‘Leapfrogging’ the grid: Hybrid lithium-flow in action at a remote Thai village microgrid

While energy storage, like the electrification of transport, is often discussed as the ‘Next Big Thing’ for first world economies, this emerging technology is starting to play an important role in developing nations too. Just as mobile telephony revolutionised telecommunications in developing economies during the past two decades by leapfrogging the need for fixed line services, energy storage systems are eliminating the requirement to connect remote communities to a national power grid.

Coupled with renewable energy produced by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, energy storage systems in remote communities can store that energy until it is required overnight or on a cloudy day. An excellent demonstration of the benefits of energy storage systems in developing nations is Ban Pha Dan, a village in a mountainous region of northern Thailand that has long lacked electricity.

Up until now, people in Ban Pha Dan had to rely on candles and oil lamps for light at night or resort to four-wheel-drives carting in diesel for generators to generate electricity. The lack of electricity also resulted in a lack of road lighting, which made it difficult to travel at night. In a project backed by the Thai Government, Ban Pha Dan is using solar cells to generate power and a high-performance hybrid battery system, including Redflow ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries and lithium batteries, to store and deliver energy for a village that is separated from the national electricity distribution network.

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‘Inflection point’: Global energy storage market set to expand 13-fold by 2024

The global energy storage market is poised to expand 13-fold by 2024, according to the latest analysis from energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, which predicts the sector is well positioned to build on recent rapid growth.

The period 2013 to 2018 saw significant market growth, reflected in a global GWh compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 74 per cent, according to the Global energy storage outlook 2019: 2018 year-in-review and outlook to 2024 report.

But 2018 marked a sharp upturn for an already rapidly expanding market, with 140 per cent year-on-year growth in GWh terms, resulting in a total of 3.3GW/6GWh being deployed globally.

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Report: Electric Cars Already Cheaper To Own In Europe Than Gas/Diesel Cars

The International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) has released a report which says electric cars are already cheaper to own than conventional cars. How do they know that? They tracked four models of the Volkswagen Golf — electric, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, and diesel — in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Norway over four years. They found the electric version of the Golf cost less to own that the other three models, due in large part to a combination of lower taxes, lower fuel costs, and incentives.

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Zinc mine to be converted to compressed air energy storage

Australia’s first energy storage project using compressed air, which will repurpose the Adelaide Angas Zinc Mine, has received $6 million in funding from The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $33.3 million for the South Australian Government.

Hydrostor will construct the 5MW/10MWh fuel-free Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility.

The $30 million commercial demonstration project will use the existing mine to develop a below-ground air-storage cavern that uses an innovative design to achieve emissions free energy storage. The facility will provide synchronous inertia, load shifting, frequency regulation and support for grid security and reliability.

Full article here.

‘World first’ claim as hydrogen fuel cell EV charger tested

AFC Energy has put the “world’s first electric vehicle charger based on hydrogen fuel-cell technology” through its paces at the survey aerodrome used to film Top Gear.

UK-headquartered AFC said the test demonstrated the technology’s potential to generate 100% clean electricity for future electric vehicle charging.
In a first, the CH2ARGE unit recharged a BMW i8 with power generated by a hydrogen fuel cell.
It took 10 years of research to get to this point. The next step is commercialising the technology.
AFC chief executive Adam Bond said: “By 2030, it is estimated that there could be nine million electric vehicles on the roads of Britain, up from 90,000 today.
“For this transition, we need charging stations to be embedded throughout the country, as well as seeking innovative solutions to overcome the severe limitations of centrally generated electricity.
“By developing and previewing the effectiveness of our CH2ARGE system in the application of EV charging, AFC Energy has shown it is ready to lead the way not only in solving the challenges of increased demand for electricity, but also doing so in a zero emissions approach.”

Full article here.

Magnesium Batteries: New Discovery

A new version of high-energy magnesium batteries has been discovered by researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America, according to Phys.org. The battery operates with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, allowing it to store and discharge much more energy than earlier magnesium batteries.

Yan Yao, an ECS member, UH Student Chapter faculty advisor, and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH, said the researchers identified chloride—in the commonly used electrolyte—as a contributor to magnesium batteries’ sluggish performance.

Full article here.

Government rejects calls to pull EV target date forward to 2032

The UK government has rejected recommendations from MPs to bring forward the target date to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the UK to 2032, insisting its original 2040 target strikes the “right balance” between environmental ambitions and what is feasible for the auto market.

In October MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee released a report declaring the 2040 target “vague and unambitious”, instead arguing for a “clear precise target” for ensuring sales of all new cars and vans are zero emission by 2032.

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Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

The variable nature of wind and solar power means storing energy is a huge part of the fight to mitigate climate change.

Why have batteries become important?

In a world increasingly anxious about climate change, the surge in the generation of renewable energy over the past 20 years offers a sliver of hope. But the variable nature of wind and solar power means that storing energy until consumers need it has become the next big challenge. And so, large-scale battery installations are springing up across electricity grids around the world, to make them more flexible. In 2017, more than 1GW of power storage capacity was added around the world – a record, yes, but still a drop in the ocean of global energy demand.

Full article here.

Hydrogen trains lined up for 2021 start in UK

Converted hydrogen trains could be on the UK’s railways by 2021.

An Alstom and Eversholt Rail joint venture has revealed concept designs and plans to convert Class 321 rolling stock into hydrogen powered trains of the future, operational as a soon as 2021.

Codenamed ‘Breeze’ the new trains would be converted Class 321 units, some of the UK’s most reliable rolling stock.

The characteristics, fleet size and availability for conversion to a Hydrogen Multiple Unit (HMU) make the 321 stock the ideal choice for conversion.

The trains will use a combination of a fuel cell and a lithium ion battery that gives the train a range of approximately 1,000km, similar to a typical diesel powered unit.

Full article here.

Before the Electric Car Takes Over, Someone Needs to Reinvent the Battery

To deliver an electric vehicle that’s cheaper, safer and capable of traveling 500 miles on a single charge, the auto industry needs a breakthrough in battery technology. Easier said than done.

Scientists in Japan, China and the U.S. are among those struggling to crack the code of how to significantly boost the amount of energy a battery cell can store and bring an EV’s driving range into line with a full tank of gas. That quest has zeroed in on solid-state technology, an overhaul of a battery’s internal architecture to use solid materials instead of flammable liquids to enable charging and discharging. The technology promises major improvements on existing lithium-ion packs, which automakers say are hitting the limits of their storage capabilities and may never hold enough power for long-distance models.

Full article here.