Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Report: Energy Storage Market to Total $1.66bn in 2012

Electricity grids are becoming increasingly unstable due to strong electricity demand growth and increasing penetration of intermittent energy generation sources. In order to manage this, large amounts of inefficient spinning reserves are required to quickly be added to or removed from power supply according to demand patterns. Every grid network must be able to supply peak power, which is only required for a small part of the day, meaning grid networks are somewhat wasteful. Even in more developed economies loss of energy from generation to consumer can easily reach 7%, causing unnecessary extra carbon dioxide emissions and a greater use of costly fossil fuels.
Energy storage technologies can thus provide a number of solutions in both more efficiently controlling the flow of electricity through a grid network and improving the consistency of intermittent generation feed-in. By storing energy when demand is low and releasing it when demand is high, transmission will be smoother and generation capacity can be optimized. However, there are a large number of different applications which energy storage technologies can perform, and a large number of different technologies competing to manage these tasks. The Energy Storage Technologies (EST) Market 2012-2022 looks at the prospects of each of these technologies discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each with detailed forecast for each technology. Visiongain has calculated the global market for energy storage technologies in 2012 will reach $1.66bn.
Visiongain provides global energy storage market forecasts for the period 2012-2022, which is broken down into 7 energy storage technology submarkets. In addition, 11 national energy storage technologies markets are forecast and analyzed over the period 2012-2022, along with countries in the rest of the world. All global national and submarket forecasts are also accompanied by corresponding capacity forecasts for the 2012-2022 period. The report contains 173 tables, charts and graphs that add visual analysis in order to explain developing trends within the energy storage technologies market. Interviews with 3 company experts in the energy storage technology industry are included adding key insight to visiongain’s analysis, as well as profiles of 62 of the leading companies working in the energy storage technologies market.

Intersolar NA to Feature Special Exhibit on Energy Storage

This year, Intersolar North America will feature a new special exhibit that promotes energy storage technologies. The exhibit, called PV Energy World (sounds like the name of a magazine but isn't), located in the Moscone Center, North Hall - Booth 5135, will offer expert presentations on energy storage and grid integration. According to the organizers, "the informative exhibits and display boards will stimulate discussion among visitors."
PV Energy World is supported in part by the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), an advocacy coalition committed to expanding the role of energy storage to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. CESA counts storage technology manufacturers, renewable energy component manufacturers, developers and system integrators among its members, and this year marks the first time Intersolar will partner with CESA. Additionally, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE joins PV Energy World as a partner. Fraunhofer ISE is one of the world's leading research institutes in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
"Energy storage offers the solar industry the opportunity to bring several goals to fruition, including faster grid interconnection, more precise timing of output, fewer curtailment and imbalance penalties, and the potential to secure valuable new revenue from wholesale ancillary services and capacity markets," said Janice Lin, Executive Director of the California Energy Storage Alliance. "Advanced energy storage is poised to have a huge, positive impact on the solar industry in California and beyond, and the storage industry is very excited to see Intersolar North America cover this formative topic in such depth at this year's conference and on the exhibition floor."
Several conference sessions at Intersolar will feature discussions with leaders and technical experts in energy storage, and provide attendees with first-hand information from the energy storage industry to help navigate opportunities in the fast changing marketplace. Speakers will provide an overview of the changing regulatory landscape; highlight new storage technologies; discuss the opportunities smart grid technology offers; and explain how new business models are improving the economics of storage and solar projects.
Presenters on the topic of energy storage include: Janice Lin, California Energy Storage Alliance; Matthias Vetter, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy ISE; Hiroshi Hanafusa, Panasonic; John Wood, Ecoult; Jarl Pedersen, Xtreme Power; Rudy Wodrich, Schneider Electric; Andy Tayler, Energy and Environmental Economics; and Matsukawa Hiroshi, RTS Corporation. 
Information on PV Energy World and Energy Storage/Grid Stability Conference Sessions

Special Exhibit Program: PV Energy World, Moscone Center, North Hall, July 10-12, 10:00am-6:00pm

Conference Session: Smart Grid, InterContinental Hotel, July 9, 9:00am-1:00pm

Conference Session: Energy Storage, InterContinental Hotel, July 9, 2:00pm-6:00pm
Intersolar North America takes place annually in San Francisco's Moscone Center. Since its establishment in 2008, the exhibition and conference have developed into the premier platform for the solar industry in North America. Intersolar North America focuses on photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies and is co-located with SEMICON West. It has quickly established itself among manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and service providers as an international industry meeting point.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Battery Consortium CalCharge Launched in CA

