The Anonymous Widower

New-Age Battery Pioneer Zinc8 Ties Up With Indian Transformer-Maker For Global Push

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Recharge.

I think, it shows the way the energy storage market is going, where alliances are being formed to exploit the new technologies.

A transformer maker and a battery storage company must be a good match.

Conclusion

I still very much feel that Zinc8, will be a success.

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Think Zinc: Another Metal That Can Transform The Energy Storage Sector

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Stockhouse.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Mines worldwide extract more than 11.9 million metric tons of zinc annually. There are zinc mines in over 50 countries around the world, and while the metal plays a key role in the steel industry, few people understand its transformative role in the energy storage sector. When most people think of the metals that power today’s energy storage systems, vanadium and lithium are at front of mind.

Wikipedia has an entry called Zinc Mining. This extract, sums up the availability of zinc from mining.

Global zinc mine production in 2019 was estimated to be 12.9 million tonnes. The largest producers were China (34%), Peru (11%), Australia (10%), United States (6.1%), India (5.5%), and Mexico (5.4%), with Australia having the largest reserves.

The world’s largest zinc mine is the Red Dog open-pit zinc-lead-silver mine in Alaska, with 4.2% of world production. Major zinc mine operators include Vedanta Resources, Glencore, BHP, Teck Resources, Sumitomo, Nexa Resources, Boliden AB, and China Minmetals.

The paragraph  is accompanied by a photograph from the Zinkgruvan mine in Sweden.

Closer to home, in 2009, Ireland mined 385,670 tonnes of zinc and was the tenth largest producer in the world. Tara Mine is at Navan in County Meath.

This Google Map shows its location to the West of Navan.

So if the Irish build more wind turbines, they have the zinc for their own zinc-air batteries.

The Stockhouse article is written by Ron MacDonald, who is President and CEO of Zinc8 Energy Solutions. He says this.

To give one example: Our company Zinc8 Energy Solutions has won a recent contract award and project collaboration with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and private sector deployment agreement with Digital Energy supported by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda). We will deploy a 100kW/1.5MWh zinc-air system capable of storing energy for 15 hours.

Everybody, who worries about our future energy supplies should read the full article.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Lithium Battery Cell Prices To Almost Halve By 2029

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Lithium-ion cell prices will fall by around 46% between now and 2029, according to new analysis from Guidehouse Insights, reaching US$66.6 per kWh by that time.

The rest of the article contains a lot more useful predictions.

I will add a prediction of my own.

The drop in prices of lithium-ion batteries will surely result in a lot more applications, in the following areas.

  • Battery-electric vehicles
  • Battery-electric vans and buses and light-trucks.
  • Battery-electric trams and trains
  • Battery-electric aircraft.
  • Battery-electric ships.
  • Battery-electric tractors
  • Battety-electric construction plant

Lithium-ion batteries will also be used in hydrogen-powered versions of any of the above.

The cost of lithium-ion batteries, will also lead to more applications in the following areas.

  • Grid energy storage or as it sometimes called; front-of-the-meter storage.
  • Heavy trucks
  • Double-deck buses
  • Railway locomotives

These could use a very large number of lithium-ion cells.

Conclusion

Because as yet, there is no alternative to lithium-ion cells for mobile applications, I think we’ll see grid-energy storage going to one of the alternatives like Gravitricity, Highview Power or Zinc8.

 

 

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

US Deployed 98MW / 208MWh Of Energy Storage During First Quarter Of 2020

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Research firm Wood Mackenzie has held onto its forecast that the US will deploy around 7GW of energy storage annually by 2025 and found that 97.5MW / 208MWh of storage was installed during the first quarter of this year.

The United States may be led by a President, who doesn’t believe in global warming, but individuals and businesses in the country seem to believe in battery storage and the benefits it brings.

This is an interesting paragraph from the article.

The overall deployments were also down in megawatt-hour terms: 208MWh in total was a 43% decrease quarter-on-quarter and down 34% year-on-year. Wood Mackenzie found that this was due to a majority of front-of-the-meter projects coming online being short duration energy storage. This meant that FTM storage accounted for 13% of Q1 2020 deployments in megawatt-hours but for 22% of the total megawatts deployed.

Front-of-the-meter storage is mainly used to maintain supplies, when demand is going up and down like a yo-yo in an area. Companies like Gresham House Energy Sorage Fund seem to be funding these batteries in the UK. Gravutricity, Highview Power and Zinc8 also seem to be targeting this market.

Conclusion

It would appear that the energy storage market is healthy on both sides of the Atlantic

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , | 5 Comments

UK’s Largest Solar Park Cleve Hill Granted Development Consent

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Solar Power Portal.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Cleve Hill Solar Park, set to be the largest in the UK, has been granted development consent by the energy secretary.

The colossal 350MW project will include 880,000 panels along with battery storage, and sit just one mile northeast of Faversham, in Kent, situated close to the village of Graveney.

Other points from the article.

  • Cleeve Hill Solar Park is a £450million project.
  • It is the first solar project to be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
  • It is being developed as a joint venture between Hive Energy and Wirsol.
  • It is due to be operational by 2022.
  • To complete the project 700 MWh of energy storage will be added later.

The article also contains this quote from Solar Trade Associations chief executive Chris Hewett.

Solar has a significant role to play in boosting the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. With the right policies we can expect to see an 8GW pipeline of solar projects unlocked and rapidly deployed, swiftly creating a wealth of skilled jobs and setting us on the path towards a green recovery.

8 GW of intermittent energy will need a lot of storage.

As Cleeve Hill’s developers are planning to provide 700 MWh of storage for 700 MW of solar panels, it would appear that 8 GW of solar panels could need up to 16 GWh of energy storage.

As our largest energy storage system is the pumped storage Electric Mountain in Snowdonia with a capacity of 9.1 GWh and most of the large solar developments are towards the South of England, the UK needs to develop a lot more energy storage, where the solar is generated and much of the energy is used.

I can see the following environmentally-friendly developments prospering.

  • Highview Power‘s CRYOBattery, which uses liquid air to store energy. Systems have a small footprint and up to a GWh could be possible.
  • Electrothermal energy storage like this system from Siemens.
  • Using electrolysers from companies like ITM Power to convert excess energy into hydrogen for transport, steelmaking and injecting into the gas main.
  • Zinc8‘s zinc-air battery could be the outsider, that comes from nowhere.

Developers could opt for conservative decision of lithium-ion batteries, but I don’t like the environmental profile and these batteries should be reserved for portable and mobile applications.

Floatovoltaics

One concept, I came across whilst writing was floatovoltaics.

The best article about the subject was this one on Renewable Energy World, which is entitled Running Out of Precious Land? Floating Solar PV Systems May Be a Solution.

A French company call Ciel et Terre International seem to be leading the development.

Their web site has this video.

Perhaps, some floatovoltaics, should be installed on the large reservoirs in the South of England.

  • The Renewable Energy World article says that panels over water can be more efficient due to the cooling effect of the water.
  • Would they cut evaporative losses by acting as sunshades?
  • As the French are great pecheurs, I suspect that they have the answers if anglers should object.

This Google Map shows the reservoirs to the West of Heathrow.

Note.

  1. Wraysbury Reservoir has an area of two square kilometres.
  2. King George VI Reservoir has an area of one-and-a-half square kilometres.
  3. Using the size and capacity of Owl’s Hatch Solar Farm, it appears that around 65 MW of solar panels can be assembled in a square kilometre.
  4. All these reservoirs are Sites of Special Scientific Interest because of all the bird life.
  5. Heathrow is not an airport, that is immune to bird-strikes.

Could floatovoltaics be used to guide birds away from the flightpaths?

Incidentally, I remember a report from Tomorrow’s World, probably from the 1960s, about a porous concrete that had been invented.

  • One of the uses would have been to fill reservoirs.
  • The capacity of the reservoir would only have been marginally reduced, as the water would be in the voids in the concrete like water in a sponge.
  • Soil would be placed at the surface and the land used for growing crops.

I wonder what happened to that idea from fifty years ago!

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Zinc-Air Battery Outperforms Lithium-Ion Battery On All Levels

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Interesting Engineering.

This is the introductory paragraph.

There’s a new battery in town and it’s a game-changer. The novel battery, is cheaper, safer and significantly longer laster-lasting, than lithium-ion batteries reports Recharge.

It does seem that Zinc8 is getting noticed.

I wonder, if the web-site gets read in Cambridge, where I was once told that use of the word Interesting, is very much to be discouraged.

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

New Zinc-Air Battery Is ‘Cheaper, Safer And Far Longer-Lasting Than Lithium-Ion’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Recharge.

These are the first two paragraphs.

A new type of battery is coming onto the market that can store multiple days’ worth of energy, that doesn’t degrade, can’t possibly explode and is up to five times cheaper than lithium-ion, claimed its developer as it prepares to pilot the technology in New York state.

The zinc-air hybrid flow battery developed by Canadian company Zinc8 has the potential to disrupt the entire energy-storage market — making wind and solar farms baseload and even replacing the need for transmission grid upgrades in many places.

The article then gives an in depth review of Zinc8, its technology and its future prospects.

  • The Chief Executive is a former Canadian MP. Political connections help!
  • The company has $100million of funding.
  • Zinc8 energy storage systems are made larger by fitting and bigger storage tank and adding more electrolyte.
  • The capital cost of an eight-hour Zinc8 storage system is about $250/KWh, but this falls to $100/KWh for a 32-hour system and $60/KWh for a hundred-hour system.
  • Lithium-ion systems ttpically cost $300/KWh for any duration over eight hours.
  • The cost of Zinc8 systems is expected to fall as manufacturing increases.

The article finishes with a detailed description of how the technology works.

It also details the company’s growth strategy.

Conclusion

This technology looks like it will give lithiujm-ion batteries a good run for its money in grid storage applications and it could be one of those technologies that help the world to embrace renewable energy, like wind, solar and wave power.

It has various advantages.

  • Lower cost of installation.
  • Falling manufacturing cost.
  • Easily scalable.
  • No exotic or hazardous materials, just zinc, water and air, which are recycled.

My only worry, is that Zinc8, sounds too good to be true! But having met researchers at ICI, who were concerned in the birth of polythene, this could be a normal cynical reaction.

 

 

 

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | 2 Comments

Eos To Install 4MWh Of ‘Safe’ Zinc Battery Technology – At Giant Oil Refinery

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Eos Energy Storage will deploy a megawatt-scale, behind-the-meter zinc hybrid cathode battery energy storage system for a large oil refinery in Greece, claiming it be a validation of the safety and environmental benefits of the novel technology.

 

EOS Energy Storage seem to have developed a zinc battery, that could work along similar lines to the zinc battery produced by zinc8, that I wrote about in Zinc8 Seem To Be A Surprisingly Open Company.

The Energy Storage News article gives more details on the battery and its design.

  • This battery is rated at 1 MW/4 MWh, so compared to some, it is quite small.
  • It uses a zinc-halide oxidation/reduction cycle to store and output energy.
  • The battery is made from five components, all of which are abundant, ethically sourced and recyclable.
  • An order for a 40 MWh system has been placed.
  • EOS claim to have numerous pilots and demonstrators in use.

Could it appear that using zinc batteries are a feasible method of storing energy, as two companies both appear to be successful at delivering systems?

 

 

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Zinc8 Seem To Be A Surprisingly Open Company

Several energy storage companies, that I have looked at for this blog are secretive companies.

In The Mysterious 150-hour Battery That Can Guarantee Renewables Output During Extreme Weather, where I pointed at an online article of the same name, the secrecy is in the headline. Look at the web site of the company involved; Form Energy and it reminds me of a term used in the 1970s and 1980s to refer to non-existent software – vapourware. Or one of my older favourite phrases – All fur coat and no knickers.

I have developed disruptively innovative software and other products and understand, the need for secrecy. But there is a need for a balance between secrecy and information.

As an example, one of the products, I have highlighted here, could be ideal for one of the followers of this blog. They will be investigating the product, as I have found enough information to enable them to decide, that contacting the company will not be a waste of time.

Some companies in innovative energy storage development like Highview Power and Hydrostor have posted informative YouTube videos about their technology, but others just rely on the same endlessly repeated phrases.

When I looked at the Zinc8 web site, I thought they were another company dealing in the same phrases, as there are two on the home page.

  • Zinc8 is redefining long-duration energy storage.
  • The leader in zinc-air battery technology.

But they are a lot more open, than the home page might suggest.

Looking up zinc-air battery on Wikipedia, gives a lot of information, that is understandable. This is the introductory paragraph.

Zinc–air batteries (non-rechargeable), and zinc–air fuel cells (mechanically rechargeable) are metal–air batteries powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air. These batteries have high energy densities and are relatively inexpensive to produce. Sizes range from very small button cells for hearing aids, larger batteries used in film cameras that previously used mercury batteries, to very large batteries used for electric vehicle propulsion and grid-scale energy storage.

I instantly thought, if a technology can be both non-rechargeable and rechargeable and useable in applications from hearing aids to vehicle propulsion and grid-scale energy storage, the technology must have something. I also worked in a non-ferrous metals factory as a teenager and know that zinc is easy to handle.

I then looked at their technology page

  • There is a detailed explanation of the technology.
  • They stress their patents and certification.
  • They show how a system can be expanded.
  • They list the major technological advantages of the system. Robust, safe, scalable etc.
  • They claim 20,000 operating life hours and 8+ operating hours.

They also finish off by giving an energy capacity cost of $45 per kWh.

I tend to think, that they have found a quirk in zinc-air technology, that they are exploiting, by some good old-fashioned innovative engineering.

I shall be watching Zinc8 and the other zinc-air battery start-ups.

May 16, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | 1 Comment