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A research team led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory has discovered that only half the atoms in some iron-based superconductors are magnetic, providing a conclusive demonstration of the wave-like properties of metallic magnetism in these materials.
The researchers were able to show that the magnetism in these materials was produced by mobile electrons that are not bound to a particular iron atom, producing waves of magnetization throughout the sample. They discovered that, in some iron arsenides, two waves interfere to cancel out, producing zero magnetization in some atoms. This quantum interference, which has never been seen before, was revealed by Mössbauer spectroscopy, which is extremely sensitive to the magnetism on each iron site.
Researchers also used high-resolution X-ray diffraction at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and neutron diffraction at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) to determine the chemical and magnetic structures and to map the electronic phase diagram of the samples used. The APS and SNS are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.
"By combining neutron diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy, we were able to establish unambiguously that this novel magnetic ground state has a non-uniform magnetization that can only be produced by itinerant electrons. These same electrons are responsible for the superconductivity," Rosenkranz said.
The use of high-temperature superconducting materials in the electrical grid, for example, would significantly reduce the large amount of electricity that is lost as it travels though the grid, enabling the grid to operate more efficiently.
Puget Sound Energy's project is next to a substation in Glacier, a small town in the foothills of Baker Mountain that experiences frequent power outages because it's in the midst of a lot of very large trees. The utility is putting in a 2-MW/4.4-MWh lithium-ion battery system that will use controller software developed by a Seattle company, 1EnergySystems Inc., and is designed according to the MESA set of standards.
Puget Sound Energy expects to have the system fully operational by spring. The system will use power from the utility's grid to charge itself. The utility plans to use the system to reduce demand peaks and to provide power to Glacier during outages. Ray Lane, a Puget Sound Energy spokesman, said the system would be able to power the town for about eight hours.
Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) has signed a dealership agreement with Gildemeister Energy Storage to sell the CellCube range of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) in Australia.
Gildemeister is the developer of the CellCube; the world’s most commercially advanced Vanadium Flow Battery based on 15 years of development with over 100 sold units worldwide.
Harvard University and Sustainable Innovations LLC are designing an inexpensive flow battery based on organic molecules - many of which can be found in common plants like rhubarb - in a water-based electrolyte. Using computer simulations, the research team evaluated millions of chemical combinations and found several thousand with promising characteristics. These batteries can be made from non-toxic materials and don't require precious metals. The group expects to have a commercially-available storage system ready for pilot testing by the end of 2017.
The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is a public/private partnership that brings together world-leading scientists, engineers, and manufacturers with an important mission: develop clean energy storage technologies for transportation and the electricity grid. The Center was established by the Department of Energy as an Energy Innovation Hub in 2012 and is led by Argonne National Laboratory. Our partners include five national laboratories, ten universities, and five industrial firms.
JCESR investigates the replacement of solid electrodes with energy-dense liquids that charge and discharge as they flow through the battery and undergo reduction and oxidation (“redox”) reactions. These redox flow batteries store large amounts of energy inexpensively and are well-suited to the grid.
JCESR introduced a new direction in flow battery research: using inexpensive and versatile organic molecules as the energy storing redox materials. Organic molecules are highly tunable, with a wealth of pendant molecules that significantly alter activity, solubility and stability when attached to the basic redox molecule
The nano-structured gel is the brainchild of renewable energy and catalysis expert Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
It not only allows the batteries to be used in much smaller appliances, including cars, computers and mobile phones, but is also aimed at significantly out-competing current lithium-ion technology in terms of charging/discharging speeds, safety, durability and price.
According to Gelion, it has got the charge time for the battery down to just a few minutes, while its efficiency is at 90 per cent, which is higher than in your mobile phone. It also has a longer lifetime and is cheaper than lithium, and the gel is made out of a fire-retardant material.
A unique chemistry.
Our unique Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) chemistry is composed of a saltwater electrolyte, manganese oxide cathode, carbon titanium phosphate composite anode, and synthetic cotton separator. The battery utilizes non-corrosive intercalation reactions at the anode and cathode.
[The company developed a] liquid electrolyte [that] is mostly water and that it has developed an inexpensive process to make it in large quantities. The firm has also developed a proprietary cell design, electrodes and separator.
Based on early durability testing, WattJoule predicts a system lifetime of more than 20 years.
