Energy storage: It's everyone's favorite topic these days. Renewable power technologies like solar and wind can't be optimized without storage. Unfortunately, rigging up massive lithium-ion battery packs at wind farms would be prohibitively expensive so everyone is looking at alternatives.
And flow batteries are just one of those alternatives. Deeya Energy, one of the few companies that specializes in this area, has closed up another round of funding, according to sources. The company raised $15 million in January 2008 in a B round. The company's L-cells are supposed to cost 10 to 20 times less than lithium-ion batteries. A flow battery sounds sort of like what it does. Electrolyte flows in and out of tanks. Continually circulating the electrolyte keeps the systems charged. Some manufacturers use vanadium.
Back in 2007, Deeya talked about doing devices that could provide a few kilowatts or more of power. The company seemed to be aiming its products at industrial power users. Several sources, however, have recently said that Deeya is conducting trials on cell phone towers in India. Has Deeya figured out how to scale down its devices for cell towers? Are cell towers a bigger market? Or didn't the big ones work? We will try to find out. Some of the other flow battery companies have been moored in trial purgatory.
Meanwhile, Bloom Energy, the secretive solid fuel cell manufacturer that is trying to raise a sixth round of funding, has apparently lined up a number of customers. Bloom, of course, is going to have to deliver products to collect on those orders, but the backlog of customers partly explains some of the excitement surrounding Bloom. (Disclaimer: There is also no shortage of people who are skeptical of Bloom's chances.)
Again, I don't make these things up. I just pass them along to you.