CalCEF, which creates institutions and investment vehicles for the clean energy economy, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) announced a partnership to launch CalCharge, a consortium uniting California's emerging and established battery technology companies with critical academic and government resources. By bringing together the dozens of battery companies and institutions in California working on applications for consumer electronics batteries, electric/hybrid vehicle transportation and the electric grid, Berkeley Lab, CalCEF, along with other Bay Area academic institutions, aim to “create a regional ecosystem for innovation in energy storage that will not only jumpstart a new era of battery technologies but also help ensure that U.S. companies succeed in this highly competitive environment,” according to a press release.
"The next decade will be critical for this industry and this region," said Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos. "With our highly regarded battery scientists and state-of-the-art equipment at Berkeley Lab, the CalCharge consortium will be able to leverage these resources to enable the development of battery solutions for electric transportation and other clean energy applications in California."
CalCharge is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership working to accelerate the timeline of energy storage commercialization and market adoption through technology assistance, workforce training and market education. Members will have access to Berkeley Lab's world-class scientific facilities and personnel, including testing and diagnostics equipment not available to many startup companies. CalCharge offers a streamlined and more affordable channel for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and similar arrangements. These allow firms to access technical resources at the Lab, which will help scale battery innovations from the bench to the market.
"To broadly scale renewable energy requires tackling the challenges of energy storage, and no technical community is better suited to those challenges than California's battery engineers and scientists," said Dan Adler, CalCEF's president. "The companies and organizations that make up CalCharge will be central to forging a renewable energy future."
California has emerged as the epicenter of battery innovation in the U.S., with more than 30 startups and large companies concentrated in the Bay Area alone. The state has consistently led battery technology patent registrations, reaching 258 filings from 2008 to 2010--more than the next three leading states combined--according to the 2012 California Green Innovation Index, an annual economic filing published by Next 10. What's more, in 2011 venture capital investment in energy storage grew thirteen-fold over the previous year, making up 11 percent of the total VC investment in clean technology for the state.
"There's a lot of battery know-how in California, specifically the Bay Area, but technology startups need an ecosystem to thrive," said Venkat Srinivasan, head of Berkeley Lab's energy storage research program. "The Berkeley Lab battery program, long known for its deep expertise in solving the problems in advanced batteries, is ideally positioned to work with battery companies in the region. We look forward to building this ecosystem with CalCharge."
A thriving regional ecosystem for battery development requires contributions from diverse partners, including companies involved in advanced battery technology, customers who will use that technology, and research institutions that can offer expertise and equipment to accelerate development of new technology as well as an educated workforce pool--all supported by local governments that will provide the policies and incentives to foster a regional energy storage industry.
"We wanted to start CalCharge because we know that emerging energy storage companies are facing a complex market and major technical challenges," said Doug Davenport, business development lead for energy storage at Berkeley Lab and CalCharge co-lead. "CalCEF is an ideal partner for us because they bring a focus on policy and markets that truly complements our science and technology orientation."
Cheaper and higher-performing batteries are critical to our nation's clean energy future--underscored by the White House's call for decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Nationwide efforts are also underway to modernize our antiquated electric grid for increased renewable energy integration and grid-scale batteries are an essential element. California has also made strides to support battery technology development this year. It adopted the world's first energy efficiency standards for battery chargers and enacted the second round of the Advanced Clean Car Rules, which targets a 34 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2016 levels by 2025.
CalCEF works to promote the transition to a clean energy economy by creating institutions and investment vehicles that grow markets for clean energy technologies. CalCEF is a non-profit umbrella organization that pursues statewide and national agendas via two affiliated entities governed by separate boards of directors comprised of prominent policy makers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and financial professionals. CalCEF Innovations, a 501(c)(3), leads CalCEF's analysis and product development, designing real-world solutions--market strategies, business models, and public policies--that rapidly advance clean energy adoption. The California Clean Energy Fund, a 501(c) (4), executes and scales the CalCEF investment strategy via a fund-of-funds model, partnering with leading investment managers.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ft. Bliss Microgrid to Employ PPS Energy Storage System