Lockheed Martin's energy group is raising its profile in a bid to enter the energy storage market with an offering of lithium-ion battery systems, in addition to its new flow-battery chemistry
We designed a complete, integrated AC lithium-ion system," said Fiebig, adding, "Everything is in there: batteries, battery management, thermal management, with the AC interconnections engineered for single-side access."
The system is sized at 250 kilowatts/500 kilowatt-hours, but can be configured for smaller or larger deployments in C&I applications and small to medium-size utility projects.
Rather than the acids used in many flow batteries, Lockheed Martin uses an aqueous electrolyte with a "mild pH (like soapy water)" that allows the use of conventional materials in the balance-of-system components, such as PVC tubing, while still providing a "good energy density" that's "better than vanadium."
Green Energy Storage... using technology licensed from Harvard University and partnering with University of Roma “Tor Vergata” we are developing a new commercial energy storage system based on organic flow battery technology. A breakthrough product targeting lower costs, longer life cycle, use of renewable organic materials and high safety level.
Primus brings its EnergyPod® flow battery systems and related services to the collaboration. Primus' patented storage technology pairs a unique zinc bromide chemistry with novel technical innovations to deliver optimum performance and multi-decade battery lifetime, at a low levelized cost of energy.
A demonstration of the new flow battery system will be installed at Eaton's facility in Hayward, California, in close proximity to Primus' global headquarters.
“For off-grid and hospitals worldwide it is a no brainer,” said Reynolds. “It is not my favorite subject, but the military apps are enormous. The UET [UniEnergy Technologies] battery can ramp to full peak load (uni-system 2.2 MW for 1 hour) in 0.64 of a millisecond[, which is less than a hertz cycle, so there is no interruption to computers or software-based solutions… if we want to develop a new standard we must be able to control electricity more effectively as we are still operating as we did 100 years ago. Nothing has changed since Edison and Tesla. UET has the solution, even though it may not be glaringly obvious yet.”
Based in the Seattle, Washington area, UET operates a 67,000 square foot engineering and manufacturing facility scaling up to produce 100 megawatts annually. Planned deployments by UET in 2016 include projects in California, Italy, New York, Tennessee and Washington State. In 2015, UET deployed the largest containerized flow battery now in operation in the world, as verified by the US Department of Energy Office of Electricity Global Energy Storage Database.
Vanadium is primarily used as an alloy to strengthen steel and reduce its weight. Vanadium enhanced steels are used in a vast and growing range of products that are used and encountered every day; including, rebar, automobiles, transport infrastructure etc. With consumption increasing at a compound annual growth rate of over 8% for the past several years (Roskill, 2015), vanadium is a bourgeoning commodity which lacks opportunities for investment in the wider market place. As trends in the steel industry now demand increasingly stronger and lighter products for advanced applications, the use of vanadium is expected to continue this growth over the medium and long term.
Caterpillar’s entry into the microgrid market builds on the strategic alliance the company formed just over one year ago with First Solar. Together the companies are developing solar panels for microgrids. First Solar will manufacture the panels, which will be “Cat-branded” and bundled with Caterpillar microgrid equipment.
Caterpillar also has an equity investment in Fluidic Energy as part of an agreement to develop advanced energy storage solutions for emerging markets using a rechargeable metal-air technology.
The company’s Cat Microgrid Technology can be scaled from 10 kW to 100 MW and configured to include thin-film solar panels, Caterpillar generators and storage devices.
Research into flow cell technologies for mobile use in electric vehicles is currently being conducted by GE Global Research in cooperation with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, while the Illinois Institute of Technology is working with the Argonne National Lab. Projects are also underway at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology and, of course, nanoFlowcell AG.
While the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology is initially only demonstrating the use of redox flow cell batteries in a model car, GE Global Research is going further and stating a range of 400 kilometres for its jointly developed flow cell drive and reckons with cost savings of up to 75 percent compared with current electric drives. All that is is known so far is that GE’s flow cell works with inorganic chemicals in a water-based fluid. The Illinois Institute of Technology and the Argonne National Laboratory anticipate a range of 800 kilometres from their “Nanoelectrofuels” flow cell drive, with a calculated energy density of 600 Wh/kg. The final results of the study are expected in December 2016.
