AMS to start series B fund hunt this month

Advanced Microgrid Solutions is on the hunt for new investors after growing its business using batteries supplied by Tesla. Pic: Tesla Motors.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions is on the hunt for new investors after growing its business using batteries supplied by Tesla. Pic: Tesla Motors.

By Jason Deign

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) of San Francisco, USA, is readying for a new fundraising round that could kick off as early as this month.

The much-hyped project developer is looking to bring in more than the USD$18m it achieved in its last financing effort, which closed just under a year ago.

“We are about to launch our series B and that will be concluded this year,” chief commercial officer Katherine Ryzhaya told Energy Storage Report.

The money will be used to speed up the growth of the company, which currently has 2.5MWh of storage in operation and aims to have installed more than 5MW and 3.5MWh by the end of this year, according to Ryzhaya.

“With the series B we will only be scratching the surface of the opportunity within the US,” she said. “We also have customers with a focus on the UK and Japan.”

A well-connected executive team

A well-connected executive team has helped AMS garner considerable success since it appeared on the energy storage scene in November 2014 with a contract for 50MW of projects for Southern California Edison (SCE).

The deal, surprising for a firm with no track record, was likely influenced by the fact that co-founder Jackalyne Pfannenstiel was a former chair of the California Energy Commission and the first woman officer at Pacific Gas and Electric.

Meanwhile CEO Susan Kennedy’s former role as chief of staff to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger almost certainly helped in getting the actor-turned-politician on board as an investor in series A funding last year.

The financing was led by venture capital firm DBL Partners, whose managing partner, Nancy Pfund, joined the AMS board of directors in May 2015.

Pfund was an early investor and ‘board observer’ at Tesla Motors for four years up until the company’s stock exchange launch in 2010.

Tesla Powerpack batteries for projects

Unsurprisingly, AMS has chosen Tesla Powerpack batteries for its projects, although Ryzhaya insisted there were good reasons for this.

“When we won our contract with SCE we held an RFP [request for proposals] for technology and Tesla came out head and shoulders above, not only on price but also technology,” she said.

The fact that the brand is well known is another potential bonus, she noted. “Customers are interested in having Tesla on site.”

AMS has an agreement to purchase up to 500MWh of battery storage from Tesla.

Part of this was due to go towards the deal with SCE, although Energy Storage Report understands deployment may have been delayed by the bankruptcy of AMS’s funding and delivery partner, the ill-fated solar company SunEdison.

Storage installations will still go ahead

In any case, said Ryzhaya, the storage installations will still go ahead. “The 50MW is our SCE contract,” she said. “We’re now working with private finance. We’re not affected by [SunEdison].”

One of the projects originally announced in conjunction with SunEdison was a deal to install up to 10MW of reserve capacity spread across 24 office buildings owned by the Irvine Company, a California real estate firm.

It is not known how many of these installations have been completed, but since then AMS has announced a number of other projects.

Last month, for example, the company trumpeted “the largest advanced storage project at an educational institution in the nation,” in the form of a 1MW, 6MWh installation at the Long Beach campus of California State University (CSU).

The project was due to be followed by similar-sized installations at the CSU’s Office of the Chancellor and Dominguez Hills campus.

Standardised contract and offering

“Additional CSU campuses will be able to enrol in the advanced energy storage project through a standardised contract and offering,” AMS said.

Just four days after the CSU announcement, AMS said it would be installing a 500kW, 1MWh Tesla Powerpack-based storage system at One Maritime Plaza, a San Francisco skyscraper owned by Morgan Stanley Real Estate.

The project is expected to be completed by January 2018 and should cut the building’s peak energy demand by up to 20%, said AMS.

All these installations are for what AMS calls ‘hybrid electric buildings’, which essentially seems to be in-house jargon for commercial and industrial-scale storage with a high level of automation.

In hybrid electric buildings, said Ryzhaya, batteries are charged overnight when energy is up to 20% cheaper and less carbon-intensive.

Without interruption to building power supplies

Software then allows aggregated battery systems to be discharged by the local utility whenever it needs to shave peak loads, without any interruption to building power supplies.

Building owners benefit from lower electricity bills, because when peaks are highest they are feeding energy into the grid rather than consuming it, and also get paid a rental fee by AMS for providing space for the batteries.

