Apathy an industry killer, says CEO

Battery technology is stuck in the 1970s and we are all to blame, says the co-founder and CEO of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) Technologies. Well, he didn’t exactly say that, but Fernando Gomez-Baquero pointed the finger at “industry-wide apathy” in an interview which recently ran in ZDNet.

His point was that users are not demanding better results from batteries and manufacturers supplying everything from smart phones to electric vehicle modules are generally happy too churn out cheap, tried-and-tested, lower-quality products instead of taking risks with keenly-priced higher-tech options.

Gomez-Baquero also makes the point that mobile device manufacturers will need to take a global view of power management in order to make up for what he sees as the shortcomings of current lithium-ion batteries.

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Graphene research excites investor

Graphene is making an impact beyond the lab and into the boardroom, it seems. Graphite mining company Focus Graphite has reached an agreement to develop next-generation rechargeable batteries with Hydro-Quebec’s Reseach Institute, reports Proactive Investors UK.

The three-year research and development deal will actually be between the Institute and Focus’s privately-held joint venture Grafoid, with the eventual objective of producing rechargeable batteries based on graphene and lithium iron phosphate materials.

Plant power to store energy?

Premier Global Holdings Corporation holds the rights to a pending patent for a combined solar power generation and storage unit based on photosynthesis, the process plants use to convert the sun’s rays into chemical energy.

Now DayStar Technologies, a developer of thin film photovoltaic solutions, has acquired the rights to the technology through its purchase of 100% of the outstanding shares in Premier, reports Solar Thermal Magazine.

The technology itself was originally developed at the University of British Columbia and consists of light-harvesting molecules suspended in an electrolyte and mediator molecules which store charge until extracted via electrodes. Needless to say, if DayStar can find a commercial application for the technology it would be a real game-changer.

Saft breaks into wind with lithium-ion battery

Advanced battery manufacturer Saft will be supplying two Intensium Max 20E lithium-ion battery containers as part of the High Wind and Storage Project near the City of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Commissioned by Cowessess First Nation to design, produce and install the complete battery-based energy storage system, the project is Saft’s first foray into wind power in North America.

Each of the two Li-ion units includes a 400kW power conditioning system for use in conjunction with a 800kW turbine, and Saft’s complete system has been designed to smooth output and provide up to 400 kWh peak-shaving capability.

Electrovaya wins Indian business on PM’s tour

Advanced battery manufacturer Electrovaya has announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding for its lithium-ion batteries, signed while accompanying Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trade mission to India. One agreement is with existing customer Hero Eco, to supply more batteries for its electric bikes in Europe, North America and India.

The other is with new client Environ Energy (a.k.a. Bhaskar Solar, part of a USD$4 billion Indian conglomerate), to supply batteries for telecommunications applications.