Alevo Announces $1 Billion Investment in New Battery Technology, Opens NC Manufacturing Facility

A new player has emerged on the scene in the energy storage market. A Reuters article features a Swiss company called Alevo which has been developing a battery technology over the last ten years, and says it is now ready to deploy it as an energy storage technology to help with capturing energy from intermittent energy sources (wind, solar) and also balancing power loads on the grid.

Alevo CEO Jostein Eikeland unveiled their battery technology in Concord, North Carolina on October 27th, displaying a GridBank — a shipping container filled with batteries. Alevo has purchased an old Philip Morris tobacco factory in Concord which will be their manufacturing base. The company claims that their ‘inorganic lithium’ battery technology is superior to anything else on the market, saying ‘due to its inorganic nature, the battery is non-flammable (Safety) and creates minimal internal resistance (Long Life).’ Alevo is offering a 20 year warranty on the batteries.
A detailed report on battery tests performed by Irish firm Accenture can be downloaded here (email required)

Alevo has managed to secure $1 billion from Swiss investors and plans to employ 2,500 people in the next three years.

From the Article:

‘”Building as big as we did, it might seem a little bit risky,” said Eikeland, who described himself as “a controversial guy.”

“Producing on a mass scale will make Alevo’s technology cost- effective from the start, Eikeland said. The high cost of grid storage has prevented it from being deployed more widely.

“Eikeland plans to deliver 200 megawatts of batteries – roughly enough to power 100,000 homes – into the U.S. market next year and is in talks with big utilities, which he hopes will become customers.’

Below is an infographic from Alevo’s website outlining their business strategy.

 

alevo
Source: Alevo.com

A recent press release announced that Alevo has signed an agreement with a Chinese company, China-ZK International Energy Investment Co, Ltd., to promote and commercialize its technology in China.

Energy storage is considered to be an essential component for solar and wind power to become widespread, and any genuine breakthrough in battery technology will be very helpful in that effort. It remains to be seen how effective Alevo’s technology will be in the marketplace, but $1 billion in investments indicates that there is some confidence behind this company.

I think it’s just coincidence, but having a new company start up in North Carolina, offering a new energy solution in shipping containers is a familiar approach to readers here!

  • GreenWin

    “Cambrian explosion of EV species.” Nice image Sanjeev!

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    Government needs to be in charge of buildings roads, railways, etc., things that private enterprise cannot reasonably do by itself. Government should not tell you what kinds of food you are allowed to eat (Michael Bloomberg., Michelle Obama), or force you to put costly, inefficient solar panels on your roof (town council of Sebastopol , CA) or force you to put engine rotting, world starving ethanol in your car (Obama, Bush, John Kitzhaber), or dictate what you can do in the bedroom (Governor Rick Perry). My views are common sense. Government should not pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. That is a job for energy consumers. In North Korea those who believe in more free choice are shot for being too liberal. In the USA those who believe in more free choice are branded conservatives, climate change deniers, and anti-green blasphemers.

  • Daniel Maris

    Not sure what you mean by “not practical”. You can transfer electricity well over a 1000 miles. There are lines in Brazil and China over 2000kms long.

    So it you could, if you wished, use wind power in Maine to power homes and industry in Florida.

    • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

      When i say ‘not practical’ I mean that currently in most countries long distance HVDC transmissions lines are not a thing… therefore… power can’t be transmitted from (for example) florida to new york… to do so would require massive investment and grid reengineering.

  • Sanjeev

    Well you know these politicians, never believe what a politician says. Check the world markets. If one country does fail (unlikely for germany), there is whole world waiting to take advantage of cheap solar power.

    The low cost, independence and green factors overpower all factors including the space needed.

  • Sanjeev

    I think it is a wise decision and a great innovation. Batteries are a bottleneck for a totally ubiquitous green energy technology. Once there is a cheap solution for it, the non-fossil fuel era will launch like a rocket.

    If you have read Ray Kurzweil and his law of accelerating returns, you will instantly know that this is the right time to start a venture in new energy technologies (mostly in solar), because the non-fossil fuel energy technologies are entering an explosive phase after having turned through the “knee” of exponential growth curve. Once this happens there is usually a big boom till the technology becomes ubiquitous and then saturates (top of the S curve).

    Even with current battery tech the growth in solar and wind is impressive. It has proven all those brainwashed “experts” wrong, who preached that you cannot live without oil and gas. Here are some great graphs. Imagine the future with a great battery tech.

    http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/amazing-chart-shows-again-why-solar-power-will-take-over-world.html

    • Daniel Maris

      Energy storage is key to green energy and the wider green economy.

      I must admit I was a bit sceptical about how quickly the price of solar energy might decline.

      However, the price drop has been hugely impressive and it now seems clear that there is no reason to think the price won’t drop a lot further.

