Recent NY-BEST News and Notes

News stories and other notes about NY-BEST, New York State and the Battery and Energy Storage Industry beyond New York. Only the last few weeks of news are shown here, to see older news click here.

 NY-BEST Member

Johnson Controls Enters Battery Agreements with Navistar, MAN
2 weeks 14 hours ago
Johnson Controls’ power solutions unit announced it has been awarded contracts to supply absorbent glass mat and flooded batteries to two heavy-duty commercial truck and bus industry leaders — Navistar Inc. and MAN Truck & Bus Co., a unit of Volkswagen AG — in an effort to meet increasing electrical demands on fleets around the globe. It will supply absorbent glass mat and flooded batteries under the Fleetrite brand to Navistar’s three North American original equipment production plants and to the aftermarket through Navistar’s 700 truck and bus dealerships, according to the Milwaukee-based supplier.
Plug Power Says New Technology On Par with Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car
2 weeks 1 day ago
Plug Power is focused on driving down costs of its fuel cell technology, to increase revenues and create more potential to expand into new markets. The Latham, New York, fuel cell manufacturer said that it is focusing on improving its stack technology to be two times as powerful and 25 percent cheaper to make. Improving this technology will mean new opportunities in more markets, including ground support equipment, delivery vans, buses and trucks, as well as material handling. It will be comparable to the technology in Toyota's Mirai, one of the first commercially sold hydrogen powered cars.
MRI Simulation Technique Determines the Health Status of Batteries
2 weeks 2 days ago
One group of chemicals has developed an MRI-based technique that can quickly diagnose the remaining battery life – and even detect any internal defects – without opening the batteries. “The use of alternative energy for electric vehicles will further increase demand for better and safer batteries,” says Alexej Jerschow, a professor at the Department of Chemistry at New York University, who led the research team. “However, there is now a very limited set of tools available to diagnose the health of a battery without being destroyed – and without the need for invasive technique, and therefore offers us a faster and more expansive method for making these estimates”. This study was published in the journal Nature Communications, and NYU’s Andrew Ilott, Mohammad Mohammadi, NYU’s PhD candidate, also participated in the study. Christopher Schauerman and Matthew Ganter, researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Tesla is Leading Electric Car Batteries Away From Cobalt Mining Industry
2 weeks 4 days ago
Tesla’s improving battery technology could ultimately be a blow to the cobalt mining industry, according to advisory firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. According to BMI, Tesla’s consistent improvement in its battery tech has resulted in a steady decline in the company’s usage of cobalt for its electric cars. Since the days of the original Tesla Roadster and the first-generation Tesla Model S, the electric car maker has managed to reduce its cobalt consumption by an average of 59% per vehicle. The Tesla Model S, for example, consumed 11 kg of cobalt per car, while the company’s newest offering, the Model 3, only consumes 4.5 kg of cobalt per vehicle.
Tesla Will Reveal the Locations for Two New Factories in 2018
2 weeks 5 days ago
Despite some unorthodox behavior from Elon Musk during the last quarterly earnings call, good news came for both investors and fans of Tesla when the CEO made a few key remarks about the company's future. Since the automaker's sole manufacturing plant is "jammed to the gills," according to Musk, while chugging away at Model 3 production, Tesla will be announcing locations for two new Tesla factories as early as this summer.
Tesla Teases a Potential Giant New Record-Breaking 1 GWh Energy Storage Project to be Announced Soon
2 weeks 6 days ago
Tesla has recently deployed several very large energy storage projects, but a new one could apparently dwarf them all. There was an important detail that came out of Tesla’s Q1 conference call but was mostly overlooked: Elon Musk teased a potential giant 1 GWh energy storage project, which would make it the biggest in the world by a wide margin, to be announced soon. We published plenty of articles about the things that came out of the conference call, but I forgot about that particular comment until Galileo Russel reminded me of it during our podcast this week. When Russel asked Musk about the impact of bringing online the giant 129 MWh Powerpack project in South Australia, the CEO answered:
GE Appoints Leader of Energy Storage
3 weeks 14 hours ago
GE Power has tapped former AES and RES Americas executive Robert Morgan to lead its new energy storage unit. One of Morgan’s principal roles as GE’s CEO of energy storage will be to grow and expand the recently launched Reservoir – a comprehensive energy storage platform that delivers customized storage solutions to help customers manage the changing power landscape, according to GE Power. “Energy storage is a key opportunity for our customers as they look for solutions with the best cost, lowest-carbon footprint, and greater reliability and resiliency,” says Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Power. “Rob brings the right skillset to lead GE Power’s energy storage unit as the industry shifts toward a more decentralized, decarbonized and digitized electricity infrastructure.”
