Solar and Batteries

Solar and Battery Technology

Solar and Batteries

Zero Mass water SOURCE captures water from the air using the sun

When you think of achieving sustainability, water must be part of that conversation. Zero Mass water feels the same way and they have announced their solution which is called SOURCE, an off-grid and self contained water extraction system which can produce 4-10 liters of water per day or 8-20 16.9 oz standard water bottles. This production obviously depends on the sunshine and humidity conditions as a solar panel and battery are used to power the device.

Each panel is 4 feet by 8 feet with a 30 liter reservoir that mineralizes the water with calcium and magnesium cartridges. A standard array consists of two of these panels, so it is a fairly wide structure. At a price of $4000 for the standard unit, this won’t exactly be going into every home but it does present a very intriguing road map for where we could and should be going with water conservation technology.

You may be thinking that getting on the roof for water is impractical, however this is a complete solution with a pump producing 80 psi of pressure and is plumbed directly into your fridge, dispenser or faucet.

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Solar and Batteries

Nissan xStorage Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is a bi-directional home power solution

If you thought Tesla’s Powerwall was the only game in town, you’d be wrong as there are many other manufacturers of similar home power solutions such as LG Chem, Orison, Sonnen, SimpliPhi, Sunverge, Powervault, Mercedes, ElectrIQ, Panasonic, and Nissan’s xStorage is one of the latest. 

Here are some notes on the power system:

  • Used to provide Grid Services: xStorage Home could charge from the grid or discharge to the grid in order to generate the flexibility needed to further increase the penetration of renewable energy
  • Renewables: xStorage Home can store energy from your renewables installation (Solar panels, wind power, subfloor heating…) and allow to use that energy for your home when you need it
  • XStorage Home: The battery stocks both grid and renewable energy during the day, allowing you to source it how you want and when you want. Thanks to Nissan + Eaton technology, you have the power (and can even give some back to the grid as well).
  • Redistribute over production of renewables: Sometimes, your renewables are producing more energy than needed to power the load. Therefore, xStorage Home injects the energy back into the grid when the demand is high.

So as you can see this energy storage system not only will store and redistribute power throughout the day, but it can also sell the energy back into the grid.

Nissan is also recycling used EV batteries in their xStorage units to make best use of otherwise still functioning battery packs and to remain more environmentally friendly.

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Solar and Batteries

Toshiba’s SCiB batteries double the capacity of graphite counterparts

Toshiba introduced it’s SCiB battery cells back in 2008 and used Lithium Titanium Oxide (LTO) for the annode unlike typical Lithium Ion batteries used today. LTO batteries offer improved low temperature operation, impact resistence, and long battery life. Toshiba’s latest iteration on this battery technology introduces the use of Titanium Niobium Oxide as the anode which is more resilient to rapid charging characteristics such as lithium metal deposition. When attempting to charge a battery too quickly, this would normally cause premature battery degredation and short circuiting. This new battery tech can apparently reduce or minimize those issues.

Toshiba also stated in their press release the new battery would enable a 320km range increase for an electric vehicle off a mere 6 minute, ultra-rapid recharge which is triple what is possible with current lithium-ion batteries. There was no mention of what voltage was used to attain these figures nor h ow large the battery, but it is promising.

This is a prototype of a 50Ah next gen SCiB battery:

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Solar and Batteries

Tesla Powerwall 2 installations begin to ramp up

Launched last year for $5,500, the Powerwall 2 has a 14 kWh capacity and requires aproximately $700 in supporting hardware and installation costs can range from $800 to $2000.

Here is a close look of a Tesla Powerwall 2 being installed at a new owner’s residence by Swell Energy. The video is slightly sped up to but gives a pretty decent idea of what goes on during the installation process.


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EVsSolar and Batteries

Solar Panels may sport solar panels sooner than later

A press release by Panasonic outlines their newly developed HIT Photovoltaic Module designed for the Toyota Prius PHV, which generates power and charges the drive system batteries. Previously solar roofs have been limited to powering accessories and auxiliary charging of the 12 volt batteries, however the higher output solar cells Panasonic has created are capable of charging the higher voltage drive system lithium-ion batteries as well.

The new batteries aren’t restricted to the typical flat and boxy shapes we’re typically used to seeing, and can take on a curved design to flow with the body panels of the recipient vehicle.

While a solar panel was mounted on the Prius HV in 2012, the limited output of the panel did not contribute toward the range of the vehicle. With the new HIT panels, they have achieved an output of approximately 180W which is three times the output of the predecessor.

When you put all of these things together, you have a nicely packaged optional feature which may replenish the range by a few miles and further increase the efficiency of the vehicle overall.


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EVsSolar and BatteriesTesla

Battery pack details for the Tesla Model 3 are aproximately 50kWh and 75kWh

According to electrek, Elon Musk has disclosed the aproximate capacities of the battery packs the Tesla Model 3 is equipped with. The standard pack comes in at a little over 50 kWh providing 220 miles of driving range, and around 75 kWh for the ‘long range’ pack, which brings it up to 310 miles.

The information was disclosed during a conference call hosted by Goldman Sachs, surely to help investors looking into the $1.5 billion in notes it intends to offer to raise capital. Written in a press release:

Tesla today announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $1.5 billion in aggregate principal amount of its senior notes due 2025 (the “Notes”). The Notes will be senior unsecured debt obligations of Tesla. The interest rate, redemption prices and other terms of the Notes are to be determined.

Tesla intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to further strengthen its balance sheet during this period of rapid scaling with the launch of Model 3, and for general corporate purposes.


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Solar and Batteries

Alphabet’s Malta stores energy with Salt and Antifreeze

It looks like a new little project is coming out of the X labs, code named Malta, it lays the ground work for grid scale energy storage.

The system mixes an established technique with newly designed components. “Think of this, at a very simple level, as a fridge and a jet,” said Julian Green, the product manager for Malta.

Two tanks are filled with salt, and two are filled with antifreeze or a hydrocarbon liquid. The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air. The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze, a bit like a refrigerator. The jet engine part: Flip a switch and the process reverses. Hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it. Salt maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how much you insulate the tanks.


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