Energy Storage Diversifies in 2015

January 07, 2016 by Power Pulse1595211359

Instead of being over, as famously declared by Tesla Motors, the battle between Li-ion and lead-acid battery technologies heated up in 2015. MIT accessed the viability of Tesla's Powerwall energy storage system, Gridtential Energy announced a new lead-acid technology ready to take on Li-ions, and NEC Energy Solutions announced a deep-cycle 12-V Li-ion battery to directly challenge lead-acids. Diversification was also apparent in the area of portable power where developments include so-called software-defined batteries, advanced supercapacitors, ultra-fast charging batteries and batteries with almost indefinite lives. The following are the ten most-read Energy Storage articles on PowerPulse in 2015.

#1: MIT's Assessment of Tesla's Powerwall

Tesla Corporation launched its latest product at the end of April in Los Angeles with much fanfare and a promise to change the future. Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels and stores that power for use in the evening. The battery also is meant to insure against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply, and, Tesla says, it offers independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup. But is this new battery really all that revolutionary? more

#2: Microsoft and Tesla Define Software-Defined Batteries

The concept of Software Defined Batteries (SDBs) is described in a paper that a team of researchers from Microsoft Corp, Tesla Motors, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Columbia University presented at the ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. Different battery chemistries perform better on different axes, such as energy density, cost, peak power, recharge time, longevity, and efficiency. Mobile system designers are constrained by existing technology, and are forced to select a single chemistry that best meets their diverse needs, thereby compromising other desirable features. In this paper, the authors present a new hardware-software system, called Software Defined Battery, which allows system designers to integrate batteries of different chemistries. more

#3: 10,000 Farad Graphene Supercapacitor

Sunvault Energy, Inc. announced that in conjunction with the Edison Power Company it has successfully created a 10,000-Farad graphene supercapacitor. Sunvault and Edison consider this development to be the most significant breakthrough in the development of graphene supercapacitors to date. The development is a combined effort between Sunvault Energy and the Edison Power Company. At 10,000F, there is no other graphene supercapacitor built to this size in the world. Sunvault is continuing to evaluate what level of building block it will launch its initial product lines from, as that will determine the various configuration designs to launch in its initial product lines; it expects within this current month it will have solved its building block configuration design base unit and will move into the phase for product approval and manufacturing immediately following. more

#4: Scientists create Quick-charging Hybrid Supercapacitors

The new hybrid supercapacitor developed at UCLA stores large amounts of energy, recharges quickly and can last for more than 10,000 recharge cycles. The dramatic rise of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal and portable electronics has brought battery technology to the forefront of electronics research. Even as devices have improved by leaps and bounds, the slow pace of battery development has held back technological progress. Researchers at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have successfully combined two nanomaterials to create a new energy storage medium that combines the best qualities of batteries and supercapacitors. more

#5: Batteries handle 90% Charge in 15 Minutes

Enevate Corporation announced ultrafast charging for their batteries with HD-Energy® Technology. Enevate's ultrafast charging feature has been demonstrated to provide a 90% charge in 15 minutes (4C charge rate) while increasing energy, capacity and performance when compared to today's conventional Li-ion batteries. Enevate has developed advanced Li-ion batteries based on new materials and cell designs with significantly higher volumetric and gravimetric energy density in thinner and lighter form factors, and with significantly higher charging rates than current conventional Li-ion batteries. more

#6: Partnership enables Grid-Connected Storage with Used EV Batteries

Nissan Motor Company and Green Charge Networks have joined forces to deploy second-life lithium-ion vehicle batteries for stationary commercial energy storage in the U.S. and international markets. With more than 178,000 sales since its launch in late 2010, Nissan LEAF is the world's top-selling electric vehicle. As part of the company's commitment to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Nissan has conducted multiple research projects in Japan, the U.S. and Europe to use LEAF batteries outside the vehicle through 4R Energy, a joint-venture with Sumitomo Corp. formed in 2010. more

#7: Lead-Acid Emerges as Challenger to Li-ion for Grid Storage

Gridtential Energy, Inc. has been selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) as one of a handful of companies to pursue validation analysis at Sandia's Energy Storage Analysis Laboratory. The grant is designed to further the DOE's strategic mission in the area of grid storage and coincides with Gridtential's completion of 140 alpha units based on its Silicon Jouleâ„¢ technology. Flying in the face of Tesla's recent declaration that lead acid is "dead", recent independent tests have confirmed that Gridtential's silicon-based approach to advance traditional lead acid significantly improves performance, while utilizing 40% less lead. more

#8: 12V Li-ions for Deep-Cycling Back-up Power Applications

NEC Energy Solutions has announced production availability of the ALMâ„¢ 12V35 product line of 12-Volt batteries that offers higher performance, longer life, and robust safety compared to standard lead-acid batteries or other lithium-ion products. With its EverSafeâ„¢ battery protection technology, the ALM 12V35 is immune to short circuit, overvoltage, under voltage, and other common accidental battery abuse conditions. In addition, it can be easily assembled into battery arrays of 24V, 36V, or 48V for up to 350Ah and 18kWh systems with no additional BMS devices necessary. more

#9: Samsung and MIT Develop Batteries with Almost Indefinite Lives

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, and in California and Maryland, have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the electrolyte. The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today's most common rechargeables, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety — while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space. more

#10: Residential Energy Storage System for Solar and Smart Home Connectivity

JuiceBox Energy, Inc. announced availability of their new 8.6kWh Li-ion energy storage system for solar energy storage and smart home connectivity. With this product release, JuiceBox enters the rapidly growing residential energy storage market with a safe and reliable, web-connected product that can be installed on new and existing solar energy installations. Distributed energy generation is at a crossroad in many locations as renewable energy net metering policies evolve, requiring customers to sell their excess solar energy to the grid at wholesale rates during the day and buy back energy in the evening at peak retail rates. The JuiceBox Energy system is designed to extend the solar day by supporting self-consumption when rates are highest, saving customers money on a daily basis. more