Energy Storage

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.

South Australia has the wind and sunshine to evolve into a prime hydrogen supplier. Cornwall Insight says a hydrogen plant could make a profit of $2.3 million this summer, assuming 20% utilisation and quarterly repayment on the $593 million government debt with interest, operating and fuel costs.

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.

RWE Renewables has contracted Wärtsilä to supply a 40-MW/80-MWh DC-coupled solar plus storage system to the Hickory Park Solar project in Georgia, US. The hybrid system will enable RWE to steadily dispatch and sell 200 MW of electricity from the solar PV units to Georgia Power Company, the local utility.

Greater Manchester’s first low carbon hydrogen hub will be built at the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park, which includes a 250 MWh liquid air-based energy storage and the 1,650 MW Trafford power station. Manchester wants to become the first Net Zero region in the world by 2040.

Schlumberger New Energy, the energy transition unit of the US oilfield service giant, is developing a lithium extraction pilot plant in response to growing demand for utility-scale battery storage in the transport and power sector. To be built through NeoLith Energy in Clayton Valley, Nevada, the pilot plant is due operational before the end of 2021.

 Wärtsilä will supply two GridSolv Quantum energy storages, with 200 MW combined capacity, for two projects in southern Texas. The order was placed by Able Grid, part of the North America energy investors MAP RE/ES. The storage systems are due to start operations in January 2022.

Two smart charging technologies – Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Building (V2B) – have been launched by Virta and Marubeni in the UK. With V2G, the charged electricity from a car battery can be pushed back into the grid, giving National Grid a tool for on-demand power supply to balance rising volumes of intermittent renewable energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans a $75 million R&D center on long-duration, low-cost energy storage. To be built Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, the Grid Storage Launchpad will consist of 30 laboratories, assessing  battery prototypes and new storage technologies under ‘real world’ operating conditions.

Therma Marine Inc. (TMI), part of the Philippine energy company Aboitiz Power, has ordered a barge-mounted 54 MW/32 MWh energy storage system to be delivered by Wärtsilä on an EPC basis. The barge will be placed next to TMI’s existing 100 MW thermal power barge in the municipality of Maco, with delivery due in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Marubeni Corp has invested an undisclosed amount in Skeleton Technologies Group, an Estonian developer of ultracapacitators for energy storage. The move is in line with Japan’s 2050 net zero emissions by target, whereby energy storage will be used to power electric vehicles and stabilize the grid when linked up with hydrogen-based generators or fuel cells.

Lithium-ion based batteries are still dominating the stationary energy storage sector but a rising number of companies try to develop different technology types. Among the Li-ion batteries competitors, the Redox Flow Battery (RFB) system – based on flowing two liquids as electrolytes across the electrode – is seen as an attractive approach.

Unlike rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, flow batteries use large tanks of liquid to store energy which has made the technology “prohibitively expensive” because it relies on pricey electroactive metal salts. Researchers at the MIT are working on alternative approaches that use less expensive electroactive materials derived from organic compounds.

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News in Brief

SDG&E accelerates drive towards Net Zero by 2045

Oct 20 – San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has set a new sustainability strategy, outlining new and accelerated goals to help meet its pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. SDG&E it now seeks to operate a 100% zero emissions vehicle fleet by 2035 – five years earlier than planned.

B&W develops biomass-to-hydrogen plant in Australia

Oct 19 – B&W's Renewable segment and Port Anthony Renewables Ltd have started to develop a biomass-to-hydrogen energy project in Victoria, Australia, based on B&W’s BrightLoop technology. When completed, the plant is expected to be part of the largest green hydrogen hub in south-eastern Australia.

LNG prices rise faster than oil

Oct 18 – Liquefied natural gas and pipeline supplies have experienced an even sharper increase in prices in 2021 than oil, driven by a combination of circumstances that included a strong recovery in demand in North Asia, southeast Asia and Europe, unseasonal weather and planned and unplanned capacity outages.

Wärtsilä shaft gensets to power two LNG carriers

Oct 14 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to supply four shaft generators to provide electricity take-off from the main engines of two LNG carriers. The ships are being built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Korea on behalf of the Capital Gas Ship Management of Greece.

