News Article | November 14, 2016
This GTM Squared insight has been unlocked for you by: Spokane, a city of some 210,000 people in the foothills of eastern Washington state, is not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks about cutting-edge smart city deployments, or the latest efforts in transactive energy. But utility Avista and smart metering giant Itron want it to earn its place on that map. At Itron Utility Week last month, Itron and Avista laid out some details of their participation in an urban renewal project, called Urbanova, which will use Itron’s meters and wireless networks as the foundation for a broader internet of things (IOT) rollout. Two years in the making, Urbanova’s plan was formalized in September with partners including the Spokane city government, engineering firm McKinstry, and Washington State University. The project in Spokane’s 770-acre University District will start with networked streetlights -- a fairly common and cost-effective smart city application. But it will eventually grow to include air quality sensors, medical devices, and distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar panels, behind-the-meter batteries, plug-in electric vehicles and energy-smart building control systems. It’s the first smart city project of its kind in Washington state, though only one of many being tested out around the world. It’s also a showcase for Itron’s next-generation technology platform, dubbed Riva. Finding ways to extend smart meter networks’ capabilities and business cases has long been a part of the Liberty Lake, Wash.-based company’s plans, along with those of competitors like Silver Spring Networks and Toshiba’s Landis+Gyr. In his opening speech at last month’s Itron Utility Week in Orlando, Fla., Itron CEO Philip Mezey laid out the business case for using advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to connect customers outside the utility. “The systems we have built for you and with you to address the meter-to-cash cycle are a foundational basis for doing so much more -- for, really, the same price,” he said. “We need to advance our thinking in what we call the active network.” Urbanova will also take on a challenge facing utilities that are trying to incorporate DERs into their daily operations and long-term planning -- how to understand and monetize the value they offer the grid, both as individual units and together. This concept goes by different names, including transactive energy, or as the Avista project is called, the “shared energy economy.” For Avista technology strategist Curt Kirkeby, these separate but commonly networked deployments represent a natural extension of the utility’s existing smart grid infrastructure to the endpoints of the system -- and beyond. “We’ve been trying to model the grid since way back in the 1970s,” he said at last month’s Itron event. “Now we’re getting into the customer side of things.” Itron and Avista are well known to one another -- in fact, Itron was spun out of Avista in 1977. The two have been working on AMI since 2009, when Avista rolled out 13,000 Itron meters in Pullman, Wash. under a federal smart grid investment grant. In May, Avista picked Itron for a broader rollout across its 375,000-customer service territory over the next six years, featuring its OpenWay Riva technology, which is deployed with grid routers and networking technology from partner Cisco. While contracts are still being finalized and deployment schedules haven’t been set, the University District will be an early target. The benefits of AMI for Avista will start with the core meter-to-cash proposition, Kirkeby said. They’ll also use the meter data for revenue protection -- finding wasted or stolen electricity -- and pinpointing outages in its distribution network, which are common uses for a growing number of smart meter-equipped utilities today. In the meantime, Avista has rolled out some significant smart grid projects. Its largest, funded by a $20 million investment grant in 2009, is a distribution automation (DA) project that covers about one-third of its customers, featuring wireless networks from ABB’s Tropos and substation automation, smart switches and digital relays from grid vendor Efacec ACS. Beyond preventing and limiting outages, Avista has been using its DA system to do conservation voltage reduction (CVR), or fine-tuning voltages at different parts of the grid to save energy. Smart meters will be able to provide minute-by-minute data on energy, voltage and power quality at the endpoints of the grid, a critical piece of data for a system that must keep every customer within certain voltage limits. Next, Avista plans to extend the smart meter wireless network to non-grid devices, particularly those it doesn’t own, Kirkeby said. This is a realm where most AMI projects haven’t gone yet, since only the latest technologies, like Itron’s Riva or Silver Spring’s Starfish platform, support real-time, two-way communications across technology standards outside the utility realm. To test this capability, Avista is starting with streetlights. Last year, it embarked on a 28,000-streetlight LED replacement program, driven by the energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. These LEDs also come with digital controllers that offer a lot more flexibility