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Chevron invests in Prussian Blue battery tech company Natron Energy; stationary storage for EV charging stations

Natron Energy, a developer of new battery cell technology based on Prussian Blue analogue electrodes and a sodium-ion electrolyte, has closed a strategic investment by Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) to support the development of stationary energy storage systems for demand charge management at electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Natron Energy will adapt its battery technology, originally developed for data center and utility-scale applications, to meet the power requirements of the emerging EV fast charging market.

Chevron Technology Ventures is excited about the opportunity to support Natron Energy’s development of high-performance energy storage systems. The high-power density and fast charging time of Natron’s unique battery technology make it an attractive storage solution for the EV station of the future.

—Jesse Teichman, who led the investment by CTV

Prussian blue dye, commonly used in blueprints, stores and releases energy in the form of sodium ions. Unlike the electrode materials found in most lithium-ion batteries, Prussian blue enjoys a widespread availability and low cost that make batteries based on Prussian blue electrodes an economically attractive, environmentally friendly technology.

Natron’s patented technology uses Prussian blue pigments in both the positive and negative electrode of the battery. Prussian blue has a unique structure and composition that allow it to store energy much more rapidly and reversibly than other types of battery electrodes. For this reason, batteries based on Prussian blue can be fully charged and discharged tens of thousands of times at very high power.

Natron’s electrodes charge and discharge by single-phase reactions within the stability window of that electrolyte. This eliminates the conversion reactions and electrolyte decomposition that limit the lifetime of lead acid and lithium-ion cells.

This has allowed Natron to build the first battery in which chemistry does not limit the lifetime of the system, opening up new opportunities for energy storage to support EV charging, renewables such as solar and wind, and industrial applications. In addition, Natron’s batteries provide improved safety compared to incumbent technology as they are nonflammable during overcharge, hard short circuit, nail penetration, and under external heating to more than 200° C.

In 2018, researchers from Natron, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and NYU published a paper in Nature Communications reporting results on a high-rate long-life low-cost sodium-ion battery full-cell system based on a redox couple of manganese (I/II) in Prussian blue analogs for a high-rate and stable anode.

A full-cell sodium- ion battery with low-cost Prussian blue analogs in both electrodes and co-solvent electrolyte retains 95% of its initial discharge capacity after 1000 cycles at 1C and 95% depth of discharge. The revealed manganese(I/II) redox couple inspires conceptual innovations of batteries based on atypical oxidation states.

—Firouzi et al.

Vehicle electrification will be one of the defining economic trends of the next decade. Widespread EV adoption depends in part on technologies that enable ubiquitous fast charging and that mitigate drivers’ range anxiety. As a global leader in transportation energy services, Chevron has recognized this. We are thrilled that CTV has chosen to support Natron. This investment provides a terrific boost to us as we develop and demonstrate energy storage products that will make fast charging stations a reality.

—Colin Wessells, CEO at Natron Energy

According to the US Department of Energy, access to fast charging stations, in combination with the recent increase in EV range, has reduced range anxiety associated with battery electric vehicles and may accelerate EV adoption. However, there are high electricity delivery costs for high power fast-charging stations. One potential technology solution for fast charging stations may be the use of stationary batteries to supplement demand for grid power.

Natron was founded as Alveo Energy in 2012 as a spin-out from research originally performed at Stanford University. Natron is backed by leading venture capital investors and has received support from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Resources

  • A. Firouzi, R. Qiao, S. Motallebi, C.W. Valencia, H.S. Israel, M. Fujimoto, L.A. Wray, Y.-D. Chuang, W. Yang, and C.D. Wessells (2018) “Monovalent manganese based anodes and co-solvent electrolyte for stable low-cost high-rate sodium-ion batteries,” Nat. Commun. 9, 861 doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03257-1.

Comments

HarveyD

Wise of Chevron and other Oil/Gas to get involved in future quick charge facilities with very large batteries, to make better use of REs and to stabilize the local grid?

Engineer-Poet

If Chevron was going to pull another Cobasys, this is the kind of technology they'd do it with.

HarveyD

Our beloved Oil/Gas firms are well aware of the future progressive switch from polluting ICEVs to cleaner running electrified vehicles and that a corresponding progressive switch in their business will be required to extend their profitable survival.

