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Electrovaya Partners on Approx. $7.5M Utility Energy Storage Demonstration

Canada-based Li-ion maker Electrovaya Inc. is the energy storage partner for a utility demonstration project led by CEATI International Inc., headquartered in Montreal. Other partners include major utilities and universities. The total project cost is estimated at approximately $7.5 million.

The project has been conditionally approved for partial funding support from the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Fund and final contract negotiations are underway.

The large-scale, multi-site, multi-partner initiative will demonstrate the capabilities, versatility and economics of utility-scale electricity storage based on Electrovaya’s modular Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery technology. The following clean energy challenges will be addressed:

  • Electricity storage for intermittent renewable energy generation;
  • Electricity storage for high-density urban applications to meet growing new electric loads; and
  • Investigation into repurposing electric vehicle batteries for Smart Grid application.

This emerging market holds tremendous opportunity for Electrovaya. According to industry experts, spending on the global energy storage market is expected to exceed $600 billion over the next 10-12 years.

—Sankar DasGupta, CEO of Electrovaya


Henry Gibson

It is really too bad that these monies were not available to the the VRG company before they went under. They had a cheap proven technology that was in operation in many places in the world using their equipment or even that of other companies.

Lithium batteries are far too expensive now for the power market as well as the electric automobile market.

Sodium sulphur power storage systems seem to deliver electrical energy storage systems at lower costs and use cheap enough materials so that their costs can be far lower when mass production is demanded by energy companies.

The ZEBRA battery, with very similar technology, is more adapted to automobiles and also uses fairly cheap materials so the the material costs are not a substantial portion of the manufacturing costs.

Lithium batteries can be combined with ZEBRA batteries to eliminate most problems with both power levels and the need to store power for several days without a means to keep the ZEBRA batteries hot. A plug-in-prius would have no transportation failures if it were equipped with ZEBRA batteries to achieve plug in operation, but retained its NIMH battery for its high power and supplemented its energy from the lower power but far higher energy ZEBRA battery. The ZEBRA battery could also store the energy regenerated from going down long hills. A very simple and highly efficient and cheap energy transfer circuit can do this.

The ZEBRA battery has automatic redundant cell failure recovery up to several cells, and can be used for non vehicular uses after its power level does not meet vehicular requirements. The cell materials could even allow an operational life of 50 years. Nickle iron batteries and nickel cadmium batteries have already demonstrated possible lives of a hundred years. New materials and manufacturing methods can improve the energy density of such batteries.

The Vanadium flow batteries have an infinite life for their energy storage materials. The PEM (PROTON EXCHANGE) membranes used can be replaced when needed; dual sets of membranes allow for redundant reliability but equal energy storage. There is actually little reason not to have 8 membrane stacks instead of a single large one so that there is nearly full power with the failure of one stack.

It is now time for all buildings with many computers in them to have a Direct Current bus and power distribution system. Many computer power supplies can be operated on direct current voltages of about 250 volts and even less and could be modified easily for higher voltages.

Many motors are equipped with electronic drives for efficiency purposes and all could be equipped with such drives, and all of these drives can be easily made to operate from a direct current bus.

Most lighting fixtures now have electronic lamp drives that can operate from high voltage direct current of about 250 volts or could be made to do so.

Compact fluorescent lamps will operate on direct current voltages up to 250 volts, for some of them without modification, but others are for 120 volts but some could be made to operate at 500 volts or more.

No commercial building should be built without a sodium sulphur battery or two or ZEBRA batteries connected in the standard Edison method of a split 120-240 volt system. The momentary voltage is no longer of any concern since the electronics can adapt. Vanadium flow batteries can be used for longer term energy storage to charge the Sodium batteries when necessary. No inefficient UPS systems are needed for such buildings. Small batteries, local to the systems, with diodes alone for protection, can be used where additional reliability is wanted.

Less energy is lost in the conduits and wiring of Direct Current distribution systems and high power transistors have eliminated the need for low frequency alternating current and transformers for any device. Three phase alternating current motors are even becomming obsolete because of the desire for higher efficiency.

The compromise 16.7 Hz railway electrification is also no longer needed, and old locomotives that still use it could be converted with simple circuits to operate on 50 Hz.

Electrical storage batteries should be put mostly at the point of use and conversion to standard grid frequency avoided because of the losses.

If all businesses (and houses later) were required to have a set of sodium or Zebra batteries the issue of pumping solar cell energy into the grid would go away along with its inefficiency. Cogeneration problems would also be reduced. Cogeneration of electricity and heating or cooling is the most cost effective way of reducing CO2 releases and reducing the use of energy where natural gas is available.

The price for natural gas used in cogeneration systems should be billed at the price of gas used by nearby power companies. It costs very little money if any at all to deliver gas to the home or business consumer than to the power company, and in fact the capital cost of the pipes and equipment is spread over more units of gas and more income. The computerized billing system and meter reading system costs no more to send a larger bill.

Long life low maintenance Capstone turbines can be modified just to feed the battery and the expensive alternating current conversion and grid interface equipment can be eliminated. When there is low electrical demand the turbine electrical output can be used to freeze ice for later use in building cooling; the compressor motor drive is controlled to take only excess power.

While it requires money to pay for the gas to generate electricity, the spare heat produced is free and can be used to reduce heating and cooling costs. Nearly a hundred percent of all the heat can be captured for later use if large water tanks or other thermal energy storage systems are installed. Deep closed wells lined with cast iron pipes can last for more than a hundred years and store low temperature heat energy in the earth where there is no moving water to take it away. Heat activated cooling systems, somtimes called absorbtion systems, can first use the higher temperature waste heat to produce chilled water or even ice. Computer controls make such systems cheaper and easier to monitor.

Heat pumps can recover heat at any temperature for room heating. There are even systems that move heat from hot rooms that need to be cooled to those that need to be heated.

There are cases where it would be cheaper to use simplified Capstone turbines just to produce direct current to operate chiller and fan drives without any grid connection and the unused heat can be used with geothermal type equipment to produce even more electricity if it cannot be used else where. Such buildings should still use direct current buses and some amount of battery storage.

EFFPOWER has prototypes and promises to make small high power high voltage lead acid bipolar batteries. Big steel flywheels connected to ordinary direct current motors can be used on such buses for energy storage, but ZEBRA batteries and sodium sulphur batteries will be made cheaper in the future and more attractive to use.

Two old fashioned direct current motors connected to a flywheel can be connected in such a way to each other and to the bus that most of the flywheel energy can be delivered at relatively constant voltage to the bus without the use of any high power electronics or any electronics at all.

Zero Maintenance ZEBRA or Sodium sulphur batteries should be subsidised for commercial buildings and then for homes. Simple circuits for grid support can be used if and when useful, but computers and lights and air conditioners and furnaces can all use the battery direct current and the power company can just stop charging the battery when power demand goes up rather than trying to convert power from the battery. The battery supply to non essential loads is dropped as the battery is discharged, but the battery is reconnected to the grid when essential loads need to be supported. Such systems are already in place and do not need to be developed as they are now used to stop air conditioners during high power demands. Fuel powered emergency generators can charge the battery without the many difficulties of generating high class alternating current. ..HG..


Electrovaya needs a better marketing department. They have a good product but can not seem to make the deals that they need.


Electrovaya seems to be forever looking for a market niche to fit their products with very little success.

They cannot even sell their very energy density batteries.

Something is missing there.

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