ESS Inc., a manufacturer of long cycle-life batteries for renewable energy storage, today announces that it is operating a customized All-Iron Flow Battery (IFB) system at Stone Edge Farm winery in Sonoma, California to demonstrate how energy storage can enable net zero, with intermittent renewables, in an advanced microgrid application. The iron, salt, and water electrolyte was hydrated on-site as part of a simple two day installation and commissioning. The 60 kWh IFB system provides multiple services that will maximize the microgrid’s use of renewables.
ESS’ IFB utilizes earth abundant iron, dissolved in salt water as its energy storage medium. By combining this low cost electrolyte with ESS’ proprietary battery design, ESS’ IFB technology has demonstrated thousands of deep charge/discharge cycles at 70% AC/AC round trip efficiency without performance degradation.
In 2012 Argonne National Laboratory in southwest suburban Chicago was awarded a $120 million DOE grant to lead the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) that, if successful, will provide five times the energy storage at one-fifth the cost of the best batteries then available.
JCESR has made dramatic progress toward its transformative goals. It has introduced new concepts for lithium-sulfur, multivalent and organic flow batteries that open entirely new horizons for electric transportation and efficient, reliable, resilient, and secure electricity delivery. The impact on the economy, job growth, and national security promise to be game-changing.
Now that theory is proving true with a battery that might change the game for solar and wind power, and for electric grids in developing nations. The technology, using a liquid solution of vanadium and sulfuric acid in large vats, can discharge 1 million watts or more for as long as eight hours, then do it again and again, for years.
Now UTC has licensed the technology to a development firm in Massachusetts called VIONX Energy, which is taking the technology to the market with commercial sales expected later this year or in 2017.
"We're going to hybridize the grid in the way that a Prius hybridizes storage and a power plant," Perry said.
A hybrid car such as a Prius uses both an engine and a battery that stores and discharges power depending on what the driver does — thus the word hybrid. For now, the folks who run the electric grid must make sure at any moment that there's enough generation online to satisfy demand. That means running highly inefficient plants at peak times, like weekday afternoons in July — and it's not OK to count on solar or wind power because clouds or calm can shut those sources down.
So, what Perry is talking about is nothing less than a holy grail for electric grids. With a series of large-scale batteries, utilities and large users can take some of their low-cost power — and some of their alternative power such as solar and wind — and hold onto it until it's needed. It's a way of smoothing out the flow of effort.
Scaling it up is the job of VIONX, but that was the whole point of the research — making a battery that could work at massive size. Woburn, Mass.-based VIONX (pronounced vi-ON-ix), is about to make a demonstration system of twin, 500-kilowatt units for National Grid, the Massachusetts utility, alongside wind and solar generation. Each unit will have 57,500 gallons of solution.
A major new step in the development of flow batteries came with the introduction of high-energy-density versions a few years ago, including one developed by members of this MIT team, that used the same chemical compounds as conventional lithium-ion batteries. That version had many advantages but shared with other flow batteries the disadvantage of complexity in its plumbing systems.
The new version replaces all that plumbing with a simple, gravity-fed system. In principle, it functions like an old hourglass... with particles flowing through a narrow opening from one tank to another. The flow can then be reversed by turning the device over. In this case, the overall shape looks more like a rectangular window frame, with a narrow slot at the place where two sashes would meet in the middle.
While a conventional, all-solid battery requires electrical connectors for each of the cells that make up a large battery system, in the flow battery only the small region at the center — the “neck” of the hourglass — requires these contacts, greatly simplifying the mechanical assembly of the system, Chiang says. The components are simple enough that they could be made through injection molding or even 3-D printing, he says.
In addition, the basic concept of the flow battery makes it possible to choose independently the two main characteristics of a desired battery system: its power density (how much energy it can deliver at a given moment) and its energy density (how much total energy can be stored in the system).
AVL [Australian Vanadium] said the battery, which is able to deliver 10kW of power and has storage capacity of 100kWh, will allow the client to store their unused solar energy and use it when solar power is unavailable.
AVL said the battery was part of its client’s plans to be 90 per cent self-sufficient from the power grid. The client operates a commercial laundry and irrigated native tree nursery, and has expansion plans that would require additional power.
The CellCube FB10-100 battery is capable of being charged by the solar PV system, as well as from the grid in off-peak hours if required,” the company said.
The cost of the CellCube battery and solar PV system is $164,000, which has been contracted to the client via a power purchase agreement with a lease-to-buy component.