Secondly, the Oil/Gas group has the financial resources, organization and political leverage required to supply the electricity and charging facilities to feed future EVs with the clean and not so clean e-energy required and set the final price as they do with gasoline and diesel.

It will be an extension of their current energy supply business? Many current fuel stations will become quick charge stations?

avada

If it's really that cheap this might be something very good.
The coulombic efficiency also looks really good (), judging by the linked paper.
Stable above 99% after 700 cycles! (At low rates anyway)

Engineer-Poet

Okay, this is bizarre.  My comment has disappeared twice despite having no filter-trigger words I can discern.  Trying again in pieces:

Speaking as someone who's got up-close-and-personal experience with electric propulsion (unlike Harvey), I can tell you some things with 100% assurance:

1.  Most PEV charging will be done while the vehicle is parked at home or work.
2.  This means a radical reduction in the number of required visits to service stations... and their C-stores which are the actual profit centers.
3.  The major use for quick-charge stations is for long trips, meaning most of them will be on major roads.  The bulk of service stations away from those roads will have no users for them.

Engineer-Poet

4.  The sale price of electricity is too low to allow good revenue.
5.  This means not only a large reduction in fuel sold, but number of retail outlets and cash flow at those which remain.

Engineer-Poet

6.  This is an existential threat to the oilcos.

The oilcos have already gone to great lengths to prevent this from happening.  Chance that this investment is a po is on p ill:  99%.

Engineer-Poet

Spaces inserted to get the innocuous phrase past this crazy censor-ware.

HarveyD

In many countries/cities, potential electrified vehicle owners do not have easy access to home charging facilities and will have to rely on public ultra fast chargers, to recharge their extended range EVs about once a week as they do with their ICEVs.

Future mature/improved EV batteries will accept 1500+ recharges, good for (1500 X 400 KM = 600,000+ Km) without noticeable damage.

That may look like a lot of Kms, but we will have to think outside the current ICEVs box?

Engineer-Poet

Harvey, you need to watch this video "The Truth about Hydrogen":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7MzFfuNOtY

Engineer-Poet
In many countries/cities, potential electrified vehicle owners do not have easy access to home charging facilities
If the country has an electric grid, it's much faster and cheaper to roll out home charging than it is to expand the fleet that uses it.  This is a fake problem.
gryf

Let's hope this Flow Battery does lead to a successful Stationary Grid Battery.
Today, this market is dominated by Lithium Ion batteries, while their cost has been declining due to the EV business, the cost per kWH still needs to decline even more for large scale Grid applications.

Another Grid Battery company, NantEnergy claims they have reached the $100/kWH with their Zinc Air battery and they have deployed this technology in over 1000 sites in 9 countries. However, these are small scale applications typically in Rural Electrification Microgrids.

Colin Wessells, CEO at Natron Energy has spent many years researching Prussian Blue battery technology at Stanford. You can read one of his earlier studies documented in Green Car Congress ("New nanoparticle copper compound cathode could enable low-cost ..." https://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/11/wessells-20111124.html Nov 24, 2011 ...).

Flow Batteries have had a difficult time in the market. Two of the other executives at Natron (Ali Firouzi and Majid Keshavarz) worked at Imergy which went bankrupt trying to develop Vanadium Flow batteries. Ron Mosso Natron head of operations was CTO at Enervault which also went bankrupt trying to develop Iron Chromium flow batteries.They definitely know what can go wrong in this field.

With the help of Chevron maybe they will succeed. The material cost of these batteries is much lower than the two other flow batteries so let's hope their business case works.

gryf

Since Natron with the help of Chevron is now focusing on the EV fast charging market. This requires a dedicated charging infrastructure, typically located in public access areas (usually near superhighways or Interstates) for drivers on extended trips as E-P pointed out.
This is a very cost sensitive and low margin business similar to any highway gas station which makes significant profit from non fuel business.
Let's also hope that Chevron is serious about this business model.

HarveyD

ASEP, rolling out Level I or II home charging facilities, in many cases, is not cheap and often close to impossible due to the limits of the current/installed electrical circuits configuration.

Public high speed charging facilities are being installed and will multiply. Oil/Gas organizations have the financial resources and eagerness required to progressively replace current gas stations for charge/refill stations for future BEVs/FCEVs.

