NY-BEST Newsletter 8-16-2012

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Bringing you the latest updates from the
Battery and Energy Storage Industry

August 16, 2012
The NY-BEST board of directors met earlier this week to receive updates and provide guidance for the organization. In the course of the meeting, the board reviewed progress to date on key initiatives, provided feedback and approved plans for next steps for a number of core NY-BEST activities. Notable among these is the NY-BEST Product Commercialization Center proposed to be located at the Eastman Business Park in Rochester. Staff prepared an update that included a summary of the work to date and plans going forward for the Center and the board gave its approval for next steps. We believe the Center will provide an extremely valuable resource to our members, the energy storage community at large and to New York State.  Details on the plan will be forthcoming in the next several months.

On other fronts, the recent fire at the 30MW Kahaku Wind Farm in Hawaii destroyed a 10,000 square foot, 15MW battery facility has been widely reported in the press. It is important to recognize that the investigation into this event is underway and that no definitive cause for the fire is known at this time. While the cause of the fire probably won't be known for some time, it is important for all of us in the energy storage community to recall that ours is an emerging industry and that innovation comes with challenges and, at times, setbacks are part of the innovation and learning process. It is clear that pundits of all stripes are honing their arguments for and against installations such as this and the federal guarantee program that made it possible. It is critical that we, the members of the energy storage community keep perspective around such events and provide measured and supportive responses as we speak to our customers, employees, the public at large and, in particular, the media. 

I'd like to welcome the newest members of NY-BEST:
Northern Power Systems (Barre, VT) - Northern Power is an electric generation technology development company that has successfully developed a number of products including a 100kW and 2.3MW wind turbine. The company is currently looking to apply its power electronics technology and system design expertise to the energy storage industry.
Beacon Power LLC (Tyngsboro, MA) - Beacon Power is a global leader in the development and commercialization of flywheel-based energy storage solutions for grid-scale frequency regulation services and other utility-scale and unitary energy storage applications. Beacon's goal is to use its environmentally sound flywheel technology to deliver superior performance at lower cost, and generate long-term value for the Company, its stakeholders, and society.
Lux Research (Boston, MA) - Lux Research is an independent research and advisory firm providing strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance, and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions.

Best Regards,

William Acker
Executive Director

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NY-BEST Member News:

Modeling the Litium Ion Battery
The term lithium-ion battery refers to an entire family of battery chemistries.

GM Begins Prototype Battery Cell Fabrication & Testing in China
Shanghai – General Motors China has begun fabricating and testing prototype battery cells and complete systems at its Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai. This will enable GM researchers and engineers to gain critical knowledge in the development of next-generation vehicle battery systems that will be more affordable for GM customers around the world, helping the company expand vehicle electrification.   

KLD Energy and Samsung SDI to jointly develop new battery systems
KLD Energy and Samsung SDI will jointly develop a new integrated battery system that incorporates their electric vehicle drive technologies and lithium-ion battery cells respectively

Chinese Rescue of Battery Maker Saves U.S. Jobs, CEO Says
A123 Systems Inc. (AONE)’s chief executive officer said the company’s financial rescue by China’s largest auto-parts maker will preserve U.S. jobs, after the agreement drew criticism from congressional Republicans.

Leading Battery Innovator Joins Stony Brook University
Professor Esther Takeuchi, an electrochemist and one of the world’s leading energy storage researchers, has been appointed Professor of the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemistry, announced Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD.

Largest Wind Energy Battery Soon To Call West Texas Home
A unique project is moving forward that will store wind power in west Texas. Duke Energy and Xtreme Power of Kyle, Texas are working on a $44 million wind battery project that will store electricity during off peak times. According to the Odessa Economic Development Corporation, this is the largest project of its kind in the world, the batter will store 36 megawatts, the next largest battery in the nation stores 1 megawatts in Hawaii.

U.S. Battery Maker Finds Financial Lifeline in China
The struggling American battery maker A123 Systems, which got a quarter-billion-dollar green technology grant from the federal government, said a Chinese auto parts maker was looking to take a controlling stake in it.

Don't Worry About the Volt's Reported Battery Woes
Of the 15,054 Chevy Volts sold as of this printing, exactly zero have caught fire out in the real world. I don't want to sound like a cheerleader for the Volt program, but it pushed a lot of boundaries in engineering and testing and in some ways exceeded the standard testing parameters the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses.

Hydrogenics Reports Second Quarter 2012 Results
Hydrogenics Corporation (Nasdaq:HYGS) (TSX:HYG), a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and power systems products, today reported second quarter 2012 financial results. Results are reported in US dollars and are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)1.

