How phase-change materials are saving lives

The Dulas solar-powered direct-drive vaccine fridge uses phase-change materials to store vaccines more effectively, helping save human lives.

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. 
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BYD for LatAm’s top electric cab fleet

Over 800 BYD e6 electric vehicles are now being used as taxis globally.

Globally, over 800 BYD e6 electric vehicles are now being used as taxis. Photo credit: BYD

According to a report in EON, 45 all-electric e6 sports utility vehicles officially joined Bogotá’s taxi fleet earlier this week thanks in part to the abolition of duties for electric vehicles being imported to Colombia. Speaking at a launch ceremony on Monday, city mayor Dr Gustavo Petro Urrero said the new BYD vehicles were part of Colombia’s BIOTAXIS Project, aimed at eventually replacing all conventional taxis with electric vehicles.

New energy storage alliance launched

Officially launched with 70 founding members, the International Battery and Energy Storage Alliance (IBESA) states its mission is to “promote a path of cooperation and mutual support in achieving proactive solutions between all sectors within the photovoltaic (PV) power generation, battery storage and the smart grid technology value chain.”

The two men behind the new association are Bryan Ekus, managing director of the International PV Equipment Association, and Markus Hoehner, head of the Hoehner Research & Consulting Group.

Aimed at promoting networking and professional resources for “all those who produce and support solar, battery and energy services,” the IBESA costs €3,000 per year to join. We wish them every success and hope they will add to the development and adoption of energy storage.

Hydrogen solution for Colombia

Spain’s Ecowill Engineering has joined forces with French company McPhy to develop a hydrogen production and storage plant near Bogotá, Colombia, powered purely by renewable energy, reports Fuel Cell Today. Water hydrolysis yields hydrogen from electricity produced by wind or solar power.

The gas can then be used immediately, or, if power supply outstrips demand, be stored in solid form as magnesium hydride in containers using McPhy’s technology. The process allows large amounts of hydrogen to be kept at low pressure (around 10 bar), making it relatively easy to transport.

The stored hydrogen can be used to produce electricity through a combustion engine, a fuel cell or a gas turbine, as required. There will be six containers on the Colombian site, which together will store the equivalent of nearly 23MW of energy, according to a McPhy company representative.

Energy storage for Chilean power plant

AES Energy Storage recently announced that Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Corporation and GS Yuasa, will be supplying advanced battery energy storage systems for its new Cochrane power station.

The project is the company’s third energy storage facility in Northern Chile, integrating 20MW of advanced battery-based energy storage with a 532MW thermal power plant. The project is owned by AES Gener, the second largest power generator in the country, and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Energy storage key to Chile solar project

The incorporation of energy storage was key to Chile’s selection of solar thermal technology in a project that has gained Clean Technology Fund (CTF) financing, Energy Storage Report has learned. The Chilean Ministry of Energy last month announced the receipt of a US$66.12 million CTF loan to develop a solar thermal plant in the Antofagasta region.

The technology was selected over other types of renewable energy generation because of its ability to include thermal energy storage, a source close to the CTF has confirmed.

Galapagos PV project to be backed by 1MW energy storage. Any takers?

Ecuador’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy will issue an international tender for a hybrid renewable energy system on Isabela island, part of the Galapagos archipelago, writes PV Tech. The project will consist of a 1.1MW PV system, a 1.2MW thermal power plant and a 1MW energy storage system, according to the article.

Bids will be excepted until the 30th of this month, so if you think you have the expertise, why not get in touch with the Ecuadorian ministry? Look at what the Galapagos did for Charles Darwin’s career.

AES to give Chilean power plant 20MW battery storage

AES Energy Storage and AES Gener, the company’s Chilean subsidiary will integrate 20MW of advanced battery-based energy storage with a 544MW thermal power plant in the North of the country.

The project will allow the plant to generate an additional, productivity-enhancing 20MW of power at virtually all times, without sacrificing grid flexibility or reliability, says the company.

This increase of around 4% represents the energy that would otherwise be slide-lined for use in the event of an unexpected transmission failure.

AES Gener is the country’s second largest power generator, and has already constructed a 12MW energy storage system for its Norgener power plant, some 170 kilometers from Antofagasta.

The Los Andes Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has been delivering a similar reliability service since 2009, and comprises of approximately one million advanced lithium-ion battery cells, divided between ten 2MW battery containers, and five 4MW power controls containers.