Energy Storage News
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Category 1 Category 2 Date Comment Source
Air Travel Without Fossil Fuels
06/26/2019 A new aircraft design concept called Distributed Electric Propulsion promises high fuel efficiency and low noise among other benefits  article Nasa Review of DEP
Air Travel Without Fossil Fuels
06/17/2019 Hybrid Air Vehicles develops air freight system for remote undeveloped regions  article Hybrid Air Vehicles
Air Travel Without Fossil Fuels
06/02/2019 Could vertical takeoff aircraft form the basis of a low infrastructure overland freight transportation system? article
Gravitational Potential Energy
12/07/2018 A company called Energy Vault gives a new meaning to the term power tower in their design of an energy storage system based on gravitational potential energy article Energy Vault
Solar Cells Concentrated Solar PV 11/18/2018 A company called Suncore is marketing a solar combined heat and power system based on 12 square meter parabolic concentrating mirrors. more Suncore
Solar Cells Concentrated Solar PV 05/13/2018 Morgan Solar utilizes novel concentrator optics and an new dual axis tracker design to try to push concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) into an economically competitive position more Morgan Solar
Batteries Lithium Ion Batteries 05/09/2018 Project to make Nigerian Universities independent of the grid will use PV panels and electrical storage batteries, but will still require substantial backup from diesel generators more PV Magazine
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 03/17/2018 High-performance double-layer hydrogen electrodes for reversible solid oxide fuel cells more Electrochemical Society
Solar Cells Sun Tracking Mounts 03/17/2018 Single Axis vs Dual Axis Tracking for Industrial Rooftop PV Installations more Optimtop
Solar Cells Sun Tracking Mounts 03/17/2018 Edisun Microgrids Markets Dual Axis Tracking System for Rooftop PV Installations more
Chemical Potential Energy Alcohol 01/07/2018 Electrolytic Alcohol Synthesis Demonstrated as a New Form of Energy Storage more
Air Travel Without Fossil Fuels
09/09/2017 Does air travel have a future in a post fossil fuel world? Fuel cell powered planes in which propellers are driven by electric motors are one possibility. A company called Joby Aviation has done an analysis showing that ability of electric motors to deliver high efficiency performance at small sizes allows the possibility of distributed propeller aircraft designs that are much more efficient than designs driven by fossil fuel power internal combustion engines. Apparently the distributed propellors give greater lift thus allowing a smaller wing size and less air resistance.
batteries Battery Pack Management Systems 10/30/2017 A group of researchers at Duke University lead, interestingly enough, by a psychiatry professor Stefan M. Goetz, have developed a battery management system based on brain stimulation technology which they call a modular multilevel series parallel converter (MMSPC). more ieeexplore
batteries Flow Batteries 11/06/2017 A group of scientists in the materials science department of MIT has published an interesting paper on the possibility of using redox flow batteries for long duration energy storage. more
Batteries Flow Batteries 07/03/2017 Scientists have developed an aqueous flow battery based on organic and organometallic reactants with a capacity retention of 99.99% per cycle. The metallic elements used appear to be iron and chromium. Vanadium based flow batteries have very high capacity retention, but concern exists about the scalability of vanadium supply. Iron of course is very abundant in the earth's crust. Chromium has about the same abundance as vanadium but is currently substantially cheaper ($17/gram-mole compared to $112/gram-mole). Of course supply scalability is a complex issue which cannot be simply project from crustal abundance or from current prices. ACS Energy Letters
Batteries Hybrid Flow Batteries 09/17/2017 A research group at the Pacific Northwest Nation Laboratory has developed an aqueous zinc-polyiodide hybrid flow battery with an energy density of 167Wh/l. This energy density is high compared to vanadium flow batteries (25Wh/l) but still less than the low end of lithium ion batteries such as LiFePO<sub>4</sub>. In true flow batteries such as the vanadium battery all of the chemical reaction occur in the liquid electrolytes and the electrodes are merely a source or sink for electrons. The liquid electrolytes by an ion exchange membrane where ions pass between the so called catholyte liquid and the anolyte liquid. The power of such a battery is a function of the membrane properties and the flow rate of the liquid electrolytes. The storage capacity is determined by the size electrolyte reservoirs. The attractive features of flow batteries are the independent determination of power and storage capacity and the lack of solid state interactions in the electrodes which are often associated with failure mechanisms (such a dendrite formation) which limit the cycle life of other battery types. A hybrid flow battery still has liquid electrolytes which are pumped by an ion exchange membrane, but one of the two electrodes has as a solid state chemical process. In the case of the zinc-polyiodide flow battery the solid state process is the plating and deplating of zinc on the anode. A hybrid flow battery no long has the advantages of a true flow battery in that its power and energy storage capacity can no longer be completely decoupled and the zinc anode is potentially subject to solid state failure mechanisms such a dendrite formation. Nevertheless, if costs are low and performance is high then this battery design may find applications. The energy density is high enough that mobile applications are possible in addition to stationary storage applications.
