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.
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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.
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P2P energy player lobbies for storage

Battery storage in P2P energy networks could help businesses such as the Eden Project save money. (Pic: Jürgen Matern)

Battery storage in P2P energy networks could help businesses such as the Eden Project save money. (Pic: Jürgen Matern)

By Jason Deign

Peer-to-peer (P2P) power supplier Open Utility is planning to pressure the UK electricity market regulator towards introducing grid-balancing measures that could include energy storage.

The company, which runs an energy marketplace called Piclo, hopes to convince the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) that P2P networks are good for consumers and distributed generation asset owners.

“There are significant benefits in better balancing renewables and demand on a local electricity network,” said James Johnston, Open Utility’s CEO and co-founder. “Energy storage will be key in enabling this balancing.”

Currently, he said, UK regulations do little to encourage the use of energy storage in P2P networks. Piclo, which allows businesses to buy renewable power directly from source, does not currently include storage, for example.

However, Johnston said: “If regulations allow for it, incentivising local balancing using P2P energy matching could unlock significant financial rewards for local consumers and generators.”
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Encell’s hardy battery targets emerging markets

By Jason Deign

Encell graphic: cycle life is determined by oxide solubility.

Encell claims to have a battery chemistry that can beat lithium-ion and lead-acid. Image: Encell.

Battery start-up Encell Technology is taking aim on emerging markets with a residential-scale product that bucks the current trend for sleek, eye-catching design.

The company’s Fused Iron batteries are visually unimpressive but able to perform better and withstand a much wider range of operating conditions than lithium-ion (Li-ion) rivals, said Encell chairman and founder Robert Guyton.

“There are fundamental trade-offs in lithium-ion when it comes to cost, cycle life and safety,” he said. “It’s a zero-sum game.”

Evaluating the trade-offs led Encell to select a nickel-iron battery chemistry instead.

Nickel-iron batteries have low specific energy and poor charge retention but are popular in mining because of their long operating life, of up to 20 years with regular cycling, and their ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

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Start-up claims first true integrated home storage

Powerstation 247 from Concept by Us, heralded as the first true plug-and-play residential solar energy storage system, includes integrated inverters and CALB USA lithium iron phosphate batteries.

Powerstation 247 from Concept by Us, heralded as the first true plug-and-play residential solar energy storage system, includes integrated inverter and CALB USA lithium iron phosphate batteries. Photo credit: Concept by Us

By Jason Deign

Concept by US, a Florida, USA-based start-up, claims to have launched the world’s first truly plug-and-play system for residential solar energy storage.

Two weeks ago the four-year-old firm unveiled an integrated storage unit called the Powerstation 247, which comes with up to three hybrid inverters, solar maximum power point trackers, a charge controller and lithium-ion batteries.

All the equipment is made by Concept by US except for the batteries, which are lithium iron phosphate products supplied by CALB USA and chosen for their safety properties.

To install the Powerstation, an installer just needs to plug the leads from a customer’s solar panels in one end and attach it to the household distribution board at the other, said Sara Kissing, vice president and chief operating officer.

Most of the two to three-hour installation time is taken up by the battery management system software’s automated setup process, she said.
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Sonnen joins crowded Oz market

The residential Australian energy storage market continues to hot up, as Sonnen, Enphase Energy and LG Chem all make announcements. Photo: sonnenBatterie, the Sonnen battery system

The residential Australian energy storage market is hotting up, with announcements from Sonnen, Enphase Energy and LG Chem. Photo: sonnenBatterie, the Sonnen battery system

By Jason Deign

German storage player Sonnen today became the latest major player to join the race for supremacy in Australia’s increasingly crowded residential energy storage market.

The company is looking to attract Australians to its sonnenBatterie product, which is a modular lithium-ion battery system capable of storing between 2kWh and 16kWh per household.

“Our first partner is True Value Solar, Australia’s largest solar company,” confirmed Mathias Bloch, Sonnen spokesman.

The company threw its hat into the Australian ring in the week after LG Chem and Enphase Energy both unveiled news of growing demand for storage products across the country.

LG Chem said it expected to see a five-fold increase in Australian shipments this year, to 3,000 units, and Enphase Energy was reported to be looking to Australia and New Zealand for the bulk of up to USD$20m in sales.

US microinverter maker Enphase expects to ship around 4,000 storage systems this year and said it will start generating revenues across the antipodes by the second half of 2016.
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Con Ed wants storage for virtual power plant

The Con Edison Clean Virtual Power Plant in New York will be based on solar and residential energy storage from Sunverge Energy and SunPower. Photo credit: Consolidated Edison

The Con Edison Clean Virtual Power Plant in New York will be based on solar and residential energy storage from Sunverge Energy and SunPower. Photo credit: Consolidated Edison

By Jason Deign

Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) is planning to test a residential storage-based virtual power plant (VPP) concept, Energy Storage Report has learned.

The investor-owned utility, which serves New York City and Westchester County in the US, is hoping to launch a pilot scheme this summer, said Griffin Reilly, project manager for the Con Ed Clean VPP concept.

Initially the project will test how much New Yorkers might be willing to pay on a subscription basis for grid resiliency services, essentially backup power, provided through a battery system installed on their premises.

Customers will not have to pay the upfront cost of the system because Con Ed will own it and reserve the right to sell the aggregated output of many such systems on the wholesale or distribution markets.

The utility is looking to have around 1.8MW and 4MWh of aggregated capacity across the VPP.
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JuiceBox ups US residential market contest

Can JuiceBox battery systems compete with Tesla and Sonnen in the residential solar energy storage market? Photo credit: JuiceBox Energy

Can JuiceBox battery systems compete with ones from Tesla and Sonnen in the residential solar energy storage market? Photo credit: JuiceBox Energy

By Jason Deign

Energy storage start-up JuiceBox aims to upset residential players such as Tesla and Sonnen with what it claims is an easier-to-install product.

JuiceBox Energy’s 5.5kW, 8.6kWh lithium-ion storage system might not have the sleek lines of competing products such as Telsa’s Powerwall or Sonnen’s sonnenBatterie, but is gaining followers on ease of installation.

“We’ve got to a point where you really just press a button, after you connect the wires, and it writes all the parameters into the inverter,” said Neil Maguire, chief executive of Milpitas, California-based JuiceBox.

This means solar resellers can install the system with minimal training, Maguire said. “They know they can quote on a job and get their guys in and out in one day,” he said. “We’ve trained over 100 installers now.”

JuiceBox has been seeing rapidly rising demand for its products around the US since it launched last autumn, despite the fact that residential energy storage is still not seen as being economically viable across most of America.
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