Princeton Power Systems (PPS) announces its Energy Storage System (ESS) will be used as a back-up source and energy resource for a new microgrid system at the U.S. Army's Ft. Bliss in Texas. PPS is the subcontractor to the microgrid system being developed by Lockheed Martin, who is leading the project. The Department of Defense (DoD) Environmental Security Technology Certification Program funded Lockheed Martin's microgrid demonstration and the energy storage technology provided by Princeton Power as part of DoD's Energy Test Bed initiatives on military installations.
The 20-foot containerized ESS provided by PPS consists of one 100kW Grid-tied Inverter (GTIB) and multiple advanced lead-acid batteries, capable of producing 20kWh's of energy. In the event of a power outage, the ESS provides enough energy to power the base, thus allowing it to function as an independent energy resource.
"Integration with energy storage and micro-grid technology is critical for providing security, reliability, and low-cost renewable energy both domestically and abroad," said PPS Applications Engineering Manager Alan Cohen.
In addition to seamless transition during grid failure, the ESS also provides valuable support services, including Power Factor Correction and Area Frequency Regulation services to the local electrical system operator while it is connected to the electric grid. It is the ESS' seamless transition and operational abilities that make it an ideal tool for this project, providing increased reliability and security to Ft. Bliss.
"We are happy to see real steps being taken to implement these policies, and to be part of the team making it happen," says COO Darren Hammell. The Ft. Bliss microgrid installation is being managed by Lockheed Martin, who is the prime contractor on the program.
Princeton Power Systems, founded in 2001, is a manufacturer of advanced power conversion products and alternative energy systems, with patented electronics that provide a more reliable and cost-effective means for converting electric power cleanly and efficiently. The company provides solutions for renewable energy, distributed power generation, and military applications.

Energy Storage Database, Beta Version

A beta version of the online DOE Energy Storage Database has been released for public use, providing free, up-to-date information on grid-connected energy storage projects and relevant state and federal policies.

Projects and policies can be searched based on a number of criteria, including power rating, ownership model, and grid interconnection. The information from the database can be exported to Excel or PDF.

All project and policy information in the database is vetted through third-party verification. The database was developed to contribute to the rapid development and deployment of energy storage technologies.

Sandia Releases Web Tool to Evaluate Energy Storage Options

Sandia National Laboratories and the Department of Energy have released a new tool to help utilities, developers and regulators identify the energy storage options that best meet their needs.
Partnering with DNV KEMA, a global testing and consulting firm, Sandia is releasing Energy Storage Select, or ES-Select, software under a public license to the company. The tool makes it easier to conduct a quick, high-level analysis of energy storage options and determine the value of energy storage technologies for a specified application, which developers say will increase the adoption of energy storage technologies.

“ES-Select is the first of a suite of easily accessible web tools to help potential users and regulators to make decisions on energy storage options in specific applications,” said Imre Gyuk, program manager of DOE’s Energy Storage program.

The application is available for free download on Sandia’s Energy Storage website. “This tool is designed to help users to understand at a basic level what storage can do. If it looks beneficial from a cost standpoint, they can explore the options further,” said Sandia project manager Dhruv Bhatnagar.
Utilities and developers who want to use energy storage have many technologies to consider, including flywheels, compressed air, pumped hydro and thermal storage and six types of electric batteries. All have different costs, and estimating revenue from using various applications is difficult. Researching all relevant cost factors independently could take days or weeks in the past, but ES-Select aggregates all relevant factors into a single decision-support tool that runs in a few minutes. If the results are favorable for a particular technology, users can determine whether to run detailed, site-specific analysis using other tools.

“ES-Select is an educational and decision-support tool for deployment of energy storage on the power grid,” said Ali Nourai, executive consultant for DNV KEMA, and co-developer of ES-Select. “It has been created for public use to promote the understanding of storage technologies and the benefits they offer when applied on the electric grid.”

The tool aids decisions about what storage technologies would work best in a given situation. For example, if a business pays more for electricity during the day than at night, the owner could use the tool to quickly evaluate several energy storage options to determine the cost-benefit of buying lower-cost electricity at night and storing it for use during the day.

Users can input the application they are interested in, as well as such parameters as energy costs and discount rates. The program produces a list of storage technologies and their predicted benefits and associated costs. ES-Select aggregates all of the inputs and assumptions – monetary value for an application, technology costs, performance characteristics and operation and maintenance costs – and quickly spits out  recommended options.

Rather than basing decisions on a single factor such as capital cost, ES-Select assesses how an energy storage technology performs while addressing uncertainties in application value, storage cost, cycle life, efficiency, discharge duration and other parameters.