Batteries Hybrid Flow Batteries 07/03/2017 A startup company called ESS Inc. has developed a hybrid flow battery whose metallic chemistry uses only the element iron. Traditional flow batteries have only liquid phase chemical interactions in the liquid electrolytes in the two half cells. A hybrid flow battery has a solid state chemical interaction in one the half cells. In the ESS battery iron is plated onto the solid cathode in the negative half cell during cell charging. Such solid state chemical processes are regarded as being more problematic than dissolved liquid phase processes with respect to long cycle life. ESS claims, however, that their battery design can withstand 20,000 cycles at 80% DOD. This number compares favorably with the 4500 cycles at 80% DOD achieved by NGK Insulator's sodium sulphur batteries.
Batteries Lithium Ion Battery Anodes 04/08/2017 Bio-inspired materials with hierarchical nanopores can be used for lithium ion battery anodes and other applications requiring efficient mass transport. Nature
Batteries Lithium Ion Battery Cathodes 05/14/2017 Low temperature electrodepostion of Litihium ion battery cathodes Science Advances
Batteries Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries 07/30/2017 The lithium iron phosphate cathode chemistry has been in existence for some time. It has lower energy density than the cobalt based cathodes which are typically used in consumer electronics and in electric vehicles. However, it has longer cycle life and is inherently safer with respect to explosions and fires. A number of battery manufacturers are promoting this technology for grid storage applications in competition with the nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) based cathode chemistry of the Tesla Powerwall storage systems. Valence, a manufacturer of lithium iron batteries based in the lithium/iron/phosphate cathode chemistry have successfully entere the market for hybrid and full electric buses. Apparently regular routes with centralized fast charging stations allow these lower energy density batteries to work effectively. Thus the lower lifetime cost and superior safety of this battery type have earned them a market share in this transportation niche.
Batteries Lithium Sulfur Batteries 07/24/2017 Swedish and Italian researchers have developed a gel polymer electrolyte for lithium sulfur batteries which which greatly reduces the dissolution of polysulfides formed in the cathode. Since polysulfide dissolution is a major factor leading to short cycle life for lithium sulfur batteries this innovation could lead to much longer cycle life for this high energy density battery chemistry. Green Car Congress
Batteries Magnesium Batteries 07/03/2017 Magnesium/Iodine rechargeable battery demonstrated Nature Communications
Batteries NMC Cathodes 11/13/2017 A German company called Akasol is manufacturing lithium in battery packs for hybrid and electric bus markets. more Akasol
Batteries Sodium Sulfur Batteries 09/08/2009 The Japanese Company NGK Insulators is the sole manufacturer of high temperature sodium sulfur batteries for utility scale electrical energy storage. more NGK Insulators
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 01/07/2018 Korean Researchers Develop Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Utilizing A Membrane Which Conducts Both Protons and Oxygen Ions in the Hope of Improving the SOEC Hydrogen Evolution Rate more unist
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 10/27/2017 Low cost of solar electricity from PV cells may open the door to the production of renewable ammonia via electrolysis more Clean Technica
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 10/17/2017 Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) in which hydrogen is chemically combined with organic molecules which can be easily transported in liquid form have been proposed as one possible method of economically transporting hydrogen over long distances. Recently a Spanish research group has developed a ruthenium based catalyst which allows the rapid room temperature evolution of hydrogen from compounds made up of paired alcohols and hydrosilanes. Silanes are not really organic molecules since they are silicon based rather than carbon based, but the resulting alcohol/silane combination is a relatively inert non-toxic liquid which can be transported without special handling precautions such as an inert atmosphere or high pressure. A green car congress article on this compound/catalyst combination implies that its low temperature