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Forum > Renewables

Batteries

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AGelbert:
Yes, the article is over a year old but the technology is still there and still working GREAT! It's another innovative example of storing energy to avoid peak demands or spikes using a type of battery with UNLIMITED CHARGE CYCLES! 

Is That Onions You Smell? Or Battery Juice?
05/16/2012

Gills Onions, a food processing company based in Oxnard, Calif., needs copious amounts of electricity for refrigeration, lighting and other jobs, and it sets an example by making its own, using onion waste. But it recently became a little greener — and more economical — by adding an enormous battery.

Gills processes about a million pounds of onions a day. Of that, about 300,000 pounds a day — the tops, bottoms and outer peels — is waste. “We slice, we dice, we whole-peel,’’ said Nikki Rodoni, a spokeswoman. Disposing of that material involved considerable labor as well as diesel fuel for the trucks, and storing it on site made the company unpopular with neighbors, she said.

So a few years ago Gills switched to squeezing the wastes to produce about 30,000 gallons of juice. It might not be to human tastes, but it is rich in sugars and attractive to bacteria.

The juice goes into a device called an anaerobic digester, basically an oxygen-free chamber, where bacteria break it down and produce methane gas. After it is cleaned and dried, the methane is fed to two fuel cells that quietly and cleanly covert it to 600 kilowatts of electricity. (The remainder of the onion waste becomes cattle feed.)



That cost $10.8 million, but it worked well. Still, at some hours, Gills needs far more than 600 kilowatts — about three times as much. Then it must buy electricity from Southern California Edison, and for Gills, that posed two problems.

One was that it was buying energy at the most expensive time of the day, weekday afternoons, when the system’s loads are high. The other is that commercial customers like Gills pay not only for energy, but also for peak capacity, or the highest level of power demand that they require in the course of a month.

So it is now taking a second, unusual approach to electricity, harnessing a gigantic battery built by Prudent Energy of Bethesda, Md. The Prudent battery is the same in principle as many others, with a liquid electrolyte that can shuttle ions back and forth to absorb current or create it. But it has external tanks to store huge volumes of electrolyte and takes up a space the size of a tennis court.

The battery can absorb or give back another 600 kilowatts for as long as six hours. Fully charged, it holds enough energy to run a large suburban house for about four months.

In California, with time-of-use rates, the electricity can be bought at night for less than half what it costs during the day. It is not pure savings because the battery loses 10 to 30 percent of the energy in the round trip from the grid to the battery and back out again on its way to the electricity-using device.

But in addition to letting the company pay nighttime prices for electricity used in the daytime, the battery provides a kind of insurance: it can step in instantaneously if one of the fuel cells unexpectedly shuts down, according to Jeff Pierson, senior vice president of Prudent. That prevents a spike in Gills’s demand from the grid and thus eliminates higher demand charges.

The two companies did not disclose the price of the battery. It will initially be owned by Prudent, with Gills having an option to buy it later. Called a vanadium battery for the material used in the electrolyte, it is the largest of its kind in the world, Mr. Pierson said. He suggested that similar ones could be installed around the country.

“This time-of-use play is not unique to California,’’ he said. “There are plenty of other places around the country where you have that sort of differential between off-peak and peak.’’

Batteries like this one have a variety of potential uses. Grid operators around the country are looking for storage devices that can accept signals to draw power off the system or give it back on short notice — usually at four-second intervals — to balance supply and demand and keep the alternating current system properly synchronized.

And on the West Coast, electric grid operators are going to greater lengths to find ways to compensate for sudden surges or drops in generation from wind or solar installations. Batteries like Prudent’s can do both, although the one at Gills is not currently set up for those tasks.

For more information:
Prudent Energy Corporation

7200 Wisconsin Avenue | 10th Floor | Bethesda, MD | 20814-7227
Main: 1-301-825-8910 | Fax: 1-301-825-8914 | www.pdenergy.com
http://www.pdenergy.com/news-051612-isthatonions.php

AGelbert:
DoE Energy Storage Report Praised By ESA

The US Department of Energy has released their Grid Energy Storage report to the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, identifying the benefits of grid energy storage, the challenges to be addressed, and the current efforts being made to meet those selfsame challenges.

In response, the Electricity Storage Association has publicly praised the report, “noting that it affirms that wide-scale deployment of storage technologies in the U.S. and around the world is critical to maintaining a resilient, cost-effective electric grid.”