VoltH2 gets green light for large hydrogen plant

Oct 13 – Vision Hydrogen Corp has announced that its affiliate VoltHe has received building and environmental permits to realise its first large-scale hydrogen plant at the Dutch North Sea Port of Vlissingen. The 5 MW hydrogen plant is located near existing high voltage power and gas infrastructure as well as large wind power assets. Once operational, it will produce around 3,500 tons of green hydrogen per year and will be scalable to 100 MW or 14,000 tons.

Tesla overtakes German e-cars

Oct 12 – Sales of Tesla in Germany has overtaken that of leading German carmakers. In September, more electric Tesla Model 3s were registered in the country than leading domestic models, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class combined.

EnerMech spends £500k on crane training tech

Oct 11 – EnerMech has invested £500,000 in new crane simulator training systems at its Luanda (Angola), Doha (Qatar) and Great Yarmouth (UK) facilities. The British company recently formed a joint venture with 3t Energy Group to bring the KraneSIM-6000 equipment to both Qatar and Angola and offer in-country training across client organisations globally.  

Germany finances green hydrogen projects abroad

Oct 8 – The German government has agreed to support green hydrogen projects in other countries with up to €350 million by 2024, the economy ministry said when publishing a directive with relevant guidelines. Moreover, financial support is given to projects that produce and process green hydrogen for storage, transport and use in countries outside the EU through investment grants worth up to €15 million each.

UK e-car sales surge 186%

Oct 6 – Sales electric cars in the UK have surged 186% to a total of 108,000 in 2020 during the pandemic, up from just 38,000 in the previous year. Latest statistics show there were nearly 300,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of August 2021, and more than 600,000 plug-in models if including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

FogHorn deploys AI software at Chugoku Electric Power in Japan

Oct 4 – FogHorn, developer of Edge AI software, has deployed its Internet of Things (IoT) software at the Chugoku Electric Power hydroelectric power plant. The AI solutions will make the power gen process more efficient and enhances workplace safety. Chugoku Electric Power employs nearly 9,200 workers across 114 power units in the western part of Honshū, the largest island of Japan.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines for ferry propulsion

Oct 1 – Rolls-Royce's new MT engines, automation system, and MTU Go! tool for remote service have future-proofed the high-speed catamaran Avemar Dos, run by the Spanish operator Balearia. Four MTU 20V1163 M84 units replaced the previous 1163 units, taking the vessel to a "new level of ecological soundness," the manufacturer says.

GES appoints former Puma Energy Chairman as NED

Sept 30 – Global Energy Storage (GES) has appointed the former Puma Energy Chairman, Graham Sharp, as an NED. Graham will support GES on its ‘new energies’ strategy for the energy transition, focusing on hydrogen fuels and hydrogen carriers space.

Aggreko reaches 2 GW of live power gen capacity

Sept 29 – Aggreko has today announced it has reached 2GW of live global gas power capacity and growth in flare gas to power and stranded gas projects. This new record follows a milestone of exceeding 1GW of delivered flare gas power projects in 2020.

Wärtislä renews O&M agreement with Lafarge Africa

Sept 28 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has renewed a long-term Operation & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Lafarge Africa, a large producer of building materials in Nigeria. The agreement covers the 100 MW Lafarge Ewekoro power plant, which provides a dedicated supply of electricity to the company’s concrete and cement manufacturing processes.

Rolls-Royce supplies MTU engines to Sanlorenzo

Sept 27 – Rolls-Royce business unit Power Systems will become one of the leading engine suppliers for Sanlorenzo, delivering MTU 10V, 12V and 16V 2000 yacht engines with a compact IMO 3 solution. A framework contract from 2022 through 2024 has been signed at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Shell exits Permian Basin

Sept 24 – Royal Dutch Shell has sold all its upstream interested in US Permian Basin to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash. Shell’s assets in the Permian include around 225,000 net acres with a current production of around 175,000 barrels per day equivalent.

Global biogas market tops $88bn in 2030

Sept 22 – The global biogas market is set to expand at a rate of 8.4% annually and reach $88.47 billion in 2025. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the main growth drivers are small-scale power generators that use biogas derived from municipal or agricultural waste through anerobic digestion.  Europe was the largest region in the biogas market in 2020, though Asia Pacific recorded the fastest growth.

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