Alternatively, public utilities could supply similar facilities in areas of interest.

Engineer-Poet

The Alzheimer's patient writes:

rolling out Level I
Level 1 is a standard NEMA wall outlet.
or II home charging facilities, in many cases, is not cheap
My Level 1 was free.  I have a Level 2 charger I've been too busy to install.
and often close to impossible
There's a hotel not far from me.  They installed 1 Clipper Creek J1772 charger, 3 Tesla chargers, and a bunch of NEMA outlets in a planter in the parking lot.  There's no indication that they disturbed any pavement in the process.  If they can do it there, it can be done anywhere.  Every parking meter can be a charger.  Every space in every parking structure can be wired.
due to the limits of the current/installed electrical circuits configuration.
Distribution wiring can be upgraded very cheaply if it's above ground.  Transformers are cheap.  €12k for 1000 kVa not all that long ago.  Or $2650 for a brand-new 75 kVa transformer on eBay right now; that's enough for about 10 Level 2 chargers running flat-out all at once, or $265 per connection.

If you're tired of being wrong all the time and made to look total lee stew pit, you can always be quiet.

Public high speed charging facilities are being installed and will multiply.
They will, but they will not and cannot be used for the majority of charging needs.  The grid can't handle so much spiky demand (and "renewables" even less so).  Charging will be installed next to parking and that will take care of the problem.

HarveyD

SAEP is 150% wrong but will not/never admit it. He can't think outside his NPPs box and Hybrids/Home chargers while the majority will be going for REs, ultra quick charge extended range EVs and ultra quick charge future 350 KW to 700 KW public charging facilities.

It is not easy to admit that Oilcos have the resources and it is in their interest to develop and progressively install many thousand ultra quick charge facilities in many countries to progressively replace their gas/diesel stations.

Shoping centers, restaurants, hotels, motels, theaters, offices, industries, schools etc will also participate (mostly with Level II Chargers) to satisfy their customers/employees/students.

Lad

The term 'charging station' was referred to as an EVSE( Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment). When I bought my 2011 Leaf, #669, I looked for a level 2 EVSE and this guy designed one and made it available on The Leaf Forum. I bought the PCB and built mine up from parts...spent about $175, including the cable:
https://code.google.com/archive/p/open-evse/
Like E-P, I feel this is another red herring of many from the oilcos. By simple raising the question among the uninformed, they slow down the transition.

Engineer-Poet
SAEP is 150% wrong but will not/never admit it.
AlzHarveys Disease asserts he's right but can neither link sources nor produce mathematics showing he's right, nor even follow mathematics showing otherwise.  He's innumerate.


"Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathes, and not make messes in the house." — RAH

He can't think outside his NPPs box and Hybrids/Home chargers
No matter how much wind AlzHarveys Disease generates by waving his hands, he can't wave up one single example of a country decarbonizing its grid with "renewables" other than hydro... and as I noted but he refuses to admit, you cannot build or mine more rainfall for hydro.
the majority will be going for REs, ultra quick charge extended range EVs and ultra quick charge future 350 KW to 700 KW public charging facilities.
AlzHarveys Disease cannot show how these REs will be stored until needed or where the on-tap energy will come from to power these quick-charge facilities.  I can show in detail how NPPs (especially the Cal Abel twist on the S-PRISM plant) would do that, but AlzHarveys Disease cannot understand the explanation because innumerate.

You can be silent and be thought a fool, or post and remove all doubt.  Choose wisely... oops, too late!

Engineer-Poet
I feel this is another red herring of many from the oilcos. By simple raising the question among the uninformed, they slow down the transition.

The oilcos have been using the same tactic against nuclear for decades.  They are VERY good at it.