“The ESA is pleased that the Department of Energy will be providing analysis, tools, and opportunities for public-private partnerships–playing to the strengths of the agency while enhancing the ability of the energy storage industry to move forward with commercialization,” said Darrell Hayslip, Chairman of the Electricity Storage Association. ”The report certainly reinforces our view that storage is an essential component to a more resilient, reliable, and balanced energy grid. ESA believes that it is not a matter of whether storage will be deployed; it is a matter of how fast that occurs. Given the focus indicated in this report, DOE is poised to assist in those efforts.”

“Energy storage is a vital component of a more resilient, reliable and efficient electric grid,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We must continue developing innovative energy storage technologies and finding new ways to ensure wider adoption to help move the nation closer to the grid of the future.”


Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center includes a large-scale energy storage system.
Image Credit: Portland General via Flickr

The report highlights four challenges that must be addressed if energy storage is to be widely developed and accepted:

the development of cost-effective energy storage technologies

validated reliability and safety

an equitable regulatory environment

industry acceptance

The DoE noted that energy storage is ultimately necessary now, more than ever, given the increasing trend towards renewable energies which are inherently unstable in their energy production — solar relying on daylight and cloudless skies, wind on strong winds, etc. Incorporating energy storage into the grid will become more and more necessary, as these energy technologies will at times be producing more than is necessary — energy that will need to be stored — and sometimes producing less than is expected — at which point energy storage can step in to fill the gap.

“Developing and deploying energy storage opens the door to adding more renewable power to the grid, which is essential to the fight against climate change,” Wyden said. “Energy storage will also help lower consumer costs by saving low-cost power for peak times and making renewable energy available when it’s needed the most, not just when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. I’m looking forward to working with Secretary Moniz to find ways to implement the DOE’s recommendations to make energy storage an integral part of our country’s electricity grid.”

The Department of Energy released four key strategies from the report:

Cost-competitive energy storage technology can be achieved through research, resolving economic and performance barriers, and creating analytical tools for design, manufacturing, innovation and deployment.

The reliability and safety of energy storage technologies can be validated through research and development, creation of standard testing protocols, independent testing against utility requirements, and documenting the performance of installed systems.

Establishing an equitable regulatory environment is possible by conducting public-private evaluations of grid benefits, exploring technology-neutral mechanisms for monetizing grid services, and developing industry and regulatory agency-accepted standards for siting, grid integration, procurement and performance evaluation.

Industry acceptance can be achieved through field trials and demonstrations and use of industry-accepted planning and operational tools to incorporate storage onto the grid.

This report goes a long way to increasing the awareness of the need for energy storage, but comes in the wake of other good news, as late November the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopted Order 792.

As FERC explained when issuing Order 792:

the Commission finds it necessary under section 206 of the Federal Power Act to revise the pro forma SGIP [Small Generator Interconnection Procedures] and pro forma SGIA [Small Generator Interconnection Agreement] to ensure that the rates, terms and conditions under which public utilities provide interconnection service to Small Generating Facilities remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.

As Tina Casey explained in her November article, “Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.”

With Federal and academic support, not to mention enormous public support among clean energy supporters, energy storage is likely to soon be playing a much larger role in America’s energy future. Without a doubt there will still be stiff resistance from the entrenched energy market, but as solar and wind figures continue to grow, it is only a matter of time before the grid starts to see mass adoption of energy storage as a means to smooth out the intricacies of renewable energy delivery. 


http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/13/doe-energy-storage-report-praised-esa/#Xq7OgZhkRywZgZM2.99

AGelbert:
Japanese energy giants rush into storage as solar booms

By Giles Parkinson on 4 December 2013


Japan is emerging as a hot-spot for energy storage projects, as utilities and technology companies look to battery-based solutions in response to the surge in solar PV installations.

Two new battery storage projects have been announced in the past week, with Toshiba to install a 20MWh/40MW lithium-ion battery project in Tohuku, and the island of Okinawa announcing a 2MW battery storage project on Tuesday.

Japan is expected to be the largest market for solar PV installations in 2013, with around 9GW to be installed following the introduction of feed in tariffs last year in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.


This year, the Japanese government launched a $300 million grant program to support the installation of large scale battery systems to help integrate renewables into the grid. 


Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that that the Toshiba system announced on November 26 will provide frequency regulation and operating reserves for Tohoku Electric. It is due to be commissioned in February next year.

