Leclanché’s dual strategy for growth

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

By Jason Deign

The world’s oldest battery company isn’t clinging to the past. Leclanché, of Switzerland, is betting on its two newest lines of business for future growth, said Jacques Boppe, the company’s vice president of corporate development.

“Stationary storage is a growth business and transportation is a growth market,” said Boppe.

Both areas were given separate business unit status in January 2015 as part of a turnaround plan that saw Anil Srivastava, the former boss of Areva Renewables, taking the helm of the company in June 2014.

The turnaround followed financial troubles that resulted in Leclanché’s German subsidiary needing a €5m bailout from the Bruellan Corporate Governance Action Fund in 2012.

Boppe said Leclanché is expecting both business units to blossom while it continues to serve its legacy business, creating and distributing custom battery systems for specialist customers such as the Swiss Army, from a third unit.
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S&C Electric bags Canadian BESS project

The Wind Energy Institute of Canada has announced a supply agreement with S&C Electric Canada for a battery energy storage system (BESS) at Prince Edward Island. The BESS will be delivered in September and is expected to be operational by autumn. The BESS is composed of a power conversion system supplied by S&C and battery modules supplied by GE.

The batteries are sodium nickel chloride Durathon modules and represent the first such project for GE Energy Storage in Canada.

Pumped hydro will benefit Ontario’s grid

Toronto-based Northland Power plans to construct a USD$700m pumped hydroelectric project using the enormous hole and mountain of tailings left by an abandoned open-pit iron ore mine. Water would be pumped up from the old mine working up into a newly constructed reservoir during periods of  cheap, night-time electricity.

When demand and prices go up, the company would release the water for a 258-metre plunge to a powerhouse and generate 400MW of power, creating a waterfall five times the height of Niagara Falls, though with a fraction of the volume. The facility will also be used to store excess wind power, which in Ontario is forecast to increase from today’s 1.7GW to 7.8GW by 2018.

Sustainable Energy breaks into Germany

We’ve heard a lot about German renewables and energy storage recently, and it appears that all this feverish activity is generating (sorry!) some international orders. One of these is the shipment of energy storage inverters to channel partners, both in Germany and the US, from Canadian operation Sustainable Energy Technologies, Inc.

Saft breaks into wind with lithium-ion battery

Advanced battery manufacturer Saft will be supplying two Intensium Max 20E lithium-ion battery containers as part of the High Wind and Storage Project near the City of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Commissioned by Cowessess First Nation to design, produce and install the complete battery-based energy storage system, the project is Saft’s first foray into wind power in North America.

Each of the two Li-ion units includes a 400kW power conditioning system for use in conjunction with a 800kW turbine, and Saft’s complete system has been designed to smooth output and provide up to 400 kWh peak-shaving capability.

Electrovaya wins Indian business on PM’s tour

Advanced battery manufacturer Electrovaya has announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding for its lithium-ion batteries, signed while accompanying Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trade mission to India. One agreement is with existing customer Hero Eco, to supply more batteries for its electric bikes in Europe, North America and India.

The other is with new client Environ Energy (a.k.a. Bhaskar Solar, part of a USD$4 billion Indian conglomerate), to supply batteries for telecommunications applications.

Canadian town gets on the electric bus

Leading Chinese EV manufacturer BYD will be supplying Windsor, Ontario with 10, 40-foot electric buses. The vehicles will be powered by iron-phosphate batteries which, according to the company, are the most environmentally friendly on the market.

The buses have a projected working life of 12-15 years, after which the city plans to repurpose the batteries for use in fixed energy storage systems.