AMS, meanwhile, gets money from the utility for providing demand response services and also bills each building owner a service charge, although Ryzhaya said owners always had a net gain from the deal.

“The building owner is always making money,” she said. “We have a financial performance guarantee so even if the equipment does not work they still get a cheque in the post.”

AMS believes the model is unique and has even registered the phrase ‘hybrid electric buildings’.

However, it sounds a lot like the approach being taken by a number of other behind-the-meter energy storage players, including Demand Energy and Stem.

If that’s the case, then it’s no wonder AMS is on the lookout for cash; it needs to get to investors before its competitors eat its lunch.

Also in this week’s newsletter headlines: GTM Research, Eaton, Mercedes Benz and more. Get your free copy now.

 

Demand Energy announces project milestone

Demand Energy's DEN.OS software platform is helping New York buildings to benefit from the state's demand management programme. Pic: Demand Energy.

Demand Energy’s DEN.OS software platform is helping New York buildings to benefit from the state’s demand management programme. Pic: Demand Energy.

 

By Jason Deign

Demand Energy last week announced completion of the first five energy storage projects in New York’s Demand Management Program (DMP).

One of the five 100kW, 400kWh behind-the-meter energy storage systems installed in five separate Glenwood properties across Manhattan has already passed measurement and verification (M&V) testing.

M&V certification is currently underway with the other four projects within the DMP, which is managed by utility Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) along with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The aggregated behind-the-meter systems, with batteries from EnerSys, are powered by storage system developer Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Optimization System (DEN.OS).

“We have been working during the off-peak season to install and interconnect the next four systems which make up the first 2MWh of installations for Glenwood,” said Shane Johnson, vice president of client services.

Operating storage systems for four years

“We have been operating distributed energy storage systems for Glenwood over the last four years.”

Demand Energy’s software platform, DEN.OS, “can aggregate a mixture of distributed renewable energy systems to respond to Con Ed’s localised peak problems and allow Glenwood to respond to a variety of load conditions and the demanding requirements of the New York energy market,” he said.

To qualify for the DMP incentive program, Demand Energy had to demonstrate that its first battery energy storage system could deliver four hours of continuous output, from 2pm to 6pm, for a period of four weeks.

Demand Energy’s storage system cut loads at Glenwood’s Paramount Tower by 100kW continuously during the period covered during tests validated by NYSERDA’s independent contractor, Energy Resource Consulting.

Upon completion of this phase, the Paramount Tower system was moved into operation immediately to take advantage of the DMP operational season, which lasts from the beginning of summer until September 30.

Delivering demand charge reduction

Beyond this time, Glenwood is free to switch operating modes and move into delivering demand charge reduction and other load management operations during the off-peak season.

“At Glenwood we have always believed that we need to do our part and support load reduction on the grid during the critical summer power season,” said Josh London, vice president of management for Glenwood, in a press release.

“With the flexibility of Demand Energy’s system, we can participate in the summer DMP program and then use the energy storage system to reduce our demand charges during the off season.”

This “provides added stability to the local operating grid by flattening our building’s load,” he commented.

The remaining four systems started measurement and verification testing at the beginning of this month. The tests will be completed next week. Demand Energy is due to install another five systems for Glenwood over the summer.

Energy storage enrolled in the DMP

When completed, Glenwood, one of New York City’s largest owners and builders of luxury rental apartments, will have 1MW and 4MWh of aggregated behind-the-meter energy storage enrolled in the DMP.

The New York DMP was designed to deploy verifiable load reduction during the summer load season.

In particular, it aims to help reduce stress on the distribution grid within New York City for four hours during the weekday peak hours between 2pm and 6pm.

The New York energy grid can be strained during peak hours to a level of stress that can cause system disruption in the five boroughs of New York City.

All electric grids need to match load with supply in order to maintain stability, and the New York City region experiences peak loads that can vary by 2GW for a short duration of time during the summer air conditioning season.

The impact of Hurricane Sandy

Grid resilience is a big deal for the state following the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Since then New York has been free of extreme weather but global warming has observers on tenterhooks ahead of a possible grid-stressing event this summer.

