Lead-acid upgrade? Tydrolyte promotes new electrolyte to replace sulfuric acid in batteries

lead-acid battery

The lead–acid battery consisting of lead, lead oxide, and a sulfuric acid electrolyte was invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté and is the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Lead batteries have been and continue to be the most popular rechargeable battery with over 400 GWh shipped annually according to market research firm Avicenne Energy. This is equivalent to over 400 giga-factories of established capacity spread throughout world. But in spite of its historic success, many aspects of lead battery chemistry are not fully understood.

Tydrolyte LLC is introducing its patent-pending electrolyte solution that will eliminate the drawbacks of handling sulfuric acid including safety, storage, disposal and insurance and initial tests demonstrate that it may improve some critical performance parameters.

“Another benefit is that as a drop-in replacement the new electrolyte doesn’t require any change in existing paste recipes, production technology, or equipment, so battery manufacturers can switch to it easily,” said Paul Bundschuh, CEO Tydrolyte LLC.

“We are delighted to welcome Tydrolyte into membership of the ALABC, and strongly support companies such as Tydrolyte in pursuing innovative new solutions to the challenge of improving lead battery performance,” stated Dr. Boris Monahov, PhD, program manager at the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC). “There is a bright future for the lead battery, but it is essential that the industry continues to drive innovation to meet future market requirements. We look forward to working with Tydrolyte in the future.”

Lead batteries are one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable industrial products. 100% of lead battery material is recyclable, and in the U.S. and Western Europe, 99% of lead batteries are recycled, achieving the designation of the world’s most recycled product. The entire lead battery circular economy including manufacturing, consumer product, and post-consumer recycling is accomplished with minimal human exposure to lead materials.

A whitepaper with independent test results is available at the company website.

— Solar Builder magazine

SEPA Storage Market Snapshot shows growing interest in solar plus storage by utilities

utility energy storage

Storage has been more of a buzz word/ discussion topic than an adopted technology on the grid to this point, but the needle is now moving, judging by the results of the 2018 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot released by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). The 137 utilities that submitted data for SEPA’s survey represent more than 82 million customer accounts –or about 57.5 percent of the 143 million customer accounts in the country — and say they have interconnected 216.7 megawatts (MW), 523.9 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage to the grid across a total of 2,588 systems in 2017. By the end of the year, cumulative deployed energy storage had reached 922.8 MW, 1,293.6 MWh across 5,167 systems, nationwide.

Some other key findings

• In 2017, residential energy storage accounted for 13.3 MW, 29.3 MWh; while non-residential added 59 MW, 139.7 MWh; and utility supply reported 144.4 MW, 354.9 MWh.

• The Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) initiative in Massachusetts has provided $20 million in funding for 26 storage pilot projects.

• Storage technologies are being deployed in demonstration projects across a wide range of applications including aggregated behind-the-meter batteries, stand-alone deployments for ancillary services and load shifting, traditional-battery hybrid power plants, non-wires alternatives and as the key asset of a microgrid.

• Behind-the-meter battery storage customer offerings are of key interest to utilities, 64 percent interested, planning, or actively implementing an offering. Green Mountain Power is leading the charge with two pilots: a Tesla Powerwall and a Bring Your Own Battery.

• Plus storage projects are rapidly emerging across the U.S. as the costs decline and utilities leverage the capabilities these systems can offer. Salt River Project is testing a solar plus storage project for smoothing out intermittent renewable generation, while the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative now has a solar plus storage system that provides fully dispatchable solar power.

“Lithium-ion battery storage is a grid asset like none that has ever existed. Multiple utilities are testing the many capabilities of these assets in demonstration projects and programs including aggregated residential battery storage, fully dispatchable solar plus storage, and microgrids,” said Nick Esch SEPA’s Senior Research Associate, “Nationally, the storage market is quite nascent. However, state policy action and regulatory action are creating opportunities in local energy storage markets. Hawaii and California are the leading markets today, but Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Nevada will not be behind for long.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Global lithium production to triple next four years

Global Data lithium

High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Sameer Chakravarthy, Mining Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4% per annum, global output is expected to triple between 2018 and 2022 to reach 154kt (metal content), as 86kt of new metal capacity comes on stream to meet the increasing demand for the metal for use in batteries in electric vehicles and smartphones.”