than old-fashioned high-pressure sodium lights, making them useful targets for connecting to the network. They’re also distributed around the city, making them useful nodes for extending it to more devices. This is an important new market for Itron. Riva has supported streetlight connectivity since last year, but Itron hasn’t announced nearly as many deals on this front as has rival Silver Spring Networks, which bought vendor Streetlight.Vision in 2014 and has tens of thousands of lights networked in the U.S. and Europe. But there’s plenty of competition for traditional AMI vendors to contend with in this space, including giants like Verizon, which acquired LED networking startup Sensity Systems this fall, or GE’s Current, which bought Daintree Networks in April. Moving from energy assets to the broader world of IOT devices, Itron and Avista will start with air-quality sensors being deployed as part of a five-year, $1.5 million project with researchers from WSU’s Voiland College. WSU already runs one of the country’s most effective air-quality monitoring programs through its Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, and it’s a big partner in Avista’s Pullman microgrid projects. The goals of the Urbanova deployment combine both fields, to “monitor, predict and control energy and air quality in an urban environment and to record resulting health impacts” on people living and working in the University district. “Health monitoring is a core area where we’re leveraging the IOT platform” that Itron provides, Kirkeby said. Spokane’s University District is the home of three medical schools, and they’re going to be looking at the potential for using the Urbanova wireless network to connect different types of medical devices, he said. Beyond that, there’s a lot of room to add connectivity with Itron’s platform to the new construction being promoted for the district’s undeveloped parcels. These types of applications are still years out, though. While the Urbanova partners have signed a memorandum of understanding, they haven’t gotten to the nitty-gritty details of how they’ll share responsibility and ownership of the devices and data that will be part of this networked vision. In August, the Urbanova partners got a $7 million grant from the state’s Department of Commerce to launch the distributed energy portion of its project. It will start with a microgrid, planned to include 200 kilowatts of solar from two arrays and a combined 2.5 megawatt-hours of battery storage, and integration with the two buildings’ energy management systems. While eastern Washington isn’t the hottest spot for rooftop solar, Avista is the host of the state’s first community solar project, a 425-kilowatt array that will serve more than 500 residential and commercial customers. The utility also has a pressing need to manage the ups and downs of the state’s wind generation, which can reach up to 17 percent of overall supply at times, and can’t be curtailed even when it’s producing more power than is needed, Kirkeby said. Avista also has a fair share of experience with batteries. Since April 2015, it’s been operating a 1-megawatt, 3.2-megawatt-hour vanadium redox flow battery from UET, which is also working on the shared energy economy project, at a substation in Pullman, providing load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation. One of the biggest customers served by that substation is grid technology vendor Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), which is also providing the microgrid controls for the Urbanova project, he said. That will give Avista the tools to monitor and control each of its grid-connected energy assets, whether they’re controllable loads within buildings, or the inverters that connect the project’s solar arrays and batteries to the grid. In all of these use cases, “you need predictability, and you need dispatchability,” Kirkeby said. “We want to be monitoring state of charge, managing baseline schedules or active schedules, and revising it all on the fly. The Riva IOT platform is the perfect way to do that.” Beyond technically controlling these DER interactions, the shared energy economy project will be extending the work of the regional Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. This multi-year project, involving 11 utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration, connected 27 different “nodes” across the Pacific Northwest’s transmission grid to calculate current and predicted electricity demand and costs, and communicate those values to power plants, industrial demand response systems and behind-the-meter controllable loads like adjustable water heaters and batteries. The shared energy economy project will shrink this concept down to the scale of the local distribution grid. “We’re working on methodologies for valuing different DERs,” including solar PV, energy storage and natural-gas-fired turbines. Avista is studying the potential for battery power to support critical loads such as the area’s medical facilities during outages like the one caused by a freak windstorm last year, he said. But it will also be asking its batteries and controllable loads to perform valuable tasks when the grid isn’t down, from balancing out ups and downs in solar output to providing reactive power to help stabilize voltages, he said. This chart from a recent presentation on the project (PDF) shows how the system will be configured, with SEL’s microgrid controller receiving optimization data from the utility’s DMS, collecting the status and availability of its various DERs, and controlling them to serve a ranked series of grid needs. This kind of “transactive microgrid” architecture is on the cutting edge of microgrid technology, and is being tried out in a select set of pilot projects, including several being funded by ARPA-E's $33 million NODES program, as well as the U.S.-Canadian Transactive Energy project that’s linking microgrids in Maine, Nova Scotia and Toronto. This GTM Squared insight has been unlocked for you by:
