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Aqueous hybrid-ion battery company Aquion completes $55M financing round

31 January 2014

Aquion Energy, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries and stationary energy storage systems, recently completed the closing of a $55-million Series D financing round. Due to strong investor interest, the total amount of funding for this round was increased from the $35-million level previously announced by the company in April of 2013. (Earlier post.)

The Series D financing includes participation from new investors Bill Gates, Yung’s Enterprise, Nick and Joby Pritzker through their family’s firm Tao Invest, Bright Capital, and Gentry Venture Partners. Previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, and Advanced Technology Ventures also participated in the round.

Designed for the requirements of both small- and large-scale stationary energy storage applications, Aquion’s patented AHI battery systems offer high-performance, low-cost, operational safety, and sustainability.

Aquion
Aqueous hybrid ion chemistry. Source: Aquion. Click to enlarge.

The hybrid energy storage device comprises a low-cost, activated carbon anode, a Manganese oxide cathode (MnO2), and an electrolyte consisting of Na2SO4 in water (~1 M). The batteries have shown high cycle life of more than 5,000 cycles at high rates, (100% DoD).

Aquion will begin shipping production units to customers in the first half of 2014 from its manufacturing facility in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Aquion’s initial manufacturing line is capable of producing over 200 megawatt hours per year when operating at full capacity. The 350,000 square-foot facility is sized for five manufacturing lines, enabling Aquion to scale production.

Aquion spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2010.

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This is a very promising start-up. I expect much from them.

The image shows a separator made of "Non-woven cellulosic material". Is that technobabble for 'paper'?

"Aquion will begin shipping production units to customers in the first half of 2014.." could have been pretty soon.

Can we get a "reporter" (a reporter is a person who works for an information service, news paper, television news outlet etc.) to ask what the technology costs on a kWh basis and what more specifically they think are the applications for this technology? Is this something that a consumer could use to combine with wind a solar to go off grid, or are they simply servicing corporations? Do they evision 100 kWh units or megawatt sized units.

Yes Bk4...the day will come when 100+ kWh stationary very low cost battery pack storage systems will become common place. By that time, solar energy converters will be more affordable and many homes and EVs in sunny areas may do without the grid most of the time.

That may be how USA may continue to waste e-energy forever without building more CPPs and NPPs.

A 3 to 6 KW solar system with a 100+ kWh storage battery in the right place could supply enough clean e-energy for the house and one or two light EVs.

People have been asking what can handle the surge-power demands from large BEV fleets (vs. FCEVs).

This is a pretty good answer.

100 % DOD is an astonishing and admirable attribute. But 100 % from what?
Energy - and power density are of great interest. Also, is there any leakage current? If so, how high is it? What is the volumetric density? etc. etc.

A high percentage of the daily peak demand can be reduced with remote control demand management and:

1. Temporarily turning off and/or reducing by 50%, water and room heating and AC system.
2. Temporarily turning off the cloth dryers, dish washers, EV chargers and other major loads.
3. Promoting the use of inductive cooking surfaces, inductive toasters, microwave and Crockpot cooking, CFL and LED lights etc.

Of course, a loaded 100+ kWh battery would do even more.

Turning off the loads of the daily peak demand mean that much of the value of having electricity in the first place is lost.

US electric consumption is about 1.5 kW/capita average.  10 kWh of storage would easily shave that daily demand peak.  Another 10 kWh/capita would provide a fast charge for many PHEVs (most of one for a Volt, more than one for the Fords and Toyota).  So, for about 12 hours of storage, the electric demand of the USA could probably be served by base-load generators using the lowest-cost energy supplies and 2/3 or more of motor fuel demand could also be destroyed.

This does not apply to RE, which requires 24-48 hours of storage (35-70 kWh/capita) to be truly practical even with existing loads.  Add another 10 kWh of storage for each day you need to hold energy for PHEV recharges.

E-P,

What surge power demand are you talking about?

Cars are mostly recharged overnight and won't start at the same time, just like people don't collectively switch on their electric kettle at the same time (which would bring down the grid immediately). People have different life styles and schedules.

If all cars were electric, that would increase US electricity consumption by ~20%. That 20% increase will take place over 2 decades and enough technology will be available for grid operators to throttle demand from charging cars. Very useful resource.

There is no problem.

My 2004 calculation was that full electrification of the US road-vehicle fleet would increase demand by some 40%.

Telsa's Superchargers already have sufficient power demand at a single point to merit storage integrated with the charger.  Chargers which take advantage of existing wiring may have limited power available, but could buffer using integrated batteries.

PHEVs have relatively little storage, and need it charged frequently when driving to achieve the full benefit of electrification.  Those demand surges will occur when people are driving and shortly afterward.  Integrating some storage with EV chargers would smooth those demand spikes as well.

Peak e-energy demands are relatively short mostly from 7:00h to 9:00h in the morning and 16:30h to 18:30h in the evening.

Many majors loads such as hot water heaters, cloth driers, dish washers, EV chargers can be remotely temporarily turned off without major effects on comfort level (as and if required during peak demands periods)

Other major loads such as interior electric heating and AC can be remotely reduced by 1C to 2C without major effects on comfort level (as and if required during peak demand periods).

A well managed demand control system would apply selective load reduction during a few hours a month in a few areas, on an as required basis only.

Looks like it is about 20 watt-hours per liter, $250 per kWh on the pack level based on a Dec 2010 DOE Project. Prototype was demo-ed July 2012. 10,000+ cycles.

So about 2/3 the price of NGK Sodium Sulfur batteries and 2x or more the cycle life.

http://www.smartgrid.gov/sites/default/files/Aquion%20Energy%20OE0000226%20Final.pdf

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Aquion.pdf

There's probably room for improvement on price in the future.

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