      Within 10 years, it looks like virtually any country on the planet will be able to create a fully green energy sector using a combination of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, hydro, wave, waste to energy, biofuels and energy storage. In the UK, you would probably only need to cover 60% of electricity generation through energy storage (probably less if you include imported electricity on a continental grid) for those days when wind and solar produce limited amounts electricity.

      Let’s not forget as well that you can store energy as pumped hydro, liquid nitrogen, and artificial methane – as well as in chemical batteries.

      I think within 20 years highly developed economies could be moving rapidly to green energy delivering energy independence, clean air and near zero carbon additions.

      We can already see how a lot of the problems associated with electric vehicles have or are being addressed.

      That’s all ignoring LENR!

  • EEStorFanFibb

    Frank wrote: “Energy storage is considered to be an essential component for solar and wind power to become widespread”…. This is a commonly held “belief” but only the uninformed think that. It’s a myth. Grids can adopt 80%+ renewable energy sources without adding ANY energy storage in to the mix.

    Watch and learn the truth here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsgrahFln0s&list=PL746CB5EE6DDCDA73

    • Daniel Maris

      It was an instructive video but there were one or two things that the video made sound easy but aren’t e.g. electrifying all vehicular transportation. That won’t happen overnight.

      Also, I wasn’t clear whether they were talking about general weather patterns or were dealing with extreme weather events.

      Another point – Europe I think is a much more unified weather system i.e. it is not unusual for a huge high pressure system to sit over virtually the whole continent. I think the USA because of the Caribbean, Pacific, Rockies and Arctic influences has a much more mixed system – that would help even out peaks and troughs in terms of generation.

  • psi2u2

    Wow. That is quite a quantum leap from the state-of-the-art yesterday. For one thing, offering a twenty year warranty on a battery of any kind is pretty remarkable when contrasted with where we are coming from. But I have noticed this kind of innovation is now taking place at the consumer end of the battery market as well. I just purchased a new kind of recharger that recharges even “non-recharble” batteries. It does Ni-cad, Alkaline, and NiMHy, AAA, AA, C, D and maybe some others. I had a big pile of unrecycled batteries that suddenly have much longer lives than they did before I spent $20 on the recharger. Very nice innovation for those of us who live on limited budgets.

  • Gerard McEk

    I would assume they have to compete with Tesla. The battery Tesla is using does not last that many cycles. Tesla optimizes on energy content and my have 150-170 Wh/kg this battery is 130 Wh/kg, so it may be a different market. Still I believe it is a huge risk they take.

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    Why purchase an energy generation system that needs a battery at all? Natural gas and nuclear power plants do not need batteries. Solar and wind are always intermittent. Why purchase an inherently intermittent, unreliable, and unpredictable energy source with such a very low Capacity Factor? The Capacity Factors of solar panels installed in Germany are under 10%.

    This battery technology sounds OK, but the new Japanese invented carbon based capacitors sound better. We need small, powerful electricity storage devices to put into cars, not large scale batteries designed to make absolutely awful and absurd energy technologies, industrial wind and industrial solar, survive their inevitable deaths. Those impotent, symbolic gesture only technologies forced on us by BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT need to die, and the sooner the better, along with the attitude that government committees should decide energy policy, not the laws of supply and demand, which are far superior than any politician’s brain. The laws of supply and demand are inherently democratic. Government mandates are inherently dictatorial.

    • Daniel Maris

      If you live in a smallish country like UK or Japan, nuclear power facilities can wipe out huge swathes of your productive land and your residential areas. The costs of having to relocate say 5 million and make up lost production would be vast.

      Besides nuclear is no longer a cheap option and leaves a waste disposal problem to future generations for hundreds, even thousands of years.

      Natural gas is a good fuel that should certainly be our fossil fuel of choice as we gradually move to a renewables economy.

      • US_Citizen71

        Natural gas is semi-renewable as well, rotting garbage, sewage and agricultural waste all can be turned into methane easy enough.

        • Daniel Maris

          Hmmm – defintions. I think natural gas is normally thought of as coming out of the ground. Waste to energy is another sector. And then there is artificial methane production e.g. using solar or wind energy to split hydrogen from water and combine it with carbon taken from the atmosphere (a carbon neutral process.

      • NT

        Right on Dan – Fission Nukes are kaput – hopefully! They and coal will be the first to go with coming LENR and the NOW rapidly advancing solar technologies and favorable COSTS. Oh, and you are correct about natural gas as the intermediary energy source as well…

        • Fortyniner

          “Fission Nukes are kaput – hopefully!” Not in the UK unfortunately, as Cameron continues to steamroller through his nuclear agenda:

          “Main construction work on the UK’s first nuclear power plant in a generation could begin as early as December, Building can reveal.