Batteries Are Changing Sunrun's Approach to Solar
3 weeks 14 hours ago
The solar industry is talking about battery storage almost as much as solar these days. On this week's Interchange, we're addressing the shift toward storage in residential solar. Sunrun, a top installer, is at the forefront of the trend. In California, the company is adding storage to 20 percent of rooftop PV systems — and it believes other states will soon catch up. Sunrun now thinks of itself as a grid services provider. We'll talk with Sunrun Chief Policy Officer Anne Hoskins about how this broadened focus influences the way it interacts with utilities, regulators and customers.
New York State Invests $15m in Fuel Cell Systems for Critical Facilities
3 weeks 14 hours ago
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is making $15 million available for installing and operating fuel cell systems statewide. These new systems will go toward supporting critical infrastructure facilities including hospitals, police and fire stations as well as supermarkets, according to NYSERDA. “The siting of fuel cell systems at buildings where the power will be consumed avoids the traditional transmission and distribution system losses of electricity and its associated greenhouse gas emissions,” the public benefit corporation says. “As a result, fuel cells improve the efficiency of the electricity system.” The funds, available through December 31, 2019, will be limited to $1 million per project and each fuel cell module must exceed 25 kilowatts. Systems that work independent of the grid and provide backup power during outages will also receive NYSERDA incentives. Funding comes from the state’s Clean Energy Fund, which NYSERDA administrates.
Agility, Romeo Team Up to Provide Modular Battery Packs for Commercial Fleets
3 weeks 2 days ago
Agility Fuel Solutions, a provider of clean fuel solutions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and Romeo Power Technology, an energy storage technology company founded by engineers and designers from SpaceX, Tesla, Amazon and Samsung, have formed a new partnership dedicated to high-performance, modular battery packs for commercial vehicles. Agility and Romeo have entered into an exclusive global agreement whereby Romeo will supply custom-designed battery modules to Agility for Class 4-8 vehicles. Agility will use its experience in onboard energy storage to integrate those modules into battery packs for a wide range of battery capacities and physical configurations for individual vehicles and applications in the global truck and bus markets.
Siemens Presents Energy Storage System for Offshore Use
3 weeks 2 days ago
German engineering group Siemens AG (ETR:SIE) on Tuesday introduced an energy storage solution for offshore oil and gas assets that is also applicable to offshore wind farms. The BlueVault lithium-ion battery-based solution is suited for both all-electric and hybrid energy-storage applications, the company says. It has already obtained several contracts for the new energy storage system and anticipates to deliver the first unit this summer. Siemens also mentioned it intends to open a fully robotised and digitalised facility in Norway to develop and manufacture energy storage technologies for both marine and offshore oil and gas applications.
Mercedes-Bens Shuts Down Residential Energy Storage Plans
3 weeks 3 days ago
Mercedes-Benz is shutting down its residential energy storage program saying their battery was too expensive for the market. The company hoped to compete with Tesla in the US residential solar market by delivering solar + energy storage solutions to homeowners. Last year, Mercedes partnered with leading residential solar installer Vivint to announce Mercedez Benz Energy. The company took a similar approach to the market like Tesla with this partnership deal, and also launched a robust marketing campaign with some similarities to Tesla’s. Mercedes explained a major reason why their product was too expensive for the residential energy storage market is that the batteries are “overengineered to be a vehicle battery pack and not a stationary home battery pack.” Adding that the batteries “proved too expensive to compete for the sedentary role.”
FedEx Takes Delivery of First Hydrogen Vehicle
3 weeks 3 days ago
Plug Power and American technology company Workhorse Group have delivered FedEx its first hydrogen (H2) fuel cell electric delivery van for on-road use. The class five zero emission EGEN delivery van is built by Workhorse Group, who is focussing on providing sustainable and cost-effective electric mobility solutions to the commercial electric transportation sector, and charged by a Plug Power ProGen H2 engine. The ProGen-powered electric delivery van is one of the first of its kind to operate in a standard commercial environment and is deployed on a standard delivery route for FedEx. The Workhorse EGEN class five, zero emission delivery trucks are designed to meet the needs and expectations of daily delivery duty cycles, as well as save delivery fleet buyers fuel and operational costs, dramatically reducing total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle.