News Article | January 1, 2016
UniEnergy Technologies, a startup commercializing flow batteries in energy storage applications, just finished off 2015 with $25 million more in its electrolyte tanks. The round B of funding was led by Japan’s Orix, a $19 billion financial services firm and renewables developer, along with UET’s “current private equity investor.” That usually unnamed “current private equity investor” is Bolong Holding, also an investor in Rongke Power, a Chinese firm building vanadium flow batteries using an earlier type of electrolyte. UET claims that its “third-generation” flow battery system is differentiated by its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-licensed vanadium electrolyte with “double the energy density, much broader temperature range, and 100 percent recyclability.” While a sealed battery has two, typically solid, electrodes embedded in an electrolyte, a flow battery circulates a liquid electrolyte (with dissolved electroactive agents) through electrochemical cells that convert chemical energy to electricity. The electrolytes are stored externally in tanks. Power density is determined by the electrochemical cell’s area, while the volume of the tanks determines duration. This gives flow battery technology the potential for longer-duration energy storage compared to other battery types. More than 20 flow battery chemistries, including zinc-bromine, zinc-cerium, and magnesium-vanadium, have been studied — but the most researched and closest to commercialization is the vanadium redox flow battery (VRB). Vanadium, the dominant cost in that electrolyte, is a metal mined in Russia, China and South Africa with reserves in the U.S. and Canada, and is used predominantly as a steel additive. Russ Weed, VP of business development at UET, told GTM that the company’s battery works well in a microgrid, in commercial and industrial applications, and in utility applications. In a previous interview, Weed said that a typical installation will cost “somewhere between $700 and $800 per kilowatt-hour,” a figure that includes all the components needed to interconnect with the grid, adding, “When we scale up to where we’re going, we’re going to be $500 per kilowatt-hour, all in.” He adds that UET “beats the competition both on dollar per kilowatt-hour and on levelized cost.” Weed said that customers should require a figure that “includes all the installation costs and components needed to operate the system and interconnect with the grid, all in” before deciding on a particular technology. UET has built the largest-capacity flow battery in North America — a 1-megawatt, 4-megawatt-hour vanadium redox flow battery sited at the Turner Substation in Pullman, Wash. to support Washington State University’s smart campus operations. The battery will be used for load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation. Weed stressed, “We can do peak shaving (or time shifting)…and frequency regulation concurrently.” Other UET customers include Energiespeicher Nord GmbH & Co., City of New York Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Terna and Viessmann Group. Weed said, “I would submit we are the leading flow battery now and are working hard to scale up the channel. We have a pipeline of gigawatt-hours of projects we’re working on.” Today’s fleet of flow battery companies has developed some momentum in terms of capital, personnel and deployments in real-world applications. Firms such as UET, ViZn, Primus, Sumitomo and Imergy are finally installing flow batteries that pencil out financially without incentives. UET has deployed or has on order 10 megawatts/40 megawatt-hours of its vanadium flow battery. The majority of deployed capacity in the U.S. this past quarter was in the utility-scale (front-of-meter) segment, with 46.6 megawatts deployed, predominantly lithium-ion battery technology. As energy storage services mature, it is presumed that longer-duration systems will prevail and new technologies will emerge. GTM Research expects the U.S. to deploy 192 megawatts this year, tripling last year’s total. We recently published a guide to flow batteries in our initial Technology Squared column. Here’s a table from that report. Greentech Media (GTM) produces industry-leading news, research, and conferences in the business-to-business greentech market. Our coverage areas include solar, smart grid, energy efficiency, wind, and other non-incumbent energy markets. For more information, visit: greentechmedia.com , follow us on twitter: @greentechmedia, or like us on Facebook: facebook.com/greentechmedia.