On Okinawa, the country’s southern-most island, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced a 2MW lead battery storage system to respond to up to 57MW of solar farms of 300kW or more that are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

The ministry says this is reaching capacity for the island and new systems may not be able to be installed without storage. The 2MW system may increase the renewable capacity by around 10 per cent. The pilot project will be combined with another study into grid management.

Earlier this year, the northern island of Hokkaido also announced a 60MWh/15MW redox flow battery storage project would be built by Sumitomo because of the large amount of solar PV systems being installed.

Hokkaido Electric has received applications for 1.6GW of solar PV projects of 2MW or more, thanks to its large amounts of available land, but the utility estimates it can only cope with 400MW of that. It has only one 600MW inteconnecter with neighbouring Tohuku Electric.

Japan intends to reform its regional grid system and electricity market in the next few years to facilitate the introduction of more distributed energy. Currently 10 regional utilities are responsible for different sections of the grid and have a monopoly in each region for generation, transmission and distribution, and legislation is being introduced to loosen the control of the vertically-integrated utilities.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/japanese-energy-giants-rush-storage-solar-booms-58508

AGelbert:

Sweet Science: Researcher Develops Energy-dense Sugar Battery 


Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech
 January 23, 2014 

A Virginia Tech research team has developed a battery that runs on sugar and has an unmatched energy density, a development that could replace conventional batteries with ones that are cheaper, refillable, and biodegradable.


The findings from Y.H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, were published today in the journal Nature Communications.

While other sugar batteries have been developed, this one has an energy density an order of magnitude higher than others, allowing it to run longer before needing to be refueled, Zhang said.

In as soon as three years, Zhang's new battery could be running some of the cell phones, tablets, video games, and the myriad other electronic gadgets that require power in our energy-hungry world, Zhang said.

"Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature," Zhang said. "So it's only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery."


In America alone, billions of toxic batteries are thrown away every year, posing a threat to both the environment and human health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Zhang's development could help keep hundreds of thousands of tons of batteries from ending up in landfills.

This is one of Zhang's discoveries in the last year that utilize a series of enzymes mixed together in combinations not found in nature. He has published articles on creating edible starch from non-food plants and developed a new way to extract hydrogen in an economical and environmentally friendly way that can be used to power vehicles.

In this newest development, Zhang and his colleagues constructed a non-natural synthetic enzymatic pathway that strip all charge potentials from the sugar to generate electricity in an enzymatic fuel cell. Then, low-cost biocatalyst enzymes are used as catalyst instead of costly platinum, which is typically used in conventional batteries.

Like all fuel cells, the sugar battery combines fuel — in this case, maltodextrin, a polysaccharide made from partial hydrolysis of starch — with air to generate electricity and water as the main byproducts.

"We are releasing all electron charges stored in the sugar solution slowly step-by-step by using an enzyme cascade," Zhang said.

Different from hydrogen fuel cells and direct methanol fuel cells, the fuel sugar solution is neither explosive nor flammable and has a higher energy storage density. The enzymes and fuels used to build the device are biodegradable.

The battery is also refillable and sugar can be added to it much like filling a printer cartridge with ink. 

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/01/sweet-science-researcher-develops-energy-dense-sugar-battery


Agelbert NOTE: IT'S ABOUT TIME Homo SAP started using and storing energy like the biosphere does (i.e.  releasing all electron charges stored in the sugar solution slowly step-by-step by using an enzyme cascade)! 

AGelbert:
Jan 22, 2014

Author
Laurie Guevara-​Stone

Writer / Editor

Batteries to Bolster Solar


Looking beyond SolarCity and Tesla’s backup system

When SolarCity and Tesla last month announced they were teaming up to offer battery backup for residential solar PV systems, they generated much excitement … and a disproportionate amount of press. From Greentech Media to the New York Times, stories abound about how the union of these two companies heralds the next stage in the evolution of distributed energy resources.







Yet solar-plus-storage has actually been around for decades. In fact, it was what kickstarted the solar industry in the early 1980s. A bunch of marijuana “farmers” in northern California who weren’t connected to the grid needed a way to get electric lights for their grow operations. A young hippie stumbled upon an ARCO solar panel at a consumer electronics show, and soon after founded AEE Solar and started powering off-grid homes with solar panels and car batteries, and his customers always paid in cash.