DOE Awarding $19M to 12 Projects for Advanced Battery and Electrification Research to Enable Extreme Fast Charging
3 weeks 4 days ago
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $19 million in funding to 12 cost-shared research projects focused on batteries and vehicle electrification technologies to enable extreme fast charging. (DE-FOA-0001808, earlier post.) Selected research projects are focused on developing electric vehicle systems that can recharge rapidly at high power levels, decreasing typical charge times to 15 minutes or less using a connector or wireless fast charging system. The projects will help advance DOE’s research on batteries and electrification aimed at reducing battery pack cost to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, increasing range to more than 300 miles, and charging in under 15 minutes or less by 2028. Recharging current EV batteries takes much longer than refueling the average liquid-fueled internal combustion vehicle. Slower charge rates are required to allow the lithium-ions to penetrate to the deepest portions of the active material on the electrode.
Anglo American Platinum to install Eight Primus Power Battery Systems
1 month 14 hours ago
Anglo American Platinum has announced that Primus Power will be installing eight EnergyPod battery systems at its Amandelbult mine, in the Limpopo province, South Africa. The energy storage project at Amandelbult deepens the ongoing partnership between the companies. Having first invested in Primus Power through the Platinum Group Metals Development Fund (PGMDF) in 2014, Anglo American Platinum is both a strategic investor in Primus and a supplier of the platinum group metals (PGMs) used as a catalyst on the titanium electrodes inside the EnergyPod. The mining company explained in a statement that the eight EnergyPods will provide Amandelbult with 200 kW of power and 1,000 kWh of energy. These batteries are charged when demand for, and cost of grid electricity, is low.
Solar Energy Lights Up SUNY New Paltz's Campus
1 month 14 hours ago
The new solar energy system at SUNY New Paltz is designed for savings: Money, impact on the environment and power for a time of need. The college's new solar energy and battery storage system was a $1.4 million project. It is the culmination of collaboration between the state, the college and various energy entities. The first phase of the project, which has been in the works for several years, is complete. A few months back, solar lit up the Sojourner Truth Library and, more recently, Elting Gym. The State University of New York, College at New Paltz, is one of first colleges in the state with a system that combines solar, battery storage and smart inverters — a technology that manages the energy flow between solar power and the electric grid using research, according to the New York Power Authority. The combined system means solar energy can be stored in batteries and used later.
Lockheed to Introduce Flow Battery in Bid to Boost Renewable Energy
1 month 2 days ago
Lockheed Martin Corporation, a company more synonymous with defense and aerospace operations, is developing a new “flow” battery made of inexpensive, nontoxic materials that can help utilities save money and use more renewable energy. “You open up a chance not only to make renewables more marketable and more useful, you might even change the structure of at least a portion of the utility market,” Leo Mackay, a senior vice president for sustainability and ethics at Lockheed, told reporters at the company’s Global Vision Center in Virginia.
Lockheed Martin to Provide Lithium Energy Storage Systems to Peak Power Inc.
1 month 5 days ago
Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, will supply approximately 17 MWh of GridStar™ Lithium energy storage systems to Peak Power Inc., a North American energy storage services provider. The units will be installed in Ontario, Canada, and along the East Coast of the United States. Peak Power Inc. will use its own intelligent Synergy™ software, combined with GridStar Lithium energy storage systems, to forecast the most expensive peak demand events and shift energy consumption for its customers during these peak moments. This is expected to result in a reduced amount of peak demand on the grid and lower electricity costs for customers.

 Beyond New York

Why We Don't Need to Wait For Long Duration Energy Storage
1 week 6 days ago
Is There Something Going On Between Nuclear Energy And Energy Storage? CleanTechnica called upon Mike to provide some additional insights into the Energy Department’s “DAYS” program, which is aimed at developing next-generation energy storage that can provide electricity in the 10-to-100 hour range. A main goal of the program is to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and into wind and solar, while ensuring grid reliability and stability. In an exclusive email to CleanTechnica, Mike indicates that the agency’s $30 million in funding is needed because the need for long-duration energy storage hasn’t jogged private investment dollars into action yet (following are Mike’s remarks in full, unedited except breaks added for readability and explication): The ARPA-E initiative for long-duration energy storage (DAYS) is a welcome contribution to the RD&D stimulation of new solutions for our economy. The economic signals for private sector investment in long-duration stationary storage are weak, because the “customer” in the utility sector has separated the competitive power plant market, which has a short time horizon, from the responsibilities for reliability and over-all integration of technology types.