“With funding from DOE’s Energy Storage Program, Sandia has worked with KEMA to develop a user friendly, freely accessible tool to evaluate potential applications of energy storage,” said Gyuk. “We hope that this tool will contribute to the widespread adoption of storage on the grid.”

ES-Select should benefit utilities, independent power producers, industrial and commercial enterprises, regulators, lawmakers and the public, including those doing research on energy storage. “We’ve already had a lot of people asking about this program, and we know many are anxious to use it,” said Bhatnagar. “I think this will encourage those who might not have considered energy storage before to think more seriously about it and evaluate its potential as a viable option.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Electricity Storage Combats Daily Price Variations

The following was provided by the U.S. Energy Information Association:

map of Flattening the daily load shape, 24-hour period example, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Electricity storage technologies that can operate on timescales such as hours or days are often deployed at specific times of day to take advantage of variations in the price of electricity (see chart above, right). Storage operators can buy electricity when prices are lower (overnight or on weekends), store it, and then discharge or deliver it later, selling the stored electricity when prices are higher (daytime, weekdays). Following a previous article introducing electricity storage technologies and functions, this article focuses on technologies that operate on these longer timescales, or energy management technologies, and their two overarching benefits to the electric power system: flattening the daily load shape (see chart above, left) and integrating variable generation like wind.

The first chart above illustrates the practice behind the concept of "load shifting" or "load leveling." When electric demand is low, operators seek to increase the effective demand by moving power to storage. When demand is high, operators seek to decrease effective demand by using stored energy to generate electricity. Pumped hydroelectric storage is one example of this approach. Overnight, a reversible hydroelectric turbine is powered by low-cost electricity from the grid, using it to pump water "uphill", to a reservoir at a higher elevation. During the daytime peak hours, this water is then released back "downhill" and through the hydroelectric turbine to produce electricity, which is sold to the grid at the higher, on-peak prices.
This load-shifting function has beneficial effects on the electric power system:
    • Lowering the effective peak demand on the system can reduce the requirement for peaking generators, which are particularly expensive to operate. With a lower effective peak demand, operators can defer infrastructure improvements, such as new generators or transmission additions.
    • Using storage to create a higher effective demand overnight allows more facilities to operate as baseload resources, enhancing their operating efficiency. Often, power plants have to lower their output or shut down entirely overnight to avoid oversupplying the grid with power. There can be significant efficiency losses and costs associated with reduced output or temporary shutdown of baseload plants.
map of Flattening the daily load shape, 24-hour period example, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Renewable generators such as wind and solar often have significant variability in their output over the course of the day. Concentrating solar plants can store solar heat in an oil or molten salt, allowing them to continue generating power through cloud passage or after the sun sets. In most locations, wind resources are more available overnight, when demand is low. Storage facilities might store wind-generated electricity overnight, when the wind is most available, and release electricity when demand is higher—time-shifting the supply to meet the demand.

Pumped hydroelectric is the most prevalent energy management storage technology, with 22 gigawatts (GW) of capacity installed in the United States. Other technologies are also in use. Compressed air technology uses low-cost electricity to store pressurized air underground, and then releases that pressure later to support the operation of a combustion turbine. Some batteries, particularly flow batteries (based on liquid rather than solid chemistries), have the characteristics needed for energy management. The Department of Energy's Energy Storage Database currently lists four demonstration-type flow battery-based projects (as of April 2012). Thermal energy storage often takes the form of chilling or heating large amounts of water (or another heat transfer medium) overnight for use during the day.

The value proposition for energy management technologies can often be made based on the opportunity to take advantage of daily price variations. However, available technologies are limited at the utility-scale and costs can be high.
    • Pumped hydroelectric storage facilities have detailed site-specific topography and geology requirements and can be difficult to site. The last pumped hydroelectric facility to come online in the United States was in 2002, with the prior facility built seven years earlier.
    • Compressed-air storage has similar issues, requiring specific underground geologic structures in which to store large amounts of compressed air. There are currently only two compressed-air storage facilities in the world, one in Alabama, built in 1991, and another in Germany; a recent effort to develop a site in Iowa was terminated due to lack of appropriate geology.
    • Battery technology is a dynamic field for research, development, and demonstration. However, due to relatively high costs, batteries have only recently been seen as candidates for most utility-scale applications.

Monday, May 21, 2012

EEStor Progress Report

EEStor Inc. provided an update on the progress of its ultra-capacitor based energy storage technology.

