Energy Storage

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.

Technical advances in energy storage metrics accelerate the attractiveness and roll-out of battery storage to balance rising volumes of intermittent renewable energy supply to the grid. In the United States, the utility-scale battery fleet is operating with an average monthly round-trip efficiency of 82% – more than the 72% efficiency of pumped-storage.

President Joe Biden’s 'Buy American' policy mandates that half of the batteries for the federal government’s vehicle fleet are made in the US. In contrast, Europe’s has only a 40% local content threshold is for electric vs. petrol-based cars, but this will rise to a comparable 55% by 2027.

Scotland’s Shetland Islands are relying on Wärtsilä to provide grid balancing services and reserve power through an energy storage system. Once operational, the system will deliver 8 MW/6 MWh of electricity and will be managed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), part of the UK’s largest utility SSE.

US natural gas producers have asked McDermott to carry out a study into how to best expand current liquid hydrogen storage capacity limits. CB&I, part of McDermott, specialises in cryogenic storage and is currently building the world's largest liquid hydrogen sphere for NASA.

AGL Energy, one of Australia’s largest integrated utilities, has selected Wärtsilä as one of two suppliers for energy storage with up to 1,000 MW capacity. AGL is developing grid-scale energy storage installations near to four power stations in New South Wales and one in South Australia.

South Korea’s conglomerate SK Group has decided to invest $1.5 billion in the hydrogen fuel cell provider Plug Power as the two South Korean companies enter a strategic partnership. The aim is to provide full cells, hydrogen fueling stations, and electrolysers to the Korean and broader Asian markets.

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News in Brief

Decarbonising UK homes

Jan 19 – Just 9 million hot water cylinders are currently installed in British homes, leaving a gap of 18 million homes whose heating would need to be decarbonised for the UK to meet Net Zero. According to the trade body HWA, the political focus of decarbonising heating has been solely on the heat source; such as boilers and heat pumps – while little to no focus has been on hot water cylinder. This gap in in government policy, which could result in unnecessary costs to consumers.

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 18 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop projects for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

GE to repower Long Lake plant

Jan 17 – GE will modernize four generors at the Long Lake hydropower plant in northwest US, operated by Avista Utilities. Once refurbished, the plant will have an installed capacity of more than 100 MW. The first modernized Long Lake unit is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024 and the last one in 2029

mtu to power Romania’s largest data center

Jan 14 – mtu Series 4000 gas generators will provide electricity heat and cooling for Romania’s largest data center. ClusterPower is building a 273,000-squaremetre technology campus near Craiova by 2025, where it will host five data centers with a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1

Green hydrogen from Quebec

Jan 13 – Charbone has agreed to provide the US propane distributer Superior with green hydrogen from its Sorel-Tracy facility in Quebec, Canada, starting from the third quarter of 2022. The hydrogen will be delivered directly from Charbone’s H2 plant to Superior’s customers which include mining, power generation, transportation and industrial energy users. 

Cresta to fund Lapis Energy’s CCS projects

Jan 12 – Texas-based Cresta Fund Management has agreed to finance Lapis Energy’s CCS and clean hydrogen projects. The two partners are now looking to identify, design and develop project for the permanent sequestration of CO2, targeting customers within the heavy industry and petrochemical companies.

US rivals Australia as world’s largest LNG exporter

Jan 11 – Analysts at the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) are confident that the growth in US LNG exports could see America’s liquefaction and send-out capacity exceed that of Australia and Qatar – the world’s two largest LNG exporters. Looking ahead, the EIA expects US exports of the super-chilled gas will rise 17% from 2021 levels to average 11.1 Bcf/d from December through March.

Africa’s first FLNG plant arrives in Mozambique

Jan 10 – Coral Sul FLNG, Africa’s first-ever floating LNG facility has arrived in Mozambican waters. The plant is critical to develop the US$7 billion Coral South project, led by the Italian oil and gas company Eni. Some of the produced gas will be used for power generation in Mozambique, though most will be liquefied and sold to global markets.

GE snaps up Opus One Solutions

Dec 23 – GE Digital has agreed to acquire Opus One Solutions Energy Corp, a Californian software company that helps utilities integrate renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) at scale across the electric grid. The transaction is expected to close within 30 days, GE stated without disclosing what price was paid for the takeover.

Qatar invests in Rolls-Royce’s nuclear power business

Dec 22 – Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to invest £85 million in Rolls-Royce SMR, the company’s new technology for small-scale, low carbon nuclear power. UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the investment a “clear vote of confidence” in the UK’s nuclear innovation. It follows £210 million Qatari investment in the development in Small Modular Reactors. Now fully funded, Rolls-Royce SMR business also received £490 million through commercial equity and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant funding. 

JERA helps Japanese film producer curb emissions

Dec 20 – Toho, a Japanese film producer and entertainment company, will get support from the country’s largest power producer JERA to reduce CO2 emission from film production. To that end, JERA will supply zero-emissions energy to Toho and draw up a roadmap to decarbonise the media company as a whole.

Tractebel develop concept to store H2 offshore

Dec 17 – Tractebel Overdick and partners have developed an offshore infrastructure and processing facilities concept that relies on the storage of hydrogen (H2) in offshore caverns. The design study outlines a scalable offshore platform for the compression and storage of up to 1.2 million cubic meters of hydrogen.

Ethatec uses CO2-free power to produce ethanol

Dec 15 – ESG Clean Energy has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Ethatec to use ESG’s patented CO2-free gensets to its ethanol production. Ethatec uses waste from bakeries and pizza factories which is being crushed and then mixed with water and enzymes and heated in a multi-stage mashing process to saccharify the starch. It is then cooled and fed into fermentation tanks, where yeast is added. for alcoholic fermentation of the sugar. After 72 hours, the mixture is fed to a distillation system where ethanol is obtained.

Anax helps Magellan mine bitcoin under US$12m deal

Dec 16 – Ohio-based Magellan Scientific has entered a long-term accord, worth US$12 million, with Anax Power to generate zero-emission electricity from natural gas flows for Magellan’s distributed data centres, using 500 kW Anax turboexpanders. This green power will be used to lower the carbon-intensity of bitcoin mining and help US interstate pipeline operators and utilities accelerate their net-zero emission goals.

Cryogenic insulation market to top $4.6m by 2026

Dec 14 – The global market for cryogenic insulation is forecast to reach $4,659.85 million by 2026, expanding at an annual rate of 8.76% over the next five years. According to ResearchandMarkets, companies need to keep investing in R&D to deliver more efficient products at a lower cost and improve product durability.

Industry wary about new German energy policy

 Dec 13 – The German industry is closely watching how the new coalition government will implement its clean energy policies.  Security of supply is a major issue given that the coal exit date has been pushed forward by eight years to 2030, while electrification of transport and hard to abate industries is set to push up demand substantially. To decarbonise traffic, over 15 million electric cars are meant to be on the roads by the end of this decade.

ADNOC awards FEED contract to Technip

Dec 10 – Technip Energies has been awarded a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contract to integrate carbon capture technology to ADNOC’s Ghasha mega project in Abu Dhabi. The Ghasha Concession is the world’s largest offshore sour gas development, where ADNOC together with Eni, Wintershall Dea, OMV and Lukoil aim to develop up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas, as well as condensate and oil.