US ups spending on energy storage

Steven Chu, President Obama’s Energy Secretary, has been making the case for a modest 2.3% increase in the renewables investment, reportsRenewables Biz. This would bring the total spend to USD$27 billion, of which $60 million has been earmarked for researching and expanding the uses of energy storage systems. The money would be in addition to $185 million given to 16 different storage projects via the 2009 stimulus plan.

Is this sort of spending a good deal for the US taxpayer? Although not directly related to energy storage, some Department of Energy figures, as reported in GreenTech Media, suggest it is; the Government says every tax dollar invested in solar projects attracts 20 more in private money. If true, then surely this is the sort of market distortion most of us can live with.

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Scientists reveal lithium-ion secrets

Physicists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborating institutions have developed methods of examining lithium-ion reactions in real-time to a nanoscale (billionths-of-a-metre) precision, offering unprecedented insights into processes that are vital to battery technology, reports NanoWerk.

“(L)ive, nanoscale imaging may help pave the way for developing longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium-ion batteries. That means better consumer electronics and the potential for large-scale, emission-free energy storage,” commented Feng Wang, one of the key researchers on the project.

Your chance to boost EU energy storage

Don’t forget about the public consultation on the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Energy Sector Lending Policy. The policy will decide where in the energy sector Europe is going to spend its citizens’ tax money, and it is our opportunity to persuade the Eurocrats that energy storage should feature prominently in the expenditure.

You have until 31 December 2012 to make the industry’s case and you can also attend a meeting that will take place on 7 December 2012 in Brussels. Additional information about this public consultation, including background material about the scope of the review, can be found on the EIB web site. Get involved and help promote the energy storage sector in Europe.

Saft in new USD$98m deal with US military

Saft will be providing the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) with lithium-sulphur dioxide batteries for portable devices such as radios,reports New Energy Network. The DLA will then pass the units onto the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

The contract Saft has secured will be worth up to USD$98 million over five years and adds to the recent top-up of $1.3 million the company secured from BAE Systems to develop energy storage solutions for hybrid vehicles destined for the US Army.

Scotland committed to pumped hydro

As reported yesterday exclusively in Marine Renewable Energy, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has let slip that the proposed development of offshore renewables in Scotland would include the creation of a new pumped-hydro storage facility in the Great Glen area.

This commitment comes as part of a recently announced plan to boost offshore wind power in Scotland with the opening of new Areva turbine plant that will manufacture nacelles and blades for deep-water wind farms in Scottish waters. The plant will employ 750 directly, and open in 2015.

Its exact location is yet to be decided, but is likely to be at Leith, on the Firth of Forth, or Dundee, both on the North Sea coast. The agreement between Areva and Scottish Enterprise, signed yesterday, will also include research and development activity.

US military vehicles go electric

It is not just tree-huggers who are embracing electric vehicles: the US Army has several in the pipeline. This means opportunities for energy storage companies, such as Saft, which has just been awarded USD$1.3 million from weapons manufacturer BAE Systems.

The funding is for the continued development of a Lithium-ion energy storage system for the US Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle programme. Saft, which is designing and building ultra-high-power cells for the vehicle’s hybrid electric drive system, has already completed the demo battery system including hardware and software, says the company.

VYCON to install $3.6m flywheel on metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has awarded VYCON a contract worth $3.6 million to install a Wayside Energy Storage Substation (WESS) at the Los Angeles Metro Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park station. The WESS will use VYCON’s REGEN clean-energy flywheel systems to capture and store part of the energy normally lost by the trains through braking.

The energy will then be available to trains in acceleration in a clean, instantaneous form, says the company.