and high hydrogen evolution rate would allow it to be used directly in automobiles. That is rather than filling up a hydrogen tank in the automobile, one could directly fill up a lower cost tank with the LOHC and then release hydrogen on demand as it is required by the fuel cell. Of course such a scheme would require a two stage refilling process. The spent fuel would have to be extracted from the fuel tank and a fresh batch of fuel loaded with hydrogen would then be pumped into the tank. Ruthenium is platinum group metal with a cost of over 1400 dollars per gm-mol. Ruthenium is much cheaper than platinum which cost about 25400 dollars per gm-mol. If the activity of a catalyst is very high then very small amounts of it can support a large volume of chemical transformations. This is the reason why PEM fuel cells with platinum catalysts are continuing to find useful market niches in spite of the high cost of platinum. Nevertheless if one is hoping to scale up such a fuel production system to support billions of people in high energy use lifestyles then the question of whether or not ruthenium supplies are sufficient to support that lifestyle is relevant. green car congress
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 09/14/2017 Platinum free catalysts for the cathode side of PEM fuel cells have matched the activity of platinum based catalysts. However, further improvements in durability/stability are needed before a practical market niche is found for such catalysts. Electrochemical Society
Chemical Potential Energy Hydrogen 08/29/2017 A number of analysts have denied that hydrogen will have any significant role as an energy carrier in a post fossil fuel future. I do not have a crystal ball with which I can predict the future of energy technology, but I think that a comprehensive dismissal of the future usefulness of hydrogen based energy storage is premature. Hydrogen Energy Storage
Chemical Potential Energy hydrogen 04/23/2017 Hydrogen storage based on catalytic amine reforming of methanol is demonstrated. Gravimetric energy density (HHV) is 5.5 times lower than gasoline. JACS
Chemical Potential Energy hydrogen 04/13/2017 Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden Colorado have achieved a record efficiency of 16.3% for the direct conversion of sunlight to hydrogen using gallium based multijunction semiconductor devices. Of course gallium based multijunction solars cells have achieved 46% efficiency in the conversion of sunlight to electricity. If you use this current to electrolyze water at 60% efficiency your net sunlight to hydrogen efficiency is 27.6% and you don't have to immerse your delicate light harvesting semiconductors in an acid bath. So it is not clear that this achievement is cause for any great excitement. Nature Energy
Chemical Potential Energy photocatalysis 05/05/2017 A proof of concept experiment has shown that perovskite quantum dots can be in a light harvesting device which photocatalytically reduces CO2 to CO Journal of the American Chemical Society
Chemical Potential Energy
10/22/2017 A Swedish company call Salt-X has developed an energy storage system which utilizes nano-coated salt crystals. The nano-coating porous so that the salt crystals can chemically react with water. During this reaction heat is released. This is the discharge phase of the energy storage process. The resulting crystals of salt + water are a stable form of chemical potential energy storage. In the charging phase heat is applied to the crystals which causes the water to boil off and leave the crystals. The water vapor is collected in a separate vessel where it is stored until a new discharge cycle is required. During discharge cooling occurs in the water vessel as water evaporate and returns to the salt vessel. Thus this energy storage system can produce both heat and cold. Salt-X claims that its nano-coated crystals can support thousands of energy storage cycles. They seem to be mainly targeting building heating and cooling applications with this technology, but apparently the recombination of the salt and water can produce result in fairly high temperatures since Salt-X is also exploring possible energy storage application in concentrated solar power (CSP) which requires superheated steam and thus high temperatures. Salt-X
