Monday, July 16, 2012

GE's Novel Battery to Bolster the Grid

Slowly but surely, the green tech revolution is beginning to bear fruit in places where electric grid cannot support 24/7 access to power.
(7/12/12) MIT Technology Review:

Yesterday GE officially opened a sprawling, $100 million battery factory in Schenectady, New York. The factory, which will eventually employ 450 people, makes a new kind of battery—based on sodium and nickel. GE says the technology, which is more durable and charges more quickly than lead-acid batteries, will make off-grid power generation more efficient and help utilities integrate power from a wide range of sources, including intermittent ones such as wind and solar power.

The first applications will be somewhat less ambitious. GE's first customer is a South African company—Megatron Federal—that will use the batteries to power cell-phone towers in Nigeria. Those are usually powered by diesel generators. Pairing the generators with the new batteries can help them run far more efficiently. "You save 53 percent on fuel, 45 percent on maintenance, and about 60 percent on diesel generator replacements," says Brandon Harcus, division manager for telecommunications for Megatron Federal. "For our Nigerian application, the savings are substantial, about $1.3 million over 20 years per cell tower. You use a lot less fuel and produce a lot less carbon."  
tags: control, storage, energy, distribution, synthesis, 3x3

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