Companies receive funding to develop fuel-cell technologies
Sheffield-based ITM Power and Runcorn-based ACAL Energy were confirmed as the winning bidders for the Carbon Trust’s Polymer Fuel Cells Challenge (PFCC), which aims to take new fuel-cell technologies to market.

Feds plug $3M for GE
The federal government is pumping more than $3.1 million into General Electric research for batteries that can last longer in the next generation of electric cars.

GM, LG partner on electric vehicles
LG is already the battery supplier for GM's plug-in electric hybrids the Chevy Volt and Opel Amepera.

Fuell Cell Cars Soon to Be Much Cheaper
Apparently, said world-leading organization believes that, although the fuel cell technology can indeed be efficient in getting the UK to switch to a low-carbon economy, what is presently holding it back is the fact that it is still far too expensive to be implemented on a national scale.

Is This Your Future Hybrid And Electric Car Motor?
General Electric scientists have developed a prototype electric motor designed to improve the performance and efficiency of hybrid and electric vehicles.

For more news about NY-BEST and NY-BEST members click here.

News from Beyond New York:

Fuel Cell Scooters and Solar Hydrogen Refuelling Station Launched in Hawaii
Hawaii-based Aloha Motor Company, a joint venture by H2 Technologies and Taiwan’s Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies (APFCT), has launched the world’s first commercial off-grid solar hydrogen refuelling station this week in Honolulu. It will be used to fuel APFCT’s new fuel cell scooter, which was also showcased at the 2012 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo held in Hawaii from 13th to 15th August.

Korean carbon-coated lithium-ion battery could cut recharge times down to minutes
Anyone who's had to recharge an EV -- or, for that matter, any mobile device with a very big battery -- knows the pain of waiting for hours while a lithium-ion pack tops up. South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has developed a conduction technique that could cut that charging time down to less than a minute. By dousing the nanoparticle materials of the battery in a graphite solution that's then carbonized, the researchers make a web of conductors that all start charging at once; current batteries have to charge towards the center slowly, like a not-very-edible Tootsie Pop. The immediate goal is to develop a secondary battery for an EV that could provide extra mileage in a matter of seconds. Here's hoping that the Ulsan team's fast-charging battery is more viable than others and spreads to just about everything -- we'd love to have EVs and laptops alike that power up in as much time as it takes to fill a traditional car at the pump.

DOE Study: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Advancing Rapidly
A seven-year US Department of Energy demonstration project to evaluate hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, which GM, Daimler, Hyundai-Kia, Ford, Shell, BP, Chevron, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. participated in, found rapid progress in driving ranges and durability of fuel cell stacks.

Fisker names former Chevy Volt chief as new CEO
Fisker Automotive has named the former head of electric vehicles at General Motors as its new CEO.

Korean scientists develop fast-charging battery
South Korean scientists have developed a new material for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that they say could cut charging time down significantly and prove a boon for electric vehicles.

EV Batteries: cell costs down, but not enough - insights of Uwe Wiedemann, AVL
AVL is the largest independent engineering service provider with globally more than 5,000 engineers working in the automotive industry. We are working in engine development, transmission development, electric motor development, controls development and battery development. Based on the assessment of electrochemical cells we design, develop and validate battery systems including battery management system.

Want to make it big in renewables? Talk to the military (they're about to spend $7 billion)
Smart grid and related sectors are still growing, but not at the pace of previous years. Where to turn for new markets? Maybe you should be talking to the military, which the White House is pushing towards renewables.

Battery Makers Roll Out Grid Storage
For more than a century, electrical distribution has been simple: Electricity zips from the generating plant to a lightbulb or motor, providing instant power. It stops for no one. That, however, may be about to change.

Researchers explore Li-air battery reversibility on the nanoscale
As their name suggests, Li-air batteries use air to operate, pulling out oxygen molecules to use in a porous, carbon-based cathode, while using lithium in the anode. Because using air means the battery doesn’t have to store a heavy charge source at the cathode, the batteries can provide an extremely high energy density, holding nearly as much energy in a given volume as gasoline, and 5-10 times more than Li-ion batteries. Despite this major appeal, Li-air batteries still face many limitations that hold them back from commercialization. In a new study, a team of researchers has tackled one of these challenges: reversibility, which is necessary for being able to recharge the battery multiple times.

SolarCity will install solar panels combined with batteries for energy storage at Walmart stores
SolarCity will install solar panels combined with batteries for energy storage at Walmart stores, according to SolarCity Chairman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the National Clean Energy Summit in Vegas on Tuesday. SolarCity and Walmart already had a substantial partnership, including solar panels installed at a newly announced 60 stores in California, but this is the first time I’ve heard that batteries will be involved for some of the installations.

After Saab Bankruptcy, Boston-Power Finds a Foothold in China
Boston-Power, the Massachusetts-based battery manufacturer that was a supplier to Saab’s electric-vehicle program, has emerged from the messy debacle of the Swedish automaker’s bankruptcy with a new partnership.