Compressed Air Energy Storage Adiabatic compressed air energy storage 04/12/2017 A Canadian company called Hydrostor is developing a compressed air energy storage system which which utilized the hydrostatic pressure deep body of water to store air at constant pressure. Their storage system also extracts and store the heat of compression which is recombined with the compressed air to run an expander turbine/generator. They claim 60% roundtrip efficiency for this energy storage system. Hydrostor
Compressed Air Energy Storage Adiabatic compressed air energy storage 03/28/2017 European Research Project on Compressed Air/Thermal Storage energy storage system which would not require fossil fuel burning. RICAS
Compressed Air Energy Storage
05/13/2012 If air is mixed with water vapor then the air can be compressed with only a small rise in the temperature of the air/water mixture. Several groups are trying to use this so-called isothermal compression process to store energy. more
Decentralized Energy
04/09/2017 Cheap portable hydrogen peroxide generator could provide off-grid solar powered water purification. Chemistry World
Energy Storage General Topics
08/08/2017 A number of news stories have been posted on the internet recently about energy storage research being carried about by the X skunk works of Alphabet Inc. whose parent company is Google. This energy storage system converts electrical current to sensible heat and cold in molten salt and antifreeze tanks respectively. According to the stories the stored energy will be reconverted to electricity in some sort of air powered turbine. There is a lot of talk about the potential low cost and long cycle life of such a system compared to lithium ion batteries. I have seen no information on the round trip efficiency (=electrical energy out/electrical energy in). This efficiency is likely to be less than 0.5 with significant economic consequences. A brief discussion of the economics of round trip storage efficiency can be found at the link to the right. Economics of Energy Storage Efficiency
Fuel Cells
09/09/2017 The Estonian company Elcogen, a participant in the European NELLHI project, has developed a solid oxide fuel cell with an operating temperature of 650C (compared to 700 to 800&degree;C for state of the art) and an efficiency of more than 70%. The NELLHI project claims that the manufacturing methods, materials, and designs have been optimized for mass production. NELLHI.EU
Fuel Cells
06/30/2017 2% gold nano-clusters on α-molybdenum carbide particles allows fuel cells to use CO as a fuel. Unfortunately the significance of this development could be the increasing use of reformed hydrocarbon fuels as an energy source for fuel cells, not very good news if you are hoping to leave substantial portion of existing fossil hydrocarbon reservoirs in place in the earth's crust. Chemistry World
Gravitational Potential Energy
05/16/2014 A company called ARES is planning to build energy storage systems which use electricity to drive a loaded train up an mountain side and then to recover the energy at the train rolls down the mountainside. more Ares
Gravitational Potential Energy
08/02/2010 Some years ago a company (now defunct) called Mechanical Electric Inc. was proposing to store electrical energy in elevated weights inside high rise buildings. I wrote about why I thought this ideas was economically impractical here.
08/01/2017 Concentrated photo voltaic (CPV) systems which use concentrating optics and high efficiency multi-junction solar cells have been attempting to compete with 1 sun solar cells in the large scale utility PV market place without much success. CPV systems harvest substantially more energy per unit area of solar panel but have still been unable to compete with the falling costs of 1 sun solar cells. Now a new development called micro-cpv holds out the promise of putting high CPV efficiency a into flat panel fixed tilt configuration appropriate for roof top installations. The paper referenced by this post describes a system of fixed lenses which produces a concentrated spot of light which moves linearly by a small amount (1cm) as the sun moves in the sky. The high efficiency solar cells which are laminated onto a stiff flat surface can then be move linearly to stay within the concentrated area throughout the day. Whether micro CPV can compete in this market either is not clear. As solar cell costs have dropped installation costs on existing roofs have risen significantly as a fraction total cost and are relatively much higher than in utility scale installations. Higher efficiency (and thus a smaller number of panel installations per roof) will reduce these costs, although whether or not this reduction can offset other excess costs of the system remains to be seen.
