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Smart Future: Energy Storage

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The second in the Cleantech Investor series of 'Smart Future' events addresses the theme of Energy Storage - a crucial component of a smart energy future.This morning briefing session will cover key themes relating to energy storage including:

  • The range of energy storage technologies emerging in the market

  • The applications for energy storage technologies

  • Utility scale energy storage

  • Distributed generation and energy storage

  • New business models which are emerging in the energy storage space

  • Investment opportunities in energy storage

  • Government policy and incentives for energy storage around the world

  • An appropriate policy for energy storage in the UK

The event takes place in the offices of Smith & Williamson, in central London, during the morning of 12 December 2013. Speakers will include:

Graham Cooley   Dr Graham Cooley - CEO, ITM Power

Graham will speak about the potential for Power-to-Gas energy storage and specifically about the Power-to-Gas project at Mainova Aktiengesellschaftsite in Schielestrasse, Frankfurt am Main, where ITM Power recently delivered its first Power-to-Gas plant. The plant, for the Thüga group – the largest network of energy companies in Germany - is due to be commissioned in December 2013.

Gareth Brett – CEO, Highview Power

Gareth will speak about Highview Power's novel utility scale storage and power system - the technology involves cryogenic Energy Storage using liquefied air or liquid nitrogen as the storage medium. Highview is testing a pilot demonstrator hosted by SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy) and jointly funded by the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). The company's products include the Highview Cryo Energy System (a scalable, modular, energy storage system) and the Highview Cryo GenSet (modular): a zero emission alternative to a diesel genset or gas peaking plant.

Simon Daniel - CEO, Moixa Group

Simon will speak on the Moixa Group's MASLOW system, which powers DC (Direct Current) lighting and electronics from batteries charged at low-tariff times or from local solar resources. MASLOW storage assets can be made available to grid operators to provide distributed storage resources for local network and grid-scale needs.

Tony Davies - CEO, Atraverda

Tony will speak on the Atraverda bipolar battery technology breakthrough and its potential application for on-site energy   storage (renewable backup and grid support) and telecom back up (mobile base stations). Atraverda's technology is based on ceramic lead acid batteries.

John Taylor - Director, Saft UK

John will speak on Lithium-ion energy storage systems facilitating grid integration of renewables. Energy Storage & Renewables is one of the solutions addressed by Saft Groupe, headquartered in France. Saft supplies battery systems for  both off-grid and on-grid schemes, using Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion technologies.

CARLO BROVERO -  Proxhima srl

Carlo will speak about the potential energy storage applications for Vanadium Redox batteries. Proxhima, an Italian company, has developed a proprietary modular design for a Vanadium Redox battery which it aims to deploy on a 'MegaWatt Scale' a project in partnership with an Italian utility company.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

 

2011: A Review of Cleantech Equity Deals - Energy Storage

Published in: 2011 - A Review of Cleantech Equity Deals, January 2012
Solyndra may have been the most high profile US DoE loan guarantee-backed company to go under during 2011 (see Solar Deals of the Year)  but the energy storage sector also suffered the bankruptcy of grid-scale flywheel system storage firm Beacon Power. The company, which was formerly listed on NASDAQ and which secured a US$43 million loan guarantee for the development of a 20MW project in New York in 2009, filed for bankruptcy in November. Beacon had reportedly drawn down US$39 million of the loan – and had also received further loans and grants from the DoE for additional projects.

Another US energy storage sector casualty was Ener1, forced to delist from NASDAQ in November and subsequently, in early 2011, to file for bankruptcy. Ener1, which manufactures lithium-ion batteries through its EnerDel subsidiary, had bought a 48% stake in EnerDel customer Think Global – the Norwegian EV manufacturer which filed for bankruptcy in June. The Think bankruptcy resulted in losses of US$60 million at Ener1, which had raised US$25 million in a fundraising round led by Goldman Sachs earlier in 2011. The company has a number of joint ventures for energy storage in China (with the State Grid) and in Russia (with the Russian Federal Grid). EnerDel is also a recipient of US DoE grant funding.

The energy storage sector saw a host of deals for VC stage funding in the US$10–US$40 million range. Recipients of this type of funding included Leyden Energy, Powergetics, Contour Energy Systems, General Compression, Aquion Energy and Prudent Energy. At least three companies raising VC funds at this level were also beneficiaries of DoE grant funding – including SustainX (compressed air energy storage [CAES] technology), Primus Power (flow batteries) and Xtreme (grid-scale storage).

Larger VC stage deals included Nexeon in the UK and Boston Power in the US  with the latter demonstrating that DoE funding is not critical in this sector. Having failed to secure DoE money, Boston Power proceeded to obtain funding from both the Chinese Government (grants, loans etc.) Chinese venture investors (equity)  – and to switch its focus from the US to the Chinese market. The largest fundraising was by A123Systems which, in addition to institutional fundraising in both equity and convertible notes, also secured equity investment from IHI of Japan. There was little M&A activity during 2011 in the energy storage space, but one deal did come on the radar – the acquisition of EnergyCS by CODA Automotive.

 

Grid Connection/Storage: Deals of the Year 2010

First published in Cleantech Infocus: 2010 - Equity Deals of the Year, January 2011.  Copyright Cleantech Investor Ltd

Energy storage and grid connection remain major challenges for renewable energy uptake and these areas continued to attract the attention of investors during 2010.

In storage, in terms of batteries for electric vehicles, the venture fund raising by Boston-Power was perhaps the most notable event of the year: Boston-Power is supplying the batteries for the ZE Saab 9-3 EV, which was launched in 2010. And we’ve included the IPO of Talison Lithium on the list: technically a mining company rather than a storage company, but one which is benefiting from the growing demand for lithium batteries.

At the grid storage end of the scale, the IPO of an Australian zinc bromine battery systems manufacturer, RedFlow, was notable. Elsewhere, France’s McPhy Energy, which has developed technology for the storage of hydrogen in the form of magnesium hydride, raised venture funding. And investment in storage for applications in buildings included the TIAA-CREF/Good Energies partnership investment in Ice Energy.

Large scale grid projects such as the Desertec and the European Supergrid remain on the agenda in terms of news flow – but are not yet the subject of significant investment deals.

At the other end of the scale, however, technology for micro scale grid connection is attracting investment interest. Two companies with innovative solar inverter technologies were successful in raising funds during 2010: Solutronic AG achieved a listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange; and Enphase Energy of California raised venture funding.

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New battery technology: fundamental to the cleantech economy of the future

First published in Cleantech Infocus: Battery Technology, July 2009. Copyright Cleantech Investor 2009

The majority of the batteries in use up until the 1980s would have been recognised by their mid-Victorian inventors. However, during the past 25 years several entirely new classes of batteries have been commercialised, including nickel-metal hydride, lithium polymer, lithium-ion, lithium-polymer, rechargeable alkaline, and zinc-air designs. These developments, as well as being the results of the endeavours of electrochemists, also reflect the enormous improvements in battery charger controller technology which allow the commercialisation of higher performance, smaller and safer designs.

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