With the 1990s’ deregulation and incentives for solar PV, grid-connected systems became popular, and the only people worried about storage were those trying to electrify remote homes in lesser-developed countries. But solar and storage systems became a hot topic once again in 1999, when people were worried about Y2K and the potential end of society as we know it. “We were glad when homeowners wanted to learn about grid-tied PV systems with battery storage,” Johnny Weiss, founder of Solar Energy International, told RMI. “After January 1, 2000 came and went without disaster, interest in batteries clearly seemed to become less important.”

That interest is now back. Whether due to disasters like Superstorm Sandy, when millions of homes lost power, or to the ability of commercial customers to reduce hefty demand charges through peak shaving, the idea of putting solar and batteries together is gaining a lot of renewed attention.

Making Storage Sexy

The new SolarCity/Tesla partnership uses Tesla’s battery technology to offer backup power for SolarCity’s residential solar customers. However, the actual product offering is not that new; others have been offering similar products for years.

Green Charge Networks’ GreenStations and Stem’s battery systems, for example, decrease electrical costs for commercial and industrial customers by storing power during non-peak hours for use during peak periods. GreenStations have already been installed in multiple locations throughout New York City. Stem claims utility bills for companies using its storage system will be cut by 10–40 percent.

Then there’s Solar Grid Storage. Maryland’s first microgrid, installed this past October at Konterra headquarters, uses a 402 kW array with a Solar Grid Storage system that will keep 50 kW online for over four hours if the grid goes down. And on the residential side, NRG is offering solar canopies—shade structures constructed of photovoltaic panels with a battery to store the electricity for use at night or during a blackout. Utility companies are also getting into the game, with San Diego Borrego Springs and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District both currently testing home-level storage.


What is exciting is all the attention that is being drawn to it, thanks to the big names of Tesla and Solar City and the man that links them: Elon Musk. Musk seems to bring high visibility to anything he does, and the solar-plus-battery offering is no exception. “Both Solar City and Tesla are known to be insurgents and disruptors, and that’s why there’s so much attention on this particular offering,” says RMI senior associate Leia Guccione. While before not many people paid attention to solar-plus-battery systems, “Tesla adds that sexy element, where people are definitely paying attention now.”

Yet the significance is not that Tesla and Solar City are bringing us into a new paradigm, but that the solar-plus-storage idea is gaining a whole lot of traction. “For a long time battery energy storage was referred to as the holy grail of energy; people said it will become viable when we figure out cold fusion,” according to Guccione. “Now people know this is a technology that’s coming out of infancy, and more companies are coming out with commercial offerings. This is further evidence that battery energy storage is here and is here to stay.” RMI associate Bodhi Rader adds: “More people are entering the space. We could call this a game-changing moment.”

Beyond Backup

What’s even more exciting in the solar-plus-battery arena is what batteries offer beyond backup—to both solar PV and the grid and utilities. Voltage and frequency regulation. Black-start capability after macro- or microgrid outages. Using batteries as a less expensive alternative to peaking plants during high-demand periods. Demand charge reductions via peak shaving. Shifting load profiles with batteries to take better advantage of time-of-use electricity pricing. And the list goes on.

If current trends are any indication, soon batteries may become a common part of solar PV systems, including residential. “This will be a whole-home energy solution,” according to Guccione. “That’s where the next frontier is, and we hope to see SolarCity and Tesla go there.”

And pretty soon it won’t just be for those in the higher-income bracket. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that battery storage costs will fall 57 percent by 2020. And Lux Research sees the global market for PV systems combined with battery storage growing from the current $200 million dollars a year to $2.8 billion in 2018.

“We look at economics as the thing that will bring the critical mass to the tipping point,” says Guccione. “There has to be a whole wave of first movers—but the increasingly favorable economics will evolve solar-plus-battery systems from early adopters to a mainstream solution.” And that’s why it is so exciting that more companies are starting to offer battery storage. Solar installers will start to get asked if they offer battery storage options more often, and with more demand and more players entering the field, the price will go down, utility companies will come up with innovative business models, and a solar system without battery storage will seem so last decade.

New business models will make it easy for customers to add storage to existing systems or build storage into new systems, through leasing and third-party financing models similar to what has made rooftop PV so accessible. And solar-plus-battery systems will be available to the masses, not just to off-grid pot farmers who can pay in cash. All good news for people wanting clean, reliable electricity.

http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_01_22_batteries_to_bolster_solar

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