“We are fully behind the efforts being made by Con Ed and NYSERDA to improve the resilience of New York’s grid in the face of extreme weather conditions and load growth that could stress the grid,” said London.

“We see the DMP as a significant step in averting grid incidents in the event of a heat wave, which fortunately has not hit the city in the last two years but could well arise this summer.”

 

Liquid air energy storage firm goes fundraising

Highview's pre-commercial demonstration plant is due to enter operation this summer. Image credit: Highview Power Storage.

Highview’s pre-commercial demonstration plant is due to enter operation this summer. Image credit: Highview Power Storage.

 

By Jason Deign

Highview Power Storage has launched a growth capital fundraising round amid commissioning for its first pre-commercial liquid air energy storage plant.

The 20-strong UK company is looking for an unspecified amount of cash but will most likely not be talking to venture capital (VC) investors, head of business development Matthew Barnett told Energy Storage Report.

“Rather than going down the VC route, we’re sticking with high-net-worth angel investors and strategic investors,” he said.

The latter group might include businesses that could add value to Highview’s offering, such as an engineering capability, a route to market or complementary technology, said Barnett.

“If a VC came up with GBP£15m then that’s a different story, but there’s a time and a place for a VC to be involved,” he continued. “Maybe we’re entering that now, maybe we’re not.

Sticking with the same kind of investors

“Certainly the strategy is to stick with the [kinds of investors] we’ve had for the last few years.”

Highview has so far only received angel funding and is already in revenue, he said, thanks to fees from licensing and consultancy work.

The fundraising follows Highview’s handing over of a 350kW, 2.5MWh grid-connected pilot plant to the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage, and commissioning of a 5MW, 15MWh pre-commercial plant.

The pilot project was operated for four years before being donated to the University.

The pre-commercial plant, in Pilsworth, Greater Manchester, UK, is designed to be a precursor to a full commercial design that could be anything up to 200MW in size, according to Alicia Moghtader, senior communications executive.

The first commercial plant

Currently it is unclear whether the first commercial plant will be built by Highview or by a third party under licence.

GE Oil & Gas, the General Electric subsidiary, has been evaluating Highview’s technology for the last two years as a possible addition to gas-fired peaker plants, Barnett said.

“You’ve got a big shopping list of parts that you put together in a specific way to get the right configuration for this technology,” he said.

While GE Oil & Gas is predominantly looking at liquid air energy storage for the US market, Highview is also pursuing opportunities across Europe and in Japan.

A commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant is expected to take 18 to 24 months to build. “I would like to see over the next 12 months a project convert at a usable, commercial scale,” said Barnett.

Multiple projects in the next three years

Highview hopes to have multiple projects under construction in the next three years, he said. “A lot of eyes are on this pre-commercial plant being built,” he commented.

The Pilsworth pre-commercial demonstrator got a £8m grant from the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in 2014.

It is being built on a landfill gas site run by Viridor and is expected to go live within the next two weeks or so.

Highview’s technology is based on using spare energy to liquefy air or nitrogen, which can later be expanded to drive turbines. A big benefit of the technology is that it can essentially be assembled using off-the-shelf industrial equipment.

Also, unlike other large-scale energy storage technologies, such as pumped hydro or compressed air energy storage, Highview’s plants are not limited to specific geographic locations.

Increasing the round-trip efficiency

“LAES has the ability to integrate industrial low-grade waste heat and waste cold to increase the round-trip efficiency of the system by co-locating with industrial plants and LNG terminals,” said Highview in a recent press release.

“If integrated with renewables, LAES can help maintain green credentials, as it gives off no harmful emissions, uses no scarce materials and requires no complex recycling.”

Compared to other energy storage technologies, Barnett said: “The compelling piece is it might not be as efficient but it lasts a long time and you can deep discharge it.

“When you start deep discharging batteries it becomes a problem. Similarly with compressed air.”

Despite this, he said: “We don’t see it as a natural competitor to compressed air. It shares certain components. It’s more of a partner to that, for the projects where you don’t have geology to cope with it.”

Kreisel aims to put Tesla through its paces

Kreisel today launches a residential battery with improvements developed for the automotive sector. Pic: Kreisel.