News Article | October 29, 2016
UniEnergy Technologies (UET), the leading flow battery provider in North American and Europe, will supply a grid-scale advanced vanadium flow battery to provide long-term energy resiliency at Naval Base Ventura County (NB Ventura) at Port Hueneme, CA. The renewable energy generation and storage project supports a U.S. military strategic effort to implement renewable energy and greater energy security across its operations. The partnership was announced today by officials from the U.S. Navy and the California Energy Commission during a joint press conference at the California Energy Collaboration Conference at Stanford University. The solar-plus-storage project includes a 6 megawatt (MW) solar installation combined with a 4.5 MW/18 megawatt-hour (MWh) UET Uni.System in a microgrid. In return for a low-cost land lease of 44 acres on Navy property, the Navy has the right to utilize the power, energy and other attributes of the storage-enabled microgrid in the event of a grid outage, to support critical loads, even if an outage extends weeks or months, without requiring external fuel supplies. Under normal grid operations, the solar and storage capacity generated by the microgrid will be purchased by a third party off-taker. In addition to providing the energy storage system, UET will own and operate the facility working closely with the Navy’s Renewable Energy Program Office (REPO). “UET has established itself as a leading storage provider to support energy resiliency and 21st century grid services. The U.S. Navy is on the leading edge of implementing energy storage and renewable energy solutions to support critical operations,” said Michael Carr, UET’s vice-president of strategic and western sales. “This innovative partnership ensures the Navy will have access to secure energy resources for extended durations as needed during critical times over the next several decades. Meantime, the regional energy market will benefit from cost-effective, enhanced grid stability and advance California’s renewable energy goals. We look forward to working with the Navy on this and future projects." About Naval Base Ventura County Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) is a premier naval installation composed of three operating facilities - Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC supports approximately 80 tenant commands with a base population of more than 19,000 personnel. Tenant commands encompass an extremely diverse set of specialties that support both Fleet and Fighter, including three warfare centers: Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division and Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center. NBVC is also home to deployable units, including the Pacific Seabees and the West Coast E-2C Hawkeyes. About UniEnergy Technologies UniEnergy Technologies (UET) provides turn-key, megawatt-scale energy storage solutions that deliver the full range of power and energy applications for military, utility, independent power producer, microgrid, and commercial and industrial customers. UET has systems totaling over 20 megawatt (MW)/80 megawatt-hours (MWh) deployed, ordered, or awarded in WA, CA, NY, HI, TN, Germany, and Italy. Founded in 2012, UET has grown from a start-up company commercializing technology initially developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to a global company leading in the deployment of MW-scale containerized flow battery systems. UET’s customers consistently cite the value of fade-free performance, unrestricted duty cycle, and 20-year life as key reasons for selecting UET systems. For more information visit http://www.uetechnologies.com
News Article | March 31, 2016
GTM Research tracks a lot of statistics in its quarterly Grid Edge Executive briefings, including a running tally of venture capital and private equity financing in the sector. According to the most recent data, 2015 brought in $900 million from a total of 95 deals, with energy storage taking the lion’s share of $400 million, and batteries racking up half of that. Last year’s grid-edge investment figures don’t match 2014’s $1.3 billion in 83 deals. Still, they’re better than one might have predicted, largely due to the $300 million or so added in the fourth quarter of the year. Big fourth-quarter investments included the year’s top three in energy storage: $58 million for flow battery startup Vionx, $50 million for storage software and project developer Younicos, and the last round of behind-the-meter battery startup Stem's $57 million over three deals. Add in $25 million for flow battery maker UET in December and $25 million for Primus Power in September, and you’ve got nearly all the battery-related investment of the year. On the soft side of energy storage, battery systems software vendor Greensmith raised $5 million. Demand-side management also did well, with about one-quarter of the tally going to building and home energy management vendors, GTM Research reported. Those include eight-figure investments in Netatmo, Tado, Blue Pillar, Optimum Energy and Lucid Design Group, largely for software to integrate various energy-consuming devices and systems. Power electronics technologies also garnered their fair share, including Transphorm’s $70 million, Smart Wires’ $30.8 million, and Varentec’s $13 million. As we’ve noted in our recent ARPA-E coverage, these types of technologies are just now being deployed to bring more grid control in the face of rising levels of wind and solar power. The nebulous internet-of-things category (i.e., networking and communications technologies) also brought in some significant investments for companies dealing at least in part with the worlds of the grid and energy. The biggest was Greenwave’s $45 million from investors including Singapore’s EDBI and German utility E.ON. 2016 has brought its own news, like Sunverge’s $36.5 million Series C round to help bring its behind-the-meter battery systems to scale in California and Australia. Beyond equity investment, we’ve seen an uptick in project finance, with $30 million from FuelCell Energy in December and Green Charge Networks’ $50 million in project debt financing. While that’s not much compared to the $200-million-plus brought to the table for no-money-down storage offerings back when they were first launched in 2014, it’s a hopeful sign for the market. Other project financing deals announced last year include one between Bloom Energy and Constellation/Exelon, and another between Advanced Microgrid Solutions and the beleaguered SunEdison, which one may well expect won’t end up being added to the total.
