ROUNDUP: Ultrasound battery diagnostics, French Guiana project expansion, Thermal storage company wins South Africa order

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Voltalia’s existing Mana Stockage project at the Toco complex, French Guiana. Image: Voltalia.

18 November 2021: US$33 million funding round for ultrasound battery management solutions startup

Titan Advanced Energy, a startup developing ultrasound-based battery management solutions, has raised US$33 million in a Series B funding round. 

Targeting the automotive and stationary energy storage markets, Massachusetts-headquartered Titan has developed a technology that CEO and co-founder Shawn Murphy said “spans the battery life cycle. From manufacturing and first use to second life and recycling”.

Titan’s solution uses ultrasound to monitor and communicate information on state of health, state of charge and safety profile from lithium-ion batteries in real-time. It is being co-developed by the company together with global automotive manufacturers and multinational energy storage integrators as well as consumer electronics companies in the US and Europe, Titan claimed. 

“We will continue to propel the shift toward electrification by solving critical issues impacting the performance and safety of new and reused lithium-ion batteries,” Murphy said.

The Series B round was led by HG Ventures, the investment arm of multinational Heritage Group which is involved in everything from transport and infrastructure to specialty chemicals and fuels. Other investors included Schneider Electric’s SE Ventures. 

Titan Advanced Energy Solutions said it will use the capital to accelerate the industrial-scale deployment of its battery diagnostics and battery sensor and management technologies. 

In a recent article for our journal PV Tech Power, Sebastian Becker at analytics software company TWAICE explained how and why battery analytics is a major game changer for battery storage.

18 November 2021: Voltalia begins solar-plus-storage expansion of French Guiana project

French renewable energy company Voltalia has broken ground on an expansion of a project in French Guiana, adding battery storage and solar PV capacity.

Voltalia was awarded a contract to build its Toco energy storage complex in the overseas French territory through a French Commission for Energy Regulation tender. The complex consists of Mana Stockage, a battery storage facility and Savanes des Pères, a separate smaller battery energy storage system (BESS) and 3.8MW solar PV plant project. 

The existing 15.6MWh of battery storage at the site performs frequency regulation and arbitrage applications. The company is now adding Sable Blanc, a project combining 5MW of solar PV with 10.6MWh of battery storage to the complex, bringing its total capacity up to 19.3MW / 25.6MWh. 

Sable Blanc’s solar-generated energy will be stored and injected into the grid in the evenings once solar production has tailed off. It will serve to replace diesel generator capacity nearby and is scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2022, operating under a guaranteed 20-year tariff agreement. 

17 November 2021: Azelio wins 1.3MWh thermal energy storage order from South African farming company

Swedish thermal energy storage startup Azelio has received a 1.3MWh systems order from an agricultural company in South Africa. 

Farming company Wee Bee will buy eight units of Azelio’s TES.POD systems. The value of the purchase is about US$1.2 million over 15 years, Azelio said. 

The TES.PODs will be used in combination with solar PV, reducing Wee Bee’s carbon emissions and increasing its stability of energy supply. The company is currently connected to a fossil fuel-based grid supply which is also unreliable as well as expensive. 

Rules in South Africa on commercial entities generating and using their own onsite energy systems were recently relaxed. 

Azelio will deliver the units as a complete system and install, start up and commission them with partner Alec Energy. They will be delivered by the end of this year. An Azelio spokesperson recently told that its storage technology is “designed for daily cycling, charging the storage during 4-6 hours, and then dispatching electricity for 10-12 hours”.

Azelio is one of the founder members of the recently-launched Long Duration Energy Storage Council (LDES Council). Its TES.PODs store heat in a phase change material (PCM) made with recycled aluminium. The PCM is heated to 600°C, with the heat converted to electricity when it’s needed using a Stirling Engine. 

The company won the first commercial order for its systems in December 2020 and TES.POD units are also being used in a pilot project at a visitor centre at the world’s biggest single-site solar PV plant, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai

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