The Dulas solar-powered direct-drive vaccine fridge uses phase-change materials to store vaccines more effectively, helping save human lives.
By Jason Deign
Phase-change materials (PCMs) are boldly going into an energy storage realm where even the most modern battery technologies have failed to deliver: saving lives.
Dulas, a Welsh renewable energy technology company, is using PCMs in place of batteries as an essential component of solar-powered direct-drive refrigerators for off-grid vaccine storage in developing countries.
On Monday the company announced a contract to supply 345 of its VC200 fridges to health and aid agencies working in Yemen, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The company said the deal represented “a significant expansion” of its partnerships with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria.
Dulas will be sending 60 fridges to the Institute of Human Virology, 143 to the WHO in Yemen and 142 to UNICEF in Sierra Leone. “There is the potential for further orders in the near future,” said the company. Read more →
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. Read more →
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.”
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.
Excerpts from an interview with AD Huang, general manager of BYD and speaker in the Renewable Integration & Storage track in the upcoming European Utility Week.
How do you see energy storage developing in the next coming years, globally and in Europe? Why should utilities invest in energy storage?
As more and more renewable sources are installed in the world, especially in the European Union, energy storage can help to increase grid stability. In addition, the use of energy storage as reserve capacity will enable utilities to better respond to the end users’ request.
Technology developers are all striving to develop and commercialise various forms of energy storage. How successful are these efforts according to you?
Since lithium-ion batteries are not only used in energy storage but also for electric vehicle applications, the battery costs will go down quickly. BYD has already done a lot of projects worldwide and we believe the energy storage will play an important role in the future.
What are the industry’s biggest challenges related to renewable energy storage?
Policy, cost and lifetime of energy storage are amongst the biggest challenges to the industry.
NGK is known for its sodium-sulphur (NaS) batteries. Sumitomo is working on vanadium redox flow batteries. Photo credit: NGK Insulators
In a week where continued fears over radiation leakage call the future of the country’s nuclear fleet into question, there is at least one piece of good energy news coming out of Japan. NGK Insulators and Sumitomo Electric Industries have both been chosen by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to find ways of driving down the costs of energy storage. Read more →
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has created an electric vehicle that can be charged while stationary or driving, thus removing the need to stop at a charging station. Read more →
The Tata Motors Starbus Fuel Cell bus features hydrogen fuel cell technology. Photo credit: Tata Motors
The aptly-named Starbus went through its paces at the Liquid Propulsion System Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore earlier this week, reports The Times Of India. Read more →