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    1. Foxconn Wants to Become a Global Force in Clean Energy

      Foxconn Wants to Become a Global Force in Clean Energy

      The primary reason for Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp, the struggling electronics giant, is the iPhone supplier’s desire to begin producing high-end smartphone screens, in particular the organic light-emitting diodes that will be used by the next generation of Apple devices. But there’s another driver of the $3.5 billion deal as well: Foxconn, previously best-known in the West for employee suicides and toxic water pollution, wants to become a leader in China’s clean-energy revolution.

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      Mentions: China Apple
    2. Why Solar Power Could Hit a Ceiling

      Why Solar Power Could Hit a Ceiling

      There could be a limit on how much solar power can grow. That’s because the more solar power we add to the grid, the less valuable it becomes. It’s a simple supply-and-demand story: solar reaches peak generation during sunny afternoons, but there’s a limited demand for such additional power during those times. As a result, solar begins to compete with itself, driving down the price that utilities are willing to pay generators. Meanwhile, the widespread deployment of energy storage technology, novel demand-management schemes, or new climate policies could change the situation by increasing solar power’s underlying value.

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      Mentions: CA DoE U.S.
    3. Why We Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs

      Why We Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs

      Electric cars are quick and quiet, with a range more than long enough for most commutes. If you want a car with extremely fast acceleration, the Tesla Model S is hard to beat. And, of course, electric vehicles avoid the pollution associated with conventional cars, including emissions of carbon dioxide from burning gasoline. Yet they account for a tiny fraction of automotive sales, mainly because the batteries that propel them are expensive and need to be recharged frequently. A better battery could change everything. But while countless breakthroughs have been announced over the last decade, time and again these advances have failed to translate into commercial batteries with anything like the promised improvements in cost and energy storage.

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    4. A Prototype Battery Could Double the Range of Electric Cars

      A Prototype Battery Could Double the Range of Electric Cars

      An experimental lithium-ion battery based on materials developed at a U.S. Department of Energy lab stores twice as much energy as the batteries used in most electric cars. If the technology can be commercialized, it could give affordable electric cars a range of over 200 miles per charge, says Hal Zarem, CEO of Seeo, a startup that’s working on the technology. Today the cheapest electric cars, which cost around $30,000, typically have a range of less than 100 miles.

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      Mentions: CA DoE U.S.
    5. A Battery to Prop Up Renewable Power Hits the Market

      A Battery to Prop Up Renewable Power Hits the Market

      A new kind of battery that stores energy from solar and wind power cheaply and cleanly has hit the market. It is by far the cheapest of a new generation of large, long-lived batteries that could make it possible to rely heavily on intermittent, renewable energy sources. Aquion Energy, a company spun out of Carnegie Mellon University, recently delivered the first of its batteries to operators of small power grids, or “microgrids,” that can operate independently of the centralized grid.

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    6. Germany and Canada Are Building Water Splitters to Store Renewable Energy

      Germany and Canada Are Building Water Splitters to Store Renewable Energy

      Germany, which has come to rely heavily on wind and solar power in recent years, is launching more than 20 demonstration projects that involve storing energy by splitting water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. The projects could help establish whether electrolysis, as the technology is known, could address one of the biggest looming challenges for renewable energy—its intermittency.

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      Mentions: U.S. Germany Canada
    7. Battery to Bolster Renewables

      Battery to Bolster Renewables

      At a small solar power plant near Modesto, in California’s Central Valley, a startup called Enervault recently unveiled battery technology that could increase the amount of renewable energy utilities can use. The technology is based on inexpensive materials that researchers had largely given up on because batteries made from them didn’t last long enough to be practical. But the company says it has figured out how to make the batteries last for decades.

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      Mentions: CA DoE Harvard
    8. Ambri Funding Influx Suggests a New Day for Grid Batteries

      Ambri Funding Influx Suggests a New Day for Grid Batteries

      Progress being made by battery startup Ambri suggests that the market for long-duration grid energy storage is finally taking shape. Storing wind and solar power using today’s battery technologies is too expensive, but new technologies could make it affordable, enabling wider use of renewables. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, company this week said it has raised a $35 million series-C round to fund the production of prototype batteries from an existing factory and finance construction of a commercial-scale plant. The company intends to test prototypes in the field this year and produce full-size batteries for paying customers by 2016.

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      Mentions: CA HI MA
    9. Profile of Aquion Energy: Storing the Sun

      Profile of Aquion Energy: Storing the Sun

      A new kind of battery invented by Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials science at Carnegie Mellon University and founder of the startup Aquion Energy, could make renewable electricity more practical and economical around the world. Aquion is about to start full-scale production of the batteries at a new factory in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

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      Mentions: PA U.S. Aquion
    10. Startup Thinks Its Battery Will Solve Renewable Energy’s Big Flaw

      Startup Thinks Its Battery Will Solve Renewable Energy’s Big Flaw

      A former Sony TV factory near Pittsburgh is coming to life again after lying idle for four years. Whirring robotic arms have started to assemble a new kind of battery that could make the grid more efficient and let villages run on solar power around the clock. Aquion, the startup that developed the battery, has finished installing its first commercial-scale production line at the factory, and is sending out batteries for customers to evaluate.

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      Mentions: GE Sony Aquion
    11. Low-Cost Batteries for the Grid

      Low-Cost Batteries for the Grid

      Utilities would love to be able to store the power that wind farms generate at night—when no one wants it—and use it when demand is high during the day. But conventional battery technology is so expensive that it only makes economic sense to store a few minutes of electricity, enough to smooth out a few fluctuations from gusts of wind.

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      Mentions: Japan DoE Harvard
    12. A Cheaper Grid Battery (Sun Catalytix)

      A Cheaper Grid Battery (Sun Catalytix)

      (Sun Catalytix) the MIT spinoff, which hopes to differentiate itself with a novel chemistry and inexpensive mechanical systems, is testing a small-scale five-kilowatt prototype. It projects that a full-scale system, which it expects to make in 2015 or 2016, will cost under $300 kWh, or less than half as much as the sodium-sulfur batteries now used for multihour grid storage.

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      Mentions: China MIT Ambri
    13. Ambri's Better Grid Battery (good overview of the company)

      Ambri's Better Grid Battery (good overview of the company)

      When (Ambri's liquid metal) cell is heated to around 500°C, the disks and powder inside—the battery’s electrodes and electrolyte, respectively—will melt ... Conventional rechargeable batteries have solid electrodes that degrade with use, but a (liquid metal) battery ... could last for years without losing much of its energy storage capacity. The molten materials can also operate at much higher current densities than solids, and for longer periods of time.

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      Mentions: DoE France U.S.
    1-24 of 42 1 2 »
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