HarveyD

Certain facts:

1) The nuclear industry failed to design and build competitive, save NPPs.
2) The nuclear industry failed to find acceptable ways to store used fuel.
3) The storage battery industry failed (so far) to design and produce affordable units for fixed and mobile uses.
4) REs are now cheaper than nuclear and fossil fuel plants in many places.
5) Combined REs can supply reliable energy 24/7. (H-Q is doing it)
6) Grids can be better managed to match production and consumption to reduce the size of storage units and the use of more REs.
7) Many future extended range EVs with 100+ kWh battery will be used (on a voluntary/business basis) to better match-manage e-energy production-consumption and allow more 24/7 REs
8) More CPPs will be closed after 2020 than new units are built.
9) More NPPs will be decommissioned than new ones built after 2025.
10) More OILCOS will convert/build quick charge facilities after 2020.
11) Improved mobile batteries will make EVs competitive by 2030.
12) Improved fixed batteries will be competitive for grid storage by 2030.
13) Improved high capacity (12+ megawatt) wind turbines installed on higher towers in the right places will reach 50% of name plate capacity.
14) Improved multi-layer solar panels will capture up to 50% of the solar energy.
15) Many existing/older Wind/Solar plants will be upgraded with higher performance units by 2030/2040.
16) H2 and Salt will be removed/separated from fresh/sea water, with improved membranes at a much lower cost by 2030.
17) Electrified vehicles will reach or surpass ICEVs sales in many places by 2030/2040.
18) Electrified public transport (buses, trains, subways, driverless e-mini buses etc) will replace many private vehicles, starting in city cores, by 2030.

SJC

EP reformats and uses italics to seem more clever, he is just mentally ill.

avada

@HarveyD |
A large number of fast chargers are not viable, because they'd put an obscene load on the electric grid. If they're not constrained naturally they will have to be restrained by regulation.

It's far easier to install home/parking-space outlets for load balanced charging as EV's share increases.

(And approximately no-one cares about rex EVs.)

Engineer-Poet

The AlzHarvey's Disease victim—or is it vector?—is at it again.  Refuting point by point:

1) The nuclear industry failed to design and build competitive, save NPPs.
The nuclear industry was done in by a combination of stagflation, lawfare and hostile and capricious regulation.  A good account of this period can be found here.
2) The nuclear industry failed to find acceptable ways to store used fuel.

The nuclear industry is supposed to have its fuel disposal taken care of by the United States government, by law.  The USG has thus far refused to take delivery, and is paying money to utilities for their own dry-cask storage.

3) The storage battery industry failed (so far) to design and produce affordable units for fixed and mobile uses.

Note the contradiction with 7, 11 and 12.  If batteries were easy we'd never have switched away from electrics in the beginning of the 20th century.

4) REs are now cheaper than nuclear and fossil fuel plants in many places.

AlzHarvey's Disease knows this is a half-truth, and a half-truth is a whole lie.  Nuclear delivers energy on demand cheaper than anything that "Greens" call "renewable", from which list they omit hydropower.  AlzHarvey's "REs" cannot deliver energy on demand.  It's a fundamentally different thing.

5) Combined REs can supply reliable energy 24/7. (H-Q is doing it)

HQ is Hydro Quebec.  It's not Vent Solaire Quebec.  Another half-truth.

6) Grids can be better managed to match production and consumption to reduce the size of storage units and the use of more REs.

AlzHarvey's Disease prescribes more unreliable generation but thinks it can be used with less storage.  No math is required to see that this is insane.

7) Many future extended range EVs with 100+ kWh battery will be used (on a voluntary/business basis) to better match-manage e-energy production-consumption and allow more 24/7 REs

AlzHarvey's Disease has been told in detail (with math) that the maximum conceivable mid-term BEV fleet can only store ~2 days of electric demand, which is grossly insufficient to cover the dropouts in unreliable wind and solar.  He is either too senile to follow the math, or sticks to Green dogma instead.

Engineer-Poet

Silly Jerk Clown, if you still don't know what a blockquote is after 20 years of web sites like Slashdot, you've likely got AlzHarvey's Disease as well.

HarveyD

SAEP likes to make friends? Will his DT style work?

Sooner or latter he will realize that:

1) current NPPs are good but are too costly to refurbish/replace and will not resist future major weather/climat changes in many places.

2) current used fuel disposal is not acceptable. France and Canada have already spent a fortune trying to find the ideal appropriate methods for long term (500,000 years) storage sites and safe transport.

3) HEVs and PHEVs are good as temporary technologies to reduce pollution and GHGs but will be replaced with cleaner more efficient BEVs/FCEVs between 2030 and 2040.

4) REs are here to stay and grow and will replace costly NPPs and polluting CPPs by 2040 or so.

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