Energy Storage Gains Washington's Support
2 weeks 1 day ago
When Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced US$30 million in funding for energy storage projects at the beginning of this month, he drew praise from renewable energy-focused media as the latest indication that energy storage is so important and attractive that even fossil fuel-friendly Washington is throwing its weight behind it. Indeed, the US$30 million that will be used for research into energy storage installations that can provide reliable electricity for periods of 10 to 100 hours is good news for renewables: solar and wind are the first thing that springs to mind when you hear energy storage. It is energy storage that can make them a mainstream method of generating electricity, replacing fossil fuel power plants.
SolarEdge Moves Beyond Solar With Energy Storage Acquisition, Virtual Power Plant Launch
2 weeks 1 day ago
SolarEdge reported record revenues and profitability for the first quarter of 2018 on Wednesday — along with plans to move into markets beyond solar power optimization. On the energy storage front, SolarEdge announced an $11.5 million acquisition of Gamatronic Electronic Industries Ltd., an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems provider for commercial and industrial businesses around the world. CEO Guy Sella noted that the acquisition is the second major step for the company outside the solar arena, the first being last year’s launch of inverter-embedded EV charging systems. Another came last week, with SolarEdge’s launch of a cloud-based virtual power plant management system, one that could turn its fleet of solar optimizers and inverters into nodes of a distributed energy resource control platform.
Hawaii Electric Anounces 120 MW of Grid-Balancing, Renewables Integrating Lithium Batteries
2 weeks 2 days ago
Hawaii’s position as one of the leading US states for energy storage deployment shows no sign of weakening as Hawaiian Electric Co last week announced 120MW of new battery storage across two projects in Oahu. One will be a 20MW / 80MWh system capable of storing energy for four hours, the other a 100MW / 100MWh, one-hour system. Hawaiian Electric, the biggest electricity supplier on the islands, is commissioning the projects in order to reduce fossil fuel usage, increase the proportion of renewable energy in the local grid and increase grid reliability. Both, if plans put forward by HECO are approved by the regulator, the state’s Public Utilities Commission, will use lithium-ion battery technology. HECO would own and operate both systems.
As Energy Storage Costs Decline, Market Changes Needed to Increase Deployment
2 weeks 2 days ago
The benefits energy storage can provide in terms of power grid support and flexibility are becoming clear, but creating the right market mechanisms and rate designs will be critical to scaling up energy storage deployment, federal and state officials said. "As we think about storage at the ISO, really what we're thinking about is how do we make sure that storage can participate as fully as possible as an asset, as a resource," Michael DeSocio, senior manager of market design at the New York Independent System Operator said Tuesday at the Independent Power Producers of New York Spring Conference in Albany. "We see storage as vital for the grid of the future and if you think about the stresses and strains the future grid will have, it will be an asset I think any grid operator would love to have," he said.
Why The Energy Storage Problem Won't Be a Problem for Long
2 weeks 3 days ago
Why Exactly Is The Trump Administration Interested In Bulk Energy Storage? By the way, 10 hours is just for starters. The new round of funding aims at systems that can shoot electricity into the grid for up to 100 hours, which puts nuclear power on even shakier ground than it is now (that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms). The funding comes through the Energy Department’s ARPA-E (Advanced Projects Research Agency – Energy) office, which kickstarts high risk, high reward R&D. That means we taxpayers get the credit for pushing new clean tech into the market when private sector dollars lack the muscle. Group hug! For those of you new to the ARPA-E topic, Congress breathed the office into life in 2007 during the last years of the Bush Administration, but it wasn’t funded until 2009 under the Obama Administration.
Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Battery Makers and Japan Gov't to Jointly Develop Solid-State Battery Tech
2 weeks 3 days ago
Top automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda have teamed up with the Japanese government and battery makers in a programme to develop solid-state batteries for electric vehicles of the future. The programme is aimed at returning Japan to the forefront of automotive battery tech, as other countries have eroded its once dominant position in the field. Starting this month, the programme marries the Consortium for Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (Libtec) – a research body whose members include Asahi Kasei, Toray Industries and Kuraray – with the automotive players and battery makers Panasonic and GS Yuasa. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will provide 1.6 billion yen in funding to Libtec, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Solid-state batteries use a solid form of the liquid electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries, making them easier to manufacture and safer, as there’s no chance of leakage. Compared to today’s Li-ion batteries, the next-gen batteries also have fewer components, cost less, and provide higher energy.
