ROUNDUP: ‘Blue dye’ electrodes, Engie Storage’s new exec, 2nd-life EV battery charging

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The dark blue pigment made from oxidation of ferrous ferrocyanide salts, Prussian Blue, is used in the Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Japanese painter Hokusai (1760-1849). Image: Public domain.

EDF evaluates new ‘blue dye electrode’ battery

As the search for ever-cheaper and sustainable materials for electrochemical batteries continues, EDF is trialling a novel new battery featuring a commonly used blue dye to form the electrodes.

California-headquartered Natron Energy is developing batteries using Prussian Blue dye electrodes to store electricity in sodium ion electrolytes. Cheap and widely available, the dye also has low sensitivity to temperature extremes, Natron said.

EDF (Electricité de France) will test the batteries at its labs in France. Natron claims that “tens of thousands of cycles” of “extremely high rates of sustained charge and discharge” are possible. Natron and EDF have entered an evaluation agreement, with a view to the technology ultimately being used to support the integration of grid-scale renewables. 

Engie Storage appoints new CCO

One of the earliest and best-known examples of the Silicon Valley tech space entering the battery storage industry, Engie Storage, formerly known as Green Charge, has appointed a new CCO to join recently appointed Chief Executive Christopher Tilley.

Founder and long-term CEO Vic Shao stepped aside for Tilley in late March, staying on chairman. This week the company, now under the ownership of French utility Engie, said Marc Roper, formerly an exec with renewable energy analytics and sustainable business advisory company Alta Energy, had been appointed Chief Commercial Officer.

The company is active in behind-the-meter energy storage for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. As with other providers including Stem Inc and Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS), the company’s ‘storage-as-a-service’ model gives businesses the chance to reduce energy costs by installing batteries that lower dependence on the grid at peak times. 

Green Charge C&I storage units. Now branded Engie Storage, the company has appointed a new CEO and CCO over the last five months. Image: Engie Storage.

Second-life BMW batteries buffer grid from EV charge spikes

Aimed at maximising the use of solar in the charging of EVs, so-called ’second-life’ BMW i3 batteries have been used in a commercial stationary energy storage installation in California.

EVgo, a fast charge network provider, launched its project at a public DC fast charging station in Union City, California. It charges BMW i3 batteries with solar energy and allows EV drivers to charge their vehicles with that power at peak times, reducing strain on the grid and curtailment of renewable energy production. The first installation uses two 22kWh units, each tied to a 30kW inverter.

Interest in second-life repurposing of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles is growing. A recent project at Holland’s Amsterdam Arena paired reused Nissan batteries with brand new batteries, while one of the largest projects to co-locate battery energy storage with wind energy so far, a 90MW wind park also in the Netherlands, also uses second-life car batteries. 

EVgo claimed to power nearly 5 million miles of travel each month, as of the end of 2017. Image: EVgo Facebook page.

Delta’s Skid is in America

Delta Electronics has launched an energy storage solution aimed at the growing commercial and industrial (C&I) market, scalable to 2MWh with 500kW PCS (power conditioning system).

The company, which said at the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Russia that it had delivered UPS solutions to five of the football stadiums used, has launched Battery Energy Storage Skid (BESS). The solution has PCS scalable from 125kW to 500kW and is designed to be installed outdoors.

Debuting this week at Intersolar North America, the BESS is aimed at enabling common C&I applications including peak shaving, load management optimisation and solar self-consumption and integration. Taiwan-headquartered Delta also showcased its updated residential energy storage system line at the show. 

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