Solar Cells Bifacial Solar Cells 07/03/2017 China PV manufacturer Longi Solar has achieved mass production for its bi-facial PERC (passivated emitter rear contact) solar cells. Bi-facial solar cells in which both surfaces of the cell can convert sunlight to electricity can be manufactured with very little additional cost and can increase the effective cell efficiency by 10 to 30% by harvesting defused light on the rear surface of the cell. The extra efficiency achieved depends on the details of the solar panel deployment and of the particular solar environment of each installation.
Solar Cells Concentrated Solar PV 10/31/2017 High concentration solar PV systems have been pursued for some time as a way of utilizing high efficiency multijunction solar cells made from III/V semiconductor compounds (e.g. gallium arsenide). more Raygen
Solar Cells III-V semiconductor solar cells 09/23/2017 Multijunction solar cells made from semiconductors which a combination of group III and group V elements (Gallium/Arsenic based semiconductors are the best know) have achieve world record efficiencies (>45% in concentrated sunlight) but have failed to find applications outside of satellite and spacecraft power applications because of the very high fabrication expenses. People have tried to compensate for the high manufacturing cost of III/V semiconductors by using them with concentrating optics in order to greatly reduce the area solar cell used per unit of electricity produced. However, the falling prices of silicon solar cells have so far kept ahead of the cost concentrate photo-voltaic systems. A company call Solvoltaics is pursing another path to applying III/V semiconductors to grid connected power production. They have developed a low cost manufacturing process aerotaxy in which nanowires of a III/V material are nucleated on metal nano-particles in a low temperature gas phase process. The efficiency of the nanowire solar cells produced by this proces is not high by silicon cell standards, but because the ban gap of this material is different that that band gap of silicon the solar cell made with this material utilitze a different portion of the solar spectrum. Solvoltaics strategy is to layer their nanowire cells on top of traditional silicon cells to product a high efficiency tandem cell. How close they are to a practical manufacturing process for such tandem cells is not clear.
Solar Cells Organic Solar Cells 09/25/2017 Organic solar cells are thin film solar energy harvesting devices made from carbon based compounds. They tend to be very cheap to manufacture and have very low embedded energy compared to crystalline silicon PV panels. They can also be deposited on flexible substrates semitransparent substrate which are desirable for building integrated PV applications. However, they have much lower efficiency and typically much lower expected lifetimes than silicon solar cells. Development of this type of solar cell continues because the potential low manufacturing cost is very attractive. A German company called Heliatek is bringing organic solar cells to the BIPB market with a projected lifetime of greater than 25 years and efficiency in the range of 6% to 8% (They have demonstrated 13.2% efficiency in the laboratory). The is efficiency is quite low compared to crystalline silicon cells, but Heliatek believes that the low manufacturing cost along with the ability to laminate their product to a variety of material with an attractive color and appearance will allow them to penetrate the BIPV market. heliatek
Solar Cells silicon PV 11/16/2017 A company called ENOW is selling silicon solar panels for truck and bus top applications. more enow
Solar Cells Silicon PV Heterojunction Cells 08/12/2017 Solar panel design incorporates two technical innovations: heterojunction cells and bifacial cells. more PV-Tech
Solar Cells
04/11/2017 Researchers at Kaneka Corporation have produce single junction silicon PV cells with a record efficiency of 26.5%. These cells use hetrojunctions in which band gap and of the P-type and N-type regions are different as opposed to homojunction cells in which the bandgaps are the same in both regions. Nature Energy
Solar Cells
04/01/2017 Resonant energy transfer of triplet excitons from pentatene to inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals may lead to more efficient harvesting of solar energy. Nature Materials
05/05/2017 This paper shows that structural water included transition metal oxides pseudo capacitors with higher energy/power density ACS Chemistry of Materials
03/31/2017 Thin film graphene supercapacitors with fractal electrodes achieve 30 times the energy density of non- fractal designs. Nature
Thermal Energy Storage High Temperature Thermal Storage 02/17/2017 Siemens develops high temperature thermal energy system using rocks as the storage medium and a steam turbine and the electrical power delivery device. Siemens
Thermal Energy Storage High Temperature Thermal Storage 11/01/2009 Graphite Energy has developed a high temperature (>2000C) thermal energy storage system using graphite the storage medium. It is not really clear what the market is for this technology, but Graphite Energy seems most hopeful about using it to enhance the efficiency of combined cycle gas turbines. more Graphite Energy
