Nickel Hydrogen Battery Ready for Commercialization

UFTO first reported on this technology almost 6 years ago, and issued updates in Oct ’96 and Jan ’98.
UFTO Bulletin #16 December 18, 1995

Nickel Hydrogen Batteries have been used in space for decades, and are known for extreme reliability. Ergenics Inc. has basic patents for a “segmented Ni H battery” concept that should make it practical for terrestial uses. They’re building a prototype for ARPA for a military hybrid vehicle, and can make them as small as a laptop computer battery.

It uses metal hydride to store the hydrogen outside the battery cell, thus eliminating self-discharge, most if not all safety concerns, and heat transfer issues. Most important, it’s low pressure, unlike usual Ni H batteries, which require a high pressure tank. A key advantage over Ni metal-hydride batteries is long life because the hydride is isolated from corrosion producing chemicals of the battery cell. …. The company … [hasn’t] yet focused on applications in UPS and utility storage systems. This may turn out to be quite competitive with the other forms of storage that everyone is working so hard on, and it could be an opportunity for a strategic technology edge. Call me for more info.

Now at long last, a new company, ElectraStor, has licensed the Ergenics technology, made substantial improvements, and is positioned to manufacture it, initially in their own pilot production facility. The plan is then expand manufacturing, and/or to sublicense the technology and manufacturing know-how worldwide. Originally focused on hybrid vehicle batteries, ElectraStor is also now addressing applications in stationary electric power storage, where a convincing case is made for major cost and performance advantages, particularly in applications requiring high power and quick response.

Here is a portion of ElectraStor’s Executive Summary:

ElectraStor LLC owns a breakthough rechargable low pressure Nickel-Hydrogen “fuel cell battery” technology. This technology has been extensively validated and is ready for commercial production. Serious discussions are ongoing with substantial corporations and government agencies worldwide, including the FTA, Siemens, Fiat, MAN, the Italian government, DaimlerChrysler, Altra, Mercedes EvoBus and others. The Company is raising US$12M to fund a profitable pilot plant, bring the company to profitability, and perform R&D on new products.

Advantages of ElectraStor NiH Batteries: Phenomenal “life of the vehicle” cycle life, zero self-discharge, extraordinary tolerance to overcharge and over-discharge, 100% depth of discharge capability, low cost, low-pressure, high specific power, no maintenance, all-weather operation and a high degree of safety compared to competition. ElectraStor batteries have two to five times the specific power of NiMH and lead acid products and have specific energy comparable to Li-ion and Li-polymer products, while offering far greater tolerance to high mechanical, thermal and electrical stresses.

The Technology: ElectraStor NiH batteries combine a bipolar fuel cell stack with a closed loop supply of low pressure hydrogen stored in a segmented hydride with a limited supply of oxygen stored in a nickel hydroxide, which is regenerated using electricity during recharge. Because it separates hydrogen storage from the wet aspect of the battery, the chemical reaction is only a catalyst and no longer causes degradation of the battery parts, as remains the case in the NiMH design. This enables the ElectraStor battery to be cycled almost indefinitely without degradation or failure.

Intellectual Property: ElectraStor holds an exclusive, worldwide, sub-licensable license to technology developed by Ergenics, together with any and all improvements and extensions to this technology. The patent portfolio is extensive, broad and deep. R&D is ongoing, both by Ergenics and ElectraStor, and further patents are in the immediate pipeline.

Time to Market: The NiH battery is ready for production. ElectraStor has teamed with the FTA and the Belcan Corporation (the largest engineering and technology services organization in Ohio, with revenues over $400M) to construct the pilot plant. The plant will be up and running at full capacity within seven months of funding. The plant’s flexible manufacturing line will produce batteries both for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as a variety of further mobile and stationary applications.

Validation of ElectraStor Technology: Testing is ongoing, both by independent third parties and by our Corporate and Government partners, including the City of Pittsburgh, Mass., the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), the Italian Government, Siemens, Fiat, MAN, DaimlerChrysler and others.
(this website will be updated by mid December)

Please contact me for more information and appropriate introductions.

Ergenics Hy-Stor Battery Energy Storage

I’ve been staying in close contact with this company for a long time, and reported about them to UFTO the first time in Dec 95 and again in Oct 96, describing their Hy-Stor battery technology. They haven’t received a lot of attention in the storage/battery industry over the years, but my personal view is that they could be a major dark horse in the business.

In addition to the utility scale device, they’ve also built a “D” cell. Inherently, the technology features very high cycle life, high power and energy density, and suffers no ill effects from over charging or discharging.

They’re continuing to make major progress, and are looking for investment capital and partners.


Dave DaCosta, President
or Phil Burghart, Sr. VP

Ergenics, Inc.
247 Margaret King Ave.
Ringwood NJ 07456

(Disclosure: I do some consulting for the company,
and have a finders fee agreement with them.)

The company issued this press release this morning:
Thursday January 15, 9:30 am ET
Company Press Release SOURCE: Ergenics, Inc.

New Energy Storage Technology Leads Way to Low Cost Electric Power Supply

RINGWOOD, N.J., Jan. 15 — Ergenics announced today that it has initiated the second phase of its electric utility battery energy storage program. The program is directed at producing a long life (10 years), 25 kilowatt, 100 kWh battery module capable of daily deep discharge cycles for a variety of electric utility applications.

The initial product will be a simple peak shaving system which will be charged with low cost, “base load,” power at night and discharged during the afternoon peak load in order to reduce incremental generating capacity and its associated higher costs. This system is being developed for utility testing overseas where the differential cost between base load and peak load power is 3-5 times higher than in the U.S. The potential overseas market for the company’s battery energy storage system exceeds $30 billion. Ergenics is currently funded to build the first full scale submodule for testing based on a design previously approved by its foreign partner. The battery’s modular design allows construction of battery energy storage systems ranging in size from 100 kWh to 4,000 kWh.

Beyond the offshore project, Ergenics is exploring electric energy supply applications in the United States where electric utility deregulation is expected to create enormous opportunities for energy storage systems distributed across the power grid. Ergenics ultimately envisions household units which will provide reliable energy during power outages. These units will also store power purchased at low off-peak rates for later use in periods when energy would be more expensive.

Ergenics’ Hy-Stor(R) battery system is well suited for utility batteries. It couples the established know-how of the high energy storage density of metal hydrides with the extraordinary cycle life capabilities of nickel-hydrogen electrochemical cells which have been used in orbiting satellites for over twenty years. Half fuel cell and half battery, the only chemical reaction in the nickel-hydrogen battery is the simple oxidation and reduction of the nickel hydroxide electrode. This makes possible attainment of 10 years of life and tens of thousands of deep and shallow discharge cycles. In addition, and unlike any other battery, nickel-hydrogen batteries are tolerant of overcharge and overdischarge operation. This is especially important for higher voltage batteries where a large number of cells are connected in series. Complicated and costly electronics to balance the state-of-charge of the cells are not required.

Ergenics is a world leader in the development and commercialization of metal hydride technology. In addition to utility battery energy storage systems, Ergenics is developing hybrid electric vehicle batteries under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract, high energy, long life battery packs for electric bicycles, and hydrogen storage units for fuel cells. Privately owned, Ergenics, Inc. has its headquarters and principal manufacturing operation in northern New Jersey.