Fundings, Awards in Energy Storage Heat Up

The cleantech industry continues to focus on energy storage as the missing link and growth area of the future and there were several announcements about military contracts, new funding and grants in late April and early May.

Six companies in New York were awarded a total of $1.4 million to develop advanced energy storage technologies such as ultra-capacitors, fuel cells and new forms of lithium-ion and zinc batteries that are better at storage, by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The companies are all members of the state’s battery and energy storage consortium and this award represents the second of three rounds of funding from NYSERDA.

Eos Energy Storage, one of the companies that received the NYSERDA funding, recently partnered with Con Edison of New York to test one of Eos’ batteries, which uses proprietary zinc hybrid cathode technology, on New York City’s grid, according to the press release.

As energy storage becomes critical for military troops in the frontlines and at forward-operating bases, the U.S. Army has earmarked $7 billion for renewable energy projects at its facilities and began awarding the first of that money for geothermal technology last week. The Army has to meet a goal of 25 percent energy from renewable sources by 2025, which will total 1 gigawatt.

Institutions vying for some of that money include the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Stony Brook University, that have paired up and seek $20 million to develop battery storage for the military which will power everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to soldier’s gear. BNL and Stony Brook plan to partner with companies in the New York Battery and Energy Consortium that has plans to make New York a battery research hub, according to Long Island Newsday.

Canada’s MaRS Cleantech Fund invested an unspecified amount in Toronto-based Hydrostor, which converts surplus electrical energy to underwater compressed air and stores it for use at peak times. MaRS said Hydrostor’s energy storage technology fits in with its target of game changing technology. Hydrostor says it can deliver grid-scale energy storage at a fraction of the price of comparable technologies.  MaRS is close to its $30 million funding target for its first cleantech fund, reports VentureWire. 

A nanotechnology research project at the University of Waterloo that is looking at using different materials and chemicals to develop long-lasting batteries for hybrid and electric cars was awarded $1.8 million over 4 years by Natural Resources Canada’s ecoEnergy Initiative.

Liquid air energy storage could become a $1.5 billion industry in the U.K, says a report from the Centre for Low-Carbon futures. Air can be turned into liquid by cooling it and storing it in unpressurized insulated containers and when needed, it can be heated up and transformed into gas that can drive turbines and piston engines. Experts believe this energy can fill in and compensate for the loss of energy due to intermittent power from other renewable sources during peak hours.

The U.K. government awarded $759,000 in grants to 12 storage projects, including two focused on building Britain’s first commercial liquid air facility.

And the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S Department of Energy awarded $150,000 in a Small Business Innovation Research grant to Woodbridge, Ill., based start-up Navitas Systems, for its silicon anode storage product that’s used in lithium ion batteries. Navitas acquired the Government R&D division of A123 Systems earlier this year.



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