Silicon Valley is the best place to learn about green energy as it is a home for the most innovative eco-friendly initiatives in the world. The state of California plans to switch all its utility providers to 1/3 of renewable sources by 2020. As solar and wind energy technologies are being implemented in all places, an important problem has arisen: how to secure sufficient storage to preserve unused and extra energy produced with unpredictable renewable sources as well as satisfy growing demand for capable auto batteries? According to DNV GL, world’s best energy storage innovations already surpassed the RND stage and are being adopted on commercial basis. The top energy storage technologies include Lithium Ion, Sodium Sulfur, Metal-Air batteries, along with supercapacitors and hydro pumped power. Let’s take a look at some Silicon Valley companies that offer innovative storage solutions. EnerVault Corporation Founded in 2008, EnerVault designs and manufactures long-duration, megawatt-hour scale energy storage systems based on technology pioneered by NASA. The technology is based on the company’s patented Engineered Cascade™ technology that transforms an inherently safe Redox Flow Battery chemistry into highly economic and reliable storage solutions, as said on company’s website. According to Bizjournals, the flow battery stores chemical energy and generates electricity by passing charged liquid through a barrier. Flow batteries look a bit like two big tanks and a small array of pipes. They store energy chemically by charging electrolytes suspended in fluid. The company’s technology extracts that energy by pumping the fluid through a membrane to cause a chemical reaction. Tesla MotorsRecently, Tesla’s CEO Elon Mask made an outstanding move. He announced the opening of all patents of the world’s leading electric car maker to the public. One of the company’s notable inventions is the battery pack that is the result of innovative systems engineering and 20 years of advances in Lithium-ion cell technology. Tesla’s ingenious battery pack architecture enables world-class acceleration, safety, range, and reliability. The non-toxic pack is built at Tesla’s Headquarters in Northern California. The pack weighs 990 pounds, stores 56 kWh of electric energy, and delivers up to 215 kW of electric power. Tesla battery packs have the highest energy density in the industry. To achieve this energy density, Tesla starts with thousands of best-in-class Lithium-ion cells and assembles them into a liquid-cooled battery pack, wrapped in a strong metal enclosure, as company’s website indicates. Primus Power Primus Power is a venture-backed flow battery startup that provides smart grid storage. McKinsey names this technology one of the 10 most disruptive innovations in energy industry. According to their report, in 2012 grid storage cost about $600 to $1,000 per kilowatt hour and could be used only when local geology supports pumped hydro or compressed-air storage systems. Innovations that make use of flow batteries, liquid-metal batteries, and other technologies could reduce costs to between $150 and $200 per kilo-watt hour by 2020 and make it possible to provide grid storage in every major metropolitan market. Primus Power patented solutions represent a breakthrough in zinc-flow battery technology. They can add flexibility to the electric power system, increasing its stability and security, while reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. For example, storage can provide additional power to the electric grid during peak periods, such as a hot summer afternoon when everyone is running air conditioners. Rapidly advancing world of energy technologies offers breathtaking solutions that will ensure safety and stability of your business.
Carol Roberts is a Project Manager and Content Coordinator for Silicon Valley Innovation Center, where she is focused on digital content and marketing programs. Carol works cross-functionally with the marketing and operations departments to coordinate execution strategy.