ITM Power: “significant commercial progress” in latest half-year results

The European Marine Energy Centre, where ITM Power is helping deliver the world's first tidal-powered hydrogen. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy EMEC.

The European Marine Energy Centre, where ITM Power is helping deliver the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy EMEC.

By Jason Deign

Hydrogen polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technology developer ITM Power announced “significant commercial progress” in half-yearly results unveiled this week.
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Interest in using flow batteries for long-duration storage sees ESS raise $13m

Growing interest in flow batteries has helped ESS attract investment from backers including BASF. Pic: ESS.

Growing interest in flow batteries has helped ESS attract investment from backers including BASF. Pic: ESS.

By Jason Deign

ESS Inc, the Oregon, US-based flow battery manufacturer, this week announced USD$13m in new funding from investors including the global chemical industry leader BASF.
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New love for US pumped hydro?

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is failing to meet expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is not meeting expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

Pumped hydro, the forgotten granddaddy of energy storage, seems back in fashion: records show 19 new project applications were filed in the US this year.
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Europe chases GWh energy storage

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

By Jason Deign

Gaelectric’s Larne project funding approval this month has focused attention on European efforts to develop large-scale storage technologies that could rival pumped hydro.

Dublin, Ireland-based Gaelectric was granted €90m in European Union backing for a compressed air energy storage (CAES) project due to be built in Larne, east Antrim, on the Northern Irish coast.

The funding came on top of €15m in previous grants, the BBC reported. The Larne CAES project, due for completion around 2022, is a European project of common interest that will generate up to 330MW of power for up to six hours.

Being developed in association with Dresser-Rand, it will store compressed air in two caverns located in salt deposits below ground. When needed, the air would be re-heated using natural gas and, on expansion, drive a turbine.

The plant’s compressors will also provide up to 250MW of demand response to mop up excess wind capacity on the Northern Irish grid, which only has limited connections to electricity networks on Ireland and Great Britain. 
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Could hydrogen work with batteries?

John Hatton: speaking at the Energy Storage World Forum.

John Hatton: speaking at the Energy Storage World Forum.

NB: a previous version of this story mistakenly said Mercedes and Daimler were pulling out of fuel cell development. This version has been corrected. 

By Mike Stone

Is hydrogen back in serious contention as a storage technology? A look at recent developments might indicate yes. Amazon, for example, has committed to spend USD$600m to buy up to 23% of fuel-cell maker Plug Power’s stock.

The online retailer will use the fuel cells it buys to help power forklift trucks in its warehouses. Plug Power said Amazon will be spending around USD$70m this year.

This spend will also cover stationary back-up power and hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Aiding lifting gear is an area where hydrogen has a well-defined niche, and its use is far from contentious.

But a more audacious recent proposal is one by a consortium comprising Carnegie Energy and Samsung EDI, among others, to build a 100MW hydrogen storage battery in South Australia.

According to Carnegie’s CEO, the company has already delivered 25-plus grid-scale storage systems in Australia. 
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ALACAES seeks CAES partners

ALACAES is looking for partners after proving its compressed air energy storage concept last year. Pic: ALACAES.

ALACAES is looking for partners after proving its compressed air energy storage concept last year. Pic: ALACAES.

NB: In our intelligence brief, we incorrectly stated that L’Azienda Elettrica Ticinese had pulled its investment out of ALACAES and that Airlight Energy had run into technical problems. This version corrects both statements.

By Jason Deign

ALACAES, of Lugano, Switzerland, is seeking institutional partners and investors to create the world’s first high-pressure advanced adiabatic compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant.

The company is looking for between USD$4m and $6m in funding to build a demonstration plant operating at 90 to 100 bar after proving its technology with a 7-bar pilot last year.

The 2016 pilot, with a capacity of 1MWh and a power rating of 600kW, was the first adiabatic CAES plant in the world, according to ALACAES.

On its website, the US Energy Storage Association (ESA) notes: “Advanced-adiabatic compressed air energy storage (AA-CAES) is an evolution of traditional CAES, designed to deliver higher efficiencies.

“Operation is similar to traditional CAES in that energy is stored by compressing air with turbomachinery and storing in an underground cavern. The difference lies in the treatment of the heat of compression.” 
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