership with AI Investment Fund at the WAIC 2021 conference to provide digital solutions to industrial parks and medical institutions. Yang Hong, Vice President of Shanghai Electric said the aim is to help industries to minimise emissions and waste while maintaining low unit costs.

Slow LNG uptake in Africa

July 26 – In Africa, the uptake of LNG imports to new markets has been slow. Both Ghana’s 1.7 million tons per annum (mtpa) Tema LNG and Senegal’s 1.0 mtpa Dakar Powership are still awaiting their first LNG deliveries, though their respective FSRUs Vasant and Karmol LNGt Powership Africa have been in place since June.

Growth in turbine air filtration tops 3%

July 22 – The turbine air filtration market is expected to grow 3.27% annually from $1.92 billion in 2020 to reach $2.29 billion in 2026. Demand from the oil & gas industry and electric utilities had plunged during the corona crisis and subsequent economic downturn, but the latest trend towards clean energy is driving robust growth for turbine air filtration which can be widely and easily applied in the power sector.

US oil exports stay high

July 21 – Despite volatile prices, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020 and remained strong this year, averaging 3.51 million barrels per day (b/d). Expanded ports at Houston and Corpus Christi allow for oil to be exported from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Basin.

CVEC to be converted to hydrogen

July 20 – Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) is taking steps to run the  combined-cycle plants on hydrogen. Works to convert the plant will be carried out by GE and are scheduled to start in late 2022. One of three GE 7F.05 gas turbines at CVEC will be introduced to a 5% hydrogen blend with natural gas.

MAN ETES labelled solar impulse efficient

July 16 – MAN Electro-Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by independent auditors. In January, the German manufacturer supplied to ETES heat pumps to DIN Forsyning for a heat and power plant in the Danish port city Esbjerg.

Electricity sales to US industry rebounds

July 14 – Economic recovery has caused a 5.1% rise electricity sales to US industry this year, dwarfing 2.8% more retail sales and a 2.1% rise in the commercial sector as many office workers continue working from home. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) acting administrator, Steve Nalley, called the rebound in electricity sales to industry a “strong sign of rising levels of economic output as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”

Solar PV to triple in Asia by 2030

July 13 – Asia Pacific solar photovoltaic capacity could triple to 1,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, China will add 619 GW of mainly utility-scale capacity while most other nations in Asia prefers distributed solar due to land constraints. Solar PV tends to be backed up by flexible gas gensets and energy storage, forming hybrid power units.

Kinder Morgan closes on Stagecoach assets

July 12 – US energy infrastructure major Kinder Morgan has closed its acquisition of Stagecoach Gas Services. The deal include 4 gas storage facilities with a 41 bcf working gas capacity and a transmission network with multiple interconnects to major interstate pipelines, including Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The Stagecoach assets add to Kinder Morgan’s approximately 83,000 miles of pipelines and 144 terminals.

Dortmund cancels electrotechnik fair

July 9 – The elektrotechnik fair, planned for 29 September to 1 October 2021, will now not be taking place in Dortmund due to requests from the industry. The next trade fair for building, industrial, energy and lighting technology will now open its doors again in spring 2023.

Hitachi to change name of ABB Power Grids

July 7 – Hitachi ABB Power Grids will become Hitachi Energy in October. The Japanese manufacturer bought a controlling stake in ABB’s grid business a year ago and is about to fully take the name of the merged company while expanding its direction towards e-mobility and data centres.

Tapping wind energy for hydrogen

July 6 – Spanish utility Naturgy and the gas grid operator Enagás are evaluating the use of 350 MW offshore and onshore wind capacity to produce green hydrogen. The fuel will be used to decarbonise the steel industry and shipyard in northwest Spain.

EU seeks to expand Green Deal to Africa

July 5 – The European Green Deal should be expanded to also include African states as partners, the German development minister Gerd Müller said. Green hydrogen production in Africa, in his view, should be a “cornerstone for economic cooperation with the Europe.”

Decom Engineering updates PCR

July 2 – Northern Ireland-based Decom Engineering has invested more than £700,000 to develop tools for repurposing and clean decommissioning of energy infrastructure. Through updated Pipe Coating Removal (PCR) equipment, decommissioned or surplus pipelines can be cleaned of multiple coatings, so they can be repurposed for used on other projects.

Cummins buys half of Momentum Fuels

July 1 – Cummins has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50% equity interest in Momentum Fuel Technologies from Rush Enterprises. The transaction is expected to close before year-end, and the combined venture will produce Cummins-branded natural gas fuel delivery systems for the commercial vehicle market in North America.

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