News Article | December 9, 2016
UniEnergy Technologies (UET), the leading flow battery provider in North America and Europe, will supply a ReFlex™ energy storage system to Las Positas College (LPC) in Livermore, California. The energy storage solution will provide an immediate financial benefit to the college campus by reducing peak demand charges. It will also be part of a campus-wide microgrid project to be used to evaluate methods to lower energy costs, manage the impacts of high-density renewable energy resources, and increase energy resilience on a higher education campus. The UET ReFlex system will initially include one, 100 kilowatt (kW)/ 500 kilowatt hour (kWh) advanced vanadium flow battery, to support an existing 2.35 megawatt (MW) solar array and 3200 ton/hour ice storage system. The college has the option to purchase and install an additional ReFlex battery at a future date. The ReFlex, “plug and play” by design, will integrate with software provided by Geli for collaborative microgrid management. Geli’s product delivers intelligent energy applications such as microgrid management and demand response. The project is managed by WSP|Parsons Brinkerhoff and funded in part by a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. In addition to reducing peak demand charges, the energy storage and management systems will smooth variable nature of the solar power and reduce the demand from the college, which is nearly 15% of the local circuit load at peak evening hours. The college estimates it could save over $600,000 in energy costs with the addition of one ReFlex battery, and close to $1.3 million with two ReFlex batteries. The college will also use the microgrid working with Pacific Gas & Electric and Olivine to improve local grid conditions through services such as demand response. “The addition of long-duration energy storage to this project will enable Las Positas College to realize the full benefits of their solar installation and complete its transformation to a modern microgrid,” said Mike Carr, UET Vice President of Strategic and Western Sales. “In addition to the immediate cost and resiliency benefits to the college, the local utility and community will also benefit from reduced stress on the local circuit provided by the storage-enabled microgrid.” The microgrid project will inform development of the next-generation grid where energy customers proactively manage their own generation and storage assets across a network, gaining benefits for themselves and their surrounding connected communities. The college plans to share their data and knowledge across the California community college system and beyond, according to Doug Horner, Vice Chancellor, Facilities/Bond Programs and Operations for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “We will produce a Microgrid Blueprint as a model for evaluating, planning and installing energy storage and energy management microgrids at the hundreds of educational facilities across the state with installed solar PV arrays,” he said. “The performance and economic data will provide support for educational facilities leaders and solution providers evaluating the benefits for the schools themselves and their communities. This includes intelligent coordination of distributed energy resources such as solar PV and energy storage and increased reliability.” The UET system is scheduled to be delivered to the site and commissioned in Spring 2017. About Las Positas College: Las Positas College currently enrolls nearly 8,500 day and evening students. The College offers curriculum for students seeking career preparation, transfer to a four-year college or university, or personal enrichment. The College provides university transfer classes, retraining classes for those in need of employment or career advancement, a first-time educational opportunity for many adults, enrichment classes for those seeking a broader perspective, and career and technical training for those entering the technical and paraprofessional work force. Las Positas College excels in helping students transfer to the University of California system, the California State University system, and other four-year institutions. Visit http://www.laspositascollege.edu for more information. About UniEnergy Technologies UET provides turn-key, megawatt-scale energy storage solutions that deliver the full range of power and energy applications for microgrid, military, commercial and industrial, utility, and independent power producer customers. UET has systems totaling over 20MW/80MWh’s deployed, ordered, or awarded in CA, NY, WA, HI, TN, Germany, and Italy. Founded in 2012, UET has grown from a start-up company commercializing technology initially developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to a global company leading in the deployment of MW-scale containerized flow battery systems. UET’s customers consistently cite the value of fade-free performance, unrestricted duty cycle, and 20-year life as key reasons for selecting UET systems. For more information, visit http://www.uetechnologies.com.