Kreisel today launches a residential battery with improvements developed for the automotive sector. Pic: Kreisel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jason Deign

Kreisel Electric has become the latest battery vendor to take on the Tesla Powerwall with the launch of a residential energy storage product today.

The Austrian industrial firm is looking to improve on Tesla’s trailblazing battery pack with a system that uses the same 18650-size lithium-ion cells, with a few significant manufacturing improvements.

Critically, Kreisel uses a laser system to solder connections to each cell in the battery. This is in contrast to traditional manufacturing processes where welding is employed.

The heat generated from the welding process damages cells before they are even used, said Christian Schlögl, head of business development. “With our laser technology we don’t destroy the cell,” he told Energy Storage Report.

The laser manufacturing process helps make sure all of the 8,000 or so cells in each battery have the same capacity and voltage once connected, so there is no need to balance them afterwards.

Increase in battery capacity

Schlögl said this helps increase the battery capacity to up to 95%, while the Powerwall only has a warranted capacity of up to 85%, and then just for the first two years.

The Powerwall’s charge rate is also limited by the fact that power inputs in excess of 120kW could cause the thin wires connecting each cell to overheat, according to Schlögl.

Kreisel’s Mavero battery system cells, on the other hand, are connected by a flat plat made of an undisclosed substance that reduces internal resistance and allows charging and discharging at up to 300kW, without overheating.

This means the Mavero can be charged 2.5 times more quickly than a Powerwall, said Schlögl. When discharging, “we can suck out 15% more than Tesla, from the same cell, due to the [lower] inner resistance,” he said.

Another novel design feature of the product is liquid cooling, which maintains the cells at a steady 30ºC. The fact that the cells are immersed in the liquid allows for very precise temperature control.

Charge-discharge cycles degrading cells

Once more this is in contrast to the Powerwall, where heating caused by each charge-discharge cycle further degrades the cells, said Schlögl.

The liquid, a non-toxic, non-flammable coolant provided by 3M, reduces the fire hazard associated with lithium-ion chemistries.

It also helps increase the life span of the battery by between 10 and 15% compared to other systems, Schlögl said. The 4kW Mavero is initially being offered with a 10-year warranty and more than 5,000 cycles.

It will come in 10 and 14kWh variants and multiples thereof, and can be containerised for up to 2MWh of capacity.

The 10kWh battery has a usable capacity of 8kWh, weighs around 60kg, and will be priced at around €5,000 without VAT and installation, which could bring the total price up to €6,500.

Installed within a couple of hours

The 14kWh product, meanwhile, weighs about 90kg, has a usable capacity of 11kWh, and will cost around €500 more. Both are designed to be installed within a couple of hours and can work with any inverter, Schlögl commented.

Kriesel is planning to sell around 1,000 units this year, to what Schlögl described as ‘friendly customers’, before making the product more widely available in Germany and Austria from the beginning of 2017.

Schlögl said the patented manufacturing process, which is the result of a €4m research and development programme, has resulted in one of the best price-performance ratios of any battery on the market.

Kreisel expects to be able to produce batteries at a price point below €200 per kWh with full production of around 1,000 units per year.

Kreisel originally developed its technology for the electric vehicle market, managing to cram 55.7kWh of storage capacity, with liquid cooling, into a 24kWh Volkswagen battery casing while reducing total weight by 9kg.

Double the capacity with lower weight

“In the case of Volkswagen, we can more than double the capacity with lower weight, in the same space,” Schlögl commented.

The company also lists Audi, BMW, Fendt, Magna, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Polaris and Porsche among its automotive clients.

For now, Kreisel is still producing prototype batteries by hand. A new, privately funded €12m production facility is expected to start up in March next year, with a capacity of 1.2m kWh.

Schlögl claimed the production capacity for next year is already fully booked.

As well as the Mavero, Kreisel will be producing batteries for a number of electric vehicle applications, including an as-yet unnamed van based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.

Kreisel hopes to produce 2,000 of the €90,000 vans next year, with a 90kWh battery yielding a 300km range. Kreisel is also hoping to licence the manufacturing process to other original equipment manufacturers.

UK energy storage: why a Brexit may be good

Britons discussing the Brexit in a pub yesterday. Photo: www.animam.photography.

