STORING ENERGY GETTING BETTER
Everybody can understand the power of the sun and the wind. Considering the abundance of that power, nothing but greedy self-interest could keep any reasonable person from wanting to put that power to work and gently, progressively, leave fossil fuels and dangerous power production behind.
Batteries and battery-like devices may not be as intuitively obvious as sun and wind but by resolving limitations associated with the intermittency of solar and wind generation, they may be the key to the success of sun and wind.
Tim Hennessy, chief executive, battery maker VRB Power: "It's been in the background until now. It's not sexy. It's the enabler…"
From another point of view, energy storage device technologies offer an interesting investment opportunity to money seeking a New Energy bet. Present sources of electricity demand are rising steadily. Automakers are moving toward partially- or fully-electric powered vehicles. There will soon be unprecedented levels of demand from the grid. Companies with energy storage technologies just coming into the marketplace that make it possible to get more of the supply to meet that demand from New Energy may very well turn out to be lucrative buys.
Jim Heathcote, CEO, ITM Power: "The one problem everyone's had is how to store. The ability to take (surplus) renewable energy and make useful fuel out of it is almost priceless…"
Market capitalization value for Ener1, parent company of EnerDel which will produce lithium-ion batteries for Th!nk City, the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV), has jumped 10 times in the last 2 years to $700 million.
Norway's Th!nk will beat Toyota and GM to the showroom floor next year, using a lithium-ion battery from Ener1. (click to enlarge)
Energy storage nears its day in the sun
Gerard Wynn, February 22, 2008 (Reuters via Yahoo News)
Tim Hennessy, chief executive, VRB Power; Jim Heathcote, CEO, ITM Power; Charles Gassenheimer, parent company chairman, EnerDel;
Energy storage technology is being developed to allay the biggest complaint against wind energy and solar energy, their intermittency.
Ener1 claims a variety of advances on other lithium-ion batteries. (click to enlarge)
- 2008: VRB Power will begin mass producing a longer-lasting battery than those currently used to store solar system-generated electricity.
- 2008: ITM Power will begin production of its elctrolyzers.
- 2009: ITM Power will begin production of its fuel cells.
- 2009: Th!nk City, with an EnerDel lithium-ion battery, will be the first mass-produced EV in the world.
- This report on energy storage comes from CleanEquity Monaco 2008.
- VRB Power is based in British Colombia.
- ITM Power is based in the UK.
- EnerDel is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- Think Global is based in Norway.
- VRB Power is bringing Hybrid Power Systems to the market.
- ITM Power is developing a system that will utilize solar or wind systems to electrolyze hydrogen so that it can be stored in a fuel cell. They hope to avoid the costs of battery materials like cadmium.
- EnerDel is working to make a cheaper, lighter lithium-ion battery for the Th!nk City EV from Think Global.
- The Th!nk City EV will have a battery power range of 100 miles and will go from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds.
VRB Power is doing BIG energy storage. (click to enlarge)
- Tim Hennessy, chief executive, battery maker VRB Power: "It's been in the background until now. It's not sexy. It's the enabler, not a source of energy…"
- Jim Heathcote, CEO, ITM Power: "With batteries you're taking enormous quantities of basic raw materials…Two things we're confident of is the supply of renewable energy and water…"
- Charles Gassenheimer, parent company chairman, EnerDel: "I think energy storage is the next frontier…"