EESAT’02 Electricity Storage Conference

The Electric Energy Storage Applications and Technologies Conference (EESAT 2002) was held in San Francisco April 15-17, 2002. Ever hopeful for the promise of storage, sponsors point to growth in markets, increased focus on reliability (supply crises and terrorism), and advances in technology. Evidence includes the increasing number of demonstration projects, and estimates that more than 100MW of advanced, distributed energy storage is being installed in North America this year, and another 100MW in Europe and Japan.

Session titles were:
– Overview of Electrical Energy Storage Applications & Technologies
– Multi-megawatt Applications
– Advanced Battery Applications
– Power Electronics and Conversion Systems
– Design and System Studies
– Flywheel Applications
– Capacitor and Super Capacitor Development and Applications
– High Speed Flywheel Development
– Battery Development and Applications

The website has the agenda with the complete list of papers.
It also provides the agenda from EESAT 2000*. I have the CD of the papers, if you want any of them. The 2002 papers should be available shortly to attendees, and I will supply them as well.
*(29 Oct 2000 UFTO Note – Travel Reports)

The ESA newsletter provides a helpful summary of the conference:

And while we’re on the subject, have a look at this comprehensive technology overview:

Not on the agenda, but noteworthy: A new lobbying and educational group has formed; the Energy Storage Council promotes public policy that supports energy storage as a key dimension of the electricity value chain. This is the brainstorm of Jason Makansi, former editor-in-chief of McGraw-Hill’s Power magazine. Membership information and a white paper can be found on the website:

Flow Batteries
Perhaps the biggest news is the progess that large scale “flow” batteries are making, both technically and commercially, for large scale systems (100 kw and up). Recall that there are several competing electrochemical schemes. A comparative assessment of flow batteries was provided in a paper by C. Lotspeich based on work done for an E-Source report.

– Regenesys- sodium bromide and sodium polysulphide (ufto note Sep’99)
– ZBB & Powercell – zinc bromine
– Vanteck & Sumitomo/Reliable Power – vanadium redox
– Plurion – cerium vanadium MSA

Except for the zinc bromine, they offer freedom to size a system’s power (kw) and capacity (kwh) separately (either aspect can be added to over time), by adding either cells or electrolyte storage.

Regensys is building their first N American installation at TVA. It will be 12 MW/120 MWH.

ZBB’s demonstrations of a transportable system are proceeding well, in collaboration with Detroit Edison. This is 200kW/400kWh battery system, on a 40 ft trailer. The application is grid support.

Powercell may be revived from bankruptcy. Too soon to tell. Word is that some of the former management team is trying to put it back together.

Vanteck has resolved its corporate problems and has a field trial underway in S Africa for a 250 kw/520kWh system. The vanadium technology boasts very high power delivered over milliseconds or slower discharge over days. They’ve also announced a commercial order from Pacificorp.

Reliable Power is Sumitomo Electric Intl (SEI)’s presence in N America for SEI’s vanadium battery systems. (SEI is one of the original licensees of the patents.) Size range is 100kw-3MW. UPS *and* peakshaving. Peakshaving earns$ day in and day out, while the UPS sits and waits to deal with a power glitch. Very high power for 3 sec… 3 MW, or 1.5MW for an hour. Meanwhile, Sumitomo has a number of fully commercial systems in operation in Japan.

Plurion, a brand new arrival on the scene, made its public debut at the conference. Its chemistry is based on cerium and vanadium in a “mixed electrolyte” with methanesulfonic acid (MSA). They claim cheaper longer lasting electrodes and membranes, greater simplicity, and lower cost. The system requires neither nafion or precious metal catalysts. Electrolyte management is said to be simpler than in other systems, requiring no ongoing cleanup treatment. Remarkable in the current investment climate, the company raised $14 Million recently, and is on schedule with an ambitious development plan. The technology was developed by Electrochemical Design Associates, Inc (Berkeley CA), and EDA is doing most of the ongoing technical work. [I have press releases and their powerpoint presentation that I can provide on request.]

Flywheels, Capacitors, Other Batteries

Progress continues on many fronts, with commercial or near commercial applications taking hold. Systems studies examined grid support and ancillary services, microgrids, and identifying best applications and key variables to cost effectiveness.

Digital Hubbub – IEEE Spectrum

Here’s an article that may be useful. It’s in current issue of IEEE Spectrum, and it appears to be available to nonmembers. The accompanying article on the major players is interesting also. (Don’t miss the chart.)

Note this paragraph, buried near the end of the article:
“As cable TV companies, burglar-alarm suppliers, and even power companies negotiate for space inside digital hubs, Whatley foresees a sort of free-for-all to control a raft of functions also tied into the hub. An electric utility could, for example, manage loads more effectively, even turning off an air conditioner during peak periods. The system would also know when homeowners returned from work, so it could bring the house back to a comfortable temperature by the time they walked in the door.”

Are energy industry companies just naive bit players with their attempts to do “gateways” and smart homes? (Note their complete absence from the chart.) Or are utilities in a unique position to pull it off while media and IT giants do battle with each other?


Digital Hubbub

Companies vie to create a single device, or hub, to handle all your home entertainment needs

By Paul Wallich, Contributing Editor

It’s a set-top! It’s a home server! It’s a digital hub! Whatever you call it—a souped-up cable box or a hard-disk recorder with wings—companies know that whoever gets it right will rule the entertainment gateway to the home.

More than a half-dozen companies so far are scrambling for the billions of dollars they hope to reap by offering consumers a single machine to handle their home entertainment needs. The companies agree on what the machine should do: record, archive, and play back video and music, organize digital photo albums, and distribute digital media around the home. Where they disagree is on what shape that machine should take.

For a view of how media companies are organizing to reach the hub in your home,

The Largest Players Rule the Media Playground
By Steven M. Cherry, Senior Associate Editor

The top media companies increasingly do a lot more than create content. The 12 companies shown here deliver content via cable systems and the Internet. They also have investments in makers of personal video recorders (PVRs) and set-top boxes and suppliers of video on demand.

Consider the former Moxi Digital, builder of a personal entertainment hub that can play DVDs and CDs and can function as a PVR and a set-top box. Moxi’s investors, before Vulcan purchased it, included AOL Time Warner, Vulcan, and Scientific-Atlanta. Vulcan also owns Digeo, another hub maker, with which Moxi was merged.
see CHART:

Eight of the companies listed—AOL Time Warner, Comcast, Disney, GE, Liberty Media, Sony, Viacom, and Vulcan— were investors in ReplayTV before it was bought by SonicBlue. TiVo, an up-and-coming PVR maker, has attracted hefty investments from almost all major media companies.