Britons discussing the Brexit in a pub yesterday. Photo: www.animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

UK renewable energy interests could face significant market disruption if Britons vote to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum this month.

But while sectors such as wind energy fret over what a so-called ‘Brexit’ could mean for European-led subsidy programmes, whether or not a departure could harm the UK’s nascent energy storage market is less clear-cut.

In particular, the fact that storage is already being deployed in the UK without any form of government support means further growth in the market may not be dependent on political links with Europe.

Last month, for example, the UK’s National Grid launched the first battery system in Great Britain to provide sub-second frequency response services.

Hertfordshire, England-based Renewable Energy Systems won the bid to provide 2MW of storage capacity under a four-year contract.

Storage does not require support

No subsidies were involved, demonstrating that storage does not require government support to be viable in the UK.

Furthermore, the regulatory hurdles that UK grid-scale storage faces are not related to EU membership, but to the way the national regulator defines the assets.

“Storage is not an asset class yet, so government can’t support it,” said Alistair Marsden, commercial director at Welsh renewable energy services provider Dulas, which is corporately against leaving Europe.

“Because of that, the industry has gone ‘Well, sod it, we don’t need your support. We’re going to make this work.’”

Lack of government funding does not appear to have held back the growth of storage so far in the UK, Marsden noted. “Stuff which never had government support is cracking on at breakneck speed,” he said.

Current estimates for growth in UK

Current estimates for growth in UK energy storage range from 1GW by 2020, forecast by the Renewable Energy Association, to twice that much, by the Electricity Storage Network.

None of this appears related to EU regulation, targets or membership, though.

Another reason why energy storage interests may not have much to fear from a Brexit is that a departure from the European Union could delay progress on grid interconnections with other countries.

The UK has 4GW of interconnector capacity and is due to almost double that, to 7.3GW, by 2021, according to figures from the electricity regulator Ofgem.

Building interconnectors is a major plank of European Union energy policy but it is unclear how these complex, slow-moving infrastructure projects would fare if the UK cuts ties with neighbouring countries.

Leaving Europe’s Internal Energy Market

A report by Vivid Economics says things could hinge on whether a Brexit also prompts the UK to leave Europe’s Internal Energy Market (IEM). That need not be the case: Norway, for example, is outside the Union but inside the IEM.

However, if the UK does exit the IEM then Vivid says the consequences could include decreased market coupling, cuts in cross-border capacity and balancing market trading, and lower investment in new interconnectors.

This is bad for the UK’s electricity sector as it would likely hit the cost of energy, albeit that Brexit’s most pernicious effect, which Vivid says would be raising the cost of infrastructure investment, would happen regardless of IEM status.

Paradoxically, though, the same conditions that could harm Britain’s energy system might favour investment in storage.

Put simply, the more the UK remains as an energy island, the more it might need storage to keep the lights on.

Retiring coal-fired generating capacity

It should be remembered that the UK is already operating on a historically tight capacity margin after retiring more than 8GW of coal-fired generating capacity.

Until recently, these coal-fired power stations were not only providing base-load generation but also helping to balance the grid. Storage is already taking on this secondary role, as demonstrated by the National Grid tender.

And renewables appear ever more set to step into the energy generation breach, regardless of EU targets and incentives.

For example, the UK government has recently put the brakes on subsidising grid-scale solar, meaning the PV industry is already largely having to fend for itself in the energy mix.

In a Brexit, solar panels would no longer be subject to minimum import pricing, so UK PV projects would become even more competitive. More PV on the grid could increase opportunities for energy storage above current levels.

Brexit impact on investor sentiment

None of this is to say that storage companies should look forward to a split with Europe, however. Many renewable energy observers are wary of a Brexit because of the impact it could have on investor sentiment.

A recent editorial in industry newsletter A Word About Wind, for example, said: “At present, institutional investors feel confident about investing in wind because they know that countries are bound by EU targets.

“Removing these targets would hit their confidence and mean less money for wind, which can only impede the growth of the sector.

“And that is not to mention the threat that a collapsing EU would pose to a global financial system that remains shaky and skittish.”

A pullback in infrastructure investment could hit storage as badly as any other part of the energy system.