Currently, highest production is in Australia with 18.3kt, followed by Chile and Argentina with 14.1kt and 5.5kt respectively. Among the largest global producers are SQM, which is market leader with a 25% share of global production, followed by Talison with 24%, Albemarle with 17% and FMC with 9%.

Over the next four years, Australia will account for the largest share of the additional capacity with 37%, with mine openings at Pilgangoora, Wodgina, Bald Hill and Mt Holland. It will be followed by Argentina with 29%, Canada with 16%, Chile with 9%, the US with 6%, and Mexico with 4%.

— Solar Builder magazine

Global lithium production to triple next four years

Global Data lithium

High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Sameer Chakravarthy, Mining Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4% per annum, global output is expected to triple between 2018 and 2022 to reach 154kt (metal content), as 86kt of new metal capacity comes on stream to meet the increasing demand for the metal for use in batteries in electric vehicles and smartphones.”

Currently, highest production is in Australia with 18.3kt, followed by Chile and Argentina with 14.1kt and 5.5kt respectively. Among the largest global producers are SQM, which is market leader with a 25% share of global production, followed by Talison with 24%, Albemarle with 17% and FMC with 9%.

Over the next four years, Australia will account for the largest share of the additional capacity with 37%, with mine openings at Pilgangoora, Wodgina, Bald Hill and Mt Holland. It will be followed by Argentina with 29%, Canada with 16%, Chile with 9%, the US with 6%, and Mexico with 4%.

— Solar Builder magazine

U.S.-based blockchain clean energy platform partners with South Korean city

Swytch

Austin-based Swytch is a blockchain platform that tracks, verifies and rewards those reducing the global carbon footprint. An Open “Oracle” at the heart of the system acts as a distributed authority, awarding Swytch tokens to people, companies and organizations that make a meaningful and measurable difference in reducing emissions. In what could be a model for much of the rest of the world, the platform recently formed a partnership with Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province in South Korea, to drive economic and environmental sustainability and to reduce carbon emissions in the city.

Under the partnership, the participating organizations have agreed to jointly pursue sustainable alternatives to traditional energy sources through the development and adoption of solar energy and the implementation of the Swytch network. Attendees of the meeting included Lee Jae-Soo, the mayor of Chuncheon, Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and a representative from the United Nations Future Forum.

“This partnership aims to address energy shortages while incentivizing infrastructure development in a city that is ready to decrease its dependence on fossil fuels,” said Youngsook Park, vice president of business development of Swytch in South Korea. “Swytch enables renewable energy investments to shift to areas that will have the biggest impact on carbon reduction, creating a more fluid energy market.”

RELATED: EnSync Energy jumps into residential solar+storage, includes ‘peer-to-peer’ energy exchange

Swytch leverages smart meter and blockchain technology to reward the companies and people who reduce carbon emissions the most. At the core of the Swytch solution is an open platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine how much carbon is being displaced and therefore how many Swytch tokens to award.

“There is no doubt that growing our renewable energy dependence is a positive action,” said Lee Jae-Soo, mayor of Chuncheon. “We look forward to this partnership that will decrease our carbon footprint and increase sustainable energy.”

“As the Swytch platform evolves and we continue improving our models for predicting and valuing the effectiveness of different energy assets and sustainability programs, this partnership in Korea will be invaluable to us,” said Evan Caron, co-founder and managing director of Swytch. “We look forward to driving collaboration and innovation in Chuncheon.”

Several other cities in South Korea have already developed partnerships with Swytch and additional agreements in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean are under discussion.

— Solar Builder magazine