Thermal Energy Storage Low Temperature Thermal Storage 09/16/2017 Since renewable energy flows have long term time variations (e.g. seasonal) long term energy storage would help to integrate these resource into the economy more effectively. Long term electricity storage is particularly challenging, but long term storage of thermal energy for space and water heating applications may be easier to achieve with reasonable costs. Some Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa have proposed a system for solar space and water heating which uses an adsorbent placed in an insulated stainless steel column. The adsorbent material generates heat when it is exposed to humid air. In the discharged state the material has adsorbed the maximum amount of water that it is capable of. It can be charged up (that release the adsorbed water) by exposing it to a flow of hot air. When the adsorbent has discharged all of its water and is sealed off from the atmosphere it is in a completely stable state and it can generate heat any time it is exposed to humid air. The propose heating system consist of solar collectors on the roof of a building. The size of the solar collector system is chosen so that it can directly (i.e. with out storage) supply 70% of the heat load over the whole year. Excess heat during the summer is stored in the adsorbent and is used during the winter when the direct solar energy available is much lower. This system provides superior economics to a system which oversize the solar collectors so that they can directly meet the heat requirements on a year round basis.
Thermal Energy Storage
10/11/2009 Molten nitrate salts can be use for sensible heat storage in concentrating solar power installations. The stored heat is later converted to electricity via a steam turbine.
Tidal energy
03/27/2017 Dual vertical axis turbines place on either side of flow accelerating body ('bluff body') can be used to extract energy from tidal or river flows. Maritime Journal
Water Desalinaton
05/21/2017 Graphene aerogel floating on salt water produces steam under solar radiance and can thus be used to desalinate sea water. Chemistry World
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Makani is a US base kite energy research group which has been acquired by Google. They started their research using ground based generators which were turned by kit tethers. Now they are pursuing and energy harvesting system in which the generator are flown on the kites and the electrical power is transmitted to the ground through electrical cable that form part of the kite tethers. They are the only kite energy group I know of that is pursing this option. Makani
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Kite Power Systems is a British research group developing kite based energy harvesting systems. Kite Power Systems
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Twingtec is another Swiss kite energy company. Their kite looks like and airplane and has both horizontal and vertical propellers. However it still uses a generator sitting on the grown which is turn by the tension in the kite tether. Twingtec
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Enerkite is a German research consortium active the the field kite energy Enerkite
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Kitepower is another Dutch research consortium developing energy harvesting high altitude kites. Kitepower
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 SwissKitePower is yet another research consortium developing kite base wind energy harvesting systems. SwissKitePower
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 Ampyx Power is Dutch/Australian engineering research group also also working on harvest high altitude winds using tethered kites. Their kites, however, look more like traditional aircraft than like single wing kites. Ampyx Power
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/05/2017 KITEEnrgy is another Italian research consortium working to develop high altitude wind harvesting based on tethered kites. KITEnrg
Wind Energy Kite Energy 07/04/2017 A number of years ago Hugo Bardi posted a story on a website called The Oil Drum about an Italian research consortium called Kitegen Research which was developing a wind energy system based on high altitude kites whose tethers would be used to mechanically drive a ground based electrical generator. The idea of this energy harvesting system is to harvest the high energy content of high altitude winds with an system which is very dematerialized compared to traditional wind turbines. Most of the energy harvested by traditional wind turbines comes from a relatively small portion of the blades near the tips. A high strong tower and very long blades are required to harvest this energy. The hope is that tethered kites can harvest energy with a much lower ratio of high cost engineered material per unit of energy produced and thus lower production costs. A recent Google search revealed that Kitegen Research is still in existence. A more general search for kite energy revealed that a number of other research groups have joined them in their quest to use kites to harvest high altitude wind energy. Kitegen

Rogerkb [at] energystoragenews [dot] com