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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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.” Read more →
Concept by US has the African market in its sights. Pic: Pixabay.
By Jason Deign
Florida, USA-based energy storage start-up Concept by US is due to start shipping its all-in-one battery systems to Africa in May.
For the African market, the company has created a 50Hz, 220V, three-phase version of its Powerstation 247 Plus integrated battery system. It will be installing the units in Africa on behalf of an un-named African energy firm.
Units will be going into African locations ranging from high-end resorts to small off-grid communities, said Sara Kissing, vice president and chief operating officer.
Dr Natalia Stryzhakova, head of Yunasko’s research labs: “We are happy to get a low-cost ultracapacitor system capable of reliably working at temperatures as high as 100-110°C.” Pic: Yunasko.
By Jason Deign
Ukrainian ultracapacitor hopeful Yunasko is looking to set up large-scale manufacturing in China after proving a product that works at up to 100ºC.
“Right now, our company is focused closely on customised solutions,” said project manager Sergii Tychina. “We have limited manufacturing capabilities here in Ukraine [but] we have partners in China.”
The news last month that Yunasko’s technology had passed independent high-temperature tests at JME, a US-based firm owned by ultracapacitor expert Dr John Miller, has sparked a search for strategic partners, Tychina said.
The tests showed Yunasko’s ultracapacitors could last 2,000 hours, or about a million charge-discharge cycles, at 100ºC with an operating voltage of 2.39V.
“This is the highest operating voltage of any solution-based ultracapacitor,” said Yunasko in press materials, “at a fraction of the cost typically seen for ionic liquids.” Read more →
Ice Energy’s remarkable storage compound is colourless, odourless and so safe you can drink it. Pic: Pixabay.
By Jason Deign
Thermal energy storage such as that being commercialised by Ice Energy may have a much greater impact than just doing away with the duck curve.
If sold at scale, it could also effectively put traditional air conditioning (AC) out of business in large areas of the world where AC is essential for daytime workplace and home cooling.
Ice Energy is already bracing itself for growing demand in sunny US territories where increasing distributed solar penetration is causing regulators to move away from net metering plans.
In places such as Hawaii, the shift away from net metering is depriving solar-equipped homeowners of electricity bill reductions and forcing them to look at alternative ways to save money with PV. Powering AC units is one option.
AC is one of the biggest daytime and evening energy loads of households in hot locations. With net metering, much of electricity you need to drive AC units can come for free from any excess you have poured into the grid. Read more →
Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.
By Jason Deign
Thermal energy storage developer Ice Energy is gearing up to increase sales of a product that has the potential to end California’s famous ‘duck curve’.
The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) has already announced plans to buy up to 100 of Ice Energy’s Ice Bear 20 residential cooling systems, which completed testing about a month ago.
The 20 ton-hour systems use energy when there is excess production, for example at night, to create ice that is then used for cooling during peak electricity consumption periods, such as evenings.
“At 9.6kW per Ice Bear 20, the order will potentially add nearly 1MW of new energy storage and peak demand reduction capacity to the SCPPA network, saving energy, improving efficiency and reducing emissions,” said Ice Energy.
The deal marks Ice Energy’s debut in the residential energy storage market, a move the company unveiled in Energy Storage Reportlast year, and follows growing utility interest in using Ice Bears for demand response. Read more →
Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.
By Mike Stone
Utilities are seeking new ways to respond to grid defection as the economics of solar-plus-storage make it easier for homeowners to disconnect.
A report called The Economics of Grid Defection, by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), concludes that in territories such as Hawaii off-grid solar plus storage is already economically competitive with remaining on the electricity network.
Tens of millions of customers will defect in other areas such as California and New York as solar plus storage achieves grid parity by 2030, and possibly even 2020, the RMI predicts.
And grid defection is by no means a US-only phenomenon.
In many parts of Australia and Germany, for example, the business case for residential PV and storage is still far from convincing, but that has not stopped homeowners from installing systems for a whole host of other reasons. Read more →