          Contractors delivering the civil packages on EDF’s £16bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project are being told to prepare to start on site in December this year, according to market sources.

          The news comes as the European Commission (EC) announced it was set to approve a deal between the developer and the UK government on how the project will be funded.”

          http://m.building.co.uk/news/contractors-primed-to-start-work-on-£16bn-hinkley-nuclear-project/5071104.article

          • NT

            Fortunately, it is still a long way to the ribbon cutting for this ill conceived boondoggle…

    • psi2u2

      “The laws of supply and demand are inherently democratic. Government mandates are inherently dictatorial.”

      I wonder if are not projecting your own assumptions onto this dualistic construct of opposing the “inherently democratic” to the “inherently dictatorial.” “Dictatorial” is a strong word, and it implies that any use of political means to guide or restrain markets is ipso facto evil or at least bad. But I see no obligation to accept this as a proven fact — it is in fact a conjecture, and one which flies in the face of much evidence for the public value of government intervention in certain markets that have intentionally or otherwise inappropriately externalized some of the costs of their production. You say that markets are “democratic”? Unrestrained by scientific knowledge backed by the force of law, they also create Love Canals.

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        Every time you buy something you are casting a vote for a product or service. Consumers in a nation create a great brain that votes many times a day on goods and services. The voting in instant, and reflects the will of the people to purchase the best product at the lowest price. Politicians are by nature liars. They have to be or they would not last long in politics because the truth offends too many people. A committee of very bribable liars is, on average, far less democratic, honest, and accurate than the free market, which is created by the votes of all consumers. EXAMPLE: Biofuels would not exist to any significant extent without government subsidies and mandates. Biofuels alone have killed far more people worldwide than all wars and acts of terrorism combined over the last 20 years. Malnutrition is the world’s number one cause of premature death and avoidable mental retardation in children. Wind and solar power schemes have been economic disasters wherever they have been tried, increasing the cost of energy while reducing greenhouse gas levels by such a tiny amount that it is debatable if they have made any reduction at all. We need limited government that does a few basic things very well, like protect our borders from invasion and making sure Americans do not starve. We don’t need government deciding energy policy.

        • bitandrun

          That great brain in the US has managed to buy itself into a 30% obesity rate, driven by the philanthropic designs of the American food industry.

          “we need” things that are actionable, not things for which there is no practical path of attainment. But that would require real analytic thinking and collaborative problem solving…too hard, except for people who apparently are able to do it, like Aleveo.

          • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

            Democracy is not a cure-all. It does not make people smarter or better in any way. It is, however, the best form of government. In North Korea the top leaders are fat, but everyone else is skinny.

            The free market is efficient and has given us 55″ diagonal HDTVs for $599. The marketplace becomes efficient because people vote down inefficiency in favor of efficiency. Efficiency brings us better products at a lower price. Government is a way to steal money from one group of people and give it to another group of people. Some of that is OK if it brings social order and helps the poor, but that process easily gets out of control. Now we have massive foreign aid, and countless scam projects and industries that have no real value other than make money for a favored few, like the biofuel, windmill, and solar panel industries, which could never survive the discipline of the marketplace on their own. The marketplace weeds out the hoaxes better than government. Government builds up corruption over time until the government collapses, as is happening right now in the USA, and as happened in Greece and Spain, to a significant degree because of bad mandated energy policy.

        • psi2u2

          I am sorry but I find the analogy to be misleading. Voting on social policies, or elected representatives for that matter, is not the same as shopping for a product or a service.

          • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

            Sure it is. When you buy something you are saying you want it, you value it, you need it. If not, you would not have purchased it at all.

            • psi2u2

              Well, you are welcome to your opinion, but I still don’t agree. Commerce is a transaction involving a sale of something from one party to another. Politics is the art of designing the regulations (among other things) that should pertain to that kind of a transaction. They are not the same thing at all, or at least should not be, imho.

        • Daniel Maris

          You probably think the transcontinental railways in America appeared by magic.

          • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

            No one is speaking in absolutes. We need government, but within reasonable limits. There is no fixed set of instructions you can write down as law to avoid disastrous government mishaps. People always need intelligence and honesty to make government work. We are currently lacking that. One can generally say that government should invest moderate amounts of money in energy research, but never mandate products or subsidise energy products. The free market is a better judge of value, and freedom is what America is supposed to be about. Once China was overrun with sparrows eating their crops. So Chairman Mao mandated a policy of mass bird killings, but when the birds were dead, the insects took over and did more damage to the crops than the birds. Letting people buy what they want, within reason, is usually the best policy. That does not mean you allow people to buy ground to air missiles.

