Solar looks to supercap storage

Maxwell Technologies has joined up with Soitec for a project to demonstrate the benefits of combining the former’s ultracapacitor energy storage with the latter’s concentrated solar technology, reports NewNet. The project, which has already started, is being bankrolled by a USD$1.39m contract from the California Energy Commission’s Research and Development programme, and will run until November 2015.

California invests in vehicle energy storage

Electric vehicle charging, California

Electric vehicle charging facility, California. Pic courtesy of California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission has unanimously adopted a 2013-2014 investment plan update that includes a focus on energy storage as part of support for the development and use of green vehicles and alternative fuels. The 2013-2014 plan update allocates USD$100m to projects including:

  • $20m for hydrogen fueling infrastructure. An estimated 68 stations are needed to support the anticipated rollout of these vehicles in 2015-2017. Roughly 24 stations are built or in development.
  • $15m for medium- and heavy-duty electric truck and hybrid vehicle demonstration projects.
  • $7m for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Workplace, fleet and multi-unit dwelling projects will be given priority.
  • $5m for light-duty plug-in electric vehicle rebates to meet high demand for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program administered by the California Air Resources Board.
  • $5m for manufacturing projects, supporting economic development and clean transportation technology.
  • $4m to emerging opportunities. This allocation is not specifically tied to any single fuel or technology type, with a priority for projects that can leverage federal funding.

“Investing in advanced technologies is a smart move that will ensure California benefits economically from a growing clean-transportation industry,” said Alex Fay, business development manager for Quallion, a battery manufacturer based in Los Angeles County.

PG&E wins CAES research grant

In the last issue of Energy Storage Report, we ran a story about Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California issuing an energy storage request for information (RFI), which we interpreted as the company dipping its toe into the energy storage pool. Well, it looks like we were right.The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced that it has awarded PG&E a US$1m grant to demonstrate a compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant. San Francisco-based PG&E is planning to compress air into depleted natural gas reservoirs using excess wind energy. The air would then be released through a turbine to generate electricity for the grid, as required.The idea is that, should the results be promising, the CEC would sign up to a proportion of a further $50m needed to help see the project through to completion, with the remaining balance of the $50m provided by the US Department of Energy and other sources.