EEStor has been working on the development of single layer Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESUs) as a step toward full commercial units. The single layers are generally around 20 microns in thickness with an area of 0.25 inches square. EEStor has successfully demonstrated a process that yields layers that can handle an operating voltage in excess of 3500 volts, have a dc resistance of greater than 700 terra ohms, and a dissipation factor of 0.005. The process of manufacturing the layers has evolved as EEStor has worked on improving the reliability of the layers. EEStor has recently focused its efforts on elimination of voids within the layers to improve the energy storage capabilities of the EESUs. EEStor has recently made major progress in that it is now successfully producing layers which tests indicate are void free.

The layers now being produced have very small internal self-discharge and crossover losses. These layers have been cycle tested by EEStor and have achieved over 1 million full cycles at a rate of less than 30 seconds per cycle. Each cycle consisted of charging to 3500 volts followed by discharging to zero volts. The EESU layers have better self-discharge characteristics and lower losses in the charge/discharge cycles than other known competitive energy storage technologies. Improvements have been made in the film morphology and fabrication requirements to facilitate the use of automated manufacturing. However, the most recently produced versions of the EESU layers have been tested by EEStor and in EEStor's opinion do not yet achieve the level of permittivity necessary for commercial production. EEStor is now working on improvements in the film morphology which it believes will allow it to significantly increase the permittivity and energy storage capabilities of the layers.

The performance of the EESU layers has not been independently tested. Once EEStor has improved the permittivity of the EESU layers, it will commence third party testing and certification. The third party results will lead to a detailed analysis of the technology's performance. Following independent certification of layers, EEStor intends to build multiple layer EESUs to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology. EEStor has been developing production systems that have a level of automation and throughput capability that EEStor believes can be improved and scaled quickly.

Headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas, EEStor Inc. is dedicated to the design, development, and manufacture of high-density energy storage devices.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Balqon's Battery Storage System Powers Up UCR Building

Balqon Corp., a developer of electric vehicles, drive systems and lithium battery storage devices, announced that on May 5, 2012, a one Megawatt Hour lithium battery storage system installed by Balqon Corporation at the University of California, Riverside ("UCR") went operational, providing electric power to the Bourns College of Engineering building. The one MWh battery storage system installed at UCR is one of the largest battery storage systems installed by Balqon and includes lithium batteries and Balqon's proprietary components, such as Balqon's 160 kilo Watt battery charger, Balqon's 240 kW flux vector inverter, Balqon's battery management system and related power electronics components.

"The six month development period for our battery storage system that is now operational at UCR certainly tested the limits of our inverter and charger technologies. The development period has been an educationally rewarding process for us and has expanded our interest in addressing opportunities in the lithium battery energy storage market.
We are using the technologies developed during the UCR project to address other lithium battery storage opportunities related to cell towers and solar and wind energy systems" said Balwinder Samra, Chief Executive Officer of Balqon Corporation. "The use of battery storage systems for peak-shaving applications, where batteries are charged during off-peak hours and the energy stored during that time is used during peak hours, may be an economically viable solution for large commercial buildings and educational institutions," Samra added.

In January, 2012, the Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR received a $2 million award for a two-year project, supported by the South Coast Air Quality Management District ("AQMD") and involving a number of public and private partners, to build solar arrays, advanced battery storage, vehicle charging stations, an electric trolley, and a grid management system to provide clean energy to clean vehicles efficiently. The installation of Balqon's energy storage system is part this larger project at UCR. Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR, stated that this larger "project will allow us to help the City of Riverside make a huge leap toward in realizing its Green Action Plan." "Our research capabilities, combined with the expertise and resources of our industry and municipal agency partners, promises to provide clean, renewable energy solutions in the years ahead," Abbaschian added. "We're pleased that AQMD recognized the benefits of this project," said Reza Abbaschian. "This is yet another example of our commitment to smart-grid energy solutions that integrate solar energy generation, battery storage, and distribution that are at the core of the mission of CE-CERT and our new Winston Chung Global Energy Center," he added.

The Winston Chung Global Energy Center is a new venture funded by Balqon's Chairman of the Board, Chinese inventor, entrepreneur and Fellow of Bourns College at UCR, Winston Chung. Chung's company, Winston Global Energy, will donate 2-megawatts of rare earth lithium-ion batteries for the project. Balqon, will assist in the conversion of the trolley and in the installation of a additional battery storage, charging and distribution system similar to 1.1-megawatt battery storage system installed by Balqon at the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR.