One significant trend in the electric utility market that is beginning to gather momentum is residential energy storage (RES). Like many renewable initiatives, California is the trailblazing state for RES. In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the so-called California Solar Initiative. The plan calls for a million solar roofs which will add 3 gigawatts of clean (more…)
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying (more…)
Dick DeBlasio is a senior life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is the principal laboratory program manager for electricity programs at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which include electric distribution and interconnection research and development, thermal systems integration, thermal storage systems, and high temperature super-conductivity programs in support of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
We asked him for his assessment of the current state of energy storage.
CleanTechies: How important is energy storage? (more…)
Texas-based Xtreme Power is one of the leaders of the energy storage world, designing and manufacturing large-scale solid-state energy storage and power management systems called Dynamic Power Resources for solar and wind power applications.
CEO Carlos Coe talked with CleanTechies about developments in the energy storage field.
CleanTechies: You have two energy storage projects in Hawaii.
Carlos Coe: The first project is on the island of Maui and it’s affiliated with the wind farm that’s on that island. And that project is a 1.5 megawatt project in size going on a 30 megawatt wind farm. So that project was put into service the middle part of last year and has been in service since then and has done very, very well.
CleanTechies: Any glitches? (more…)
CleanTechies caught up with Maurice Gunderson, senior partner of energy and materials at CMEA Capital, for some energy storage perspectives.
CleanTechies: You were an investor in A123 Systems. When will bulk storage arrive?
Maurice Gunderson: Bulk storage needs a little bit of definition. The kind of thing that A123 is doing is here now, and that’s a very high power storage for grid stabilization. And that makes sense in a lot of parts of the country. I make a distinction between that and very large bulk energy storage, which is intended to store power for very long periods of time, such as from wind turbines, and then release it over relatively long periods of time.
So the answer is there’s no real good battery solutions yet, but there’s a lot of smart people and a lot of money working on the problem and we’re going to see things emerging here within the next few years. The really practical ways to do very large storage right now come down to pumped storage. If nature gives you a canyon and environmental considerations don’t stop you from damming it up, you can make a very nice pumped storage facility. But that only exists when it occurs naturally. So there’s not a lot of places where you can count on building out new capacity of that type. (more…)
Israeli fuel cell start-up EnStorage Ltd. has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round.
U.S. private equity fund Warburg Pincus led the round, and was joined by all of EnStorage’s current investors, including Greylock Partners, Canaan Partners, Siemens TTB, and Wellington Partners, according to a report in “Globes“.
By now, you’ve probably had your fill of 2010 prediction lists about cleantech and renewable energy, but no such list was worth its bytes if it didn’t mention energy storage. The absence of scalable energy storage solutions is the Achilles’ heel of renewable energy generated from intermittent sources, such as sun and wind. But when it said late last month that it hopes to start selling a lithium-ion storage cell for home use around fiscal 2011, electronics giant Panasonic signaled that it could be filling that energy storage void.
Details about the battery are sketchy, at best. Panasonic’s president Fumio Otsubo told the Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun about the planned product but didn’t mention how large the energy storage system would be, or how much it would cost. He did say the device would be able to store a week’s worth of power for a single home—which sounds impressive but is a poor metric, since the amount of energy a single family home consumes in one week can vary drastically from block to block and from city to city. Still, storing a week’s worth of energy for even a small home with relatively low energy needs would be a major accomplishment. (more…)
It’s cleaning up space junk, and is giving us lab-on-chip biofilters for detecting contamination. Now nanotechnology has produced a coating for windows or solar panels that repels grime and dirt. Expanded battery storage capacities for the next electric car could be within reach too.
New Tel Aviv University research, just published in Nature Nanotechnology, details a breakthrough in assembling peptides at the nano-scale level that could make these futuristic visions come true in just a few years.
Operating in the range of 100 nanometers (roughly one-billionth of a meter) and even smaller, graduate student Lihi Adler-Abramovich and a team working under Prof. Ehud Gazit in TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology have found a novel way to control the atoms and molecules of peptides so that they “grow” to resemble small forests of grass.
When Congress returns from its summer vacation it will consider legislation that could energize investment in renewable energy projects with an almost “cash for clunkers”-like fervor.
Like the cash for clunkers legislation (and American Idol, and The Office), a feed-in tariff bill would be a ripoff of a European idea modified for American consumption. Bills that would require utilities to pay a premium for renewable power have been tried and failed here before, but the time (and composition of the Congress) may be right for the fight to take flight.
Introduced by Democratic Senators Jay Inslee (WA) and Bill Dellahunt (MA), the bill would guarantee a market for the renewable power projects and would do much to calms fears in today’s skittish investment arena. Feed-in tariffs have been overwhelmingly successful in Germany and Spain, basically creating the solar industries in both those countries.
Because a feed-in tariff promises American jobs and reduces foreign energy dependency, Congress will likely give the idea more of a fair hearing when the leaves begin to turn in DC.
Many cleantech companies and industry groups are rethinking traditional patent strategies and forming new ones that I call “open patent strategies.” Open patent strategies use patent resources to both protect proprietary innovation and keep new technical domains clear for adoption and use of new technologies.