News Article | March 15, 2016
This country’s utilities are addressing disruptive changes taking place in a number of different ways. Some adhere to more standard business models, moving at a painstaking snail’s pace in order to make any kind of change, no matter how timely the alterations. Then there are others who are embracing innovation, looking at the universe of changing technologies as an open door to new business opportunities. Include Washington-based Avista Utilities on the list of utilities embracing the disruptive technologies which are presently happening across the industry, such as battery storage technology, and leveraging it for a new business model called “economies of scope” – a model Avista believes is the future of the utility business. To this end, Spokane, Washington-based Avista Utilities Corporation’s Energy Storage Project in Pullman, Washington provides a solid example of innovation for the future of electricity distribution. The storage project addresses a large challenge facing today’s energy industry: integrating power generated from intermittent, renewable resources, such as wind and solar, into the electrical grid. The project is also testing better ways to improve power system reliability. Avista’s vice president of energy delivery Heather Rosentrater, who oversees this project, recalls what drove her to this utility was finding a business culture which took advantage of innovation. “We really do have a culture of innovation here,” she said. “Employees are encouraged to leverage new technology as it advances.” Rosenstrater adds Avista customers cover a broad spectrum of preferences, ranging from those who want dependability and simply want to pay their bill to individuals wanting to own their electricity generation and sell that generation to their neighbors. “It’s really looking at preferences and recognizing that there isn’t going to be one-size-fits-all for our customers.” she says. The utility’s business vision includes assessing how potentially disruptive distributed energy technologies connecting to the grid can create opportunities. Then comes innovation. “One of the ways we are particularly focused on is through economies of scope,” observes Rosenstrater. “That means using those assets like the storage and the battery project that we have, trying to leverage it every day.” While most utility customers may expect a reliable energy system, including one featuring renewable energies, most know little about the management of such a distribution infrastructure. “Electric energy—including power from renewable resources—must be used as soon as it is generated. So if the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining during times when people need the most energy, it is not always possible to meet customer demand.” Avista’s Energy Storage project is testing new batteries that can store power when it’s abundant and distribute electricity when it’s needed. A successful platform provides reliable energy regardless of weather patterns — a standard criticism of renewable alternatives. That is, until energy storage is added to the puzzle of integrating renewable resources into the electric grid. Last April, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers joined Avista executives in Pullman to energize and dedicate the utility’s Energy Storage Project. The event marked a significant milestone as Avista commenced testing its new battery storage system. Over an 18-month period, Avista, working with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, will test this large-scale energy storage system. Avista’s goal is to explore how its 1 MW, 3.2 MWh large-scale battery system energy storage can help its electrical grid become more flexible and reliable by integrating power from intermittent renewable sources. The system has the capacity to power 750 homes for 3.2 hours. The $7 million project was funded by a $3.2 million grant from Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund and another $3.8 million in Avista matching funds. According to Clean Technology Business Review (CTBR), UniEnergy Technologies (UET) and Avista today announced the selection of Northern Power Systems to deliver advanced power conversion for the largest capacity flow battery installed in North America. Situated near Pullman, Washington, near Washington State University and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the battery started operations last April. UniEnergy Technologies manufactured the battery. The UET system is an advanced vanadium flow battery, which uses Pacific Northwest National Laboratories technology. Avista has until now used the system for load shifting, frequency regulation, and voltage regulation on the distribution circuit in Pullman. CTBR reports that the addition of the NPS converters will allow “the UET system to support Avista’s customer Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to provide power supply without interruptions, black start and four-cycle ride-through to SEL’s manufacturing plant.” This electricity storage infrastructure appears to be operating successfully. If so, we can anticipate other utilities to be analyzing the results of this project for other renewable energy projects. Images via Avista Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 13, 2016
