H2 company does deal with AEG

UK-based hydrogen technology and energy storage company ITM Power has announced it has signed an agreement with AEG Power Solutions to integrate its electrolyser technology with AEG’s power control electronics. Under the agreement, ITM Power and AEG will initially address five projects, ranging from imminent deployment to early proposal development.

This agreement with ITM represents the first time AEG’s power conversion technology will be coupled with polymer exchange membrane electrolysis, enabling rapid-response electrolysis at a scale appropriate for electricity grid balancing services, says ITM.


Leclanché obtains €5m bailout loan

Swiss lithium-ion battery producer Leclanché has announced that its German subsidiary, Leclanché GmbH, has obtained a €5 million (USD$6.5 million) bridging loan from the Bruellan Corporate Governance Action Fund, to cover its short-term funding needs. The loan expires in March 2013 and is secured with assets of Leclanché GmbH.

Both parties have agreed that following a capital increase to raise further funds for Leclanché SA, Bruellan has the right to convert the loan into shares of Leclanché.

Mitsubishi to demonstrate energy storage

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy) are planning a 2MW lithium-ion energy storage system project in the Orkney Islands. The project aims at demonstrating power supply stabilisation in the region, which currently enjoys a large but variable quantity of wind-produced renewable energy.

It will be conducted with the support of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation of Japan and should go live in early 2013.

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.

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.

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.

Researchers trust rust for energy storage

An integrated solar cell that produces hydrogen as a form of energy storage is being investigated by researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland. Converting solar to hydrogen is hardly a new idea, but so far solutions to the problem have been very costly. The EPFL system sidesteps this problem by using iron oxide, better known as rust, and water.

Of course, this is not common-or-garden rust but ‘nanostructured rust’: enhanced with silicon oxide and covered with a nanometer-thin layer of aluminum oxide and cobalt oxide. But it is still cheap to produce, say scientists at EPFL. The one drawback is low efficiency. At 1.4% to 3.6%, the prototype is not going into production anytime soon.

However, researchers are confident they can attain efficiencies of 10% in a few years, for less than USD$80 per square metre.