Tesla Lockout, Hyundai Battery Shortage, TDI Update, Elio Lives, Credit Disagreement: Today's Car News
2 weeks 4 days ago
Volkswagen is returning recalled TDIs for sale at its dealerships, and we drive one that has had a software update to address emissions violations. Is it as good as we remember? Tesla makes good on a promise to reduce the number of its contractors by locking them out of facilities this morning. That was fast! Most big conservative donors oppose spending tax money to provide incentives for people to buy electric cars. A recent political conference, however, showed that stance may be changing. A battery shortage is limiting supplies of 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric cars, and may spill over into the company's upcoming Kona electric. And tiny Elio motors, which is planning to make a three-wheeled, car that gets 80 mpg for $8,000, plans to stay afloat with an investment from Overstock.com—and by selling virtual stock tokens. All this and more on Green Car Reports.
Tesla Powerwalls and Other Batteries Can Now Receive Up to an $1,800 Discount in Arizona after Tesla Sued an Electric Utility
2 weeks 4 days ago
Through its acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla took over a longstanding lawsuit against Salt River Project (SRP), an electric utility in Arizona, over the company’s practice of imposing “unfair” fees on potential solar power purchasers, which has virtually killed the local solar market. They agreed on a settlement earlier this year and it includes a SRP financing program to offer significant discounts on home battery packs, like Tesla Powerwall, to its customers. The program is now in place, but homeowners will have to move quickly.
VW Doubles its Electric Vehicle Battery Contracts to $48 billion
3 weeks 14 hours ago
Volkswagen is not starting its electric vehicle push in a big way until next year, but it is already securing its battery supplies in order to be able to build those new EVs in volume. After announcing that it already awarded $25 billion in battery cell contracts, the German automaker announced this week that it has now doubled the amount to about $48 billion. They made the announcement at their Annual General Meeting 2018 for shareholders yesterday. It’s building on the production plan called “Roadmap E” announced last year.
California University Gets Country's First Electric Bus Fleet
4 weeks 14 hours ago
BYD is a Chinese electric car company that was founded to "Build Your Dreams." Now it claims to be the biggest electric vehicle company in the world—and it's building buses. We're not sure who dreams about buses, but the company is now building the first battery-powered, all-electric bus fleet at the University of California, Irvine. Students at the university voted in a referendum in 2013 to fund the conversion to electric buses with a new $40-per-quarter fee, and the fees fully fund the service.
Falling Grid-Scale Storage Prices Create "Watershed Moment"
1 month 14 hours ago
In remarks to the 28th annual conference of the Energy Storage Association held in Boston last week, ESA head Kelly Speakes-Backman was euphoric. “This is a watershed moment, friends, this is our moment,” she said. “On a regular basis, our teams are in contact with ISOs and RTOs who are seeking guidance in how to create markets and support rules that enable more storage on the transmission level, distribution level, in businesses, and in homes.” RTO Insider reports she enthused that the energy storage industry will grow to 35 gigawatts by 2025 and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs along the way. Energy storage will account for $4 billion in cumulative operational savings during that time while avoiding 3.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Six Lithium-ion Battery Chemistries: Not all Batteries are Created Equal
1 month 1 day ago
Lithium-ion batteries are essential to today’s technology and can be found in nearly every portable device, as well as electric vehicles. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, cordless power tools, and grid-energy storage are just a few examples that are powered by the excellent battery, which have been a mainstay of electronics since their commercialization back in 1991. The battery’s popularity is due in part to their ability to pack a significant amount of energy into a relatively small space with low weight. Like most batteries, the lithium-ion version offers the same components inside the cell to produce power from a chemical reaction—a positive electrode, a negative electrode, and an electrolyte. In the most widely used in Li-ion technology (for mobile devices) for example, the positive electrode is made of lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4), the negative is typically made of carbon (graphite), and the electrolyte is usually comprised of lithium salt in an organic solvent.
Overheard at the Energy Storage Association Annual Conference
1 month 2 days ago
Energy storage deployment will likely grow to 35 GW by 2025 as consumers, businesses and government agencies increasingly support the technology, industry experts said last week. “Our industry created the momentum for the unanimous support to unleash the benefits of storage through FERC Order 841,” Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman said at her organization’s 28th annual conference. “This is a watershed moment, friends, this is our moment.”
ESA Lays Out the Path for 35 GW of Energy Storage by 2025
1 month 5 days ago
Most of us are solar power professionals, for example we’re reading pv magazine. However, for those of us who haven’t already, it’s probably time to start paying attention to how energy storage will affect our business – because the largest players in our field have been modeling large scale energy storage projects for at least three years. The Energy Storage Association (ESA) has been watching also – and they’ve articulated their thoughts in a white paper: 35X25: A Vision for Energy Storage. In this document, focused on the years between now and 2025, the ESA describes market drivers for growth, how to value energy storage, where and how it expects the growth to happen and what we have to continue to do in order to make this real.