In an almond orchard outside Turlock in the Central Valley, two large tanks hold water, minerals - and more importantly, energy. The tanks in Stanislaus County are part of a "flow battery" that stores energy from nearby solar panels. It's the largest battery of its kind in the world. And it could play a role in California's push to develop bigger and better ways to store large quantities of energy. This particular flow battery, unveiled to the public Thursday during a ceremony with state and federal officials, was built by EnerVault of Sunnyvale, part of the Bay Area's fast growing energy-storage industry. Like most of its competitors, EnerVault is young, founded in 2008, with about $30 million in venture funding to date. Some companies try to perfect the lithium-ion batteries found in laptops and electric cars. Others, including EnerVault and Primus Power of Hayward, specialize in flow batteries, which store energy in tanks of electrolytes. The fluid is then pumped through the battery's cells when power is needed. In contrast, the batteries found at a grocery store contain the electrolyte, cathode and anode all in one package. "Flow batteries are batteries turned inside out," said Jim Pape, EnerVault's chief executive officer. His company's flow batteries use iron and chromium, blended into the water inside its tanks. Both materials are safe to handle. (For those of you thinking "Erin Brockovich," EnerVault uses the kind of chromium found in multivitamins, not the infamous hexavalent chromium featured in the movie). Iron and chromium also have the benefit of being cheap.
The new approach just discovered at Oregon State can produce nitrogen-doped, nanoporous carbon membranes - the electrodes of a supercapacitor - at low cost, quickly, in an environmentally benign process.
While the recent news about carbon has been touted as something that can drastically improve the overall performance of the flooded lead acid battery, the facts should be completely understood before buying these types of batteries with any carbon additives, especially if they are sold as a value added feature.
Excerpts from the EPRI Study on the Integrated Electric Grid
The bottom line is that energy (kWh) is no longer the cost driver for commercial and industrial electric ratepayers; power (kW) is where the pain lies.
What we can expect to see is a gradual transition of solar from an alternative energy to a truly cost competitive source of energy that helps counteract rising electricity rates and fuel costs.
The report identifies the "Top 5 Fuel Cell States" - California, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina.
Next up at the plate as a hot, receptive market for energy storage in North America is New York.
High-voltage Battery Simulator and Test Systems Critical for Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Development
Essential for conducting R&D, performance and durability testing
More than 88 megawatts (MW) of stationary fuel cells have been installed or ordered by U.S. businesses and utilities.
One half of the VOTO is a fuel cell and the second half is a handle which has a light, cell phone adapter and nickel-metal hydride battery to store energy.
Imagine a photovoltaic cell or module that actually stores as well as produces energy, acting as a battery and producing power even after dark.
A path to ensure profitable installation for residential solar
In general, ultracapacitors are great solutions whenever the power demand is high, but the duration is short. For example, we are expanding into the diesel truck market, where the high power demand of engine starting can place a great strain on the batteries, greatly lowering their useful life.
Using battery-based off-grid technology, a smarter type of "grid/hybrid" inverter technology is able to use PV, wind, hydro-electric and other renewable DC energy sources to keep the batteries charged and sell the excess to the grid, just like the grid-tied unit using the grid as its battery.
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