Round up of deals in the energy storage sector, including: GS Yuasa re-organizes to focus on ESS markets; PolyPlus and SK enter into joint development agreement; ESS firm Zenobe attracts Japan money; WEG buys energy storage business; 34MWh of storage deployment after Australia deal…and more
GS Yuasa re-organizes US operations to focus on ESS markets
Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa announced on March 1 it was restructuring its US business operations.
The new organization, which consolidates operations from Yuasa Battery, Pennsylvania, and GS Battery, Georgia, becomes operational from April 1.
The Roswell, Georgia, headquartered company will deliver systems using lithium, lead acid and other battery chemistries for the reserve power and energy storage markets.
It will concentrate efforts in North and South America and the Caribbean basin.
Additionally, GS Yuasa Lithium Power will continue to operate as a subsidiary of the new company.
PolyPlus and SK enter into joint development agreement
PolyPlus Battery Company, a US lithium electrode firm that has developed a conductive glass separator, announced on February 18 it had entered into a joint development agreement with petroleum refining company SK Innovation.
The privately held firm will collaborate with the Korean company on solid-state lithium anode laminate for rechargeable batteries, with the aim of producing and testing prototype cells with increased volumetric and gravimetric energy density and cycle life.
SK is providing development funding and is receiving an option to invest in PolyPlus equity at a capped price per share, and an option to negotiate a licence to PolyPlus. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Last year, SK Innovations invested invest $1.6 billion in a new manufacturing plant in the US state of Georgia.
ESS firm Zenobe attracts $33m from Japan’s TEPCO
UK battery storage owner and operator Zenobe Energy announced on February 19 it had secured £25 million ($33 million) investment, with an option for a further £10 million, from Tokyo Electric Power Company subsidiaries JERA and TEPCO Power Grid.
Zenobe, which has 73MW of operational assets, will use the cash to roll out energy storage projects with a focus on commercial electric vehicle operators.
In the past 18 months the company has received £45 million of equity and more than £30 million of non-recourse senior debt facilities secured from Santander and Generation Investment Management.
Wirtz deal opens nickel zinc battery making using lead processes
US lead battery equipment designer and manufacturer Wirtz Manufacturing has invested an undisclosed sum into start-up Zaf Energy Systems, the nickel-zinc battery maker announced on February 14.
Zaf will use the investment — an undisclosed seven figure sum — to expand its manufacturing capacity from hundreds of batteries a month to up to 2,000 batteries a month in its Joplin, Missouri, facility.
The investment involves cash, equipment and the internal processes Wirtz uses for production to allow Zaf to manufacture nickel zinc batteries with traditional lead acid processes.
Wirtz CEO John Wirtz said the partnership came after experiments with Zaf’s electrodes had showed its plates could be produced at similar production rates as that of lead acid technology.
Last year, Zaf received a pledge from the Missouri Department of Economic Development Fund for $600,000 to spend on staff, expand production and new partnerships.
“This additional production capability will further enable ZAF to accelerate licensing and joint venture negotiations and commercialize NiZn batteries on a global scale,” said ZAF, whose batteries are used in automotive, heavy trucking, remote telecoms and renewable energy applications.
WEG buys energy storage business of US energy generator
Brazilian engineering firm WEG announced on February 13 it had bought the energy storage system business of renewable energy generator Northern Power Systems.
WEG will become the sole owner of the US firm’s energy storage assets, including the portfolio of ESS patents, commercial and engineering teams, know-how and related materials used in the design and maintenance of ESSs.
The deal comes six years after the two companies entered into a technology partnership to introduce permanent magnet direct drive wind turbine solutions in Brazil.
Australia deal paves way for 34MWh of storage deployment
A framework contract worth A$304 million ($214 million) was announced on February 20 by SA Water and South Australian company Enerven, a wholly owned subsidiary of power transmission firm SA Power Networks.
The deal allows Enerven to deploy around 154MW of solar photovoltaic generation and 34MW of energy storage across 70 sites during the next 18 months.
The Adelaide headquartered firm is expected to mobilize the first group of sites, including large facilities like the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant and Morgan Water Treatment Plant, in the first half of this year.
SA Water has a goal of achieving zero net electricity costs next year.
Monbat granted licensing rights to bi-polar technology
Bulgarian lead acid battery firm MonBat announced on February 20 it had acquired the licensing rights to the full suite of GreenSeal bipolar technology from Advanced Battery Concepts, the US firm that has six companies on its books.
“If the intent to invest is approved, MonBat will research into the possibility of the project to be financed by European funds,” according to the company.
This follows the firm’s announcement it plans to build a 2.4GWh bipolar lead battery plant in Vratza, Bulgaria.
The plan has been put in front of Vratza municipality “to research the local authority’s interest in such future projects”, a statement says.
MonBat Group, which began life in 1959 with a lead-acid battery plant, now has recycling plants and also makes lithium-ion batteries.
Gridserve closes deal for 27MW storage deployment
Sustainable energy firm Gridserve announced on February 28 it had closed £62 million ($81 million) funding from Investec Bank and Leapfrog Finance to deliver two solar farms plus a grid connected 27MW energy storage system.
The projects will supply the UK’s Warrington Borough Council with renewable power, for which the council will pay £62 million for the two assets and take ownership when they are operational. Gridserve will operate and maintain the solar farms.
Construction starts in the next few months with power initially to be sold on the open market.
A battery storage system is planned to be installed at Hull alongside a 25.7MWp solar farm in a later phase of the project.