Development of a high performance flexible solid state battery
A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has developed a high performance flexible all-solid-state battery, an essential energy source for flexible displays. Their findings were published in the paper Nano Letters titled "Bendable Inorganic Thin-Film Battery for Fully Flexible Electronic Systems."

FuelCell Energy Announces First Stationary Fuel Cell Power Plant Sale by German-based FuelCell Energy Solutions, GmbH
FuelCell Energy, Inc. FCEL 0.00% a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced that FuelCell Energy Solutions, GmbH has sold their first stationary fuel cell power plant, a sub-megawatt DFC250-EU(R), to BAM Deutschland AG for installation at the new Federal Ministry of Education and Research government complex in Berlin, Germany. FuelCell Energy Solutions (FCES) will manufacture and install the power plant, which is expected to be operational in 2014. Under a ten year service contract, FCES will service and operate the power plant from a service operations center that is staffed around the clock, 365 days per year.

Advanced Batteries for Energy Storage Will Represent a Market of Nearly $30 Billion by 2022, Forecasts Pike Research
The market for advanced batteries for utility-scale energy storage faces an array of challenges. Costs are high compared to traditional power generation resources; the regulatory environment remains ambiguous; no single optimal technology has emerged; and advances in grid infrastructure equipment, such as smart inverters, could accomplish many of the same objectives as advanced batteries. Amid rising demand for electricity and increasing penetration of renewable energy resources, however, advanced batteries represent a unique asset, offering the promise of grid flexibility and generation asset enhancement at rapid speeds and varying levels of scalability. According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice, the market for advanced batteries will roughly double each year over the next 5 years, reaching $7.6 billion in 2017. Over the ensuing half-decade, growth will level off to a still-robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent, and revenues in the sector will reach $29.8 billion in 2022.

BYD e6 Taxi Fire Investigation Concludes Batteries Not At Fault
A Nissan GT-R crashed into a BYD e6 taxi at high speeds in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on May 26, causing the electric car to catch fire and resulting in the death of the taxi driver and two passengers. News reports and photos of the crash were widely circulated in China, and BYD's shares fell to a seven-month low on May 28, the first trading day after the crash.

Global Fuel Cell Industry to Surpass $15 Billion by 2017, Forecasts Pike Research
For the fuel cell industry, 2011 was a decidedly mixed year. On the positive side, total shipments broke the 20,000 barrier for the first time, thanks to a 2009-2011 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83 percent. This aggregate figure, however, hides the fact that the fuel cell industry has continued to exhibit a growth/contraction pattern. In 2011, for example, system shipments in the portable fuel cell sector contracted by 16 percent on a year-over-year basis, and the sector lost a large number of companies. According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice, the fuel cell industry, including all applications in the stationary, portable, and transport sectors, will reach $15.7 billion in 2017. A number of challenges must be overcome for that figure to be achieved, though.

DECC to introduce energy storage subsidies
The news was reported by Energynewslive.com (ELN), who heard from DECC officials that the government wants to create a ‘market mechanism’ to help firms become more competitive.

Fuel Cells Take to the Runway
Hydrogen fuel cells are nowhere near powerful enough to replace a commercial aircraft's engines, but that doesn't mean they can't help make air travel cleaner and more efficient.

Manufacturers work on keeping batteries cool
One of the key components in perfecting the electrical vehicle (EV) are batteries. They have to stay cool, last as long as possible, and provide plenty of juice.

U.S. Energy Department gives Ford $3.1M grant to improve batteries
The U.S. Department of Energy is giving Ford a $3.1-million grant to work on improving the efficiency of advanced batteries for use in alternative-energy vehicles.

Renault and LG Chem To Join Forces for Next-Gen Li-Ion Batteries
Renault, LG Chem and CEA (France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) are expected to sign a big three-way agreement in September 2012 concerning next-generation lithium-ion battery production. The top line of Renault's press release on the matter, issued on July 27, was the company restating "its ambition to be present across the entire electric vehicle value chain, from technical architecture to motors and batteries."

ZBB Energy Commissions Energy-Storage System At IIT In Chicago
ZBB Energy Corp. and its construction partner City Cottage Group have installed and commissioned a 500 kWh energy-storage system and advanced power electronics for use in a microgrid application at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. The system uses the ZBB EnerStore energy-storage technology and ZBB EnerSection inverter modules.

For more news articles from beyond New York State click here.

This news update is provided as a service to members and interested parties of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium. NY-BEST is an industry-led coalition working to build a vibrant, world-class, advanced battery and energy storage sector in New York State.

Your suggestions and comments for future topics are welcome.

Please email suggestions to: info@ny-best.org