The latest, greatest utility-scale battery storage technology to emerge on the commercial market is the vanadium redox battery, also known as the vanadium flow battery. V-flow batteries are fully containerized, nonflammable, compact, reusable over semi-infinite cycles, discharge 100% of the stored energy and do not degrade for more than 20 years. Most batteries use two chemicals that change valence (or charge or redox state) in response to electron flow that convert chemical energy to electrical energy, and vice versa. V-flow batteries use the multiple valence states of just vanadium to store and release charges. V can exist as several ions of different charges in solution, V(2+,3+,4+,5+), each having different numbers of electrons around the nucleus. Fewer electrons gives a higher positive charge. Energy is stored by providing electrons making V(2+,3+), and energy is released by losing electrons to form V(4+,5+). Flow batteries consist of two tanks of liquid, which simply sit there until needed. When pumped into a reactor, the two solutions flow adjacent to each other past a membrane, and generate a charge by moving electrons back and forth during charging and discharging. This type of battery can offer almost unlimited energy capacity simply by using larger electrolyte storage tanks. It can be left completely discharged for long periods with no ill effects, making maintenance simpler than other batteries. Because of these unique properties, the new V-flow batteries reduce the cost of storage to about 5¢/kWh. These batteries are rather large and best suited to industrial and utility scale applications. They could never fit in an electric car, so the Tesla battery is safe for now. But the V-flow battery outcompetes Li-ion, and any other solid battery, for utility-scale applications. They’re just safer, more scalable, longer-lasting and cheaper - less than half the cost per kWh. New battery technology is essential in our new energy future. According to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, energy storage demand, especially at the business and utility scales, will increase ten times in just the next five years, fueled in major part by the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for five more years. The Energy Storage Association states that corporate investments in energy storage reached $660 million in just the third quarter of 2016. UniEnergy Technologies (UET) of Seattle produces the largest MW-scale vanadium flow batteries yet, using a molecule developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL’s breakthrough was to introduce hydrochloric acid into the electrolyte solution, almost doubling the storage capacity and making the system work over a far greater range of temperatures, from -40°C to 50°C (-40°F to 122°F), removing a large previous cost of maintaining temperature control. Presently, the largest installed V-flow battery in the U.S. is a UET 2MW/8MWh (power/total dischargeable energy in a single full charge) system in Washington State at the Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Everett Substation. This vanadium battery can keep the lights on in 1,000 homes for eight hours. A V-flow battery system planned for Dalian China by UET's sister company Rongke will soon be the largest battery in the world at 200MW/800MWh. “Cost-effective, reliable, and longer-lived energy storage is necessary to truly modernize the grid,” said Dr. Imre Gyuk, energy storage program manager for DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, of UET’s system. “As third-generation vanadium flow batteries gain market share, it is essential to increase our understanding of storage value and optimization to accelerate adoption of integrated storage and renewable energy solutions among utilities.” No matter how you cut it, energy storage has generally been very expensive. And no matter how good ordinary batteries are, they cost about 30¢ to store 1 kWhr, essentially tripling the cost of generating that energy. Storage has primarily been done only when necessary for logistical reasons, like storing solar power generated that day for use that night in a remote area. Or when you want a flashlight to use without dragging a hundred-foot cord around. No one thinks about the absurdly high cost of that electricity since it’s usually such a small amount needed to power a flashlight or a remote appliance. Twenty hours of continuous use, more or less, is what you’ll get from a common battery. But storing energy for the future is becoming more important as power generation evolves and we need to be more creative, and less costly, than we’ve been so far. Hence, the importance of the V-flow batteries. In addition to batteries, there are other technologies for storing intermittent energy, such thermal energy storage. However, the most widely used storage method is , which uses surplus electricity to pump water up to a reservoir behind a dam. Later, when demand for energy is high, the stored water is released through turbines in the dam to generate electricity. Pumped hydro is used in 99 percent of grid storage today, but there are geologic and environmental constraints on where pumped hydro can be deployed. For now, V-flow batteries offer the best deployable large battery storage technology developed thus far. Dr. James Conca is a geochemist, an energy expert, an authority on dirty bombs, a planetary geologist and professional speaker. Follow him on Twitter @jimconca and see his book at Amazon.com
Ghumman A.R.,UET |
Ghumman A.R.,Qassim University
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2011