    • Warthog

      You better believe that they do need batteries….or another similar standby source of energy. With natural gas, it is by having multiple generators, some of which are idle, or run at less than full load. With nuclear plants, it is usually a (BIG) diesel genset (side note…..the Fukushima disaster was due to the failure of the backup generators, which were installed in the plant basement, and disabled by the tsunami), and by running the reactor (again) at less than full load capability. A fast-charging, stable, reliable, INEXPENSIVE battery tech would help ALL suppliers of electricity by helping them “smooth out” the day/night changes in power need

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        We need batteries for all kinds of applications, including LENR powered automobiles. Batteries capable of storing enough energy to power an entire city will likely always be too expensive. The newer proposed lithium technology will be less expensive, but still too expensive for powering New York, Detroit, San Francisco, etc. I am 100% pro improving battery and super-capacitor technology. I am opposed to telling people that you can make wind and solar work by using batteries to cure the inherent intermittency and unreliability of those technologies. A mixture of natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power can be used to efficiently balance out the grid at reasonable cost. A grid powered by wind and batteries only is absurd. Wind and solar are too expensive even without batteries added to the price of operation. How much wind and solar power can we collect on a still night?

        • Warthog

          I don’t know about “wind”, but solar thermal plants are right on the verge of economic practicality. If ANY large scale solar is likely to become truly practical in the short term, that is the one, as they can store sufficient heat in molten salts to “ride out” the day-night and “cloudy” variations in solar intensity. I hate “wind power” because the **** windmills are gigantic eyesores. I’ve driven through California’s “prime wind power” area……what a farce.

          BUT, I firmly believe that LENR is coming on strong, and will be showing practical results, and hopefully bypass all that.

    • Frechette

      Get rid of the FAA. It’s dictatorial. Is that what you are suggesting? If so we’ll have planes dropping out of the sky every other day.

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        Now you are making silly, off topic arguments. There is no valid scientific, mathematics, or economic policy based justifications for mandating or subsidising biofuels, wind, solar, or wave energy systems. There are greed, fantasy, and partisan political arguments to be made, and that is what we suffer with today. Small minded people make small minded decisions based on narrow self-interest and use government as a vehicle for theft.

        • Frechette

          Nothing off topic or silly.
          You made the statement “Government mandates are inherently dictatorial.” Aircraft certification is mandated by government by a set of rules which manufacturers must follow if they want to stay in business, as is air and water quality, medicines and drugs etc. Sounds like these are dictatorial based on your above statement. You want to get rid of them or keep them? What is it?

          • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

            Oh come on. I am obviously talking about mandates to buy products. You are just being evasive.

    • Allan Shura

      Non-public private enterprises are inherently dictatorial. The laws of supply and demand apply to the theory of perfect competition but the reality in the world is political economy.
      For the law of supply and demand: supply is most often manipulated to be lower than demand to increase prices.
      However the barriers to competition from the political system have resulted merely in
      small incremental improvements, with governments reinforcing old technology financially
      and legally. This has the effect of making breakthrough technology much more difficult
      and may leave power structures in much the same hands over a longer time.

  • GreenWin

    Interesting comment roger. the Beacon 10 has a storage system to store the PV portion of its function. I would look for a control mechanism that keeps E-Cat just under threshold temp (Debye temp?) – possibly from these type batteries. When calculated load demand exceeds storage potential, only a moderate increase in resistor heating would kick the Cat into action – starting the Stirling genset.

    • US_Citizen71

      Or you run a smaller unit continuously and store the electricity with the right combination you could store enough electricity in lulls to deal with the peaks. If you used it in a CHP setup you would want continuous hot water availability so the heat wouldn’t be wasted. I think your idling ideal would be great for a secondary core that only serves to heat a dwelling. Many more kilowatts would be needed to warm a home in the winter than needed for electrical power. The same would be true of a heat pump based cooling system in the summer. Both would have intermittent demands.

    • psi2u2

      Yes, very interesting well-informed speculation all around.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes – if it’s true they raised a billion via Switzerland, that’s very telling.

  • US_Citizen71

    Smaller batteries would also allow a 2-3kW generator to power a home and handle peak demands like electric stoves or clothes dryers without a grid backup.

  • Fortyniner

    The people who got richest in the ‘gold rushes’ were the ironmongers selling picks, shovels and buckets. I wish I owned a factory making shipping containers.

    • GreenWin

      Peter, recall one of IH/Cherokee partners does just that – container-based power systems? Will dig up link in a bit. Too much action on game board at moment. I would be happy to see Cherokee Partners take an interest in Deka. They share the same philanthropic foundation. With NRG’s new “home energy” division I can hear music… sweet, sweet music (Ronnie Specter ref.)

      • psi2u2

        Ya. How interesting.

  • pg

    potentially it s the missing link that allows renewables to explode