At least, though, it is probably fair to say that if the UK does decide to cut ties with Europe then storage project developers may not feel as much pain as their peers in other parts of the energy ecosystem.

Aquion targets 50% cost reduction in 10 years

Aquion Energy batteries are being used to store solar energy for nighttime illumination on Thailand’s Sky Lane, a 23.5km bicycle track at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport.

Aquion Energy batteries are being used to store solar energy for nighttime illumination along Thailand’s Sky Lane, a 23.5km bicycle track at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport. Photo: Aquion.

By Jason Deign

Saltwater battery manufacturer Aquion Energy is aiming to cut the price of its batteries by up to 50% within a decade, a company executive confirmed.

Newly named chief commercial officer Tim Poor said it was “very reasonable” to expect a 25% to 50% cut in costs once current manufacturing facilities reached full scale, which would happen within “single-digit years.”

Aquion currently has manufacturing capacity for 200MWh of batteries a year, based on a single production line. But the company’s factory has space for four more lines, allowing for up to 1GWh of capacity to be produced a year.

Poor said the company was planning to double production in the fourth quarter of this year. Aquion has so far shipped 20MWh of storage to about 200 customers, with 50% of products going for export, he said.

Historically, though, Aquion has tended to attract attention for its fundraising escapades rather than its business growth.

Latest cash injection

News of the company’s latest cash injection, of USD$33m from unnamed investors, emerged in an April Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.

According to GreentechMedia, this brought Aquion’s total fundraising to date to $190m and left it still looking for another $27m in this round.

“The company’s cost target is $250 per kWh, with the goal of getting to $160 per kWh when its manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania is at scale,” said the report.

Former Aquion investors include Bill Gates, Gentry Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, Bright Capital, Advanced Technology Ventures and Trinity Capital Investment, among others.

Poor, who was promoted from vice president of sales and business development last month, admitted to Energy Storage Report that media focus on Aquion’s fundraising antics was a bit of a distraction.

Under the radar

“We have been under the radar,” he said. “Our approach to marketing has not been to trumpet our own business. We have lots of deals, we just don’t press release them.”

At the same time, however, “there are regulatory reasons why we have to make an SEC filing when we get a cash infusion,” he said.

Nevertheless, Poor said Aquion’s business is in good shape, with the company currently shipping to Australia, Europe and Japan as well as North America.

One of the few Aquion deals promoted recently was for a hybrid ultra-capacitor and battery energy storage system installed at Duke Energy’s Rankin Substation in Gaston County, North Carolina, USA.

The 50kW/300kWh Aquion battery system is intended to complement the short-term response capabilities of Maxwell Technologies ultra-capacitors in order to smooth output from a nearby 1.2MW PV plant, Power reported.

Foil for ultra-capacitors

Win Inertia, a Spanish energy storage system integrator working on the project, said Aquion’s Aqueous Hybrid Ion batteries were a good foil for ultra-capacitors because the Aquion products provide long-duration storage.

“Aqueous batteries provide low-cost performance and very high energy density,” said the company in a presentation for the US Energy Storage Association.

The energy battery-ultra-capacitor combination would allow Duke to stack grid services such as peak shaving, solar smoothing and load following, and cut capital expenditure by up to 25% and operating costs by up to 35%, it said.

Long-duration storage is not Aquion’s only virtue, however.

The company says its batteries are highly modular, making it easy to use them for everything from residential up to utility-scale installations, and are the only in the world to have a cradle-to-cradle certification.

Commonly available materials

The use of a chemistry based on innocuous, commonly available materials bodes well for Aquion one day achieving the cost reductions it has in view. “There’s nothing in the battery that is expensive,” Poor noted.

Although he would not reveal pricing details, Poor said Aquion’s batteries were already “significantly better” than products from leading battery vendors such as Tesla and LG Chem, on a full lifecycle cost basis.

This competitive edge should widen as Aquion moves towards full-scale production, according to observers.

Lithiums, of whatever recipe, are eventually constrained by the cost of their materials and manufacturing and are thus doomed to niche applications like hand-held devices,” commented one industry insider.

Increased production should also spell relief for Aquion’s many investors.

While Aquion has not publicly announced details of its financial roadmap, said Poor: “If we’re full-scale [production] in a decade, we’ll be cash positive well before that.”