Water quality of rivers, natural lakes, and reservoirs in developing countries is being degraded because of the contaminated inflows. There is a serious need for appropriate water quality monitoring for future planning and management of clean water resources. Quality of water in Rawal Lake Pakistan has been investigated in this paper. Flows from the upstream of Rawal Lake and its surrounding villages are highly polluted. Lake water quality parameters like pH, turbidity, alkalinity, calcium, nitrite, sulfate, biological oxygen dissolved, dissolved oxygen, chloride, total dissolved solids (TDS), and coliforms were investigated. Samples of water from different locations of Korang River were collected and tested. Most of the data was collected by field sampling and field visits. However, long-term information was taken from different departments. Statistical parameters (standard deviation, maximum, minimum, mean, mode, kurtosis, skew, and Euclidean distance) of variables were determined. A distinct parameter based on the difference of the maximum value the variable and maximum allowable value of that variable defined by World Health Organization was used for analysis. Grouping and clustering of elements was made on the basis of this parameter. Trend of increasing or decreasing of values of variables over a long time was also taken into account for grouping the variables. It was concluded that the concentration of seven contaminants was higher as compared to the permissible limits under environmental standards. These variables need immediate attention. The environmentally bad conditions of Rawal Lake can only be rectified by appropriate lake environmental supervision, watershed management, and implementation of environmental legislation. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
International Journal of Thermal Sciences | Year: 2011
Buoyancy driven flow and associated heat convection in an elliptical enclosure has been investigated. The enclosure which is the space between two horizontal concentric confocal elliptic tubes is heated through its inner tube surface which is maintained at either uniform temperature or uniform heat flux. The induced buoyancy driven flow and the associated heat convection are predicted at different enclosure orientations. The full governing equations in terms of vorticity, stream function and temperature are solved numerically using Fourier Spectral Method. Beside Rayleigh and Prandtl numbers the heat convection process in the enclosure depends on the geometry of the enclosure and the angle of inclination with respect to gravity vector. The geometry of the enclosure is represented in terms of major axes ratio and axis ratio of inner tube. The study considered a moderate range of Rayleigh numbers between 5 × 10 3 and 1 × 10 5 while Prandtl number is fixed at 0.7. The inner tube axis ratio is considered between 0 and 1 while the ratio between the two major axes is considered up to 3. The angle of inclination of the minor axes with respect to gravity vector is varied from 0 to 90°. The results for local and average Nusselt numbers as well as temperature distribution are obtained and discussed together with the details of both flow and thermal fields. For isothermal heating conditions, the study has shown an optimum value for major axes ratio that minimizes the rate of heat transfer in the enclosure. While in case of heating at uniform heat flux the study revealed existence of major axes ratio at which the mean temperature of the inner wall is maximum. Another aspect of this paper is the prediction of global flow circulation around the inner tube in case of asymmetrical orientation of the enclosure with respect to the gravity vector. © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Proceedings of 2016 13th International Bhurban Conference on Applied Sciences and Technology, IBCAST 2016 | Year: 2016
In this paper, the polarization sensitive characteristics of Electromagnetic Bandgap (EBG) structures are discussed. EBG structures are used as a ground plane in modern antenna design due to their high-impedance and in-phase reflection behavior. Some wireless communication applications (such as satellite) are polarization sensitive and require a great care in designing the ground planes of the antennas being used. If a traditional Perfect Electric Conductor (PEC) ground plane is used then communication link will fail due to the polarization inverting properties of it. In this work a special type of EBG ground plane is designed for applications which use circularly polarized antennas for communication purposes. A phase difference of approximately 180 degrees, between the orthogonal (x and y) components of the electric fields of the incident electromagnetic wave, is obtained by using a cross-sheet via in the proposed EBG. This phase condition is the basic requirement for EBG structures employed in Circular Polarization (CP) applications. The phase difference preserves the sense of polarization of the incident waves being reflected from the proposed ground plane. The relative phase angle of the x and y polarized components of the E-fields is adjusted by varying the corresponding length of the x and y-arms of via. This parametric analysis is done till the phase-difference is fine-tuned to 180 degrees. The proposed EBG structure can be used in clockwise and counter clockwise circularly polarized, low-profile antenna designs. The electromagnetic analysis of the structure is carried out using Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method. © 2016 IEEE.