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Alevo to transform energy storage by combining battery tech with smart data analysis

Alevo Group plans to transform the world of grid-scale energy storage, with the opening of a large, new manufacturing plant in Concord, North Carolina. Alevo is using a combination of innovative battery technology and smart data analytics to significantly reduce losses caused by inefficiencies in grid transmission.

New Alevo factory, contracts in China and Turkey

The new Alevo factory in Concord, NC will produce GridBank™ units – shipping containers loaded with Alevo batteries to provide 2 MW of power (1 MWh of energy) – that will be attached to electricity grids at strategic locations. These units will provide a range of services to deliver efficiencies and eliminate waste.

Alevo launches with two important national level contracts in China and Turkey. Alevo and China-ZK have signed a Strategic Agreement to promote and commercialise Alevo’s technology products and services in China. And in Turkey, Alevo has signed a joint venture distribution partnership deal with RBM and TSG.

Energy storage to optimise grid efficiency

Alevo will provide energy services to energy utilities worldwide through the installation of GridBank units containing Alevo batteries. When combined with the advanced Alevo Analytics software, the GridBanks can be used to optimise entire grids in real time to eliminate up to 30% of the energy currently lost through inefficiencies and power waste.

The key to Alevo’s ability to deliver these energy services is a breakthrough battery technology that is completely non-flammable, and can be charged and discharged with no resting period over 40 000 times (proven in a test environment), dramatically reducing the lifetime cost of utility grade batteries.

Using a combination of Alevo’s battery and data analytics technologies, we have the ability to cut huge levels of waste experienced in today’s electrical grids. What this means in practice is lower costs to the utilities, smaller bills for the consumer, and a reduction in greenhouse gases per megawatt that will help cost-effective coal-fired generation achieve the EPA Clean Power limits.
Jostein Eikeland, Chairman & CEO of Alevo Group

Commitment to large-scale manufacturing

The GridBanks will be manufactured at Alevo’s new facility in Concord, North Carolina. This plant will create 2500 jobs, potentially rising to 6000 jobs as further manufacturing processes are brought in.

The plant provides 3.5 million square feet (325 000 m2) of manufacturing and warehouse space. This will be sufficient to contain fabrication lines for the production of up to 480 GridBanks in the first year of production.

Strategic agreement with China-ZK

Alevo has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China-ZK International Energy Investment Co Ltd. China-ZK will promote and commercialise Alevo’s technology products and services in China, including the GridBank energy storage systems and data analytics services for energy efficiency optimisation.

China-ZK will assist Alevo in liaising with the central and local authorities as well as state and private enterprises. China-ZK will also assist Alevo in funding the establishment of manufacturing facilities in China for GridBank production, and for the nickel foam substrate that is core to its inorganic energy storage technology.

The agreement will also see an initial pilot of the Alevo energy storage technology with the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Distributed Energy Systems, at Dongguan University of Technology, commencing by the end of 2014.

Grid-connected batteries have the potential to dramatically change the way the power system is operated, and help overcome many of the challenges presented by the growing penetration of renewables. To date, the single biggest obstacle to mass deployment of battery-based energy storage has been the relatively high lifetime cost of such batteries, which has restricted the business case to a small number of niche applications.
Sam Wilkinson, Research Manager at market analysis company IHS Technology

Joint venture to sell GridBank in Turkey

Alevo has also signed a joint venture agreement with private international finance, investment and management company TSG and Turkish infrastructure service provider RBM.

The joint venture will carry out the purchase, sale, and leasing to state-owned and private companies and manufacturing of Alevo’s containerised GridBank energy storage solution, and place these in operation in Turkey under service contracts.

A decade of innovation

Alevo’s heritage in battery technology dates back to 2004. The past decade has seen continued investment in the core battery technology, and in software development of the Alevo Analytics Suite.

The investment in the combined research and development, together with the acquisition and fit-out of the manufacturing supply chain, represents a startup investment of more than $1 billion that has been met through private investments and equity funds.

New lithium battery technology

Alevo has invented an innovative battery technology that is the core component of its GridBank containers, which are used as capacitance points on electrical grids.

The Alevo cell is based on LFP (lithium ferrophosphate, LiFePO4) and graphite. Unlike typical rechargeable lithium ion batteries, the Alevo lithium cell contains an inorganic electrolyte which is completely non-flammable.

This technology is a result of changing the core chemistry, and invention of a new inorganic electrolyte that eliminates the risk of combustion and explosion, and also greatly reduces the debilitating effects of charging cycles.

Using inorganic materials

Alevo’s engineers have spent 10 years working from labs in Germany – the largest inorganic battery research facilities in the world – to develop a next-generation rechargeable battery. They identified issues associated with organic materials in battery production, that lead to undocumented and irreversible side reactions.

Alevo engineers concluded that it would be impossible to develop a thermodynamically stable system that contained organic materials. Instead, by focusing its research on the use of inorganic materials within the battery, Alevo achieved two key properties:

  • Thermodynamic stability, which enables the battery system to always return to the same state following each complete charging cycle.
  • An electrochemical loop to regulate overcharge and deep discharge conditions, completely minimising battery degradation and reducing capacitance.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power