Bike powered storage wins design prize

South Africa-based Ideso has won a prestigious international design award for its PowerPac generation and energy storage unit. Retailing at around USD$668, PowerPac attaches to a common-or-garden bicycle to utilise peddle power and can store up to 132Wh of electricity for home use, reports Media Club South Africa.

Call for energy storage system campaign

“In order to make energy storage systems marketable as quickly as possible, we are calling for a 100,000 storage system campaign in Germany similar to the very successful 100,000 roof programme for photovoltaic systems,” says Karl-Heinz Remmers, the CEO of Solarpraxis AG and publisher of PV Magazine.
He added that: “These incentives can be created without any special energy storage legislation. Together with the incentives we would like to see a parallel scientific research programme established to sustainably promote the new energy economy.”
Remmers is adding to the growing chorus of renewable energy figures demanding that governments take energy storage more seriously as an investment issue and adds to the debate on how far public funds, including EU money, should be involved in the sector.

Electric car batteries enjoy life after death

They may add thousands of dollars to the purchase price of the vehicle itself, but now it looks like used Chevrolet Volt batteries will extend their usefulness in the greening of society beyond their use on the road.

ABB and GM have announced that the lithium-ion packs that power the Chevy Volt have been successfully re-used in a prototype unit that provides 25kW of power and 50kWh of energy for the home, enough to electrify three to five average US homes for two hours, say ABB.

The back-up energy storage unit repackages five used batteries, thus considerably extending their total useful lives and, perhaps, making the initial high cost of the batteries a more attractive initial investment.

RedFlow unveils Zn-Br storage system

Developer RedFlow has unveiled a new renewable energy battery storage system that comprises 24 zinc-bromine batteries housed in a 20-foot shipping container. The M90 has a 90 kilowatt power output with 240 kilowatt-hours of capacity.

The company has 65 zinc-bromine battery systems installed across Australia and internationally, and this latest edition has found a home at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus, where it is connected to a solar photovoltaic array.

ZEN improves domestic energy storage

The South Australian firm ZEN claims that its active balancing battery management system halves the expense of storing electricity, compared to other lithium-ion units, reports the Brisbane Times. ZEN is primarily a software company, rather than a conventional battery manufacturer, and has applied its expertise to batteries produced by its sister company, the US-based Greensmith Energy Management Systems.

The 20kWh Freedom PowerBank is the size of a large fridge and currently retails at AUD$30,000 (USD$31,000), although the company hopes this will go down to AUD$20,000 once production is ramped up. The company hopes the unit will find favour with those wanting to store low-cost, night-time electricity for use in the day, when prices can go up by a factor of five. It would also benefit those wanting to dispense entirely with their grid supplier.

1,000 test domestic fuel cells over Europe

Last week nine European micro fuel cell Combined Heat and Power (micro FC-CHP) manufacturers got together to put their solutions to the test in around 1,000 homes across 12 European Union (EU) states. A total of 24 utilities, housing providers and municipalities are also participating in the EU-funded ene.field project which, organisers say, will establish the macro-economics and CO2 savings of the technologies, and assess the socio-economic barriers to widespread deployment of micro FC-CHP.

Barclay Tower is an energy storage first

The planet’s first tower to use battery-based, intelligent energy storage is located at 10 Barclay Street in Manhattan, New York City, reports PR Newswire. The Joule.System, designed by Demand Energy Networks, Inc., provides the 58-storey luxury apartment block with 225kW of power and 2MWh of stored energy capacity. Barclay Tower, which is owned by Glenwood Management, will be able to adapt intelligently to the challenges of increasing demand and an aging grid system, says Demand Energy.

With domestic and building-scale energy storage increasingly making the news, is the future grid-scale, small-scale, both or neither? Let us know your opinion.